Last month I moved to a new flat, which means I needed to change my address with the Ministry of Interior / Foreign Police. If you recall, after arriving back from an embassy with your shiny new visa it is necessary to go and register and have your address stamped into your passport. You have 30 days to change your address if you move. The good news is you can make an appointment to do this and if you live in Prague or Central Bohemia they now have one central number to do this. I would recommend having a Czech friend call and make an appointment for you. They will need your information including name, date of birth, passport number and new address location – there are different offices based on what district of Prague you live in.
You will need to take your passport as well as a housing document – either your original signed lease (in Czech) OR a notarized confirmation of housing. See details here, but remember these documents most be in the name of and signed by the actual owner of the flat and good for at least the duration of your visa. They will check the owner in the building registry.
My appointment was for one week later at the lovely office in Chodov…..
Which is, honestly, not my favourite place on the planet. It is always very busy with lots of stressed clients and equally overworked employees. Come early. Bring patience. What I learned this trip is that if you have an appointment you can go straight to the first floor, but what was not so obvious is that you need to go to the machine, find yourself on the list of people and then it will print you a number. You may need to scroll ahead quite some ways if you are early.
The good news is I was in an out in 30 minutes, no drama, my limited Czech was enough and I am now 100% legal again.
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).
At midnight on Monday the 6th of April I caught the Student Agency bus from Florenc. Transit time to Vienna should have been 4.5 hours, but the first bus had issues and we had to return to Prague and switch to another bus. My visa appointment was at 9:30 and I had considered taking the 3:30 am bus but, after my bus broke down, I was happy I had taken the midnight bus. The bus drops you at Stadion bus station on the U2 Bahn line in Vienna. My intention was to walk around all morning (I’ve been to Vienna twice and don’t have any need to see much more) but it was so cold that instead I went to Westbahnhof and hung out eating fresh bread, drinking tea and using the free wifi. Cost: Student Agency bus (return) 976kc plus two Bahn tickets at €2.20 each.
From Westbahnhof it is a pleasant 25 minute walk along Mariahilfer Strasse to the Embassy. There are also trams that will take you most of the way there. There are many nice shops and cafes on the way and you will also pass the Technical Museum. The entrance to the visa section is down the left side of the building.
I arrived a few moments early for my appointment and was greeted by the friendly staff who took all of my documents and my €91 (in cash, exact change required). Moments later I was invited into the office where I was asked a series of questions:
- what do I intend to do in the Czech Republic?
- how long do I intend to stay?
- how much money do I plan to earn every month?
- where do I live in Prague?
- how much is my rent?
- how many people do I share a flat with?
- do I have a Czech bank account?
- when did I first visit the Czech Republic?
- when did I arrive in the Czech Republic this time?
- when did I previously live in the Czech Republic?
At this point I also supplied copies of my previous visa and residence card. I brought up the fact that I am studying Czech and used a few well rehearsed phrases to emphasize this. Interestingly I was NOT asked what I would do if my visa was not ready by the time my 90 day Schengen limit expires on May 19th. The staff translated my statement into Czech, read it all back to me in English and then had me sign the application document. I received a stamp in my passport to show I had applied for a visa and a receipt with a reference number. The staff informed me that the process can take up to three months, but that I would likely hear from someone sooner by email. They were friendly, polite, helpful and even thanked me for being so well organized. The entire visit lasted about one hour.
When I originally booked my ticket I chose the 15:40 return bus that would get me to Prague around 20:00. Out on the street at 10:30 in the morning I was at a loss as to what to do, so I returned to Westbahnhof and used the free internet to look for an earlier bus. Student Agency allows free changes up to one hour before departure so I was able to switch to a 12:40 bus that would get my home by 17:00. This left time for a stroll, lunch at the Stadion shopping centre and then onto the bus with time to spare.
Of course there was construction on the way home and we had to take a rural detour….
…but it was a good trip and I was happy to be back home and into my bed. 10.5 hours bus travel time for a one hour meeting! And now I wait, patiently, for the email to tell me my visa is ready to be picked up. Watch for the final installment sometime soon!
If you have been following me, you know I already had a visa and residence permit once and am back to do it all again. If you are new here and stumbled upon my blog while looking for Živnostenský list or Czech immigration information, I recommend you start at the beginning. Even though I had a visa before, because I let my residence permit expire I need to start from scratch.
This post will cover from the start of the process to waiting for the visa appointment and I will post more once things move ahead. This process is for someone here on a trade license (Živnostenský list). I’ve included actual dates so you can see the real timeline here in 2015. If things have changed from 2013 I will make an effort to update the original postings to reflect this. As I arrived in the Schengen Zone on February 19th, I am on a bit of a timeline to pull this off by May 20th.
