One of the big reasons why the Czech Republic is such a popular destination for teaching English abroad is the fact that it is relatively straightforward for non-EU citizens to obtain a long-term work visa. As well as this crucial fact, teachers are also drawn by the country’s warm and friendly people, its fascinating cultural heritage, and the chance to enjoy some of the very best beer to be found anywhere in the world.
What is the application process for a work visa in the Czech Republic?
In most cases, teachers arrive in the Czech Republic on a standard 90 day tourist visa that is issued at the airport. Once in the country, you can then apply for the necessary long-term documentation. The most common approach is to apply for a Zivnostensky List (Zivno), which is essentially a business license that permits you to work for any school you choose. You can apply for this in person at a government zivnostensky office or you can go through a local visa agency who will take care of all the paperwork for you. The documents required to apply include:
- Completed application form
- Bank or credit card statement showing access to a minimum of $8,000 US
- Housing contract as proof of long-term residency
- One year health insurance policy (can be bought in country)
- Criminal background check (contact your embassy in Prague for details on how to obtain this document)
Are there any other work visa options?
A second option is to apply for a standard work permit that requires a local employer to lodge the application acting as your sponsor. However, as this option can be quite expensive and time consuming, many employers choose not to go down this route unless you can convince them you plan to stay around for the long-term. To apply for a work permit you will need a university degree that has been apostilled in your home country and a copy that has been translated into Czech.
Is it possible to teach English in the Czech Republic without a work visa?
It is not uncommon for teachers to avoid both of the above options and simply work on the tourist visa they were issued on arrival. While this practice is technically illegal, many employers are happy to go down this route and there are rarely any repercussions for teachers who choose this option. However, if you intend to live and work in the Czech Republic for more than just a short time, it is highly recommended that you apply for one of the previous options mentioned above.