Visa and Renewals
Residence Permit for EU and EFTA Nationals
Thankfully, student visas are now a thing of the past for EU and EFTA nationals. If you are a citizen of an EU or an EFTA country you do not need to apply for a visa. It is enough for you to register with the Czech Immigration Police within 30 days of your arrival (this is a legal requirement).
Students from the EU and EFTA are also entitled (but not obliged) to apply for a temporary residence permit. Students with a temporary residence permit receive a special card (known as a European Card) which officially states their address in the Czech Republic, and which can therefore be used for many transactions in which official proof of a Czech address is necessary (opening a bank account, purchase of a mobile phone on a contract, etc.) However, it can take up to 180 days for applications to be processed. We, therefore, do not recommend this for students who are staying in Prague less than two semesters.
To apply for a Temporary Residence Permit you will need:
- Completed application form (available in pdf format for download here)
- A valid travel document (generally your passport)
- A document confirming the purpose of your stay (e.g. an acceptance letter from the university)
- 2 passport photos
- A certificate of health insurance (form E-111 or something similar), or your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- A housing voucher from your dorm, or other document confirming the address of your accommodation (if living in private housing)
With the exception of travel documents, registry data, and photographs, documents must be no more than 180 days old, and all foreign-language documents must be officially translated into Czech. Registration and temporary residence permits are free of charge.
An application for a Temporary Residence Permit can be filed at the Ministry of the Interior offices. We suggest it is best to file the application at the office nearest to where you are currently living.
Citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are treated in the same way as EU nationals.
Student Visas / Residence Permit for Non-EU Nationals
Unfortunately, students from non-EU or non-EFTA countries who wish to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days will continue to need a student visa/residence permit. This includes students from EU candidate countries, and from countries whose citizens do not need a visa in order to enter the Czech Republic as a tourist (e.g. the USA). In most cases, it will also include foreign nationals who are currently resident in another EU country.
Under current Czech immigration legislation, applications for student visas/residence permits must be submitted to the Czech Embassy or Consulate in the student's country of origin before their departure for Prague. It is not possible to apply for a visa/residence permit on the territory of the Czech Republic, or even to pick up a visa/residence permit you have previously applied for. Charles University cannot and will not register students from non-EU/non-EFTA countries who do not have a student visa/residence permit, even if they are able to enter the country without a visa as a tourist. The price of the visa fee depends on the country where you are applying. Students admitted to accredited degree programmes may be exempt from payment of the visa fee, please check with the embassy whether this is your case.
Visa/residence permit applications must be made at the nearest Czech Consulate, usually in the student's country of residence, or in a designated near-by country, if there is no consulate in the student's country itself. Processing time is often as much as 8-10 weeks, so make sure you apply sufficiently in advance. Even when you have the visa/residence permit you are legally obliged to register with the Prague office of the Czech Immigration Police within 3 days of your arrival.
Students can apply for either a visa or a residence permit:
- a classic Student Visa (Long-stay Visa for the Purpose of Study; "Dlouhodobé vízum za účelem studia") valid initially for only 6 months
- a Long-term Residence Permit for the Purpose of Study ("Povolení k dlouhodobému pobytu za účelem studia"), which is valid initially for 1 year. However, you will then be required to pick up a biometric ID card from the Czech Ministry of the Interior upon arrival
If your study stay is going to be longer than 6 months, we strongly suggest that you apply for a residence permit so that you do not have to renew your study visa later. If you are accepted for one semester only, it is recommended that you apply for a student visa which is a cheaper option. You should also consider that if you do not need a visa to enter the Czech Republic as a tourist, you can stay for another 90 days on the territory of the Czech Republic and other Schengen Area countries after your visa or residence permit expires. The list of countries whose citizens are exempt from tourist visa requirement is available on the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What you will need to apply for a student visa or residence permit:
- Completed Application Form. Forms are available at every Czech embassy/consulate, and in pdf on the websites of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs: long-stay visa, residence permit
- A valid travel document, generally your passport, with the date of expiry extending at least three months beyond the date of your projected departure from the Czech Republic
- A document confirming the purpose of your stay in the Czech Republic (Letter of acceptance supplied by Charles University)
- A document containing the specific address where you will be living in the Czech Republic (supplied by Charles University)
- Evidence of financial support. For further details, please visit the Ministry of the Interior website.
- Evidence of health insurance*, valid for the Czech Republic and providing minimum cover of 60 000 EUR for one insurance event. As of August 2, 2021, you are obliged to contract comprehensive insurance with Pojišťovna VZP, which is currently the only recognized insurance company for this purpose. See below the detailed conditions of this new obligation. In most cases, the consulate will not require health insurance to be finalised at the time of your initial visa/residence permit application, but they will insist you have valid insurance before they affix the visa/residence permit in your passport. The following documents will be required: insurance agreement, including details of the insurance that has been arranged (either as part of the basic insurance agreement, or as a separate document), plus proof that the insurance has been paid (your receipt). All insurance documents must be in Czech or accompanied by a Czech translation. Important note: because your initial visa will be issued only for a maximum of 6 months, we recommend you buy health insurance only for this 6-month period. Different insurance documents will be required for your visa renewal.
