Schengen C Visa and D Visa Application

Non-Schengen citizens (so-called 3rd-Country Nationals) usually need a Visa to enter the Schengen-zone, of which Czech Republic is part since 21.12.2007.

Some 3rd-Country Nationals are allowed to stay in Czech Republic up to 90 days for tourist purposes and have a so-called visa-free entry. A list of Visa-free entry countries can be found below.

Most 3rd-Country Nationals (from Africa, Middle East, Far East, South America) can only apply for a Schengen Visa (C, D, C+D) at the embassy in their country of origin. If they would come here on a tourist Visa, an embassy in a country surrounding Czech Republic will not even accept their application for a different Visa type.

However, according to vyhláška č. 462/2008 Sb (pdf), some 3-rd Country Nationals are allowed to file their visa application not in their home country (so at any Czech embassy), this is an exception to the above.

Schengen Visa types in more detail

All Schengen Visa Types

  • A Visa: an Airport Visa, allows you to stay at the airport less than 1 day,
  • B Visa: a Transit Visa, allows you to travel through Czech Republic, max. 5 days,
  • C Visa: short-term, for stays up to 90 days, within the entire Schengen zone
  • D Visa: long-term, for stays longer than 90 days, up to 12 months, only in Czech Republic,
  • C+D Visa: 'mixed-term', this type you need for relocating to Czech Republic.

Visa types A and B are not suitable for immigrating to Czech Republic. You are only allowed to stay for a very limited time and those types can not be extended or changed into another type.

For relocating to Czech Republic only one type is practical, and that is the C+D Visa (the C Visa allows you to travel in other Schengen countries for the first 3 months - in case you do not already have a visa-free entry because of your nationality)

Visa-Free Entry for some 3rd Country Nationals

3rd Country Nationals with a Visa-free entry are allowed to stay for tourist purposes a maximum of 3 months (90 days) within a 6 month (180 days) period in the Schengen area, after that they have to leave the Schengen area.

If the stay will be longer than 3 months or for non-tourist purposes, a long-term D Visa needs to be applied for at the Czech embassy / consulate in the country of origin (except for US-Citizens).

It is not possible to apply for a C or D Visa inside Czech Republic.

List of countries without entry Visa requirement:
Andorra, Antiqua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Holy Seat, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore (max. 30 days), Republic of Korea, U.S.A., Uruguay and Venezuela.

This list changes regularly. It might not be accurate or complete.

Short-term C Visa up to 90 days (C Visa)

In order to get a C Visa you will have to apply for a 'Schengen Visa' in your homecountry outside the Schengen-zone. It is highly recommended to call the czech embassy or consulate for details. Most likely you will need several papers from townhall, some of them with apostille. Ask for international versions, translating from English to Czech is cheaper and faster than from a non-standard language.

The C-type allows you to spend a maximum of 3 months within a 6 month period in the Schengen area (not only in Czech Republic), either as single-entry or multiple-entry variety.

If you are planning to travel around Europe in the first 90 days, you must have a multiple-entry C Visa, because if you would visit a non-Schengen country, you are not allowed to re-enter the Schengen-zone with a single-entry C Visa!

It used to be quite common make a trip every three months to Slovakia, Germany, Austria or Poland to get the 3-month short-term / tourist Visa extended for another 3 months, but that definitely doesn't work anymore since 'Schengen'. You really need to leave the Schengen area, and still the 3 out of 6 months-rule applies, so after a total of 90 days stay, you need to leave for at least 90 days.

Long-term D Visa, over 90 days, but maximum 12 months

The same requirements as for a C Visa apply, but in addition you will need an extract from the foreign criminal record or a sworn statement in case the country does not issue such a document (most countries do issue some kind of police clearance). Both documents need an official apostille or superlegalization and need to be translated into Czech.

In some cases the Foreign Police can ask for a medical record proving you do not suffer from a serious (dangerous) illness.

It can take up to 120 days to process your application (for students, teachers and researchers 60 days).

A D Visa can be extended 90 to 14 days before the expiration of the D Visa at the Foreign Police in Czech Republic, but not over a year. After 5 years on a D-Visa, it is possible to apply for a long-term Residence Permit, not sooner.

People that hold only a D-Visa (so no C-Visa or visa-free entry) must be very careful to enter and exit Czech Republic without transits in other Schengen countries. It happens that people take an indirect flight through Germany and then to Prague. This means that the country of entry is Germany for which the D-Visa is not valid and in the worst case the D-Visa gets revoked or not extended!

