Our Quick Guide to the Czech Visa Process
If you’re a non-EU citizen moving to the Czech Republic to find self-employment, you probably have heard that you will need to acquire a long term visa. This type of visa is very common for people moving to the Czech Republic, but it can be quite confusing for people who aren’t familiar with the application process.
Is it called a Czech Zivno visa or Czech Freelancer visa?
The long term visa is commonly referred to as a Czech freelancer visa or Zivno visa. Typically, before you apply for your long term visa, you apply for and receive your work permit. In Czech, this work permit is called a Zivnotensky list, hence the name “Zivno visa.” Both of these terms, freelance visa, and Zivno visa mean the same thing.
The official, legal name is a Czech long term business visa, and the purpose of stay is classified as “business.” This means that you are living in the Czech Republic to work on a freelance basis, and have a freelance work permit, which is also known as a Zivno.
The Zivno visa is very common for TEFL trainees and English teachers from the US and other countries. Having this type of visa means that you invoice your employers each month, and are not a full-time employee for one company.
How do I get my visa?
Your first visa application is arranged by the Czech embassy and the purpose of your stay is the Czech trade license.
The trade license, which you use to apply for your visa, doesn’t have the tax and commercial number, because it is completed in the following two steps:
1. Register for your Czech trade license for foreigners who don’t have a visa yet. Your trade license will be technically registered, but not activated until your Czech visa is approved. Zivno offices will register your trade license without a tax number, and you then have 180 days to get your visa. You cannot legally invoice others for your services before your trade license is activated — which happens after your visa is approved.
2. When your visa is approved and you collect your visa, you must provide a copy of your visa to the Czech Zivno office within three days. After that, your Zivno is activated and you can start working legally and invoicing your employers.
During this time you should register with social tax and financial tax authorities. If you are a US citizen, you should also register with the public health insurance office.
Bank statements and invoices cannot be considered as proof of income for zivno visa extension. You should also double-check if your clean income meets the requirements of proof of income for zivno visa renewal before using the tax method 60/40. The requirement of the proof of funds for visa renewal for 2022/2023 can be found here.
Renewing your visa and Zivno
The Zivnostensky list expires when your visa expires. So, it is important to extend both your visa and trade license before they expire. The first Zivno visa is valid for up to 12 months, after which it can be extended for another 24 months. When you apply for your visa extension, you don’t need to go back to a Czech embassy. Visa extensions are completed in the Czech Republic at the Ministry of the Interior.
To extend your visa beyond one year, you cannot use the same bank letter you submitted for the initial visa approval. You must meet the required income minimum to fulfil the Ministry's conditions.
To avoid any issues with your visa and residency status, be sure to extend your Zivno as well as your visa and residency. If you don’t extend your trade license after your visa extension is approved and collect your biometric card, then your visa would be cancelled, because you don’t have an active trade license.