Tag Archives: Canada

The quick and easy visa process, part three – it all comes together.


Back to Vienna: This is the third and final instalment in my “second time around” Czech long term residence visa process.  If you’ve just stumbled upon my site and you are doing your first visa I recommend you start here with the more detailed posts from 2013.  If you just want the summery start back at part one. I had my first visa appointment in Vienna on April 7th, 2015 and got the email saying I was approved on May 6th. That’s one month less a day for approval and well ahead of the expiry of my 90 day entry on May 20th.  Whew!  As I was busy with other things I didn’t go to pick the visa up until May 15th and did the normal midnight Student Agency bus to Vienna.  Cost 979kc plus €4.40 for the Bahn.  **Actually, I didn’t take the Bahn both ways – instead I walked the 11+ kms from Stadion to the Embassy since I arrived at 4:30 am and didn’t need to be there until 8:30. You see interesting things on the streets at 6:00 am, including cool old cars.


Once at the Embassy I handed in my passport, health insurance documents (including proof of payment) and waited about 20 minutes for it to be processed.  When it was done they gave it back to me along with instructions to check in with the Foreign Police within three days of entering the Czech Republic. So, back to Stadion, back on Student Agency and back to Prague by 17:00.

Back in Prague: Visa in hand there were still four things that needed to be wrapped up:

Živnostenský List finalization: I visited the office where they copied my passport and visa and told me to come back next week.  The zivno is active as of now, even if I don’t have a copy yet. Cost: nothing, as it was paid for last time.

Social Service Tax registration: I also dropped by the social service tax office, they gave me forms to fill out and told me to come back when I had my actual Živnostenský document.  **A Czech person is helpful here.** Cost: nothing (but it will be 1943Kc per month)

Income Tax registration: The income tax office is in the same building as the zivnostensky office.  All that was needed was a change of address as my account is still active. Cost: nothing.

Foreign Police registration:  Ah.  The foreign Police. Take a Czech friend with you.  And a snack.  And some patience.  There were about 200 people in the building and it took about three hours to get in.  When you arrive take a number for “tourist registration” and fill out the two forms the reception will give you. Cost: nothing

Elapsed time: If you are keeping score, the total time from start to finish – from the time I arrived and started applying for things to the time I had a visa in my passport and was legal to work – March 9th to May 18th or 71 days.  Keep in mind I could have taken a slightly earlier appointment in Berlin and/or gone to pick up my visa one week earlier if I wanted to shave some time off this.


My total cost from start to finish for the Živnostenský, criminal record checks, visa and travel was 8,350kc (which is about $415 Canadian or €305).


Canadian, eh?


Being Canadian isn’t something I give a lot of thought to, we usually aren’t a very patriotic people and I’m less patriotic than most.  One of the things I admire about a lot of the people I meet is a distinct sense of culture.  Most or my students can easily point to something they consider to be “Czech” – often beer or food – and then ask me to tell them something that is typically Canadian and I am at a loss.  It is too big a country with too many different cultures mixed in.  Usually at this point it comes up that I don’t like hockey, and can’t even skate.   Still, many of my students want to know something about Canada.

Fortunately a friend recently posted something that helps me explain some things about Canada and also works wonderfully to demonstrate how not all English is equal.  Or comprehensible.  Language can indeed be a barrier to communication:

“I’m going to collect the loonies and toonies out of my knapsack and head to The Beer Store for a two-four.  On my way back, I’ll pick us up a double-double and some timbits, then we can have that back bacon for breakfast.  If you spill your Tim’s because I’m driving 20 clicks over the speed limit, I’ll give you a serviette to use in the washroom.  And don’t worry—I’ve got a mickey of vodka to put in our caesars. Save me a seat on the chesterfield, eh?”

After reading this I realized that about 90% of my ESL students would have only a vague idea what the hell we were talking about.


Loonies and toonies?  Okay, so we can figure out it is money quick enough.  But what kind of country calls its currency a loonie?  This leads us back to waterfowl – the loon that appears on our dollar coins.  Introduced in 1987 to replace our one dollar bills, they quickly became known as loonies.  So in 1996 when the two dollar coin was introduced the name toonie was quickly adopted despite other suggestions.


Knapsack, rucksack, backpack – all more or less the same thing.  I can’t explain why Canadians adopted a word of German origin to describe this essential accessory.


You will notice it is not the beer store but instead The Beer Store.  Only people from Ontario will see the difference.  When I was a kid I remember it being called Brewers Retail – renaming themselves The Beer Store is marketing brilliance, it’s what everyone called them anyways.


And a two-four?  Easy, we buy our beer in cases of 24, the way nature intended!  The idea of this quantity of beer seems to make many of my students very happy.

Tim Hortons

The next couple of references come from what can only be described as real Canadian food:  Tim Hortons.  Coffee, doughnuts, food, and named after a hockey player – how much more Canadian can it get?  You will find them on every corner, in every town, everywhere.  Starbucks pales by comparison.

Double_Double  timbits

I’m not a coffee drinker, another strike against me as a true Canadian I guess.  Standing in line at Tim’s, as we affectionately call it, you won’t hear anyone order a tall non-fat soy latte.  No way, the most common thing will be an extra-large double-double – 24 oz of coffee with two cream and two sugar.  Not enough sugar to get you going? Add an order of timbits.  What other companies do with the holes they cut out of the doughnuts is a mystery – Tim’s cooks them, covers them in various sweet substances and sells them by the hundreds.


Reflecting our British connections, you will often find the option of back bacon on a breakfast menu – a different cut of meat than the traditional bacon found elsewhere.  Outside of Canada you might find it referred to as Canadian Bacon.  Once again people from Ontario might disagree and call it peameal bacon, a leftover name from when the meat used to be rolled in cornmeal for a distinct taste and yellow colour.


Unlike our friends to the south, Canada uses the metric system.  Kilometres are used for both distance and speed and you will often hear kilometre shortened to “k” or “klicks“.


Need to clean up a little?  Here, have a serviette, or napkin.  Perhaps not as common as it used to be, but still heard all over Canada.  This is also a good time to introduce the idea that we don’t use toilet to describe the place where you go, only the actual toilet.  Washroom, bathroom, restroom, facilities, we will go to any length to avoid saying toilet.


Had enough of all this?  Open that mickey of vodka and let’s kick back and relax.  There seems to be some disagreement about what a mickey is, and where the name came from but it is generally accepted to be about 375ml of alcohol.  Perfect for carrying with you.


If you have some Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce and celery we can make a Caesar.


In your living room you might find a sofa, couch, or chesterfield.  In some places a chesterfield is a specific kind of couch covered in buttons and quite plush, but for us it can be anything multiple people sit on.  It’s becoming an older word and fewer people use it now, but you still might be invited to have a seat on one.

Last, but certainly not least.  Eh?  Canadians will stick this at the end of sentence, always with a question mark.  It’s our way of inviting comment, asking for confirmation or just checking if you were listening.  

Take it easy, eh?