Current Travel Information for the Schengen Area
Schengen Categories for Third-Country Nationals
Rules governing travel through the Schengen states are nearly equivalent to rules governing travel through EU states. The main difference concerns the abolition of border checks when crossing internal Schengen borders. As not all EU Member States are members of the Schengen area, you still have to count on border checks when travelling to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
When travelling, you should always be able to prove your identity - by showing a valid ID card or a passport. The obligation to prove one´s identity also includes children. Children below the age of 10 (e.g. 9 or younger) may be registered on the Czech passport of their parent. Older children, or children travelling without their parents should have their own ID card (older than 15) or a passport.
There are greater conditions for entry and stay in the Schengen area for foreign nationals (third-country nationals) when travelling in the Schengen area and the EU. Foreign nationals are also subject to SIS checks at their port of entry to enter the Schengen area, regardless of nationality.
Schengen rules governing entry and stay distinguish between two categories of third-country nationals: family members of persons enjoying the Community right of free movement and other third-country nationals.
Family members of persons enjoying the Community right of free movement
If you meet the conditions of a family member of a citizen of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, you have the Community right of free movement and benefit from Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.
For nationals of third countries subject to the visa obligation:
If you come from a country that is subject to visa obligation, you may be required to have an entry visa. The Czech Republic, as well as any other Member State, shall grant you every facility to obtain the necessary visas. Such visas shall be issued free of charge as soon as possible because of an accelerated procedure.
If you possess a valid residence card issued by the Czech Republic or any other Member State, you are exempted from the visa requirement in all Member States.
For nationals of third countries NOT subject to the visa obligation:
You do not need any visa to enter the Czech Republic or any other Member State. If you accompany or join your family members, you can reside in the Member States for up to three months just with your passport.
Other Third-country Nationals
For visits not exceeding three months within a six-month period, third-country nationals are required to fulfill the following basic conditions:
- possess a valid passport or a travel document;
- possess a valid Schengen visa (if they come from countries subject to visa requirement) or a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State;
- have sufficient means of subsistence for the intended stay;
- are neither listed for refusal of entry nor considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or international relations.
Third-country nationals exempt from a visa requirement:
Third-country nationals who are not subject to the short-term visa requirement can enter and visa-free stay in the territory of the Czech Republic (or any other Schengen States) for tourist purposes for up to 3 months during any six months following the date of their first entry into the Schengen territory.
The number of days spent in the Czech Republic is counted with days spent in other states of the enlarged Schengen area. If these nationals stay on the Schengen territory for 90 days of their permitted short-term visa-free stay, they have to leave the Schengen territory for the remaining part of the half-year period or become holders of national long-stay visa or residence permit. They need a visa also in case they want to work during their stay in a Schengen state.
For stay in the Czech Republic, exceeding three months within a six-month period, either a (long-term or permanent) residence card or a Czech national visa (long-stay visa - Category D) is required.
Holders of Czech long-stay visa (Category D) may spend up to 3 months in any half-year on the territories of other Schengen states. Length of stay spent on the Czech territory is not counted when calculating the length of stay spent on the Schengen territory according to the Schengen clause (3 months in any half-year following the first day of entry into the Schengen territory). In addition, holders of Czech long-stay visa may travel in other Schengen states for up to 3 months following the date when their long-stay visa or residence permit expires. This possibility of travelling within Schengen for visa D holders is provided by the new interpretation of Schengen rules presented by the European Commission in April 2008; however, it should be checked in practice.
For tourist purposes, nationals of some third countries may stay visa-free in the territory of the Czech Republic even after spending 3 months (within any 6-month period following the first day of entry) in the Schengen area (stay on the Czech territory is counted). This possibility concerns nationals of countries with which the Czech Republic concluded a visa-free agreement prior to its integration into the Schengen area and the agreement specifies the length of visa-free stay in relation to the Czech Republic. Similar to other visa-free third-country nationals, they can stay in the entire Schengen territory for up to 3 months within any 6 months. In addition, they can spend more days on the Czech territory based on the respective bilateral agreement.
