If you want to obtain a second residence in Europe, the Czech Republic is a great all-rounder country to consider. It’s a safe and affordable low-tax EU country with a stable economy, rich culture, heady nightlife, and a high standard of living.
In this article, we discuss the process of obtaining a residence permit for non-EU citizens, the different types available, and which resident permit we believe is the best.
We also look at the benefits of permanent residence in the Czech Republic and how to apply for citizenship.
Want to start a business in Europe? Looking for an inviting place to raise your family? Or are you a person who loves to work hard and play hard?
Whatever your specific criteria, you will find something to love about the Czech Republic. And once you obtain long-term residence there, all of Europe is open to you.
Though generally considered an Eastern European country, the Czech Republic (also known as Czechia) is located in the very center of Europe, where it borders Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.
This central location provides easy access to other European financial capitals, making it the perfect country to set up a base of operations in Europe.
The fact that the Czech Republic also has one of the lowest tax rates in Europe, makes this prospect all the more attractive.
The capital of the Czech Republic is Prague. A popular tourist destination, Prague offers picturesque architecture, hearty food, high culture and vibrant nightlife. It also enjoys the distinction of being one of the best low-cost cities in Europe.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (Koruna or CZK) and Czech is the country’s official language. The Czech language is a Slavic language, similar to that of neighboring Poland and Slovakia. English is also widely spoken, particularly in larger tourist cities like Prague where the level of fluency is highest.
The country was formed on January 1st, 1993, with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, forming both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It has a population of 10.7 million.
The Czech Republic joined the EU on May 1st, 2004 along with its neighbors Slovakia and Poland. It also joined NATO in 1999.
The Czech Republic is a safe and stable European country with a robust economy. Although it is not yet a member of the Eurozone, it is currently in the process of adopting the Euro as its currency.
The Czech Republic is also a member of the Schengen Zone. Czech citizens enjoy visa-free travel to other European countries and throughout the Schengen Area.
Once you obtain permanent residence in the Czech Republic, you can travel freely throughout the European Union without a visa in the same way EU citizens do.
In addition to being the first step towards obtaining citizenship, gaining a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic also provides other lifestyle benefits.
There are many reasons to want to live in the Czech Republic. Many choose the country because of its low cost of living, which is far lower than many other European countries.
The Czech Republic also boasts a highly competitive tax rate and is a prosperous and secure business-friendly country overall.
For those looking to relocate with family, the Czech Republic offers clean, safe streets, excellent services and quality healthcare. There are also plenty of options for English-language schooling.
If, on the other hand, you are young and single, the Czech Republic has some of the liveliest nightspots in Europe, not to mention some excellent beers. The Czech Republic’s reputation as a beer connoisseur’s paradise is well-earned and foodies will find the local food equally delicious.
Those looking for an authentic taste of European culture will also find the Czech Republic captivating. This is a country steeped in history, with stunning architecture. There’s also an abundance of museums, galleries and cultural centers, such as Prague’s sprawling National Theater.
The country is home to many esteemed academic institutions, such as Charles University in Prague, one of the top-ranked universities in the world.
- Low cost of living and low taxes
- Clean and safe streets
- English widely spoken
- High standard of service & healthcare
- English schooling available
- Excellent nightlife and culture
- Language test required for permanent residence/citizenship
- Chilly winters – not ideal for snowbirds
There are many benefits to gaining a Czech Republic residence permit, the most obvious being a legal right to reside within the European Union.
Having a residence permit lets you travel throughout the Schengen area and other EU countries without a visa.
As a resident of the Czech Republic, you are quite literally at the center of Europe with most European cities two or three hours away at the most.
You also get to enjoy a high standard of living at a much lower cost than more western EU countries.
The Czech Republic is the perfect place for those looking to start a business within the EU. It enjoys a low tax rate, especially when compared to older EU member states like Germany or France.
The country boasts a skilled workforce, with a high level of English fluency and technical expertise, making it particularly attractive to foreign entrepreneurs.
- Central European location
- Free travel throughout the EU & Schengen zone.
- Low tax rate
- Path to EU citizenship
To become a Czech resident you need to obtain a residence permit. This can be arranged through the Czech embassy in your home country. This allows you to work and live in the Czech Republic.
You start the process with a temporary residence permit which is valid for six months. This can then be renewed again for a further two years.
After five years you can then apply for a permanent residence permit.
To obtain a long-term residence permit you must also provide biometric data. You will then be provided with a permanent residence permit. This is a special biometric card that can be used as proof of permanent residence within the EU.
There are currently three types of residence permit available, listed by difficulty below:
- Work permit
- Single entrepreneur residence permit
- Business Visa
All three residence permits allow you to obtain citizenship at a later date if you so choose.
The most straightforward way to get a residence permit in the Czech Republic is to apply for a work permit. This is granted to individuals who have received an offer of work from a Czech employer and meet specific criteria.
While this process is potentially the fastest and least complex way to gain a residence permit it is likely the one most unsuited to your needs. This is why we recommend our clients establish a business presence in the Czech Republic instead.
