New bill speeds up and digitizes foreigners' applications for Czech residence permits

Under the new proposal, applicants would communicate with Czech authorities electronically and receive online status notifications.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 23.01.2024 14:46:00 (updated on 23.01.2024) Reading time: 1 minute

A new bill, spearheaded by the Interior Ministry, seeks to digitize the process of obtaining and using a Czech residence permit for foreigners. The bill wants to make it easier for non-Czechs to communicate with public administration while speeding up the process, ministry spokesperson Adam Rözler says.

A shift to doing everything online

The ministry will soon submit the draft to the government for review, according to Rözler. Under the new proposal, individuals would engage with authorities electronically, utilizing online forms and receiving automatic updates on the status of their applications.

To facilitate this digitization, the ministry plans to create a comprehensive information system wherein foreigners can establish an electronic identity and a dedicated account.

"Foreigners will be able to communicate with the authorities online from home and vice versa. This will mean a relief for not only our offices in charge of the residence-application procedure, but also for foreigners themselves."

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan

Changes for EU citizens living in Czechia

In addition to digitizing the residency procedure, the bill will modify the registration process for EU citizens planning to stay in Czechia for over 90 days. Furthermore, it will enhance the role of the guarantor – an individual or entity (for example an educational, scientific, or cultural institution, employer, or sports club) ensuring the purpose of the foreigner's stay in Czechia.

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The legislation is slated to take effect at the outset of 2026, coinciding with the launch of the new information system. While registration for EU citizens will be voluntary in 2026, it will become mandatory starting in 2027.

Rözler highlighted the inadequacies of the current law, deeming it outdated and unclear due to frequent amendments. Despite this, he clarified that the new legislation does not significantly alter the conditions for obtaining a residence permit, emphasizing that the primary transformation lies in the digitization process.

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