Purpose of Stay (Visa / Residence Permit type) in Czech Republic


In order to apply for a Visa or a Residence Permit, the applicant must have a valid purpose of stay.

Officially, for extending a Visa or Residence Permit the purpose of stay must be the same as for the currently valid document and the old visa must be still valid at least 14 days.

If also the purpose of stay changes (from employee to tradelicense or from student to employee, for example) the old visa must be more than 60 days valid and a new requirement from 1.1.2011 on, the applicant must have been living here at least 2 years in Czech Republic if he wants to change an employment visa. So it is not possible to work here as employee for one year and then change to a trade license (but it is possible to have a trade license next to employment at the same time).

After changing the purpose of stay, the visa can be then be extended with the new purpose of stay (again with more than 14 days before it ends). Do this in time, otherwise the entire visa application must be made again from the start at an embassy abroad.

How valid this reason of stay is, is determined by the Foreign Police. The Foreign Police will take a number of disclosed and undisclosed parameters in account when evaluating your application, so it is essential to supply proper and enough evidence supporting your reason of stay to maximise the change your application will be granted.

Most common Purposes of Stay:

  • Visa for employment purposes + Work Permit,
  • Business Visa, using a trade license,
  • Business Visa, being director of a newly founded SRO company,
  • Family Visa, for wife and children,
  • Temporary Residence Permit on the basis of marriage / family.

Visa for Employment Purposes

In order to be able to work in Czech Republic there are two options: a Visa issued on the basis of work, or a Work Permit in combination with a Residence Permit. The Work Permit is no longer issued by the Foreign Police, but instead by the local Labor Office.

Very important: it is the company that provides the job that must apply for your Work Permit (or a third party that represents the company). Officially, the Labor Office will only grant a Work Permit if no suitable czech employee can be found. The procedure for applying a Work Permit can take up to 6 weeks, because the first 30 days the job is posted to allow other suitable candidates to be found.

One needs to have the Work Permit and a signed employment contract beforehand in order to apply for a Visa or Residence Permit, so the total process (Work Permit + Visa) may take several months to complete!

There are several conditions causing the termination of the Work Permit (such as ending your contract), so it is essential to renwew it before the old one becomes invalid, because upon expiration, also your Visa / Temporary Residence Permit expires!

Applying for a Business Visa

3rd-Country Nationals who want to have a Visa for Business purposes, need to have a personal trade license or become director of an SRO company. They do not need a Work Permit.

Not all 3rd-Country Nationals are treated equally. If you are from a 'western' 3rd-Country you have a far greater chance than somebody from Africa, Asia or the Far East to get a Business Visa.

If you are not so fortunate, then you can only apply in your home country for a Business Visa with a newly-found SRO company, because embassies surrounding Czech Republic do not accept your application. Also a Business Visa for a trade license is more often rejected compared to for example an American citizen applying for a Business Visa using the same trade license!

In order to apply for the Business Visa there must be proof of the registration of the trade license (the so-called 'vyzva') or foundation documents of the SRO company and/or proof of directorship in the SRO company (notárský zápis, vypis z obchodního rejstríku etc.) and a criminal extract with apostille stamp not older than 3 months.

Furthermore, the applicant must show a confirmation by a bank that he has at least 140.000 CZK (5.600 euro, 8.300 dollar) per person for living expenses. Note that this 140.000 CZK is not the same as the 200.000 CZK basic capital for starting a new SRO company, so also somebody applying who wants 'just' a trade license needs to have this 140.000 CZK for living expenses at his disposal!

Because of the economical situation and the high employment, the Foreign Police will strictly examine the type of your business and verify if you have enough money to live and invest in your business.

Applying for a Business Visa using a Trade license

Since a živnostenský list is relatively easy to get, many people think that it shouldn't be too difficult to become an English teacher or programmer in Prague. But there are already enough teachers and IT people without a job - come up with a better plan, after all there are 80 trade licenses to choose from!

And if you are really a qualified English teacher, at least include all your certificates and recommendation letters. Including these will make a difference in the evaluation.

Applying for a Business Visa using an SRO Company

We do not recommend applying for a Business Visa using an off-the-shelf / ready-made company without basic capital. The ready-made company is relatively cheap to get and this in itself is an indication you do not have enough money to survive. Since for a Business Visa 140.000 CZK needs to be shown for living expenses, it is recommended to gather 200.000 CZK for founding a new SRO company, and after foundation use that money for living expenses.

Temporary Residence Permit on the basis of marriage / family

We recommend all 3rd-Country Nationals that are married / have a partnership with an EU / CZ citizen to get the Temporary Residence Permit, because with that you will no longer need to renew your Visa every year, have a Work Permit or need to register your trade licenses at Commercial Court.

Also children up to the age of 21 out of mixed marriages can apply for a temporary residence on this basis.

Registered Partnership

Since a number of years there is a thing called 'registered partnership' for people who are of the same sex. The benefit is that this 'registered partnership' has almost the same status as a marriage, so a 3rd-Country National can get a temporary EU Residence Permit with it. More here:

Registered Shared Household

This is basically a 'registered partnership' for 'mixed-sex' couples. The benefit is that this 'registered shared household' has almost the same status as a marriage, but be prepared to get much resistance from the czech townhall - especially in smaller towns. It might be easier to just get married. You will need the same set of ducments anyway.

Parents 3rd-Country National, Children EU-citizens

The Schengen rule 'used to be' that 3rd-Country National parents cannot apply for a EU citizenship even though their children have EU-citizenship. The other way around it would work (Child getting EU-citizenship because of the EU-citizenship of the parent).

HOWEVER, there are several cases in which a 3rd-Country National received a temporary Residence Permit based on the fact that his/her child has a double nationality, one of them being EU. It must be said that both applications required interaction at the highest level of the Foreign Police, and the parent did not get EU-citizenship, only temporary residence permit.

Born Czechs / czech parents

A special category are people who were born in Czech Republic or have czech parents, but have lived all their life abroad. In principle those people have the right to obtain a czech passport and a temporary residence permit. Also people returning to Czech Republic to take care of their parents or grandparents have special possibilities.