We have provided below a summary of visa requirements for travelers coming from non-EU countries. Please refer to the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic (MVCR) for the most current laws and any unforeseen changes.
The Schengen Area
The Czech Republic has been a part of the European Union and Schengen Economic Area since 2007. The Schengen Area is a European economic area where border controls have been eliminated. It includes the EU countries plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland but not the UK and Ireland. Visas limitations are determined by the laws of this region.
Tourist Visas (less than 90 days) to the Czech Republic
If you are from a country that is exempt from visa requirement, you may enter the Czech Republic or EU without applying for a visa first. Some exempt countries include the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and others.
Citizens of exempt countries will have a stamp placed in their passports, which will serve as permission to stay in the Schengen area up to 90 days. This permission is valid for travel anywhere in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in the European Union. Be aware: Within any given 180 days you are allowed to be in the Schengen area a maximum of 90 days (“the 90/180 rule”). All of the days you travel in the Schengen area are included in this limit. They are very strict about this, so DO NOT go over your stay limit without applying for the correct permission. You can be fined or even deported from the country.
If you are not a citizen of the exempt countries and would like to visit the Czech Republic, you need to apply for a tourist visa at a Czech embassy before entering the country as a tourist. Visa types include single-, double-, and multiple-entry.
Also, not many travelers know, but it is a law for foreign nationals to report their presence in the Czech Republic to the foreign police within 3 working days. If you have paid accommodation, this is done for you by your hotel/hostel/etc. If you are staying elsewhere, you are supposed to do this yourself.
Long-term visas to the Czech Republic
If you are not an EU citizen and plan on staying more than 90 days within 180 days, you must apply for a long term visa (visa for stay over 90 days) at a Czech embassy outside of the country. The most common reasons for long term stay are work and study. The current requirements for these reasons can be found on here.
Make sure you keep good record and photocopies of your records because you will need similar documents to renew a visa as well.
Long-term visa renewal
If you plan to renew your visa, you must do so at the appropriate Ministry of Interior (MVCR) office at least 14 days before the expiration of your visa. If renewal is not arranged for you by your school or employer, the process can be confusing. To avoid the unbelievably long lines, you can (1) mail your application, (2) make an appointment for submission using the numbers below (CZECH ONLY!), or (3) hire one of the many visa services to do it for you. The former two are recommended because it is important to have an application receipt number
Infoline/appointments: +420 974 832 421, +420 974 832 418,
You can check the status of your application using the application number on a spreadsheet available here. The total processing time is unpredictable, so try to be patient.
Be aware that you are responsible for receiving any decisions that may be made about your application. For instance, if your mailing address changes, you must notify the MVCR by filling out a form at your local office.
Traveling without valid documents
If you need to travel outside of the Czech Republic before you receive your travel document, visit the appropriate MVCR office to obtain an interim visa. You may have trouble re-entering the country without a valid travel document!
If your documents are expired and you are not waiting for permission, you are illegally in the country, so you may have trouble when traveling out of the Schengen area!