Czech Visas & the Schengen Zone

Traveling and staying in other Schengen countries with a Czech long-term visa or permanent residency card

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PUBLISHED 11.01.2010
LAST UPDATED 09.02.2010



Czech Visas & the Schengen Zone



Despite being a free-travel zone, many of us hear stories of expats, and even citizens, being checked for passports when they enter another Schengen zone country. You would think having legal residency status here would confer some benefits when entering the rest of the zone. Of course, it's not that simple. How exactly does either a long-term visa or residency permit affect our rights of stay in other Schengen zone countries?

The short and rather unfortunate answer is 'not much'. Having a long-term visa or permanent residency in the Czech Republic does not grant the holder the same rights of travel and stay as a citizen of a an EU or Schengen member nation (The two are not the same. The UK and Ireland are members of the former not the latter. For Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland it is the reverse situation.)

First, as has been stated on this website before, a person is required to have correct and valid travel documents to enter any Schengen member state. For third state nationals, or TSNs, with a long-term visa or permanent residency, this means a valid passport. Those of you with permanent residency passes should know that, although that little green book looks an awful lot like a passport, it is not recognized as a travel document. In short, border checks have ended among Schengen zone members but not the requirement for member states to request documentation from travelers. This requirement also extends to citizens of Schengen states traveling in the zone, i.e. they also must carry either a valid passport or identity card.

But, I hear you say, how do they know when there are no checks? Again, a little semantics comes into play, and as we know police and officials can be a pedantic bunch. The Schengen agreement does not terminate the domestic policing laws of a given country and some member states reserve the right to check personal identification in the form of a passport.  Nations in which police could request to see a passport as ID are: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Netherlands. (In the last example, a photocopy may be acceptable.) Countries where photocopies of the passport information pages are acceptable are Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia. (Information was obtained from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.) Strictly speaking, we're meant to carry some form of ID while living here too. I'm sure some readers may baulk at the requirement in these countries and that's your right. Take the information merely as a recommendation, one that could save you hassle with the local police.

Regarding length of stay, whether you have permanent residency or a long-term visa the duration is the same: three months in a six month period. As Mrs. Machotková from the Ministry of the Interior states, “For a person with permanent residency in the Czech Republic, assuming he/she lives in the Czech Republic, the Schengen regulations makes it possible for him or her as part of his/her life in the Czech Republic to spend three months out of every six in the territory of another Schengen state.” Unlike a normal tourist, you don't have to return to your home country, you can return to the Czech Republic and your stay in the Czech Republic does not count against your stay in the rest of the Schengen zone. Suffice to say, you cannot work, at least not legally and you're required to have medical insurance for the length of your stay. If you intend to stay longer, then you will need to apply for a Schengen visa for that duration.

As the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone they have completely different rules regarding stays. For the UK, people from US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are eligible for stays up to 180 days, usually without a visa. Check their website for further info. For the Republic of Ireland, stays of up to three months are possible without a visa. Further information is available here.

The condition which changes the above stated residency requirements is if you have a family member who is a European Union member. Family members are:
- a spouse
- a partner in a registered partnership, otherwise known as a civil union
- a parent who is a EU citizen, or his/her spouse or registered partner (Meaning that you a dependent under the age of 21)
- a dependent parent of either the citizen or spouse or partner

Of the categories of family members cited above, it is fair to assume that being a spouse or registered partner of a Czech is more likely among our readers than being a dependent. Thus, for the sake of brevity, we will only cover what you need to do in this situation.

If your Czech spouse or partner moves to work in another EU member state, it is likely that you will have to apply for a “family permit.” According to the legal advice I received from the European Commission, you will be permitted to work or start a business in that country.  However, to quote from an earlier document: “At the same time, for reasons of labour market policy, Member States may give preference to Union Citizens.” In other words, nothing can be taken for granted. If you are in the position that your spouse is planning to work in another EU country it would be best to check the labour laws for that particular one. However, you will be permitted to live there for the duration of the stay of your spouse or partner.