D Visa for Business purposes, extension up to 2 years

The Foreign Police now issues Business D-Visas extensions that are valid for up to 2 years, but not not always and not to everybody. People renewing their Business Visa have a good chance to get a renewal of 2 years instead of ony 1 year, provided that they comply to the new 2011 regulations.

In order to get such a Visa you must comply to all the rules, such as proof of a residence address for two years, and czech 'complex care' health insurance for two years. If only one of those documents has an end-date before the 2 years are over, then the Visa will be 'shortened' to that end-date.

The great benefit is that instead of 5 times applying and renewing (every year) the Visa before applying for the Permanent Residence Permit, this now only needs to be done 3 times, saving a lot of costs and hassle.

Applying for a C+D Visa

In case you do not have a visa-free entry into the Schengen zone, and you intend to work, do business or study in Czech Republic for longer than 3 months, you'll have to to apply for a combined C+D Visa, which allows you to travel around in Europe for the first 90 days. After the 90 days it becomes a Czech Republic-only D Visa.

Especially for 3rd-Country Nationals the rules have become extremely strict since 2011.
In practise there are only 3 ways to get a Visa for Czech Republic:
  • having a jobcontract AND workpermit from a CZ-based company (Work Visa),
  • registering a trade license (Business Visa),
  • founding an SRO company (Business Visa)

Changing a Visa-Free Entry / Tourist Visa into a D Visa

There are people that travel to Czech Republic without the need for an entry Visa (US citizens in particular) or on a Tourist Visa and hope to change it into a D Visa. This is a hassle, because the D Visa can only be applied for outside Czech Republic, so this means at least 2 trips (application and picking up the Visa) abroad (to Berlin, Bratislava, Vienna or any other embassy / consulate outside Czech Republic) and there are several difficulties with this.

how people get into problems:
  • They do not have all required documents, so the embassy rejects the visa application, forcing them to come back, possibly several times if they are unfortunate,
  • The processing takes longer than days left on the tourist Visa, so they have to leave before they can pick up the D Visa,
  • They do not have the required minimum financial means for a year's living expenses,
  • The reason for stay (especially živnostenský list) is rejected, and there is not enough time to apply again,
  • The Work Permit application takes 6 weeks and/or is rejected, and there is not enough time to apply again.

Here at Alexio we are always willing to help people, but one also needs to be realistic.
Avoid risking everything by coming here on a Visa-free entry or on a Tourist Visa only to find out that you are forced to leave after 90 days. Every Visa application is accepted / rejected on an individual assessment - no 2 cases are the same, you can't estimate your 'chance of succes' based on a 'similar story'.

To emigrate to a new country is a life-changing event, so you better plan that step carefully, and apply for the C+D Visa the official way, through the embassy / consulate while you are still in your home country.

And if you got yourself already in trouble, contact us rightaway, you can't afford to waste time.
Alexio will not accompany you to an embassy abroad, but we can advice you what seems the most logical to do. We can prepare the Visa application documents for you, but we do not guarantee the application will be successful. It is the Ministry of Interior / Foreign Police that makes the decisions.

Longterm D-Visa renewal or already expired, what now?

A D-Visa can be extended, if the purpose of stay is unchanged but there must be at least 14 days left on the old visa. No 14 days left and you can start from scratch, with a D-Visa application at the Czech embassy OUTSIDE Czech Republic.

In order to change the purpose of stay (from employee to trade license, for example) the current visa must still be at least 60 days valid and the purpose of stay can only be changed after 2 years stay (new rule since 2011).

A common mistake is to get a trade license, but with insufficient time left on the visa (shorter than 60 days) or being here shorter than 2 years, the purpose of stay can not be changed. Next the visa can not be extended without changing the purpose of stay because the person does not have a new / valid workpermit, and getting a new work permit takes at least 6 weeks. By that time there is less than 14 days left and no extension is possible anymore. The result is then that the person needs to apply for an entirely new visa at an embassy abroad or in the worst case, back home.

After expiration, no extension is possible. Only an application for a new D-Visa at an embassy abroad (unless an EU residence permit can be applied for on basis of marriage or family)

U.S. Citizens and other nationals that have a visa-free entry are fortunately allowed to stay up to 90 days after their D-Visa expired (because days on the long-term visa do not cpount as 'Schengen-days') so they are not becoming an illegal resident immediately after expiration.