How to Handle Changes in the Immigration Law?
A new amendment valid from 2 August 2021.
A new amendment valid from 2 August brings several changes to the immigration law and is a little bit confusing and complicates life not only for Expats but also for Czech people who married foreigners and for EU citizens.
These changes include for example the obligation to purchase comprehensive health insurance, changes in administration fees, long-term residence for the purpose of study, conditions for issuing employment cards for the purposes of agency employment, the renaming of a residence permit document for EU citizens, or new identification documents for third-country citizens containing biometric data.
We summarize the most important news for you below.
A little bit controversial amendment is that if you intend to stay in Czechia for longer than 90 days, you must purchase comprehensive health insurance within 90 days after your arrival. For the first 5 years, you can only purchase this insurance from PVZP (https://www.pvzp.cz/en/ – version Plus or Exclusive).
However, if you are covered by public health insurance or by an international contract or if you are a holder of EHIC or GHIC card, you do NOT need to purchase this insurance.
Children born in the Czech Republic to a mother with a long-term residence permit are covered by public health insurance until the end of the month in which they reach 60 days of their life. After this limit, parents must purchase comprehensive health insurance for them.
Renaming of Residence Permits and Changes for EU Citizens
What was formerly known as a certificate of temporary residence was renamed to “Osvědčení o registraci” (“a registration certificate”). It is a non-biometric document issued for a period of 10 years. If you have a valid certificate of temporary residence, you may keep using it until its expiration date and you do not have to exchange it.
An EU citizen will NOT be required to provide proof of purpose of stay when applying for employment, other gainful employment or study. This is a simplifying amendment.
The law newly distinguishes between the so-called “close” and “distant” family members of EU citizens and citizens of the Czech Republic.
Close family members are spouses (husband/wife), parents (if an EU citizen below 21 is being cared for by them), children below 21 or children of a spouse of an EU citizen below 21, children or ancestors of a spouse (husband/wife) of an EU citizen (if the person is dependent on an EU citizen), foreigners who are tied in one of these ways to a Czech citizen. There are no changes for close family members. Their residence permit is valid for 5 years.
Distant family members are relatives of an EU citizen or a Czech citizen with permanent residency in Czechia who are recognized in their mother country as people being dependent on them, or they are from the same household as them, or they are suffering from serious health issues and are dependent on them, or people in a lasting romantic partnership with them (needs to be proven). From 2 August 2021, distant family members are obligated to attach a confirmation of a monthly income of the family after reunification as well as a confirmation about having comprehensive health insurance for the entire stay. Their residence permit is newly valid only for the period of 3 years.
Newly, when applying for various residence permits and extensions, you need to pay fee of 200 CZK (through a revenue stamp) for your:
- application for a residence permit for EU citizens (now known as a registration certificate)
- application for a temporary residence permit for a family member of an EU citizen
- application for an extension of a residence permit for a family member of an EU citizen
- application for a permanent residence permit for EU citizen and a family member of an EU citizen
New Identification Documents
From 2 August, all third-country citizens will be issued new identification documents containing biometric data. This includes family members of EU citizens. Family members of EU citizens who are not EU citizens themselves are obligated to switch to these new documents by 3 August 2023. In the case of an extended family member, it is recommended to exchange this document earlier – by 31 August 2022.
The exchange of existing documents for new biometric documents is free of charge.
Information for British Citizens
Citizens of the United Kingdom who have in the past been issued a certificate of temporary residence or permanent residence permit also need to exchange their documents for the new biometric documents by 31 August 2022. Their family members who hold temporary or permanent residence permits in Czechia in the past have to do the same.
British citizens who can prove that they legally resided in Czechia before 31 December 2020 can continue applying for registration certificates as they are still to be taken as EU citizens in this context. However, their registration certificate in the form of a biometric residence permit will be valid for 5 years.