Single entrepreneur residence permits are the easiest way to gain a business residence permit in the Czech Republic.
Aimed at freelancers and skilled workers, they are particularly well suited for those in the tech sector such as IT consultants, software developers, or digital marketing professionals.
To obtain a single entrepreneur residence permit you need to open a company and demonstrate that you are actively engaged in business with other Czech companies, either on a full-time or part-time basis.
The drawbacks of a single entrepreneur residence permit are evident. As its name suggests you are a self-employed individual, with all the limitations and liabilities that sole trader status implies.
A Czech Business Visa is the third type of residence permit. This visa is granted to those who open a company in the Czech Republic to conduct business there.
Much like the single entrepreneur residence permit, you need to prove your connection to the country through business ties, though the process in this case has more steps. (We will cover this process in more detail in a moment.)
While the process takes longer, this type of residence permit status is the most advantageous in the long term. It provides greater protection and offers more flexibility in terms of banking, asset management and tax structure.
While all three residence permits can potentially lead to citizenship, a Business Visa residence permit offers the greatest level of security for wealthy individuals looking to relocate to Europe.
If your goal is to ultimately become an EU citizen, obtaining a permanent residence permit by establishing a business in the Czech Republic is the path we recommend.
The Czech Republic does not offer any residence by investment or citizenship by investment programs.
So if you are specifically looking to obtain citizenship by investment in the EU then go check out our article on European golden visa programs. (While you still can, they’re closing at an alarming rate that’s why we’re urging clients to get in touch with us today.)
What the Czech Republic does offer, however, is the ability to gain residence by opening a business. This, in turn, can provide a path to citizenship for yourself and for other family members later on.
Plus, if you or any of your family members have Czech ancestry, the process can be easier as the Czech Republic also offers citizenship by descent.
Applying for a Czech Business Visa is a straightforward process though there are several steps involved.
The first step in the process is to prepare all the documents required for company formation, which must include your new company name.
If you opt to purchase an Action Plan from us we can advise you on all the documentation you need and can then assist you with preparing, compiling and filing them to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
We can also assist with opening bank accounts in the Czech Republic and registering your new company with the Czech Commercial Register.
You will need to visit your local Czech embassy in person to show them your business plan.
Everything else, however, we can arrange on your behalf, working seamlessly in the background to streamline the whole process of obtaining your residence permit.
Your first Business Visa is a temporary resident permit and is valid for six months. After this time you can renew it for a further two years.
As a central European country, the Czech Republic doesn’t suffer from the same layers of bureaucracy as some of its southern European counterparts, though it’s still recommended that you seek advice to make sure your business registration process is as swift and efficient as possible.
Though English is widely spoken, it should not be taken as a given that everyone you encounter within the system will be fluent.
At Nomad Capitalist we can advise you on a wide range of matters from setting up a business, to banking, tax planning and buying property. We can help you to gain a better understanding of Czech laws and, of course, we’re here to help you obtain a permanent residence permit as a path to eventual EU citizenship.
It is important to understand that your residence permit status does not necessarily reflect your tax residence within the country.
As with a large majority of countries, the Czech Republic uses the 183-day rule for tax residence.
You become a tax resident of the Czech Republic once you have had 183 days of continuous residence there. And that means you will be considered a tax resident before you have officially obtained long-term residence.
If you have established a company in the Czech Republic you will also need to apply to file an annual corporate income tax return in the year following the company’s formation.
After fifteen months of residence, your spouse and children can also apply for family reunification.
Family reunification is an internationally-recognized legal term used in immigration.
Through family reunification, family members have a legal right to reunite in another country once one family member has obtained residence there.
Before applying for permanent residence, you must first hold a temporary residence permit.
The residence permit we advise our clients to apply for is a Business Visa as it offers the most flexibility.
Your first Business Visa is a temporary residence permit and is valid for six months.
After six months you can then apply for a second Business Visa. This is a more long-term residence permit and will be valid for two years.
After two years you can apply for a second Business Visa, which is valid for four years.
You can then renew it again for a further four years, though you will also need to demonstrate that your company is still active within the Czech Republic and generating turnover.
Once you have held a residence permit for five years you can apply for permanent residence.
Getting a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic also automatically means you are considered a resident of the EU.
Following family reunification, your family can follow the same process to apply for permanent residence.
Obtaining a long-term residence permit is also a major step towards citizenship, which you can then apply for after you have held a residence permit for ten years.
If this is your eventual goal you should use this time to gain proficiency in the Czech language as this is also a requirement of permanent residence.
We consider the Czech Business Visa to be the best type of residence permit for wealthy individuals as it affords you the greatest degree of control over your own affairs.
A Czech Work Permit places your residency at the mercy of an employer while a Single Entrepreneur Residence Permit means you do not have the same protections as you do with a corporate structure.
By having a corporate structure in place you gain a much higher degree of security plus more latitude when it comes to tax planning and asset management.
To obtain a Business Visa you need to first open a company in the Czech Republic.
This provides you with the opportunity to operate a business within the European Union while enjoying a more advantageous tax rate compared to a lot of other EU countries.
