What are the super legalization and the apostille?

Super legalization

When applying for a Czech visa you may need to provide different types of documents ( Birth certificate, marriage certificate, criminal records, university diploma )…  If these documents are issued by a country with which the Czech Republic does not have an agreement, then it should be officially translated to Czech language and super legalized.

Super legalization of foreign documents is authorized by the Czech embassy where the documents are issued, while documents issued in the Czech Republic are authorized by the Czech ministry of foreign affairs.

Apostille

In order to be accepted by the given authority, some documents have to be apostilled. Apostille of the documents issued in the Czech republic are authorized by the Czech Ministry of Justice and  Apostille of foreign documents are authorized by a local Ministry of foreign affairs.

Apart from getting the apostille and super legalization all documents submitted when applying for long-term (over 90 days) visas must be in Czech or accompanied by an official translation to the Czech language.

Updates for freelancers/self-employed people during the Covid-19 crisis

financial aid for czech trade holders

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Freelancers (holders of a trade licence) including foreigners may apply for financial aid of 15,000 CZK per month if their business was affected by the Czech government’s coronavirus measures.

The financial aid is for self-employed persons whose workplace was closed or who were unable to work because of the state of emergency.

Some examples: You have a barber shop and have had to close the shop so are unable to run your business. 

You teach and have had to stop work because the schools you cooperate with are shut.

Conditions

  • Your trade licence must be the main source of your income. You cannot apply if you’re a full-time employee and your trade licence is your side gig.
  • You’re not eligible for this aid if you’re already receiving other social and financial support from the government.

Where to apply?

At the Tax Office in the district of Prague where you officially reside.

When to apply?

More details about the relief package will be available when Czech Parliament confirms the decision on 7 April 2020.

PraguExpats will update you as information is released.

We are here to help if you need support with your financial aid application.

Contact us for more advice – and stay healthy and safe!

In these situations, it’s important that you de-activate your trade licence and inform all the relevant authorities. This will prevent any misunderstandings and unexpected debts to the health insurance and social security offices. More info is here

Who can apply for a Czech long term visa in the EU?

Who can apply for Czech visa in EU?

Generally, all nationalities who want to apply for a Czech visa must apply in their home country or in-country which issued their current travel document or in a state in which they have a long-term or permanent residency, so it is not possible to apply for long term visa in the Czech Republic.

However, there are some exceptions. Citizens from the list below can also make an appointment and apply for a Czech visa in the Czech embassy in any EU country for example – Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, Brussels, Madrid.. (  Law 429/2010 Sb)

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Bahamas
  7. Barbados
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Brazil
  10. Brunei
  11. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  12. Guatemala
  13. Honduras
  14. Chile
  15. Croatia
  16. Israel
  17. Japan
  18. Canada
  19. Korea
  20. Costa Rica
  21. Malaysia
  22. Mauritius
  23. Monaco
  24. Nicaragua
  25. New Zealand
  26. North Macedonia
  27. Panama
  28. Paraguay
  29. Montenegro
  30. El Salvador
  31. San Marino
  32. Seychelles
  33. Singapore
  34. United Kingdom
  35. The United States of America
  36. Mexico
  37. Serbia
  38. Vatican city
  39. Venezuela
  40. Taiwan
  41. Uruguay
  42. Hongkong
  43. Macao

How to book your Czech visa appointment? If you are a citizen of a country that is on the list, you can choose the closest embassy and contact them by email and make the appointment.

In whichever country you apply for a visa, you should always have all the documents translated to the Czech language and some documents should also be super legalized or have an apostille.

After the visa approval, you should collect it at the same embassy where you applied.

How to cancel a Czech trade licence?

Trade licence cancelation steps

Are you a Czech trade licence (živno) holder in the Czech republic who’s returned to your home country? Or have you found employment and plan to stop freelance work? In these situations, it’s important that you de-activate your trade licence and inform all the relevant authorities. This will prevent any misunderstandings and unexpected debts to the health insurance and social security offices. 

