January 6, 2011
Effective 1 January 2011, the Czech Republic has amended the Act on Foreign National Residency. Several changes have come into force, including adjusting validity of initial long term visas from 12 months to 6 months, additional health insurance requirements, the introduction of a “Blue Card” for highly skilled migrants, and the introduction of a biometric residence permit, in line with European Union (EU) requirements. A summary of changes follows. Note that the changes are very new and that we therefore expect some delays and inconsistency as they are applied.
Long Term Visas
- The Czech immigration process for a non EU national includes a long term visa application, made after the work permit has been approved. Previously, long term visas were issued with 12 months’ validity; effective immediately, these will be valid for six months only. Non EU nationals who require visas to travel within the Schengen area may still use the six month long term visa to travel, but may wish to apply for a Czech residence card after arrival, as the residence card will be valid for one year. The residence card can be applied for up to four months before the long term visa expiration, i.e. approximately two months after arrival.
- Long term visa (for the purpose of conducting business) applicants will now also be required to make a personal appearance at the Czech Embassy/consulateof application.
- Long term visa applicants must also now register in person within three days of arrival in the Czech Republic. Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Czech KGNM correspondent office will arrange accompaniment for all applicants who need to register in person.
Biometric Residence Permits
From 1 May 2011, in accordance with EC regulations 1030/2002 and 380/2008, residence permit cards will be issued with a biometric data. Please refer to Pro-Link GLOBAL’s recent immigration alert on Switzerland for more details. The biometric component will mean that personal appearance for residence permit applications will be required. Personal appearance will be required from 1 January 2011, although the biometric cards are not expected to be introduced until May 2011.
- It was already a requirement that long term visa/long term residence permit applicants must provide evidence of secured accommodation for the duration of their stay in the Czech Republic. The amended Act now also requires applicants to provide a notarized conformation of this from the owner of the property, or the officially authorized representative of the owner.
- In addition, the Act sets out requirements for the size of the property: At least 8 m2 for a single person, and 12.6 m2 for two people. For each additional person, an additional 5 m2 is necessary.
Health Insurance Requirements
It was already the case that health insurance was a requirement for long term visa/long term residence permit applicants. The amended Act has introduced two new requirements:
- The health insurance value must be at least 60,000EUR (up from 30,000EUR)
- The health insurance policy must now specifically cover costs of necessary and urgent health care, including costs of transportation in the event of death. Insurance must also cover the cost of accident caused by a willful act, negligence, even as a result of consumption of alcohol or drugs.
- Health insurance must be arranged through a company on an official list of approved insurance providers (Pro-Link GLOBAL can provide this list on a case by case basis). The provider must be either a company entitled to provide such insurance in member countries of the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway or in the country of citizenship of the applicant, or a Czech company. If the former, a certified translation of the insurance contracts and policy conditions along with original and payment confirmation for the whole duration of stay in the Czech territory must be provided. Note that for the residence permit applications (usually submitted on renewal of the work permit, or when the initial long term visa expires), the insurance must be issued by an approved Czech provider.
Blue Card for Highly Skilled Migrants
A new immigration process has been introduced for highly skilled professionals from non EU countries. The blue card has a minimum validity of three months and maximum period of 2 year and can be extended. This is a completely new process and the advantages of the application are not yet clear; as further information becomes available, Pro-Link GLOBAL will keep our clients informed.
The new Act provides for administrative expulsion from the whole of the European Union and a ban on re-entry for non-European Union nationals staying in the Czech Republic without the relevant authorization.
Non-European Union nationals who have work and residence authorization for another EU member state and who plan to stay in the Czech Republic for longer than three months out of a six month period are also required to obtain authorization. In the case of these individuals failing to obtain the correct authorization, administrative expulsion will not be issued; however such persons will be required to leave the Czech Republic within a specified timeframe.
ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
Note the extensive amendments to immigration processes in the Czech Republic. These changes are likely to cause delays and confusion in initial weeks. Pro-Link GLOBAL will monitor the situation and will keep you informed.
The introduction of the Blue Card may provide a beneficial route into the Czech Republic for corporate employers; however, currently it is too early to assess this new process.
Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader
This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in the Czech Republic to provide you this update.