You’ll find plenty of international moving companies that can help smooth your transition to Prague. In fact, many of these companies work specifically with expat families and even offer culture orientation seminars for the whole family. Search for moving companies on Prague’s biggest expat portal, www.expats.cz. When deciding what to bring, bear in mind that electronics and clothing are generally more expensive in the Czech Republic.
Visas and documents
Obtaining visas for your entire family will take time, so you need to start this process as early as possible. Visa requirements differ depending on your country of origin and the length and purpose of your stay. You must contact the closest Czech consulate or embassy in your country for up-to-
date information. However, your employer may also provide you with assistance in the visa process. The main difference in visa requirements is between EU and non-EU citizens: non-EU citizens require long-term visas for a period of stay longer than three months.
EU citizens do not require a long-term visa to visit or stay in the Czech Republic over 90 days. EU citizens can find information on residency requirements here: http://magistrat.praha-mesto.cz/75523_Information-about-Residency-for-Citizens-of-the-European-Union-and-Their-Family-Members-in-the-Czech-Republic%29
As the Czech Republic is now part of the Schengen Area (which includes most EU nations as well as Switzerland, though not the UK or Ireland), non-EU citizens without a long-term visa can only stay within the Czech Republic for up to 90 days within a 6-month period. After that, they must leave not only the Czech Republic but the entire Schengen Area for another 90 days before being allowed to return.
The documents submitted for a long-term visa depend on the very important “Reason for long-term stay in the Czech Republic”. Is it for a job or self-employment? Then you need a work permit or trade licence
first. Is it to study? Then you need a university admissions letter. Is it for family reunification? Then you need a marriage certificate. Detailed visa information, in English, can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic website: www.mzv.cz/jnp/en/information_for_aliens/frequently_asked_questions/index.html
If you know at least 4-6 months in advance that you’ll be staying long-term in Prague, you can apply for your family’s visas at the Czech embassy in your home country (recommended). Otherwise, once you arrive in the Czech Republic you can make an appointment and submit your translated, notarised documents to the nearest Czech embassy or consulate outside the country (Dresden, Bratislava – highly recommended for very friendly service – or Vienna), and then wait for approximately 2 to 4 months.
Once your visa is ready, you must bring proof of medical insurance (valid for the length of your visa) with you when you pick it up. You can find detailed information on insurance requirements and the list of approved insurance companies here: www.mzv.cz/jnp/en/information_for_aliens/general_visa_information/travel_medical_insurance.html
Check the following websites for updated procedures and regulations:
• British citizens: http://ukinczechrepublic.fco.gov.uk/en
• American citizens: http://prague.usembassy.gov
• Canadian citizens: www.canadainternational.gc.ca/czech-tcheque/index.aspx
If you’re moving to Prague as a family, you must be prepared to provide your child’s previous school records and birth certificate. Contact your child’s current and previous schools as soon as possible to get the process moving. Even if you’re not going to enrol them in school, bringing at least a copy of each family member’s birth certificates and medical records and prescriptions is a good idea. Here is a list of documents to bring for a longterm stay in Prague:
• Passport (plus several copies of first page of passport) and visa
• Extra passport-size photos (however, Czech documents will require smaller, Czech-size passport photos which can be taken at any photo shop in Prague)
• Children’s birth certificates (copy for adults)
• Marriage certificate
• Children’s school records
• Diploma and CV (for applying for work permit)
• Driving licence (to apply for international driving licence)
• Inventory of everything shipped
• Medical records, prescriptions