Studying in Czechia: Tips and advice to get your visa approved

Czechia is becoming increasingly attractive for international students, and numbers are growing fast, but the bureaucratic challenges faced by prospective students can be daunting. Here you can find some useful tipes and advice to get you through the visa process. 


How to be on top of your visa process:

1. How long does the process take?

The ministry does not always comply with the legal period in which they must make a decision. Additionally, if you do not complete the application or the Ministry of Interior requests more documents, the time extends due to additional deadlines for the documents requested.

2. How much does it cost and how can you pay?

It depends from which country you submit the application and what visa you are applying for. Be careful of exchange rates and look on the website of the embassy or consulate you are applying from. Some take only cash or money orders (which you can get at the post office) while others also accept cards. For the extension form within the Czech Republic, you must pay with revenue stamps that can be bought for the equivalent amount at any Czech post office.

3. Where can I submit the application?

Most countries require that the application be submitted at a Czech Embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin. However, non-EU citizens “who are long-term/permanent residents of a Schengen area state, a European microstate or the Republic of Cyprus and have legally resided in these states continuously for at least 2 years” may submit their applications in Dresden. Extensions can be done from within the Czech Republic.

4. Do I need a bridging visa?

If you submit the application for an extension before your first visa expires and you plan to leave the Czech Republic and come back, you might need a bridging visa. However, if you apply for the extension within the legal time and do not leave Czechia, you can stay until your visa is granted.

5. How do I change my purpose of stay?

You must change your purpose of stay whenever your reason for being in Czechia changes. It is the same process as the extension for the visa/resident permit and can be done from within the Czech Republic.

6. What is a data box?

An electronic certified mailbox (datová schránka), operated by Česká Pošta that any public administration offices can use to send you information instead of by normal post. It can be used to submit an extension of a resident permit with the same purpose of stay. It cannot be used to change the purpose of stay. This can be helpful if a student is moving around a lot or lives in a dorm where the post could be misplaced. Only the owner can open it with the ID and password that is given by Česká Pošta when opening it or it can be opened online if you use bank identity (through specific banks where one has an account). However, it can be challenging to use, and any documents sent to it that are unread are seen as delivered which may result in missing set deadlines or important information. Furthermore, if you need to print a document sent to the data box, you must go to a post office, because they are the only ones authorized to print the official, verified documents.

7. Am I allowed to work?

If you are fulfilling your purpose of stay, and under that visa or residence permit you are permitted to work, you may work in your free time.

8. What new laws affecting foreigners’ visa process is the Czech government working on?

Legislation is being processed in the upper chamber of the parliament involving various aspects of the process: e.g. digitalizing the process to applying for residency, the possible availability of public health care for the children born in Czechia to foreigners who hold legal residency, the possible prohibition of private organizations other than qualified  lawyers from helping foreigners with the visa process.

9. How are the years counted legally leading up to applying for a permanent residence card if I started with a long-term visa?

For students (with the purpose of stay “study”) each year of their stay counts as six months for the purpose of acquiring a permanent residence permit (the required period is 5 years). This means that after 3 years it is counted as 1.5 years here.

10. What is the Adaptation and Integration course?

This is a relatively new course that is mandatory for the holders of resident permits that are not for the purpose of study (see if this applies to you). It is held at various locations around the country and is four hours long. The individual must register by paying CZK 1,500 and picking a date through the Ministry of Immigration for Foreign Students to take it within a year of receiving the residence permit.


How to be on top of your visa process:

  • Have patience.
  • Make sure you are on top of deadlines for extending your visa and collecting documents.
  • Be proactive and communicate with the ministry if their deadline to process your application has passed—you can’t always rely the ministries to do things within the legally listed time frames.
  • Double and triple check your documents to make sure the dates, names, and signatures check out.
  • Don’t rely on advice found unofficially online or on others’ experiences.
  • If you chose to get help from a private company or the ICP, discuss all the possibilities and risks.
  • Find a Czech friend willing to give you a bit of help!
Author: Ela Angevine


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