Length of permitted visa-free stay on the territory of the Czech Republic may differ depending on the provision of the particular agreement which may be divided into the following groups:
3 months in the Czech Republic
Argentina (90 days), Chile (90 days), Croatia (90 days), Israel (90 days), Korea (90 days), Costa Rica (90 days), Malaysia and Uruguay (90 days)
Example: Nationals of Argentina may stay on the Czech territory for 3 months. The agreement does not contain any time limit (e.g. 6 months) within which the length of individual stays counts. Argentinean national can thus stay on the Czech territory e.g. for 2 months, leave Czech Republic for e.g. 1 months and after returning back stay another 3 months. In total, he/she spends on the Czech Republic - and thus on the Schengen territory - 5 months within 6 months. During the first 3 months of his stay in Schengen (including the stay in the Czech Republic), he may travel to other Schengen states, after that he can only stay on the Czech Republic. Standard time limit of 3 months within 6 visa-free months apply for stay on the territories of other Schengen states.
3 months within 6 months in the Czech Republic
After a continuous stay on the Schengen territory for 3 months (outside the Czech Republic), Brazilian nationals may travel to the Czech Republic and stay on its territory for 3 more months. In case they will want to travel outside the Czech Republic (respectively the Schengen area) and have "consumed" already 3 months spent in other Schengen states, they have to leave the Czech Republic while using a direct flight. In addition, they may return to the Czech Republic with a direct flight (provided that the length of their stay in the Czech Republic has not already exceeded 3 months within 6 months from the first day of entry in to the Czech Republic).
3 months within 6 months in the Schengen area
Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay
Length of stay in the Czech Republic, respectively in the Schengen area is the same as for third-country nationals not subject to the visa requirement with which the Czech Republic has not concluded bilateral agreements on visa-free relations. There are no benefits in terms of length of stay on the Czech territory.
Singapore - 30 days (concurrently validity of 3 months in line with the Regulation No. 539/2001) - it should be possible to combine 3 months in the Schengen area + 30 days in the Czech Republic.
Third-country nationals subject to a visa requirement
If the length of your intended stay on the Schengen territory does not exceed three months within a six-month period, you have to be in possession of a valid Schengen visa or a residence permit issued by a Schengen Member State.
You can apply for a uniform Schengen visa (airport transit visa or a visa for up to 90 days) at the Czech diplomatic missions that will authorize you to enter and stay in the territory of the Czech Republic as well as in the entire Schengen area.
If you are granted a short-stay uniform Schengen visa, you will be able to arrive in the Czech Republic, stay and travel freely in the Schengen area for up to 3 months during any six months following the date of your first entry to Schengen (the exact number of stay is indicated on the visa sticker).
Diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic may issue you a uniform Schengen visa if you meet the following conditions:
- no alert has been issued in the SIS for you;
- you are not considered to be a threat to public policy or national security;
- the Czech Republic is the main or the sole destination of your journey or in the case of transiting through the Schengen area, it is the first country you enter during your travel in the Schengen area (and the length of intended stay on the Czech territory is equal to the length of stay in other Schengen states you are going to visit);
- your travel document entitles you to enter all Schengen Member States;
- you have presented all documents necessary for the requested type of a visa.
Exceptionally, the Czech Republic may issue a visa even if some of these conditions are not satisfied. In these exceptional cases, the Czech Republic however does not issue a uniform Schengen visa entitling to travel around the Schengen area, but a visa with a validity limited to the territory of the Czech Republic only (so called LTV visa); the Czech Republic informs other Schengen states of its issuing. The territorially limited visa entitles to enter into and stay only on the Czech territory; neither travelling nor transiting through other Schengen states is possible.
For stays exceeding three months within a six-month period, either a residence card or a national long-stay visa is required for legal stay on the Schengen territory. National long-stay visas are valid only for the stay on the territory of the issuing State. Nevertheless, such visas (issued by a Schengen Member State - so called Category D visas) allow the holders to move freely for up to three months in any six-month period within the territories of the other Schengen Member State, provided they fulfil the entry conditions and are not on the national list of alerts of the Member State concerned.
If you possess a valid residence permit issued by another Schengen Member State, you are entitled by virtue of this document and a valid travel document to enter the Czech Republic and stay in its territory just like in the territory of any other Schengen state, i.e. for up to three months in any six-month period.
For more up-to-date information about the entry and stay of foreign nationals in the Czech Republic, see the web pages of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.