Useful information: The Ministry of the Interior website.
Canadian criminal record check: I applied at the Embassy in Prague on March 9th, it was ready for pickup on March 10th. You can get this in Canada before you come, but it is no faster, no cheaper and won’t be in Czech so you will need to pay to get it translated. Note that they are only open from 9:00 until 12:00 but you can make an appointment for afternoon if necessary. Cost: 1,000kc.
The criminal record check needs to be super-notarized by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Minsterstvo zahranicnich veci) located at #5 Toskansky Palac, very close to the castle. It is often busy and I arrived at 13:00 to be the first in line when they opened at 13:30 – I was in and out in five minutes. Cost: 600kc (note, you will need to pay this by “kolek” which are financial payment stamps available at the post office – they won’t accept cash).
We aren’t done! Take your super-notarized Canadian criminal record check to a notary (there are Czech Points all over Prague) and have an official notarized copy made – you will need this copy for your Živnostenský list. Cost: 60kc.
Czech criminal record check: Because I lived here for two years, I needed to get a Czech criminal record check (rejstřík trestů) as well. There is a good explanation of this process on Prague.tv. The article says the wait will be long but I was in and out in five minutes and was able to pay the fee in cash, they didn’t need koleks. Cost: 100kc (not the 50kc stated in the article).
Housing document: You will need some proof of housing, a lease or doklad ubytovani. This document must be signed by the registered owners of the flat and notarized – they will check it to make sure they are the registered owners. It must be good for at least the duration of your visa plus the waiting period, so try to get one that is either open ended or at least good for one year. Cost: 60kc? Or zero if your landlord is nice like mine is.
Proof of funds: You need a document to prove you have at least 110,000kc available to you. I had my Canadian bank provide this proof of funds before I left Canada but note it can’t be more than three months old. You will need a card that can access this account. You will also need a certified translation, I had mine done at Grabmuller, if took three days. Cost: $20 (from my bank in Canada) plus 400kc for the translation.
Passport photos: Available at most photo shops or even photo booths in the metro. Cost: 100kc
Živnostenský approval letter: I won’t go into detail on this, please look at my previous postings for the how and why of the trade licence. Or, stop by the office in Prague 7, room 203, and get details about what you will need. They do speak English and are vey helpful. Cost: 1,000kc.
The initial visa appointment: Now, before, during or after this you will need to have made an appointment at a Czech Embassy somewhere. From Prague the most common are:
Berlin. I emailed them on March 16th, they replied to my email but asked me to call the embassy, and they could have fit me in as early as March 25th.
Bratislava. When I managed to get through to someone on March 17th they were booking appointments for the middle of June!
Vienna. This is where I have my appointment, I finally managed to contact them by phone on March 17th and was able to get an appointment for Aril 7th. This is the same embassy I used last time. Note: they wanted me to email them all of my documents including my zivnostensky list BEFORE they would give my an appointment, but I managed to convince them to make the appointment and then scanned and emailed things as I got them.
This is the end of part one, watch for an update after my visa appointment on April 7th.
Before you run off to either the zivno office or try to make an appointment with an embassy there are a few things you need to have:
A confirmation of balance letter from your bank back home that needs to be formatted a certain way:
- Your name, and ONLY your name on the account. If they are joint accounts ask the bank to leave the other person off the letter.
- Minimum balance of $6,000 USD, if you don’t have it then borrow it, get the letter and then give the money back again.
- This has to be an account you can produce an access card for so they know you can access the funds while in the Czech Republic.
- Has to be an original, not a copy or email!
- Has to be on bank letterhead.
- Has to be signed in BLUE ink. If they can stamp it as well, all the better.
Once you have this letter in hand you will need to get it translated to Czech by a certified company that can stamp the translation. I used Grabmuller and was very pleased with the speed of service, location and price (about 400kc for the one page). Hold onto both the translation and the original.
You Criminal Record Check:
Now you could get this in Canada before coming, it will take a couple of weeks after visiting the RCMP or police in your home area and then you’d have to translate it to Czech. OR you can get it from the Canadian Embassy here in Prague, it will take a day or so and already be in English and Czech! You’ll need your passport of course, and a fee of 1,000kc. It’s not over yet though, you’ll need to get this “super-notarized”. The Embassy will give you instructions on how to do this, it involves buying a 600kc “kolek” from the post office and then going to a government office where they will notarize it for you. With this in hand go to a normal notary and have them copy and notarize your super-notarized original – clear? You will need one copy for the zivno and the original to take to the Czech Embassy.
We’re not done yet! Next post will cover your housing and business address documents.