Trade / Long-term D-Visa (Business Visa)

Business Visa for 3rd-Country Nationals

If you are not an EU-citizen with a 'Schengen passport' you will have to apply for a Business Visa if you want to have a trade license business in Czech Republic unless you have a permanent residence permit, or a (temporary) residence permit based on marriage / relationship / partnership or a visa for employment / student purposes (provided that the job / studying will still remain the main purpose of stay).

It is not possible to apply for the Visa inside Czech Republic. You will have to apply at the embassy in the country of origin unless you are US citizens or certain other national that is entitled to apply at an embassy outside their home country.

The landlord must give a written permission to register a Visa on the address. The rental contract alone is enough, so also use this template with a notarized signature of the landlord: Doklad o zajisteni ubytovani.pdf

No need for a work permit

With a Business Visa you do not need a Work Permit. A Work Permit you only need if you have a Work Visa (for a job as employee). A freelancer with a trade license is not an employee.

Applying for a permanent Residence Permit

It is not possible to get a permanent Residence Permit right away. One must have a valid visa or residence permit for a total of 5 years in order to apply for the permanent Residence Permit, not sooner.

3rd-Country National without D-Visa or residence permit:

You must apply for the Business Visa with as 'purpose of stay' the trade license (živnostenský list). Since you are still outside the Schengen-zone you should apply for a combined C+D Visa (unless you have visa-free entry), which allows you to travel the first 90 days in the Schengen-zone, using your short-term C-Visa, and after the 90 days you are allowed to stay up to 12 months on your long-term D-Visa. (It used to be 12 months, then it was a few years 6 months, now it is back to 12 months)

Requirements for a D-Visa for Business purposes

  • extract of the criminal record + apostille stamp / super legalized from your home country, not older than 90 days *,
  • proof of at least 124.500 CZK for living expenses for the duration of your stay (bank statements),
  • Proof of Residence in Czech Republic; rental contract + owner's permission (we have a template),
  • Health Insurance by a Czech insurance company,
  • Proof from the živnostenský úřad that you are entitled to get a trade license (we provide it)

Note I: US citizens can use an afidavit from the US embassy or a sworn statement instead of a US criminal extract (nowadays, actually 2: state and federal) for the trade license registration, other nationalities can not.

For many people, especially the 124.500 CZK is a problem, but if you are not able to show that you have enough money for living expenses in Czech Republic or do not have proof of residence (or a fake proof) your Visa application will be rejected.

Business Visa details as described on the website of the Ministry of Interior (external link)

Addresses and Telephone numbers of Foreign Embassies

For contact information of foreign embassies click here: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (external link)

3rd-Country National with Visa-Free Entry:

Some people, come here on a Tourist Visa or have a Visa-Free Entry (American citizens and a few others), and want to change this Visa into a Business Visa. There are six issues with this:
  • A 'Visa-Free Entry' is not a visa, so it is not possible to extend or 'upgrade' to a Business D-Visa in Czech Republic, you need to apply for a Business Visa from scratch outside Czech Republic,
  • it is not possible to change the purpose of stay from 'tourist' into 'business', you need to apply again for a Business Visa from scratch,
  • it is not possible to apply for a temporary C or Bridge Visa while waiting for the longterm Business Visa. Only when extending a (Business) Visa a bridge Visa can be applied for if the old Visa expires before the Extension is ready.
  • The D-Visa application has to be made outside Czech Republic. You will have to apply the embassy in the country of origin (except for US citizens and a few other nationalities who can travel to Bratislava, Berlin, Vienna or another embassy outside their home country).
  • Processing the Visa application will take up to 3 months, so it can happen your tourist stay / visa free entry will end before your Business Visa is ready, and in that case you are staying illegally in the Schengen-zone. Some stay in a country outside the Schengen zone (UK, Croatia etc), to stop the 'Schengen-clock' while waiting for the visa.
  • Staying longer in Czech Republic than the the tourist visa / or the visa free entry-while waiting for the D-Visa- is officially not allowed, you may risk getting a Business Visa refusal because of this.
Having said the above, and especially this is valid for US Citizens, as long as the Business Visa is applied for while the visa-free entry is still valid, but the visa-free entry expires while waiting for the Business Visa, hardly ever there is a problem, and the Business Visa is granted (despite this officially being impossible).