You can’t backdate the de-activation of your trade licence. The change takes effect from the notification date. So, if you don’t need your trade licence anymore but keep it active, you’ll continue to incur social security and health insurance fees every month. These debts can really add up. That’s why it’s so crucial that you de-activate your trade licence on time and de-register for social security and health insurance payments. 

Where and how to cancel or suspend your Czech trade licence

Trade licence office

As a first step, you’ll want to visit the trade licence office (živnostenský úřad) and let them know you’re not working as a freelancer anymore. You can do this at any branch. After you notify them, you’ll receive a confirmation letter.

The office will give you two options for de-activating your živno: suspension (pausing) and cancellation. 

If you’re leaving the country but think you might return some time and need a trade licence, then you should consider suspending your trade licence instead of cancelling it. It’s not possible to pause your živno indefinitely. You must give a recommencement date, but this could be any time in the future—even 30 years from now. When you want to restart freelance work, simply re-activate the trade licence. There’s no need to redo your registration. 

If you’d rather wind up your trade licence permanently, you should choose the cancellation option.

When you visit the trade licence office, be sure to bring at least your passport. If you can’t or would prefer not to go in person, you may appoint someone else to do so based on a power of attorney.

How to cancel or suspend Czech živno-related payments

The staff at some trade licence offices may offer to de-register you with social security and health insurance authorities. Other offices will ask you to contact these authorities yourself. If you’re in the second situation, you should follow the steps below.

Social security office

To cancel or suspend social security charges, you’ll need to fill out this form. You can submit the signed form in person at your local social security office or send it in by registered mail. Contact details for social security offices can be found here.

If you come in person, please bring your passport and confirmation letter from the trade licence office. If using registered mail, include a copy of the confirmation letter.

Public health insurance 

If your health insurance is with VZP, then you’ll need to inform the company within 8 business days of canceling or suspending your trade licence. 

You can do this by filling in this form and submitting it to a VZP office in person or by registered mail. A list of VZP branches can be found here.

If you have OZP health cover, you can inform the company by email. The email address is [email protected]

If you have private health insurance, no actions are needed.

Tax office 

Finally, you must inform the tax office about your changed status.

To do this, just complete this form and drop it at the PODATELNA window of your local tax office. Alternatively, you can send it in by registered mail. 

Important!

Remember that you must file a tax return for the year in which you cancelled or suspended your živno. Even if you only did freelance work for 2 months of the year, you still have to submit a return. 

Earnings from last year should be reported this year while this year’s income should be reported by March 31 of next year. There’s no need to file a tax return if your gross annual income was less than 6,000 CZK. 

Help with trade licence cancellation or suspension in Prague 


Whether you’ve left the country or are still in Prague and need help with de-activating your trade licence and stopping related payments, PraguExpats has you covered.

We can complete the entire process for you using a special power of attorney.

Talk to us about how we can help with your situation.




What’s involved in setting up a Czech trade licence?

A Czech trade licence allows you to work as a freelancer (self-employed person) in the Czech Republic. As a sole trader with a trade licence, you’ll have a registered Czech tax identification number and enjoy the same rights as a company registered in the country.

steps of trade licence registration

Types of Czech trade licences

  1. General trade licences

Eighty common business activities can be performed with a trade licence.  These activities don’t necessarily require any specialist education or university degrees.  Common activities among our clients include graphic design, IT, foreign language teaching, sales, photography services, event organising, and general consulting. You may perform all eighty activities with a single trade licence and tax number.

   2. Professional trade licences 

Professional trade licences are regulated by the government. If you want to obtain a professional trade licence, you’ll need to get an official permit. Taxi drivers, for example, need a certificate confirming that they hold the appropriate qualifications.

Requirements

To be eligible for a Czech trade licence, you must be at least 18 years old. You’ll also need to submit different supporting documents depending on your status:  

  1. EU citizens

You’ll need to present:

  1. Your passport or national ID card
  2. Your temporary residence certificate or rental contract in the Czech Republic*
  3. Proof of your Czech business address **

2.Non-EU citizens with a long-term residence permit (long-term visa for 90+ days)

You’ll need to present:

  1. Your passport
  2. Your long-term residence permit
  3. Criminal clearance report from your country of origin (affidavit for US citizens) 
  4. Proof of your Czech business address**

3. Non-EU citizens with permanent residency or a “partner visa” (temporary residence as an EU citizen’s family member)

You’ll need to present:

  1. Passport
  2. Your residence permit
  3. Proof of your Czech business address**

*If you don’t have a residence certificate,  you can use your rental contract to prove your residency. This contract must be more than 6 months old.