- 2 passport photographs
- A confirmation from the authorities in your home country that you do not have a criminal record, including a Czech translation. In addition, if you have resided in a third country for a continuous period of more than six months at any time within the last three years, you will also be required to provide evidence regarding your lack of a criminal record from this third country.
As in the case of the residence permit for EU nationals (above), all documents (with the exception of travel documents, registry data, and photographs) must be no more than 180 days old, and all foreign-language documents must be translated into Czech and the translation notarized. The visa or the permit will generally be issued by the Consulate in 60-70 days (though in some cases it can take up to 90 days).
Long-Term Visa vs. Residence Permit
Both the long-term visa and the long-term residence permit are issued when the stay on the territory of the Czech Republic is expected to exceed 3 months. In general, the long-term visa is primarily intended for persons who expect to stay in the Czech Republic for several months – for example, study program lasting several months etc. A long-term residence permit is primarily intended for persons who expect a longer stay in the Czech Republic – for example, a study in a university program, employment etc.
- allow stay exceeding 90 days (3 months)
- allow movement in the Schengen Area – stay in the other Schengen Area States may not exceed 90 days within any 180 days and must be of a non-profit nature
- long-term visas and long-term residence permits can be extended on the territory of the Czech Republic – in case the purpose of stay continues, kindly contact the respective branch of the Ministry of Interior according to the place of residence
Long-term visas are issued:
- as multiple visas for a maximum of 1 year
- for the purpose of health, culture, sport, study, scientific research, family, entrepreneurship and other
Long-term residence permits are issued:
- as one-entry visas for the purpose of collecting a long-term residence permit for a stay on the territory of the Czech Republic for the duration of 60 days and validity 6 months
- for the purpose of employment (employment card or blue card), study, scientific research, and family unification
- Act No 326/1999 Coll., on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic and Amending Certain Acts
Obligation to contract comprehensive health care insurance with Pojišťovna VZP
From August 2, 2021, the amendment to the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals is effective, bringing a new insurance policy: obligation to take out travel medical insurance covering comprehensive health care with Pojišťovna VZP.
This obligation applies to foreign citizens coming for a long-term stay (more than 90 days), with the following conditions:
- If you submitted your application for a long-term visa/residence permit by or on August 1, 2021 and arrived by or on August 1, 2021, the obligation does not apply.
- If you submitted your application for a long-term visa/residence permit by or on August 1, 2021 and arrived on or after August 2, 2021, you are obliged to contract comprehensive health insurance with Pojišťovna VZP within 90 days of entering Czechia.
- If you submitted your application for a long-term visa/residence permit on or after August 2, 2021, you must submit the document on travel medical insurance before the visa is indicated in your passport:
- This insurance must cover the necessary and urgent care for the first 90 days. For the remaining period of stay you have to submit also the document on comprehensive health insurance contracted with Pojišťovna VZP.
- Alternatively, you can contract comprehensive health insurance with Pojišťovna VZP for the entire period and submit that.
- If you contracted comprehensive health insurance with another Czech insurance company on August 1, 2021 at the latest, you may submit that.
If you have been residing in Czechia based on a long-term visa or long-term residence permit already, you will only need to contract comprehensive health insurance with Pojišťovna VZP when applying for renewal of your residence authorization.
This obligation does not apply to:
- EU citizens
- Holders of a valid EHIC or GHIC health insurance card
- Foreign nationals covered by the Czech public health insurance scheme
- Foreign nationals whose health care is covered under an international agreement (see the list here)
Download PDF with detailed information here.
Where to Submit Visa Application?
Schengen (short-stay) visa applicants file their applications at the diplomatic mission of that Schengen Area State which is the only or main destination. When visiting the several Schengen Area States, the main destination constitutes the state, where the stay will be the longest. If the duration of stay in the several Schengen Area States is equal, the main destination constitutes the state, in which the main purpose of travel lies (for example conference participation). If it is not possible to determine the main destination based on these criteria, the application is to be filed at the diplomatic mission of that Schengen Area State which constitutes the entry in the Schengen Area (i.e. will be visited the first).
If the Czech Republic is the only or the main destination, the application is to be filed at the diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic.
The applicants file their application in the state of which they are either citizens or holders of a long-term residence permit. In case there is no diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic in this state, the application is to be filed at the diplomatic mission which is accredited for that state (usually located in a neighboring state) or at the diplomatic mission of another Schengen Area State if the Czech Republic concluded a representation agreement with this state.
If more diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic are located in one state (for example an embassy and consulate(s) general), the application is to be filed at the diplomatic mission located in the district where the applicant resides.
The application can also be filed in the visa centre.
The application can also be filed through an accredited travel agency – more at websites of the diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic that use this service.
