Integration after Arrival – FAQ

Do I have to report to the Foreigners’ Police (also translated as Alien Police) upon arrival in the Czech Republic?
(Both EU and third-country nationals)

Foreigners are obliged to report their place of residence in the Czech Republic to the police (Alien Police Inspectorate, Cejl 62b in Brno) within 3 (non-EU nationals) or 30 (EU nationals) working days of arrival; this obligation does not apply to foreigners younger than 15, members of embassy or consulate staff of a foreign country or of an international governmental organization accredited in the Czech Republic, members of their family registered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or foreigners for whom the Ministry has arranged accommodation.

The obligation to report one’s place of residence to the police does not apply to foreigners who fulfilled this obligation with the entity providing them accommodation. The reporting duty of a foreigner is deemed to have been fulfilled once the foreigner has filled out their “guest card”. Ask at the reception desk of your hotel/hostel/dormitory whether they have registered you with the Alien Police.

After registration you only need to contact the Alien Police in matters concerning short-term visas up to 90 days and invitation letters for guests visiting from third countries. All the rest of the residence agenda (long-term visa, certificate of temporary residence, temporary, long-term and permanent residence permits) is processed with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) - Department for Asylum and Migration Policy - Odbor Azylové a Migrační politiky (OAMP), Hněvkovského 65 in Brno. This includes reporting any change in residence status, family status, residence address and such within the usual 30 days.

How can I apply for or extend my long-term visa or residence permit? (third-country nationals)

Foreigners who need a visa or permit to stay in the Czech Republic have to first specify a purpose for their residence in the CR and apply for the appropriate visa at some Czech embassy. The purpose of stay might be studies, employment, business, research, family reunification, culture or other. The Czech Embassy is only authorized to receive an application for a long-term visa; the competent authority for processing it is the MOI. During the procedure the Czech Embassy communicates with the applicant, invites him/her for a hearing, calls on him/her to pick up the visa, and so on.

Following the long-term visa, after some time spent in the CR, application for a long-term residence permit (or its extension) is filed at the relevant MOI office on the territory of the Czech Republic (Hněvkovského 65 in Brno). Application for a long-term residence permit can be filed as soon as 120 days before the expiration and no later than on the last day of validiy of a long-term visa and for the same purpose of stay. The same applies for extension of the long-term residence permit, but a change in the purpose of stay is permitted in certain situations. 

Do I always have to carry my residence card with me?

Yes, you have to carry your passport with your visa or residence card with you at all times. Even EU nationals have to have a passport or national ID always present with them unless carrying temporary residence card. In case of loss, destruction or damage, a foreigner has to report this to the police or the authority that has issued the document within 3 working days from the day on which the event occurred. Once issued Czech residence card, you can leave your passport or national ID at home.

Do I have to have a Czech driving licence?

Holders of a driving license issued by any of the European Union member states can drive with their original EU driving license for the full period of its validity.

Exchange of the EU driving license for a Czech driving license is possible only after six months’ residence. Professional and personal links to the Czech Republic must be proved, and the individual must be in possession of a Czech birth identification number as well as a a temporary residence card.

A holder of a valid driving license issued by a foreign (non EU) country may drive in the Czech Republic with:

  • a foreign driving license pursuant to the Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna 1968) or pursuant to the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva 1949) for the period of its validity.

In this case, a foreign national having permanent or temporary residence in the territory of the Czech Republic for a period of longer than 1 year is obliged to apply for the issuing of a Czech driving license to replace the driving license issued by the foreign country, and this must be done within 3 months of the day when the permanent or temporary residence for a period of longer than 1 year was granted to him/her.

  • an international driving license issued in addition to the foreign national driving license in case this is not in accordance with the Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna 1968) or the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva 1949). The only limit here is the validity of the international driving license.

Do I have to register an imported car?

A vehicle must be registered if a foreign national‘s stay exceeds 185 days. At all times, the vehicle has to have a valid limited liability insurance “green card”. To purchase limited liability insurance in the CR is possible only for vehicles registered in the CR. A vehicle can only be registered in the name of a foreign national with temporary long-term or permanent residence. This registration is done at the Brno City Municipality’s Vehicle License and  Registration Section (Kounicova 67).

How do I get Czech health insurance?

It is not only common sense but the legal obligation of every foreigner to have health insurance valid for the territory of the CR. There is a public health insurance system regulated by government and accessible to all EU nationals and employed foreigners.

In the case of EU citizens, national EU health insurance cards EHIC – with the blue international background - are good for urgent health services, but in case of a longer stay it is a better idea to sign up for Czech insurance and exchange the original insurance card for a local card valid for all health care including preventive checkups, hospitalization, etc. Registration in the public system, outside of employment, is possible only after obtaining the temporary residence certificate for EU nationals. Employees are automatically insured to the public health insurance system by the employer.

Foreigners from outside the EU can enter the public health insurance system only when registered by a Czech employer or after obtaining permanent residence status (after five years). Otherwise they must prepay commercial health insurance with lower coverage limits with some of the commercial health insurance companies in the CR (currently six) that are authorized to issue such policies. Valid health insurance is a legal requirement in order to apply for or extend residence status.