**Your home address in the Czech Republic can double as your business address. To set this up, your landlord will need to sign this form.  If this isn’t possible, we can arrange a virtual business address for you.

Income tax

Czech income tax for trade licence holders is very reasonable. As a freelancer, you have different tax options. Income tax is 15% of your net income, and a 24,840 CZK tax deduction applies.

The “60/40” taxation method is used most often. If you adopt this approach, there’s no need to keep any payment receipts or invoices from your expenses.                               

Instead, a fixed 60% of your total gross income is written off as expenses while the remaining 40% is your income. 

So, how much tax do you pay?

To see how this works in practice, let’s look at an example. Say your total gross income for last year was 300,000 CZK, then 60% of this figure (180,000 CZK) will be treated as fixed expenses.

The remaining 120,000 CZK will be your net income and taxed at a 15% rate. This brings the tax to 18,000 CZK. After the automatic deduction of 24,840 CZK, however, your final tax bill for the year comes to 0 CZK!

In other words, you pay no tax. This method is convenient and generally the best solution for EU citizens and their family members (partner visa holders).

Taxes are due by March 31 every following year.

Important information

1-  You can only use the 60/40 method if your annual income is less than 2 million CZK.

2-  As soon as your gross income exceeds 1 million, you must register for VAT. Your accountant will be able to help with this.

3-  For the situation and calculation which was used above, freelancer visa holders should use the method tax from the full amount for avoiding visa renewal rejections due to insufficient funds.
Please check more information about income proof calculation of MOI offices here.

Public health insurance

Once your trade licence is active, you must register for public health insurance. In 2020, the minimum prepayment for trade licence holders is 2 352 CZK each month.  

Which trade licenceholders must register for public health insurance?

  1. EU citizens 
  2. Expats with permanent residency in the Czech Republic
  3. Citizens of the US and some countries

People who don’t fall into any of these categories must take out private health insurance.

The public health is paid monthly for previous month

Social security

After activating your trade licence, you must also register with the social security office..

In 2020, the minimum prepayment for trade licence holders is 2 544 CZK each month. 

Social security is paid monthly for current month

Czech Tax identification number

ICO is your Czech business ID number. Each Czech company and trade licence holder has a unique business ID number.

DIC is your Czech tax ID number. This number is issued by the tax office after you register. It usually consists of the prefix CZ + your ICO number. 

Having a DIC doesn’t mean you’re registered as a full or light VAT payer. If you plan to invoice EU companies outside the Czech Republic, then you should register as a light VAT payer. This registration must take place within 15 days of the receipt of your first payment! 


Trade licence as a “side job” for full-time employees

If you have a full-time job and want to earn some side income outside your employment, you should apply for a trade licence.

Since your social tax and health insurance payments are made by your employer, you won’t need to make any social tax and health insurance payments the first year. But you should request an annual statement from your employer to see if you need to settle the balance. This will depend on your main income from your employment.

If your Czech trade licence as a side business is the same activity as your main job, you should seek permission from your employer. Check your employment contract and discuss the details with your employer before applying for a trade licence

Want to avoid the hassle of setting up a Czech trade licence on your own in Prague?

PraguExpats can handle the entire process for you. Complete registration takes 24 hours!

If you’re an EU citizen who’s interested in getting a trade licence, check out our Prague Trade Licence Set-up package.



Does Czech commercial health insurance cover costs related to the coronavirus threat?

As brokers of private health insurance, we’ve been receiving many emails about whether different policies cover medical costs connected with the coronavirus threat, We decided to go through all the policies on the market and contact these companies to determine whether all expats with Czech health insurance can count on complete support from their insurer.

Public health insurance holders 

If you have Czech public health insurance, then you don’t need to worry about your coverage. All expenses for medical treatment including those related to the Covid-19 crisis will be covered.


