But how long does the initial visa process take?

Here is the actual timeline for my process, your results may vary and remember there are some documents you need for each step:

April 10:  Applied for zivnostensky list (trade license) in Prague.  They told me my zivno approval letter would be ready in 5 business days.

April 11:  Emailed Czech embassies in Vienna, Bratislava and Berlin to ask for an appointment date for my visa application.  One of the advantages of being Canadian is you can apply from any Czech embassy on the planet.  Amazingly, the same day Vienna emailed back to say they could see my on April 18 – the day after my zivno approval letter would be ready!  Interestingly Bratislava emailed me a week later to say they could see me on May 26 and I never ever did hear back from Berlin.

April 12:  Zivno office called to say my approval letter would be available on the 15th, early.

April 15:  Returned to zivno office to pick up approval letter.  Note:  took a Czech friend with me to give power of attorney so they could handle things if I was out of the country.

April 18:  Visited the Czech embassy in Vienna.  Submitted all documents and had a 45 minute interview regarding my application.

A brief intermission of waiting and completing my TEFL course…..

May 22:  Received an email stating my visa was approved and ready for pick up, no appointment necessary just come business days between 0830 and 0930.

May 23:  Purchases six months health insurance from Slavia in Prague.  This is a requirement of the visa approval.

May 27:  Returned to Czech Embassy in Vienna, picked up visa and was given instructions to register with Foreign Police in Prague within 3 days.

May 28:  Presented myself at Foreign Police to register my presence and address in Prague.  If you can, bring a friend, they speak only Czech.

May 29:  Returned to zivno office with my new visa and foreign police stamp.  They copied my passport and said to come back in one week.

As of this point I am legal to conduct business in the Czech Republic and my visa is good until November 21 (six months from the approval date, not the date I picked it up).

Elapsed time:  50 days.

June 5:  Picked up my final zivno document.

July 1:  Registered for social security and income tax (as you have until the 8th day after the month you start working and 30 days from start of work respectively to register, see my detailed post).

July 15: Received my first social security tax notice and also my income tax registration number.

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