Czech Republic: new immigration rules for non-EU nationals

Czech Republic

A number of changes have been introduced affecting non-EU nationals entering and remaining in the Czech Republic.

From May 2011, non-EU nationals entering the Czech Republic will receive a new type of resident card carrying biometric data (an image of their face and two fingerprints). Old resident cards will remain valid until they expire or require any change in the personal data they contain.

Further changes took effect on 1 January 2011:

  • Applicants to obtain or extend a long-stay residence permit or a permanent residence must now apply to the Ministry of the Interior. Sanctions will be imposed on anyone who does not collect their card from the relevant regional office. Previously, these applications were made to the foreign police, who are now only responsible for issuing or extending short-term residence visas.
  • Long-term visas now last for six months (previously they were for a year).
  • Applicants for long-term visas or long-term residence permits must now prove that they have sufficient financial means to stay in the Czech Republic. Whereas cash used to be sufficient proof of means (and was frequently shared around between foreigners), applicants must now produce their banks statement or internationally-valid credit card to the Ministry of the Interior.
  • There is a new type of long-stay residence permit (the ‘blue card’) for non-EU nationals entering the country to perform work requiring a high qualification (ie a completed high-school education or a higher special education lasting at least three years). This enables them to live and work in the Czech Republic for up to two years. Applicants for a blue card must show they have an employment contract lasting one year or more.
  • Business-related residence permits may now be issued for the ‘performance of work’ or the ‘running of a business’, or to someone acting as a statutory representative of a company in the Czech Republic.
  • Anyone wishing to change their current residence permit for business purposes will need to show that they have already lived in the Czech Republic for at least two years.
  • A new commission has been established to act as an appellate body reviewing the Ministry of the Interior’s decisions to issue or not to issue residence permits.

Law: amendment to Act No. 326/1999 Coll., on Residence of Foreign Nationals Directive implementing 2009/52/EC of 18 June 2009; Directive 2008/115/EC of 16 December 2008; Directive 2009/50/EC of 25 May 2009; Council Regulation (EC) No 380/2008 of 18 April 2008 and Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of 13 July 2009