Establishing a Czech company is a fairly straightforward process and is the method we recommend for obtaining a permanent residence permit.
Once you have obtained permanent residence status you can also apply for citizenship.
While there are more steps involved in obtaining a Czech Business Visa compared to other types of residence permits, the Business Visa provides the most flexibility not to mention greater security for you and your family.
Every EU country has its specific pros and cons. This is why it’s so important to explore options.
At Nomad Capitalist we believe in using a holistic approach to create a solution that’s custom-tailored to your individual needs.
It’s not about just finding a new place to live. We want to make you feel a rush of excitement, like a kid on Christmas morning, when your plane lands.
Imagine yourself stepping through the automatic doors to begin your new life as the sights, sounds and sensations wash over you. Pausing for a moment to let it all sink, filling your lungs with fresh air and for the first time in your life your heart says, “I’m home!”
Sounds like an impossible dream? Not for us. For us, it’s just another day at the office.
We’ve already helped over a thousand clients just like you begin their dream life overseas and our team is standing by to help you achieve the same goal.
We’ll work closely with you to help you find that perfect destination that ticks all the right boxes, while sorting out all the messy paperwork to make sure you and your loved ones are settled in comfortably after the big move.
Life is short. You can waste more precious moments daydreaming about what could be, or you can take the plunge and enquire about a European Action Plan today.
The actual process of applying for a residence permit should only take a few weeks though this assumes you have professional assistance.
The logistics of obtaining a residence permit remotely without any assistance can be quite daunting and may result in miscommunication and unnecessary delays.
But if you purchase a plan from us we can streamline the process meaning you’ll get your temporary residence permit card quickly (usually in under 20 days). You will still need to visit the Czech embassy in your home country in person, but everything else we can handle ourselves.
Purchasing a plan means you also get the benefit of ongoing assistance from our partners on the ground– professionals who speak the Czech language and are familiar with Czech laws working on your behalf throughout the entire process.
Your initial residence permit is valid for six months. After those six months, you can then apply for long-term residence.
A long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic allows you to stay for an extended period in the country, ranging from two to four years.
To get a long-term residence permit you must first obtain a temporary residence permit, which is valid for six months.
After those six months, you can then apply for a long-term residence permit, which is valid for two years. This can then be renewed for a further four years.
Residence permit Timescale
Temporary residence permit- valid for 6 months
First long-term residence permit – valid for 2 years
Second long-term residence permit – valid for 4 years
To apply for permanent residence in the Czech Republic you need to first have lived in the country for five years.
Your long-term residence permit must reflect this and show that you have not been resident in any other country during those five years.
You will also need to provide a photograph to be used on the document, a travel document as proof of ID (such as a passport) plus proof of funds (monthly income), and proof of accommodation.
These last two requirements are to ensure that foreigners living in the country are self-sufficient, have a regular income and do not become a burden on the state.
Quite understandably, the Czechs want to make sure that foreigners living in their country aren’t coming there just to freeload. They also want to make sure foreigners have a basic command of the Czech language. That’s why the final requirement for permanent residence is a completed Czech language exam certificate.
After ten years of legal residence in the Czech Republic, you can apply to obtain Czech Citizenship.
You need to prove you have been residing in the Czech Republic for at least 183 days of the year for each of those years.
Czech citizenship requires that you have passed the language exam (see the previous FAQ on permanent citizenship above) to show you have a basic knowledge of the Czech language.
There is also a citizenship exam, which includes questions on the history, politics and culture of the Czech Republic.
As with the permanent residence process, you need to demonstrate that you have accommodation in the country, that you have sufficient funds to live there and you will also need to show that you have a clean criminal record. The authorities will then check if you have a criminal record in any country where you have lived in from the age of 15.
Once you become a Czech citizen you are then, by definition, also an EU Citizen, with all the rights and travel privileges that entails.
If you have Czech ancestry you can also acquire Czech citizenship by descent.
Both countries of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have citizenship by descent programs. So if you or your partner can prove family ties to the former Czechoslovakia this could potentially make the process much easier.
We understand this requirement might sound intimidating at first but it does provide a strong incentive to better immerse yourself in the local culture.
If you are over the age of 60 you are exempt from the test, as are children under the age of 15, though we would still urge you to at least learn the basics.
At Nomad Capitalist we believe that everyone should learn a second (or even third or fourth) language. It’s the perfect way to give your brain a proper workout and you’re never too old to learn.
Learning a new language opens your mind while expanding your network and, by going to classes, you get to make some new friends along the way. It also gives you an obvious business advantage.
So that was the pep talk.
Of course, we also know that while some of you may be agreeing with all this in theory, deep down you know you’re too busy with other matters to find the time to learn.
So if the language requirement truly is a deal breaker for you then you’re better off looking at European Golden Visa countries like Spain, Bulgaria, or Greece. All three countries are highly affordable and their citizenship by investment programs have no language requirements.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for an English-speaking country with a lively night scene and a can-do attitude, then Ireland might be for you. Like the Czech Republic, it offers a competitive tax rate, though the cost of living there is much higher.