The Czech Republic has become increasingly more popular with international students from all corners of the world.
This is mainly due to the large variety of study programmes in English offered by both state and private universities all over the country. While studying here, these students can often fall in love with the country and wish to remain here even after they graduate. Are you one of these soon-to-be graduates? Then this article is for you!
According to dzs.cz’s press release from March 2021, the total number of international students registered for studies at Czech universities grew by more than 8% in 2020. Right now, international students take up 17% of all of the 300 000 university and college students in Czechia.
Furthermore, based on these numbers, it can be assumed that more and more international students will want to remain in Czechia after they graduate.
If this is your case, you might want to inform yourself on what your options are after graduating from a Czech university. Under what conditions can you remain in Czechia? How to look for a job? How long do you have to look for one before you have to leave the country? Which residence permits can you apply for?
EU citizens: a trouble-free journey to residency
If you are an EU citizen, you don’t need to worry about a thing. After you finish your studies in Czechia, you can stay here and enjoy free access to the job market. That being said, even though you don’t need a residence permit to stay here, you should still consider getting one.
Obtaining a residence permit in Czechia is fairly easy for EU citizens. You can for example apply for a certificate of temporary residence. This kind of residence permit will guarantee you that if the borders ever close again due to the pandemic, you will be able to return to Czechia without any troubles.
A certificate of temporary residence will also help you get your permanent residence permit once you want to apply for one as it will serve as proof of your stay and smooth the way at the Ministry. You will also be given a what we call birth number, which will help you with applying for loans in banks, registering your car, etc.
All you need to apply for is the ID from your country. You’ll also need a photo and proof of health insurance (which you typically obtain from your employer) and proof of accommodation (which doesn’t need to be certified).
You can also apply for a permanent residence permit if you’ve been in Czechia continually for 5 years or longer. (Note that if one of your parents is a Czech citizen or an EU citizen with permanent residence in Czechia, this time can be cut down to 2 years.)
This type of residence is the most advantageous one (only one step below citizenship) and will guarantee you many perks. As a third-country citizen, keep in mind that the time you were a student in Czechia will be divided by 2 and therefore does not count into the 5 years of residence in full (does not apply to EU citizens).
Third-country citizens: still studying and wanting to work?
It’s good to know that as a third-country citizen studying in Czechia, you can still earn some extra cash. Those students in Czechia who are studying a daily form of an accredited programme at a Czech university have free access to the job market and can also apply for an employee card.
An employee card is basically a long-term residence permit tied to a specific job. It’s a plastic card with biometric features you can carry around in your wallet.
Of course, most programmes are so demanding that you don’t have the energy or capacity to work in addition to your studies. Worry not, though, because there’s a perfect option for you in this case. If you want to look for a job in Czechia once you’ve graduated, you can apply for a special permit that will allow you to remain in Czechia while you figure out what to do next.
You can apply for a long-term residence for the purposes of seeking employment or for the purposes of starting a business. Once you’ve been issued this residence permit, you have 9 months to find a job or start your business.
Once you’ve found a job or started a business, you can apply for example for an employee card or a long-term residence permit for the purposes of business. If you’ve already held a permit for the purposes of starting a business, you won’t have to meet the condition of prior five-year residence in Czechia to get this long-term residence permit.
Remember that you always need to have a valid residence permit (with a specific purpose) to seek a job here, even if you’ve graduated from an accredited Czech university.
What about a grace period?
It is highly recommended that you apply for these permits as soon as you graduate (i.e. pass your state exams/defend your thesis) and before your current residence permit expires (you need proof of obtaining your degree and valid residence permit to apply). In other words, once you’ve obtained confirmation of successful completion of your studies, apply right away. In theory, you cease to be a student as soon as you pass your state exams, so time is of the essence.
Careful about changing the purpose of your stay
Keep in mind that as soon as you graduate and you change the purpose of your residence (for example from studying to employment), you might have to undergo Adaptation-Integration Courses. This will not apply to you if you’ve changed the purpose of your residence before the year 2021.
Dating a Czech citizen?
If you’re dating a Czech citizen, you can apply for a temporary residence permit tied to your partner (also known as “partnership visa”). It’s only natural that many international students fall in love while residing in Czechia. Having a serious partner who is a Czech citizen can in this case become another way to remain here after you graduate. You can use your relationship to apply for a temporary residence permit tied to your Czech partner.
All you need to do (aside from providing the Ministry of the Interior with all the necessary documents) is to prove the strength of your partnership. This is a procedure that involves writing a short essay on the history of your relationship, obtaining letters of support from friends and family, and providing the Ministry with photos of the two of you as further evidence. You should also expect two visits from the Foreign Police, so make sure both your names are on the doorbell and the mailbox to prove that you live together. If you’re wondering about how exactly this process is carried out, you can read the story of Bára and Mohy, an international couple currently living in Prague.
If you’re a third-country citizen, this permit is issued for 5 years. It also grants you free access to the job market. You will also be able to get a birth number this way, if you hadn’t acquired one prior.
All in all, international students have good and mutually beneficial conditions for remaining in Czechia after they finish their studies.
Are you about to graduate and are planning to apply for a residence permit? Do you need help? Foreigners is a relocation agency (based in major Czech cities, including Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Pilsen, and Hradec Králové) that specialises in helping foreign citizens deal with Czech bureaucracy, including residence permits. Get in touch with them for a trouble-free journey towards Czech residency!