If you and your significant other are planning a move, you will require some documentation:
- valid and correct passport
- marriage certificate or proof of partnership registration

You may require a visa if you are a citizen of a country which does not have a visa waiver regime. On the plus side, you should not be expected to produce any documentation proving your income, financial status, abode and so on. However, this is all based on the stay of your spouse or partner.


User comments


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Comment from: BrownEyedWomanPublished: 10:46:49 18.08.2012
i read in the ministry of the interior's website that according to eu regulations, those with permanent residency DO have the right to work in another eu country. even with a long-term visa, one can transfer that visa to one of the new country, to work and live in the new place. my understanding of getting permanent residency is that one has got the same rights of (in this case) czech citizens but that one cannot vote.
FARHAN AZIZ (Guest)Published: 11:42:34 06.03.2012
i want to know about students work permission in a week in Czech Republic, Germany & Austria and minimum per hour wages in Czech Republic, Germany & Austria. Please also inform me about student part time employement situation or rate in above mentioned countries. Is it possible for a studnet to manage his monthly living costs with part time job?
Chulan (Guest)Published: 04:34:00 02.02.2012
Can someone with a Czech PRP from non EU national travel to the UK without a visa if travelling with his Czech republic wife and child ?
EforEurope (Guest)Published: 08:36:39 11.01.2010
This article is Non-Sense and Misleading. The Czech Permanent Residence Permit offers the following advantages: The Czech PRP holders are entitled to the same legal rights as of a native born Czech citizen as below with the exceptions to vote in an election, to stand in an election and to join the Czech army or Czech police force. Czech PRP holders do not need to obtain or hold a visa to travel within the EU and Schengen zone countries and can stay over 90 days. Czech PRP holders are entitled to live, work, study, do business, invest and even buy property in any EU or Schengen zone country. Czech PRP holders are entitled to get social aid for unemployment, disability, unable to work due to an accident, raising children, paying rent to a flat and tax relief in the Czech Republic and other EU member countries depending on the requirements of each member country. Czech PRP holders, who are retired, pregnant, with a child below 7 years of age or two children below 15 years of age are entitled to get free Czech Medical Insurance to obtain free medical treatment and to buy necessary prescription medicines in the Czech Republic. Czech PRP holders can get upto CZK18,000 as social aid for giving birth to a baby in the Czech Republic and a PRP mother can get upto CZK8,000 per month as social aid for unable to work due to the birth of a newborn baby. Czech PRP holders and their children are entitled to get the free education in schools, colleges and universities provided the language of study is the Czech. Czech PRP parents can get social aid for textbooks when their child starts schooling. Czech PRP holders can legally buy residential or commercial property without having to buy via an s.r.o type of company. Czech PRP holders are entitled to get state pension when retired. The pension amount is determined based on your salary earned and your contribution to pension system. Please RESEARCH before writing article of this nature. www.europa.eu has loads of information and data. It will takes months to read, which I have done for more than 18 months.
Ladyof Shalott (Guest)Published: 04:37:56 11.01.2010
Could you give us info on whether or not a Czech residence visa is transferable to another Schengen country for work? I know of 2 cases in which this was made possible, one person went to France, the other to Germany. Their employers were able to get them residence visas for the respective countries based on the fact that they had been able to get a Czech residence visa. Neither people are EU citizens. Thanks!!
Alleyoop (Guest)Published: 04:04:33 11.01.2010
Regarding people with permanent ("long-term") residence << Right of residence in the other Member States A long-term resident may exercise the right of residence, for a period exceeding three months, in a Member State other than the one which granted him the status, subject to compliance with certain conditions laid down in this proposal, including: * exercise of an economic activity in an employed or self-employed capacity; or * pursuit of studies or vocational training; or * other purposes.>> http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons_asylum_immigration/l23034_en.htm
Giri (Guest)Published: 01:59:40 11.01.2010
Regarding the allowable length of stay in other EU countries being "three months in a six month period" for those of us with CZ long term or permanent residency: How is anyone able to determine how long you have been in another country if point-of-entry stamps are no longer given when crossing borders?