I was approved for my six month visa on May 4th, and although I didn’t pick it up until May 15th it expires 6 months from the date of approval That is November 4th. A little over six weeks from now. The appointment for the long term residence or, dlouhodoby pobyt, has to be at least 14 days before the visa expires. What this means is I realized last week I need to get moving!
These next posts will be a summary, if you want detailed information start back in November 2013 when I did this the first time. If you are new to the idea of moving to the Czech Republic you need to get a six month visa to start and can find details here.
You can find a list of official requirements as well as the application form on the Ministry of Interior website.
Step one: try to achieve a calm state of mind. There is some bureaucracy you will need to work through to pull this off, and it makes the initial six month visa and the trip to an embassy seem like a much nicer way to spend time.
Six weeks out:
Make an appointment at the appropriate Ministry of Interior office. In Prague they now have a central number for appointments and they will tell you where to go and when. If your Czech isn’t good (and I admit mine is still very poor) it is best to have a friend call. They will need your:
- passport number
- date of birth
- full name
- visa number
- visa expiration date
- home address (this determines what office to go to)
They’ll give you an appointment data and time, in my case I asked for a specific one.
Apply for your social service tax clearance letter. You’ve been paying your 1943Kč every month and now you need to prove it. Find the appropriate office to go to, which in theory is based on your account number. For some reason even though I went to the appropriate one I was told I had to go back to where I originally set up my social service account. I muddled through this in Czech and got a document listing all my payments to date (they issue this on the spot) as well as applied for a bezdlužnost which will take about four weeks and be sent to your home address. On the application form I had to the list reason for application and I put povolení k pobytu (residence permit). Cost: 0Kč.
Apply for your income tax clearance letter. Even though you likely weren’t working here the year before (or in most cases not even living here) you need a clearance letter to show you owe no taxes. You will need to go the appropriate finanční úřad (financial office). There seems to be some confusion, but I went to the one based on my residence address. You will need 100Kč for payment, get it in kolek from the post office as usual. This will take about four weeks as well and will be mailed. Cost: 100Kč.
Next stop živnostenský list extension.
If you read my previous post you might remember that I was debating if I should stay or go. It was very hard to finally decide, but the combination of looking for new or better contracts, a better offer elsewhere and my impending residence permit renewal resulted in a decision.
So, if you are in the same position I am, there are a couple of things you need to do before you go.
Cancel or suspend your živnostenský list:
To do this will require a visit to the same office you got the zivno from in the first place. You can actually suspend it, but only up to the expiry date, so this is not very helpful for us North Americans unless you are just leaving for the summer and want to avoid social service tax. In my case cancellation was the only option.
Do this before month end so you can avoid paying extra social service tax. Good news! There is no charge! Finally, something for free! My office in Prague 7 took one week to complete it. It does require two visits as you have to apply to cancel it and then go back to sign off on it and they will give you a document proving you cancelled it. Save this document.
The zivno office will also notify social service tax you are leaving, but they recommend you visit them to make sure the assessment is stopped.
Cancel your social service tax:
Again you want to do this before month end so you aren’t assessed for the following month, 1894Kc is still 1894Kc! With my zivno cancellation letter in hand I dropped by my social service tax office. They will have you fill out a form to cancel your business activities and stop the tax. While my zivno office speaks a little English, here I took along a letter to help me communicate what I wanted to do. A Czech speaking friend might be helpful. **Remember that they amount you pay each month is for the previous month, so even if you cancel this month you still need to pay once more**.
And that is about it! For now. Make sure you keep records of all these things as you will need them next year for, you guessed it, TAXES!
If you’ve been here more than four months it is time to start planning your renewal. You need to apply for your long-term residence permit a minimum of 14 days before your original short-term visa expires. Some of the documents you need will take time to get so don’t leave this until the last minute! You can find the official requirements here, and as always this is based on my personal experience (your results may vary).
If you are reading this I am assuming you are: a North American, living in the Czech Republic, working on a živnostenský list and currently holding a short-term visa for the purposes of business. You also must have been working and paying your social service tax every month!
Unlike the original visa, you don’t have to leave the country to apply for your residence permit. This saves you travel but be prepared for the huge amount of bureaucracy you need to navigate. The long-term permit is valid for up to two years based on the shortest validity of three things:
- Health insurance policy
- Housing document
I will go into more details in further postings but here is the checklist of documents you need to gather:
- Proof of accommodation. This is the same as what was needed for your original visa, but try to get this new one either open ended or valid for two years.
- Health insurance. You will need to buy another policy, prepaid for up to two years (hopefully you have some funds set aside for this!).
- Your passport, of course. Copy the information and visa pages.
- Proof of income. You require a minimum average of 14,000Kc per month. Copies of any contracts you have, in Czech, will also be helpful.
- Income tax clearance letter (bezdlužnost) to prove that you have no outstanding taxes.
- Social service tax clearance letter plus a list of all the payments you have made to them.
- A copy of your original živnostenský list.
- A notarized copy of your živnostenský extension (valid for ten months).
- A passport photo.
You do not need proof of funds or a criminal record check this time.
Things to consider:
If you plan to do this yourself, a Czech friend will be essential! I muddled through most of the offices but needed help with some things and would have been lost without help during the actual meeting.
Costs: this is relatively cheap. Your biggest expense will be for your health insurance, mine was 9,600Kc for one year. Allow a few hundred more for some forms, notarization and fees. The actual application is free but you will need 2,500Kc for your biometric card when you are finally approved.
A bridge visa. When you go for your appointment request a bridge visa, there is no charge and they will issue it immediately. Mine is valid for six months and allows multiple entries into the country – essential if you plan to travel!
This Will Take Time! I have heard horror stories of people being in process for years, but you can continue to work as long as you keep your bridge visa and živnostenský valid.
What’s the first step?
Make an appointment for your application meeting – I made mine for three weeks before my short-term visa expiry.
You can find the contact information here, you need to apply at the appropriate office based on where you live. The numbers are hard to get through to and they likely won’t speak English so have a friend call.
In the next postings I will go into more detail about documents…..
Holding thumbs that this all works out for us!