This article was written in cooperation with an expat who has just recently walked this path and shared the details of his journey with us. Thank you!
Czech citizenship eligibility
Are you semi-fluent in Czech, do you understand hantec, do you know who Jára Cimrman is? Are you familiar with types of Czech beer, and do you enjoy gardening and mushroom picking? If the answer is yes, then you meet the prerequisites for Czech citizenship.
Now, to the legal requirements.
In general, you must have a permanent residency and you must have lived here with that residency for the last 5 years at least. This usually means 10 years of continuous residence in the Czech Republic. However, there are exceptions, e.g. if you are a close family member of an EU citizen. You can read more about the conditions here.
A step-by-step manual
1] Get started by taking the B1 Czech language exam and the Czech Life and Institutions Exam. You can apply here. The database of test questions can be found here. A set of practice questions here. We recommend this textbook to prepare. We also recommend taking a private Czech for Foreigners tutor who will work with you directly. By the way, the certificate from passing this exam has unlimited validity; you can take it well in advance.
3] Have your birth certificate, marriage certificate, or divorce certificate (if you have any) officially translated into Czech. You can turn to one of our Expat friendly services/Language Services, or see the list of all official interpreters and contact them directly. All documents issued by the authorities of a foreign country must carry a higher certification (super legalisation, or apostille) – if you find your country on this list, it applies to you.
4] Apply for an Application for the certificate of residence on the territory of the Czech Republic (“Žádost o vydání potvrzení o pobytu na území České republiky”). The application costs 50 CZK in a revenue stamp (“kolek”). The application form can be found here. You can apply by post or by Data-Mailbox – addressed to your local office of the Ministry of Interior. If you apply by post, you put the revenue stamp in an envelope. If you apply by the Data-Mailbox, the MoI will ask you to pay the fee and send you the account number and variable symbol.
5] Get a copy of your criminal history record from the Czech Republic. You can do so easily through the Citizen’s Identity verification, or at any Czech Point. Please note that the certificate is only valid for 6 months. (If you haven’t lived in the CR for the full 10 years, you’ll need a copy of your criminal history record from the country of your previous stay.)
6] If you’re employed, make sure you have a valid work contract. If your contract was signed more than 3 months ago, ask HR to issue you with a current employment certificate (“potvrzení o zaměstnání”).
7] Get proof of your income for the last three years (from your bank).
8] Ask for a certificate of debt-free status from Customs (“Celní správa”). This can be done online here. You need to pay an online administration fee of 100 CZK. The certificate can’t be older than 30 days on the date of your application for the Czech citizenship.
9] Ask your insurance company for proof of no debt. For example, for VZP insurance company, you can apply for a certificate of no debt by post or email at email@example.com Or you can visit the insurance company in person and they should issue you a certificate on the spot. This certificate is free of charge.
10] Apply for yet another certificate of no debt online at the Tax Office (“Finanční správa”) online here. The certificate must not be older than 30 days at the time of your application for Czech Citizenship. Here‘s a manual for how to fill out the form, but please note that the instructions are for the old interface. You pay the fee of 100 CZK via bank transfer.
11] Ask the Municipal Social Security Administration (“Městská správa sociálního zabezpečení”) for yet another certificate of no debt. If you are an entrepreneur, this can be done online here. Otherwise, you must visit them in person. For foreigners living in Brno, the address is Veveří 979.
12] Write your CV in Czech in the form of an essay (not a structured one) in which you describe your education, work experience and your family and social life in the Czech Republic. Remember also to mention all the countries you have visited while you lived in the Czech Republic (and for how long you visited). This applies to both your holidays and business trips.
13] Write your citizenship application (“žádost o občanství”) in free form. There is no specific template for this. However, the application should have certain elements: a] in the header, write down your name and contact details as you would in any business letter, b] formally address the authority you’re applying to, c] and, in particular, write your reasons for applying. You should also state why you think you should be granted citizenship and how you have integrated into Czech society. Send this application to:
- Ministerstvo vnitra, Odbor všeobecné správy, Oddělení státního občanství a matrik, Nám. Hrdinů 3, 140 21 Praha 4
14] Check that you have paid all your taxes, including e.g. waste collection tax and dog fee. We recommend also checking that your doorbell, letterbox and front door are well marked with your surname.
15] Set up an appointment with your local Regional Office (“Krajský úřad”) – by a phone call. In Brno, this is Krajský úřad JMK. Bring all the documents we mentioned in steps n1-12 and pay 2000 CZK on the spot. You can pay by card.
16] Wait. And then wait some more. The Regional Office (“Krajský úřad”) will send the application for Czech citizenship within 30 days to the Ministry of the Interior in Prague. The Ministry should make a decision on your application within 180 days. However, in practice, this often takes a year or two.
Best of luck if you do decide to embark on this journey. You can contact our consultants if you need more help, or even better, go straight to the source of information and contact the Ministry of the Interior Department of General Administration Department of Citizenship and Registration.
If you want to read about another expat’s journey to Czech citizenship, there’s Anne Johnson’s experience (written in 2017).