Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications

Ilustrační foto: ČT24

The Czech Foreign Ministry has reported record interest in obtaining Czech visas. Between the start of January and the end of June, Czech diplomatic missions received 408,000 visa applications, 13 percent more than in the same period last year.

David Nový,  photo: archive of David Nový
The number of applications for Czech visas has been increasing steadily for the past few years. In 2018, Czech foreign missions received 722,000 visa applications, which was the most in the country’s modern history. This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects the number to exceed 800,000.

The increase in visa applications is connected mainly with more available travel all around the world and with short-term work migration, says David Nový, head of the Visa Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“There are several reasons behind the growing number of visa applications. First of all, it is a continuous and increasing popularity of the Czech Republic as a tourist destination.

“We can currently see a significant growth of the number of tourists from India and China, as their buying power increases.

“There are also economic reasons. Entrepreneurs are coming to the Czech Republic for business trips and business meetings. And we can also see a rapid growth in the number of short-term work stays.”

The Czech diplomatic mission that received the highest number of tourist visa applications during the first six months of 2019 was the embassy in Moscow, with over 100,000 requests, followed by the embassy in Beijing (38,000) and the consular office in Shanghai (20,000). Most short-term work visa applications were received by the consular office in Ukraine’s Lvov (51,000) and at the embassy in Shanghai (50,000).

David Nový notes that the number of short-term visa applications significantly exceeds that of the long-term ones.

“We expect to issue about 150,000 short-term visas, which are issued for seasonal workers in the Schengen area for a stay of up to three months. Most of them were issued in Ukraine.

“Long-term work visas are mostly issued in Ukraine, Mongolia, Serbia and the Philippines, about 50 to 60 thousand a year. However, these are actually processed by the Ministry of Interior.”

Visa | Illustrative photo: Czech Television
In terms of the overall number of visas issued, the Czech Republic occupies the seventh highest spot among the 26 countries of the Schengen Area.

The fees for visa application have so far brought roughly half a billion crowns into the state coffers, says Mr Nový.

“Each applicant has to pay a visa application fee. Altogether, we collected over half a billion crowns in the first six months of the year. If the trend continues, we might be able to reach over one billion crowns for the first time in history. Just to compare, last year’s figure stood at 771 million crowns.”

Overall, the Czech Republic rejected about 5 percent of visa applications this year. In regions with high migration rates or safety issues, the dismissal rate reached up to 50 percent.