Private health insurance

Unfortunately, not all expats in the Czech Republic qualify for public health insurance under current Czech law. What if you have private health insurance? Will it cover expenses related to a potential Covid-19 infection?

We contacted all the private health insurance companies but only received official replies from the ones whom we represent. 

PVZP MEDICAL INSURANCE

If you arranged your health insurance from PVZP through us or independently, then please see this official statement from the company in English

AXA MEDICAL INSURANCE

If you arranged your health insurance from AXA through us or independently, please read the company’s official English-language statement

PVZP is a private health insurance product from VZP that is supported by AXA.  AXA also processes PVZP claims so if you have any health problems, please go ahead and contact either company. You’ll find the contact details on your insurance card. This general information about how to contact the AXA applies whether you have AXA or PVZP insurance.

Other private insurance companies

We only represent AXA and PVZP and did not any official information from any other private insurer. If your policy is with one of these companies, then please persist in contacting them until you receive clarification. The company’s number and your insurance number should be printed on your insurance card.



Czech Schools Seek Online Solutions to Coronavirus Shutdown

Nearly all schools in the Czech Republic are closed following the March 10th declaration of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. All classes for students ages 6-18 have been cancelled, with very few exceptions. 

The indefinite closure has led most international schools to seek out online lesson delivery options in order to achieve academic goals and prepare students for exams.

Hill Castle International School, Central Europe’s only fully online international school is also the only international school that continues to teach normally; its students ages 5 – 18 continue their studies without interruption. 

“We are proud that our online school is in position to help both our new and existing students and their families in this very serious situation.” 

Vladka Moseley, Director of Academics

HCIS has seen a heavy increase in immediate transfers into its American curriculum school due to the virus’ affect on traditional schools. The directors assured us that they are prepared to help any families that need an alternative for the remainder of this school year and beyond.

Other international schools in Czechia are at varying stages of planning on how to handle the closure.

Prague British International School (PBIS) has plans to offer online coursework with supplemental interactive websites.

The Christian International School of Prague (CISP) has provided its students with Chromebooks to take home and work through Google Classroom.

The International School of Brno confidently declared,

“We have many tools and methods that we already use that will help make sure that this experience becomes an opportunity for them to discover new ways of learning.”

The management of this situation has both schools and families searching for safe ways to continue educating children. It is clear that the blending of technology and academics is the ideal solution until Covid-19 is brought under control.

How to rent the right flat and avoid residency renewal troubles?

Recently, many of our clients have been having trouble obtaining proper rental contracts for visa residency purposes. One of the main conditions of the Czech ministry of interior for visa or residency application, is getting the required proof of accommodation confirmation as well as a proper rental contract from a legal owner, according to the land registry office. 

In each of the following rental arrangements, not having a proper rental contract can seriously impact your ability to obtain a proof of accommodation confirmation:

  1. The ‘middle man’

Renting out an apartment for a fair and reasonable price, as well as subletting it to other people, is a common practice and source of income for many people in Prague. If you are renting an apartment (or flat) from a subletter, make sure that the person subletting can provide a power of attorney from the legal owner, or a legal document that they have the legal right to re-rent it to third parties. 

Also, it is very important to check the specific dates for which they can sublet the flat. For example, if the ‘middle man’ has a rental contract with the legal owner and it expires in 3 months, but you need a proof of accommodation for 24 months, then this situation could present a significant problem for your residency renewal. 

PraguExpats suggests:

If you still want to rent a flat from a ‘middle man’ then make sure….

  1. …that the contract is for an unlimited period of time.
  2. …the contract between the subletter and the legal owner states that subleasing of the flat is permitted for third parties.
  3. …they have the authorised power of attorney from the landlord for an unlimited period of time or…
  4. …that they can arrange for the proof of accommodation directly from the legal owner when needed for your visa/residency renewal. 

Most residence permits for Non-EU citizens are renewed for 24 months, and if you choose the right flat from the right person, then you will avoid residency renewal problems. 

2. Corporate flats 

Owners of such flats are corporations (Bytové družstvo).  In this situation, the proof of accommodation form should, and can, be signed by the president of the corporation. Most flats are rented by individuals from the corporation for an unlimited period of time, and these individuals are considered as the defacto owners of the flat. 

