What has not changed with the integration to Schengen
Even after the border checks at Czech borders with other Schengen states were abolished on 21 December 2007, a number of previous rules based on the Czech legislation are still in place. The most important of these include:
The state border continues to demarcate the sovereign territory of the Czech Republic where the public administration and local government is executed and where the Czech legislation applies.
Border crossing points stopped fulfilling their function, unless temporary state border protection is reintroduced, should that become a necessary measure to eliminate a security threat.
The responsibilities concerning state border demarcation have not changed. Every person crossing the state border should be clearly aware of this. Border marks and other installations signalling the course of the state border continue to serve its purpose.
In compliance with the applicable national legislation (in particular the State Border Act and the Administrative Offences Act), the obligations of natural persons and legal entities related to the state border remain in place.
Citizens and legal entities whose property directly touches the state border line still have to subject themselves to:
- the placement of border marks and installations signalling the course of the state border on their property;
- securing the entry of authorised persons conducting land surveys;
- securing the entry of authorised persons responsible for cleaning and maintaining the clear 1-m-wide strip of land along the state border line;
- the preservation of a clear 1-m-wide strip of land along the state border line (i.e. no structures however small or no fencing can be placed here);
- requesting opinions of the Ministry of the Interior on constructions and any construction, technical and other measures on the state border or in its immediate vicinity (50 m from the state border);
- observing the principle that the boundaries of properties determined by the Land Register data adjust to the course of the state border as marked in the border documentation (Land Register Act).
Other authorities and local government bodies still have the following obligations:
- as part of the preparation of development and contract intentions at the state border and its immediate vicinity, to request opinions of the Ministry of the Interior on relevant projects and preserve a 1-m-wide clear strip of land along the border line;
- not to endanger the state border demarcation or installations signalling its course by their projects; if necessary, these measures may be temporarily removed but the costs of their reinstallation shall be borne by the investor;
- as part of water right proceedings, to request the opinion of the Ministry of the Interior on the work carried out on the state border or the border water flows;
- in the case that construction plans at the state border (as well as the border water flows) reach beyond the state border, to request the opinion of the permanent border commissions; this opinion shall be obtained through the Ministry of the Interior;
- in the case of works related to search or mining for mineral resources in the immediate vicinity of the state border (50 m), to agree with the Ministry of the Interior on the measures necessary to safeguard the course of the state border and its demarcation.
Any breach of rules regarding the Czech state border administration continues to be classified as an administrative offence.
For the purpose of proving identity in the territory of another Schengen Member State, the obligation to carry a valid identity document (a passport in the case of third-country nationals) remains in place.
The obligation to hold or carry IDs and other documents may be further set out by the Member States' national legislation.
Cross-border movement in certain regions continues to be governed also by the Czech legislation, and certain rules have to be observed, such as those concerning:
- speed limitats or a driving ban on selected roads;
- movement in national parks and protected landscape areas;
- cross-border transport of animals (obligations concerning the international vaccination certificate, animal passport, etc.);
- the use and transport of firearms.
The accession to Schengen did not have a significant impact on the work of the Czech Customs Administration, which had undergone major changes in connection with the Czech Republic's joining the EU in May 2004 and the end of controls of goods at land state borders.
All provisions connected with the free movement of goods arising from the Czech membership in the EU and its internal market, have remained in force. These provisions concern e.g. the amounts of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages imported for personal use, VAT payments, the import of used cars etc.
The scope of work of customs officers at international airports has remained the same only for non-Schengen flights, i.e. flights from/to countries outside the Schengen area.
Schengen has had an effect on the work of the Customs Administration mainly by increasing the importance of its activities inland and closer cooperation with other Czech authorities. The Customs Administration focuses on more rigorous fulfilment of present tasks in the area of supervision and search; it shall improve cooperation with the Alien Police Service, in particular at international airports, and intensify the supervision of customs authorities both in the passenger and freight air transport. Furthermore, the Customs shall intensify their control and supervision over the export of weapons, chemicals, radioactive material, etc. and shall improve cooperation with the Customs Administrations of the neighbouring states, e.g. through joint contact centres.
After receiving their boarding pass, passengers still have to pass a security check before entering the inner area of the airport. Security provisions prohibiting transport of certain articles thus remain in force.
For flights to countries outside the Schengen area (e.g. at Prague Ruzyně Airport these are flights from the Terminal 1), the previous practice has remained in place regardless of date 21 December 2007 or 30 March 2008. Before boarding the plane, passengers have to go through the same procedure as applied earlier, i.e.:
- identity check and issuing a boarding pass;
- border check;
- security check;
- presenting the boarding pass and travel document before boarding the plane.
The border check distinguishes between persons enjoying the Community right of free movement and third-country nationals. For EU citizens, it means presenting a valid travel document and a boarding pass; other passengers might be requested to show other documents as well.
