Getting Legal in the Czech Republic

I hardly know where to begin, because there is just so much to cover. So in order to make it less intimidating for me, and more easily understood by others, I am going to break up the legal process into bits and pieces. Here on the Czech List, lists are our friends!

First, a few caveats:

  • These are not hard and fast facts or rules. These policies and procedures can change at any point – in fact, two of them changed just during the 4-months while I was going through the process
  • All the following information is based on my personal experience. I am not a visa assistance service, and don’t have the information to address the full scope of legal circumstances under which people begin the process
  • Don’t just take my word for it – do research, ask multiple sources if you have questions! There is a huge variety of experiences out there, mine is only one.


That said, here are the topics I hope to cover. I will add links to the posts as I write them – I will be taking my time, as I want everything to be factually correct as possible.

How to live here legally: Getting a Long-Term Visa *

  • Hiring a visa person
  • Timing – How long will this take?
  • Expense – How much will this cost?
  • Tourist visa versus long-term visa
  • Getting your Proof of Accommodation
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Proof of Work License
  • Setting Up Visa Application Appointment
  • What to Bring and Expect at Your Visa Application Interview
  • You’ve Applied… Now What?
  • Approval and Visa Pickup
  • Registering with the Foreign Police

*(as non-EU foreigner – EU citizens have a different and purportedly less arduous process)

…and that’s just half the battle! At the same time, you also need to be navigating the process to work legally. Your visa is only permission to live here – there is a separate yet intertwined process to get approval to work legally. These permissions both rely on the other, so it’s important to pursue both at the same time. There are two types of permission to work – an employer-sponsored work-license, or a self-employment license (also called the trade license, or Zivnostensky list). I have no experience with the work license, so I won’t discuss how to get one (…because I don’t know!). But I can share with you my knowledge and experience getting my Zivno list.

How to work here legally: Getting your Zivno 


4 thoughts on “Getting Legal in the Czech Republic

  1. pickledwings March 20, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    Be careful taking a standard Zivno. You need to make sure you’re earning enough to cover your social and health insurance payments before you commit to one of those.

    I’m not sure how it is these days, but when I got my Zivno back in 2008 (before I had premanent residency here) part of the Zivno based visa application paperwork was proof that you’d paid fully and upfront the health insurance for the entire length of the visa.

    Perhaps it’s changed and developed a bit more since I got my Zivno.

    The language agencies will push you towards a Zivno as it saves them time and money in administration costs. They’ll tell you how great it is for you, but often don’t mention that you can screw yourself over by taking a Zivno out without the income to support it.


    • Elliott Bell March 20, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      I paid for and bought my year of health insurance, and was informed about the monthly costs, and think it seems manageable, but I’ve only been teaching for a month so I guess I’ll see! Definitely true that the Zivno was presented to me more favorably, or at least more frequently – I only know one person who has been offered a work sponsored license.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pickledwings March 20, 2016 / 8:16 pm

        You’ve got guts going for the Zivno after just a month of teaching. I argued with myself over getting one for a couple of years before I finally felt comfortable about doing it.

        Hope it works out well for you. I’d advise you to get an accountant for tax time; not only for the extra name on the paperwork between you and the Finance Office, but also because I think Americans still have to report taxes back home too.

        At least a couple of my American colleagues say that American tax law requires them to file taxes both here and at home.

        Liked by 1 person

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