If you intend to rent a corporate owned flat, then make sure…

 1. …to get the get proof of accommodation form signed by the corporate president for your future residency permit file.

2. …the individual who is subletting you the flat can legally provide a rental contract between them and the corporation.

3. …to verify that there will be no problems in providing you with a proof of  accommodation in 2 years time, if you need to renew your residency.

3. City of Prague owned flats

The owner of such flats is the City of Prague. You should never rent this type of flat as it is simply too problematic.

4. Company flats 

The owners of these flats are companies (s.r.o./Ltd) 

The legal rent contract or proof of accommodation should be signed by the CEO of the company. If somebody is representing the CEO, then they need to provide an authorized power of attorney from the CEO.

  1. Moving in with a flatmate

Please examine all 4 of the arrangements above to see which one fits best when moving in with a flatmate.  Make absolutely sure that your name is added to your flatmate’s current rental contract, before you move in.

As mentioned above, most residency permits for Non-EU nationalities are renewed for 2 years.  As such, you will need to arrange for a proper proof of accommodation form and a rent contract for those 2 years, for your future residency renewal.

We highly recommend to discuss all of these requirements with your landlord before you rent an apartment or flat. This will help you to avoid misunderstandings and future troubles with your residency renewal.

Finally, how to verify the flat ownership?

Mapy.cz has a great app and it works in English. Simply look for the address of the apartment, just like a Google address search, and click on the information from the land registry office. You will be redirected to a page with a list of the legal owners for that address.  Please check the photo below. 


Most powerful passports of 2019

The Henley Passport Index (HPI) is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom for their citizens. According to the latest Henley passport index, Japan and Singapore have topped the list as the world’s most powerful passports as both offer access to 190 destinations without needing a visa in advance. The Czech Republic moved to the seventh position on the powerful passport index with access to 183 destinations.

The list of the 10 top-ranking passports of 2019

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)

2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188 destinations)

3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187 destinations)

4. France, Spain, Sweden (186 destinations)

5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185 destinations)

6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184 destinations)

7. Malta, Czech Republic (183 destinations)

8. New Zealand (182 destinations)

9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181 destinations)

10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180 destinations)

The list of the worst passports of 2019

  1. Afghanistan (25 destinations)
  2. Iraq (27 destinations)
  3. Syria (29 destinations)
  4. Somalia, Pakistan (31 destinations)
  5. Yemen (33 destinations)
  6. Libya, Palestinian Territory, Sudan (37 destinations)
  7. Nepal (38 destinations)
  8. Lebanon, North Korea (39 destinations)

Online appointment and visa status check for Czech visa

The Czech Ministry of internal has two online services for foreigners which you may not know about.

1. Online appointment system for immigration office services. 

Most of the foreigners already have experiences visiting the immigration office without an appointment and waiting almost all day until they call thier numbers. Staying at the MOI with many people may be so stressful and confusing. 

So, here the best way to make an appointment and arrange your application or bridging visa for less than 5 minutes.

You should register your personal account on the foreigners’ reservation system and make your appointment reservation and it is in English. 

The suggestions of PraguExpats. 

The appointment slots for next month are always available in current months. If you want to get a more available appointment slots, then you should make your appointment a month earlier. 

Appointments for bridge visa renewal.
According to immigration rule, there should not be a time gap more than 30 days between the expiration of your current bridge visa and start date of your new bridge visa. For Example, Your current bridge visa expires on September 30 and you can get a new bridge visa only after September 1. So, your appointment for bridge visa can be any day after September 1.

Information for US Citizens!
Your name should be the same as in your passport, Name+ Middle name

You can get your account registered here: https://frs.gov.cz/en/node/add/registrace

2. Check your visa status online


For checking your visa status, you don’t need to visit or call to MOI offices. You file status can be checked online. The day of your visa or residency application you receive confirmation from MOI officer. You can find your file number on the left bottom of the confirmation. It has a format OAM-XXXX/XX-2019. You can check your application status online here: https://frs.gov.cz/en/ioff/application-status