Long-term visa or a long-term or permanent residence permit applicants file their applications at the diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic in the state, where they reside on a long-term basis – i.e. in the state of which they are either citizens or holders of a passport or a long-term residence permit.
Exception from this consular territorial competence rule applies only to citizens of states listed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of the Interior No 429/2010 Coll., which contains the list of States, whose citizens can apply for a long-term visa or long-term/permanent residence permit also at a diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic not located in the State of which the applicant is a citizen, which issued the applicant´s passport or in which the applicant resides on a long-term/permanent basis.
Exception form the consular territorial competence rule applies to citizens, passport holders or long-term/permanent residents of these states/special administrative regions:
· Antigua and Barbuda
· Bosnia and Herzegovina
· Costa Rica
· Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region
· Macao, Special Administrative Region
· New Zealand
· Republic of Korea
· Saint Kitts and Nevis
· San Marino
Please note that it is crucial to contact the given consulate, telephonically or by email, and arrange an appointment before visiting the consulate offices during office hours.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
List of consular presence and representation
Overview of Member States' diplomatic missions and consular posts responsible for processing visa applications and representation arrangements.
Visa / Residence Permit Renewals
Under current immigration legislation, student visas will be issued in the first instance for a maximum of 6 months. Students who stay in Prague longer than this will have to renew their visa during their studies. Even though we call it visa renewal, students are actually required to apply for a long-term residence permit for the purpose of studies instead, because student visas can't be extended or renewed.
The residence permit will be issued in the first instance for a maximum of 1 year. The validity of the long-term residence permit can be repeatedly extended, but no longer than by 2 years.
If a long-term residence permit is granted, students will be issued with residence cards detailing their residency status and carrying biometric data (face depiction and fingerprints). Students will be invited by the Ministry of the Interior to provide biometric data at one of its branches within three days after being granted the permit. When the card is ready for pick up, they will be asked to come to collect it. Administration fee for the residence card is 2 500 CZK.
Application for residence permit following up on a long-term student visa must be made no earlier than 90 days and no later than 14 days before the original visa expires. Application for residence permit renewal must be made no earlier than 120 days and no later than 0 days before the original residence permit expires. An application for a long-term residence permit following up on a long-term student visa, or an application to extend the current long-term residence permit is filed at the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) offices according to the applicant’s place of residence or at the special MOI office designated for university students only. The residence permit will be issued in the first instance for a maximum of 1 year. The validity of the long-term residence permit can be repeatedly extended, but no longer than by 2 years.
You can check the status of your residence permit application online at the Ministry of Interior website.
On 22 May 2017, the Government of the Czech Republic approved the project "Student Mode": a concept for facilitating the visa procedure for a specific group of students from third countries. The following provides a basic information.
The project "Student Mode" is the concept of visa facilitation for students-foreigners from selected third countries who are admitted to study at Universities in the Czech Republic and at the same time they are enrolled in the Student Mode.
Below is the basic documentation:
Student Mode approved by the Government of the Czech Republic:
Režim student_Koncept pro usnadnění vízové procedury.pdf
Third Countries whose citizens may be enrolled in the Student Mode:
Státy pro Režim student.pdf
Please, kindly contact for more information:
Mrs Lucie Trojanová, LL.M.
tel.: 234 812 152
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is not in the position to make any decision on the enrollment to the Student Mode. The enrollment to the Student Mode is the exclusive right of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
MOI Opening hours
Monday - Thursday
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Prior telephone reservation is necessary in order to get an appointment (+420 974 820 680). You can also email to email@example.com.
What you will need for renewal:
- Completed Application Form
- A valid travel document (generally your passport)
- 2 photographs
- A document confirming the purpose of your stay in the Czech Republic (Confirmation of your student status supplied by the International Office)
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your stay in the Czech Republic, e.g. a bank statement, or any other document demonstrating your financial situation (for example the Decision from the Ministry of Education regarding awarding the scholarship). If the documents are issued in other languages than in Czech, then they have to be translated. There is a specific amount that must be satisfied for proof of finance (for example 55 000 CZK/6 months, 81 400 CZK/12 months). Applicants may be asked to submit a copy of their valid banking card.
- Proof of accommodation in the Czech Republic, for students staying in the dormitory this document can be supplied by the International Office upon request. Students living in private housing must submit an official form Proof of accommodation form which needs to be filled in and signed by the landlord of the apartment in which they live. Landlord’s signature must be certified.
- Evidence of comprehensive health care insurance coverage; a document on having paid the insurance premium may be requested. Insurance must be provided by an insurance company that is authorized to provide its services in the Czech Republic. We have made a preliminary survey of the insurance companies and the following four companies responded positively to our request for information and are able to provide health insurance for foreign nationals.
Note: If the student is a citizen of a country which is exempt from a tourist visa requirement, they can stay for another 90 days on the territory of the Czech Republic or any other Schengen country after the current visa expires. The list of countries whose citizens this regulation applies to is available at Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Partially revised: August 2021