Need any help? Anything at all?

Things I can do:

  • Teach ESL:  including grammar, conversation, business, technical and anything else you have in mind.  In person and internet based lessons available.  I also have experience with “soft skills” training such as presentation skills with a focus on English language usage.
  • Business consulting:  20+ years small and large business experience in technical and customer service fields.
  • Hands on work:  if it needs assembly or repair, chances are I can do it!

There are two types of things:  those I can do, and those I just haven’t done yet.

Contact me for full CV, references or questions.


Richard Lynch

+420 603 394 844

rblairlynch (at) hotmail (dot) com



17 responses

  1. Thanks Richard,

    I (fellow Canadian) was in the Czech Republic for 3 months in 2009, but couldn’t get a work visa in time. I had a job and a fabulous apartment, but had to leave. I’m thinking of returning and going the Zivno route. Your posts have invaluable knowledge for those of us abroad (in Korea). Maybe we’ll meet some day?

  2. Hi Richard!
    Thank you for this amazing site. I have been in Prague for the past 4 months.( got business visa in mid Dec.; however, got my first income in February. Do you think it will be a problem for a long term residency permit application? Thank you in advance!

  3. Hi! I’ve replied to you by email as well, but the short answer is: don’t worry about it. If they are not happy with the income statements, they will still accept your application but ask you to forward more statements as they become available. Good luck!

  4. Hello again Richard,

    I posted above, Feb., 25. I’m in Seoul (where I have lived for 17 years, teaching English) and thinking about coming to Prague for August-September, 2014. I’m wondering how much, if any, I can do from here to get the ball rolling before I arrive. I have contacted an agent to get help. They sent me this:

    — We can obtain a trade licence without you and it will take 1 week.
    — After obtaining a trade licence you can apply for a visa at every embassy of Czech — — Republic in schengen zone. It can be whether in Berlin, Bratislava, Wien etc…
    — Ministry of Internal affairs has got 90 -120 days by the law to considerate the application.
    — As mentioned above we don’t need you to be while obtaining the trade licence, but for applying a visa your presence is necessary as for picking the visa up.

    As I am Canadian could I start the visa process here at the Czech Embassy in Seoul? Or do I need papers I can only get in Prague? I can get an expedited criminal record check from Canada (RCMP) using a forensics service. I did it once before and it only took about 1 week.

    As I’m already overseas I have no residence there. You said I need these things (from your blog post).

    • a completed application form (they will provide this and tell you what to do)
    • the notarized copy of your original criminal record check (keep the true original, you will need it for your visa)
    • both copies of your business address form – note that they will go online and check the property registry to ensure the person is the legal property owner
    • 1000Kc

    Any help you could give me would be appreciated. Thank you.

    (I’ll wait for a response and also see if the embassy here can help me. )

    1. Hi Ted,

      To answer your questions more or less in order:

      Yes, they likely can obtain your trade license APPROVAL (not the license itself) but they must be using something as your business address. I know some agencies offer a service where you can use them as the business address. Your business address and home address need not be the same, many English teachers do it more for convenience. But, as the zivno really only takes a week to get approved, it isn’t that bad.

      They do have up to 120 days to approve your application, but assuming you have all your papers in order it should be quicker – mine was five weeks, others I know took up to two months. People stay in the Czech Republic beyond the 90 day limit while waiting for approval, but I was prepared to get out of Schengen just to stay perfectly legal.

      The catch to the process is that you have to pick up your approved visa from the same embassy you applied to. So, yes I think you could apply in Seoul – I know I could have applied in Canada – but you then have to go back there to get it. I’d wait until you are here, and perhaps pre-book your appointment for an appropriate time after you arrive here just allowing enough time to get all your documents in order. You will be making two trips to this embassy – the first to apply, the second to collect it once approved.

      Lastly, your criminal record check. The Canadian Embassy here in Prague did it for me in only a few days, and it is provided in English, French and Czech – this saves you getting it translated. Further, you will need to get it super-notarized (or your agency will) here in Prague so there is no real advantage getting it before you arrive.

      So, in short, the trade license approval is one of the easiest parts of this process so I wouldn’t bother starting it before you arrive. I’d spend my time now getting other things in line such as your proof of funds letter (it is also in my first posts about documentation). Hit the ground running here and sort out your housing/business address, zivno and criminal record check.

      I’m curious how much the agency charges for this service, I would shop around – I know someone who has a small company that does this, he is Canadian but has been here for 11 years – I can put you in contact if you like.

      I hope this helps!


  5. Hi Richard,

    Wow. Thanks for the information and so fast. The agency charges 5,500 Crowns and provides some help going to some of the offices. I don’t know much beyond that as I was not ready to proceed (I went to India for a nice long trip and just got back here). They mentioned different kinds of stuff and I wasn’t ready to begin.

    —It looks like (looking again, just now) they want 5500 for the Zivno and 7500 for visa help. That’s expensive now that I see what they were talking about. I didn’t realize before. —

    I recall many of the steps and know where many of the offices are as I was there before applying for an employer-sponsored visa (Polyglot), but my 90 days ran out and I left the Czech Republic, to remain legal. I might even have some documents that I already had translated (must look in my files).

    I recall it was a lot of running around, but it was OK. I also recall it can be confusing, but once you get started it’s more just doing the steps and a lot of leg work.

    Once you get the Zivno and make the visa application can you stay beyond 90 days waiting for the visa approval, if necessary?

    Last time I came I rented a place for a month (as a tourist might), but it was never meant to be permanent. I then found an apartment later, once I got hired at Polyglot. That’s sort of a snag as I don’t want to find a place and sign a lease and then find out I can’t stay if things don’t work. The other stuff is just getting papers in order.