How do I find a doctor?

It is one thing to have valid health insurance; finding a competent doctor who, in addition to professional skills, speaks some foreign language(s) is a completely different task. Your health insurance company is obliged to tell you who the contracted doctors and medical facilities near your place of residence are, but it would be very unlikely to know their language capacities. In such a situation you must shop around, ask your colleagues or friends or contact the Brno Expat Centre for a contact list included in one of the Centre’s free to download Infosheets. It is important to find a reliable doctor as soon as possible and register with him/her. The doctor than becomes your “family doctor”, keeps your file, does preventive checkups and refers you to specialists for further examination or treatment when needed. The same goes for a dentist, gynecologist or pediatrician. You can always visit the nearest doctor when you are sick and they have to accept any patient in need under the Hippocratic Oath. Out of office hours, you can always go to the Emergency Hospital at Ponavka 6 or to the Children’s Hospital at Cernopolni 9. There are 24-hour non-stop pharmacies at Koliste 47 (around the corner from the Emergency Hospital) and opposite the Main Train Station at Basty 2.

What is the public transport system like?

Brno’s municipal public transport system is often rated the best in the country, known for its extensive and frequent services at reasonable prices, especially for those who opt for a monthly/quarterly/yearly pass. Though there is no metro – the city isn’t really large enough to justify this – the Brno transport authority’s palette of vehicles includes trams, buses, trolley-buses and even boats - on the Brno Reservoir. In addition, it is part of an integrated system within the South Moravian region by which special fares extend to include fast trains and selected express trains in tariff-integrated sections of railway lines operated by Czech Railways. Full information in English on all aspects of this system can be found by going to www.dpmb.cz. All transportation timebtables are available on www.jizdnirady.cz or idos app.

How can I find accommodation?

Most foreigners – at least when they first arrive here – opt for renting a flat or house. There are two elementary options to locate and rent a flat/house – either with a reputable real estate agency or independently on your own. Good agencies will make sure that the person leasing the flat is legally entitled to do so, and that the lease contract contains all the necessary, and standard, provisions. The usual fee (commission) charged by an agency is equivalent to one month’s rent. Independent home search and negotiation with the proprietor may be cheaper, but it is often longer and riskier. You may want to have a lawyer at least check the contract for any hidden traps before signing. Home search servers, work place notice boards, Facebook groups and online forums have many up-to-date accommodation offerings.

How do I find a school for my children?

In the Czech Republic, pre-school facilities – optional – cater to children aged 3 to 6. Compulsory education begins at 6, and lasts till the age of 15. Then comes the secondary education level, which lasts for 4 years. Secondary schools are of three types: grammar schools, secondary technical schools, and secondary vocational schools. Beyond this there are two options: what is called the “upper specialized” level (two years, for education of a type given by community colleges) and the tertiary level (i.e. universities, offering standard Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral programmes).

Except for the pre-school level, the Czech educational system is overwhelmingly public. At all levels, from primary through secondary to tertiary, the public system is free of charge, while institutions in the private sector are fee-paying. Educational institutions that offer teaching solely in a language other than Czech will be private, and hence charge fees. This also holds true for degree programmes at universities that are taught in English.

Public kindergartens have been overfull in recent years and prefer to accept older children (close to the beginning of primary school – 4, 5 years). Children who are five years of age (in their last year of their kindergarten attandance) are obliged to go to a kindergarten. It is necessary to look for a place in a kindergarten early on in the spring for the following school year. Alternatives are private kindergartens with various methods and focuses that are ready to accept younger children and the overflow from public kindergartens. Many specialize in alternative educational methods and communicate in foreign languages.

Except for the International School of Brno with both primary and secondary level and American academy with secondary level education , where teaching is in English according to the Cambridge international curriculum, all other primary and secondary schools instruct students in Czech. A few schools offer selected classes in English/French/German/Spanish. Three primary schools offers an integration programme for foreign children, dedicating more effort and time to the Czech language and cultural integration.

How many foreigners live in the city/region?

Brno hosts over thirty thousand foreigners and the number for the South Moravian region is almost double that. Three major nationalities – Ukrainian, Slovakian and Vietnamese – count for more than half of them. Then it breaks down into much smaller portions for over a hundred nationalities. A rough estimate of foreign highly skilled professionals and their family members puts their number at around 6,000, employed in the large international companies, research centres and the academic world; many are also self-employed. About the same number of foreign students (not counting Slovakians) can be found studying at the six public universities in Brno. It is easy to connect with the international crowd in the city at frequent meetings and social events. Various organizations host meetings and parties. For all foreigners living and working in the city, the Brno Expat Centre organizes regular seminars, informal meetings, tours and trips designed to promote networking among newcomers and locals and make foreigners feel at home in the city.

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    Brno Expat Centre
    Moravské náměstí 3
    60200 Brno
    +420 530 332 123
    info@brnoexpatcentre.eu
    www.brnoexpatcentre.eu