All EU rules related to the common internal market and the free movement of people, goods, services and capital have remained in place. Thus, when crossing the border, appropriate provisions must be observed.
From the practical point of view, these provisions concern e.g. the permitted amounts of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages transported for personal use. When travelling e.g. from Germany to France or from the Czech Republic to Poland, one person should not be transporting for his/her own use more than the following amounts:
- 800 cigarettes (until 21/12/2007, for cigarettes imported from the Czech Republic to Austria and Germany, the limit is 200 cigarettes)
- 400 cigarillos
- 200 cigars
- 1 kg tobacco
- 10 l spirits
- 20 l fortified wine (e.g. port or sherry)
- 90 l wine (including 60 l of sparkling wine at maximum)
- 110 l beer
Schengen has not had any impact on the common internal market provisions (and individual national regulations) concerning the tax payment, import/export of goods, common veterinary standards and other.
Although Norway and Iceland are not EU Member States, the above-mentioned provisions apply to them as well, owing to their membership in the European Economic Area (including also Liechtenstein, which is not in a Schengen Member State, however).
The Czech Republic issues national visas authorising their holders to enter into and stay in the territory of the Czech Republic for over 90 days. Conditions for issuing these visas are regulaled by Czech national legislation (Alien Act).
Since 5 April 2010, holders of long-stay visas (Category D) issued by the Czech Republic (or any other Schengen State) are allowed to travel to the other Schengen States for three months in any half year, under the same conditions as holders of a residence permit. This rule also applies to long-stay visas already issued efore 5 April 2010, including still valid D+C visas.
Since the same date, visa of Category D+C are no longer issued.
When considering the issuance of a long-stay visa, Schengen States consult the Schengen Information System (SIS) systematically.
Issuance of residence permits
On 21 December 2007, the Czech Republic did not stop issuing residence permits (long-term and permanent) valid for stay on the territory of the Czech Republic. The form of application for a Czech residence permit has not changed either. Conditions for issuing/extending/cancellation are still regulated by Czech national legislation, thus by the Act on Residence of Aliens in the territory of the Czech Republic, as amended.
An alert in the SIS issued by a Schengen Member State may constitute a reason for refusing an application for a residence permit or for extending a current permit, or even a reason for its revoking, in an extreme case.
Hholders of Czech residence permits can travel to other Schengen states. Czech residence permit and a valid passport authorize its holder to stay for up to 3 months in any half year on the territory of other Schengen states.
On 21 December 2007, the Czech Republic did not stop issuing residence permits (long-term and permanent) valid for stay on the territory of the Czech Republic. The form of application for a Czech residence permit has not changed either. Conditions for issuing/extending/cancellation remain to be regulated by Czech national legislation, thus by the Act on Residence of Aliens in the territory of the Czech Republic, as amended.
The access of Czech authorities to the Schengen Information System (SIS) has brought change though. An alert in the SIS issued by a Schengen Member State may constitute a reason for refusing an application for a residence permit or for extending a current permit, or even a reason for its revoking, in an extreme case.
Thanks to Schengen, holders of Czech residence permits can travel to other Schengen states since 21 December 2007. Third-country nationals who are subject to visa obligation can thus travel more freely as they no longer need any additional visas. Czech residence permit and a valid passport authorize its holder to stay for up to 3 months on the territory of other Schengen states.
In the case of third-country nationals, a work permit or a visa issued for the purpose of a gainful occupation remains to be the prerequisite for performing legal work in the Czech Republic (except for persons enjoying the Community right of free movement - i.e. family members of citizens of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland). Neither has the accession to Schengen facilitated the abolition of current restrictions regarding the access of Czech citizens to labour markets of some EU Member States.
The enlargement of the Schengen area has not terminated the duty to report one's presence in the territory of another EU Member State.
Detailed conditions, in particular with regards to time limits for reporting one´s presence, are regulated by national legislation of the Schengen states in question. In the case of the Czech Republic, the conditions are as follows:
As regards citizens of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (as well as their family members provided that they reside in the Czech Republic together with a citizen of the stated countries), the duty to report to the police presence or the place of intended stay in the Czech Republic applies only to stays expected to exceed 30 days - in such a case reporting is required within 30 days from the day of entering the territory of the Czech Republic. The duty to report one's place of stay does not apply if this duty has been fulfilled by the accommodation provider.
Third-country nationals are required, within 3 working days from the day of entering the territory of the Czech Republic, to report their presence or the place of intended stay. This duty shall not apply to foreigners who have fulfilled this duty at their accommodation provider. This applies also to family members who neither accompany nor join a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
Third-country nationals who are entitled to temporary residence in the territory of a Member State without a visa are required, within 30 days of the first day of their residence, to report to the police their place of stay in the territory if the expected period of stay in the territory exceeds 30 days.