The English punk rock band The Clash have been asking this question since 1982. Being a UK citizen living abroad, quite possibly you have been wondering the same in the past two-odd years.
The answer is: definitely stay! Or at least visit.
All UK citizens are very welcome in the Czech Republic. Although the rules-naturally-changed and the local red tape might be a bit heavier, trust us, there is a method to this post-Brexit madness: see the official Brexit map available on the website of the Czech Ministry of Interior.
A] Stay for a while
If you would like to visit the Czech Republic for a shorter period of time as a tourist, feel free. UK citizens can travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
However, during the pandemic, you should keep an eye on the restrictions concerning entry to the Czech Republic.
B] Stay for more than 3 months, even forever, if you like
1] You’re moving here for the first time
If you enter the Czech Republic after 1 Jan 2021 without a previous stay in the territory and want to stay for more than 90 days, you now have to apply for a long-term visa or a long-term residence permit for a specific purpose (ie. work, family reunification, study…) as any other nonEU citizen.
Please note that applying for your first visa/residence is not possible from the Czech Republic. The good news, however, is that UK citizens can apply at any Czech embassy abroad (the nearest to Brno are in Bratislava or Vienna).
2] You’ve been living here before 2021
If you lived in the Czech Republic before 1 Jan 2021 but have not yet applied for a temporary residence certificate or a permanent residency permit (after five years of stay), you still have a chance to do so. You will be asked to prove your previous legal stay in the country before 31 December 2020 (e.g. by your rent and/or work contracts).
Currently, there is no clear deadline marking until when it is possible to apply for confirmation of one’s residence retroactively. But we recommend you apply at the local Ministry of Interior office as soon as possible. Also, be prepared to wait longer, a couple of months, for the decision of the authorities.
3] You already have a residence permit of some kind
If you already have a temporary residence certificate or a permanent residency permit, fantastic!
For the time being, you are done. Eventually, however, you will be required to apply for a new biometric card. As the starting date for issuing new biometric cards has not been specified yet, keep an eye on the website of the Ministry. Don’t forget that after 5 years of having a permanent residence permit, you can apply for Czech citizenship and thus become an EU citizen.
In many ways, your life here will stay almost the same
Of course, living abroad is not only about your residency status in the Czech Republic.
There are many more areas that one needs to be fully aware of: such as healthcare, employment or pensions and benefits. In order to get precise and fully up-to-date information concerning all major life situations, keep checking the official Gov.uk website Living in the Czech Republic.
Or ask – we are here for all foreign professionals and we want you to stay.
The article was written by: Veronika Kiruščanka, Lucia Konôpková