    I’m better to just show up— like last time. Last time I came in early August, but didn’t get hired until late September which only left me 4~5 weeks for the visa process. That was the problem. This time I can get buzzing from day 1.

    Anyway, your blog posts and your speedy reply are very helpful and much appreciated.

    1. Hi again,

      That does seem like a lot – you can likely hire someone hourly just to help you with the meetings as needed and do the rest yourself. It depends on your patience level!

      One really important thing that might not be clear: you don’t need to wait for an employer to apply for your visa. With the zivno you are self employed, you don’t need to show you have any clients or income – just that you have money to support yourself. I applied, then went to school, then got the visa and THEN found schools and private students. In fact until you have your zivno and visa you aren’t legal to carry on business.

      You are not supposed to stay in Schengen beyond your 90 day window, but people do. I was planning to go to the Balkans just to stop the clock if necessary, but I was approved before it was an issue.

      Find a place to live, or a shared that will sign off on your housing documents, worst case you have to give notice and leave which is a fairly small financial hit compared with moving to a new country.

      Good luck!

  6. Again, thanks so much. I have money to support myself for a while (long enough) and getting the bank thing will be no problem. When I was there last time someone I worked with told me to go to Serbia and return, but my school said that it probably wouldn’t fly. I didn’t want to be barred from Europe or anything like that so I decided to return to Korea. My passport had the entry stamp so it was easy to see when I arrived and it was day 89.

    (This time I might go to Serbia, but don’t tell. 😀 Last time was a great experience, but rather expensive!!!!)

    I may be in touch again. I owe you a coffee out, at least (when I get there.) Thanks.


  7. All the information I have read here is more then I received from the lady I paid 10,000 czk for so far. If you were here I would have preferred to just pay you.

    1. I’m really glad you found it helpful! I might be back in the early spring, you can buy me a tea. If I do come back I’ll be updating the blog to reflect any changes.

  8. Hi. I’m going to Prague to take a TEFL course and I’m eligible to stay for 90 days. The school I applied to seems to imply that students will be able to get their Zivno list licence and long term visa within this 90-day time period – this includes trips outside of Prague to the foreign embassy . Do you think it’s feasible or should I look into getting the ball rolling for applying for the licence and visa before I arrive? My main concern is being stuck in limbo while I wait to be able to work and stay legally, which means that I’ll be eating into my savings.

    1. Hi, thanks for the question. I started my process on March 9th and my visa was approved on May 7th. Total of 59 days. But if you start after your 4 or 5 week ESL course (plus time to find a flat etc) you’ll likely run out of your 90 day window. I’ll pick my visa up this week, and will write a final post then. The actual visa process time was exactly one month, but they quoted me up to 4 months.

      There are two possible options:

      1) Come to Prague early and start things before your course. This is what I did in 2013. Keep in mind this also means finding housing as you’ll need that document. In 2013 I got everything together, went for my first visa appointment and then did the course while my visa was in process. The timing worked well but I had an advantage of having friends, contacts and housing lined up already.

      2) Be prepared to travel out of schengen as soon as you are done the course and have your visa application in at the embassy. This will stop your clock and buy you some time. But again you’ll have to have housing so you’ll be paying for something you can’t really use.

      There’s very little you can do to get things moving from abroad as you need all your documents from Czech (housing, business address, zivnostensky list), and you have to pick up the visa from the same embassy you applied at.

      I hope this helps! If time is an issue, and you are certain you’ll be staying, come early and settle in before your course. Chances are your housing will be cheaper than what your school will charger anyhow. Best thing is you’ll be working that much sooner after graduation as the waiting period will be spent studying.

      Good luck!

      1. Thanks for getting back to me! So, I’m guessing that if I do exceed my 90-day quota, I can’t just leave the Schengen Area and then return to restart the clock? This is a bummer. Does the Czech Republic not have a leniency period for people who have started their application process to remain in the city even if their tourist visa has expired?

  9. Hi again,

    The Schengen rules are 90 days in a 6 month period, the clock doesn’t just reset when you leave. Partly this is not about the Czech Republic per se as your 90 day limit is for all of Schengen. For the initial visa there is no bridge visa available, in fact when I called to make an appointment in Bratislava they were booking for June and after telling me this immediately said “and you can’t stay in the Czech Republic beyond 90 days”. Now, do people do it? Yes they do. I always tried to stay completely legal as I don’t want to mess up my ability to visit Europe.

    When you do your renewal to a long term residence (which is done from within the country) you can get a bridge visa to keep you legal and working while they process the renewal.

  10. Awesome blog, Richard – the single best resource I’ve found as an Australian looking to come to Prague and acquire a Z-list.

    I have actually been planning to train in Prague (maybe Oxford TEFL) and attempt to find work in Slovakia. I am a little intimidated by that country’s apparent requirement of “10 years teaching experience” to qualify for its Zivnostensky scheme. Any insight into the EFL scene (and bureaucracy there) would be massively appreciated!

    PS Have you thought about establishing a consultancy to monetise your expertise? A couple of enterprising American girls in Spain run a pretty successful one, doing skype interviews for people wanting some insider info before going there at 25 Euro a throw. Cheers again.

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comments, I am glad you get some use from the blog. Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with Slovakia. Perhaps others can offer insight.

      I’m not sure I would want to do immigration stuff for a living, and between teaching and contracts I am at about 50 hours per week right now – so not much spare time!

      Let me know if you make it to Prague.

  11. Thanks mate, will do.

    If I make it to Prague, your blog will have been instrumental, so will definitely get in touch.

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