3rd-Country National with D-Visa, changing purpose of stay:

If you have already a D-Visa for employment or student purposes, then it is possible to change the purpose of stay into 'Business', provided that:
  • you have had a visa for at least 5 (FIVE!) years,
  • and there is at least 60 days left on the original visa on the moment of filing the extension,
  • and you comply to all the requirements of the Business Visa.
For this, it is not necessary to go abroad. This can be done at the Ministry of Interior in Prague. Do not wait for the last moment and start well in time. A couple of hickups, and your old Visa expires, meaning that you cannot extend it anymore and you will have to apply from scratch for a Business Visa at an embassy abroad (including 3-4 months of waiting for approval)

NOTE that is is not necessary to change the purpose of stay to business in order to apply for a Trade License. You can be employed or be student and have a Trade License at the same time.

IMPORTANT - 2 Critical steps after receiving the Visa at the Embassy:

After receiving at the Embassy the visa sticker in your passport, you can enter Czech Republic. You have to report within 3 days after arrival to the Foreign Police in order to get a red stamp with your residence address in your passport.

After getting the red stamp, you have to report within 3 days to the trade license office, and show your passport with this stamp. If you come later or not at all, the tradelicense will automatically be de-registered and you will have to start the process for the tradelicense all over again (!)

Therefore, we recommend to come to us the same day the police stamped your passport, and we will take care of the trade license office. Once you are reported at the tradelicense office, it will issue a tradelicense with ICO number (so you can start to invoice) and we can continue registrations at the tax office and social office on your behalf (see next page).

IMPORTANT (updated jan 2021): the Trade License needs to be valid when you renew your visa

3rd-Country Nationals that have a Visa or Residence Permit need to have a valid Trade License registration every time in order to renew the Visa / Residence Permit. If the Trade License is not valid at time of Visa / Residence Permit renewal (renewing can normally only be done *while* your old Visa / Residence Permit is still valid), you can start from scratch again - so do not let it expire!

Previously, it was a requirement to pick up a paper from the Trade License Register, and *then* you could go to the embassy. Then, there was a period that the Trade License Register would send that paper to your home address, but they stopped doing that because appparently, the embassy does not need it anymore for regular renewals. Now it is *only* possible to pick up that paper in the very last days of the validity of your Trade License if you do not manage to file for a Visa / Residence Permit renewal in time. That paper will keep the trade license 90 more days 'alive' so you can get your renewed Visa / Residence permit. If it takes more than 90 days: the Trade License expires irrovakably, and you will have to start from scratch again.

Also: if you do not present your renewed Visa / Residence Permit within 3 days after validation at the Foreign Police at the Trade License Register then *also* the Trade License gets revoked.

The Business Visa Extension is a long, complicated process that requires more and different documents than the original Business Visa application. Hire someone to do this for you, because it is absolutely incomprehensible, frustrating and mindboggling, especially if you do not speak Czech.

We advise to start the visa entension and trade license renewal process at least 2 months before the expiration date of the visa / residence permit because it is quite complicated, and a lot of papers from the authorities are required. An application for visa- or residence permit renewal can be filed earliest 3 months and latest 14 days before expiration of the old visa / residence permit, so contact us in time! 

Requests from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Far-East, Asia, Africa, South-America etc.

Unfortunately the Ministry of Interior has become very strict for 3rd-country nationals from a non-western country. In practise, getting a Business Visa on basis of a Trade License can be quite challenging.

Getting a Business Visa on basis of an s.r.o. company has only a marginally higher success rate, contrary to popular belief.

As with all visa applications, a good preparation, providing all requested documents and a good explanation of why you want / need to start a business in CZ (ideally with a letter of intent stating a cooperation with a CZ client / business) will increase your chances. However, the decision is to the embassy personnel and ultimately the foreign police. As a visa application depends on the person, no two cases are the same.

For more information on applying for and extending of Visas for Czech Republic
we recommend booking a consultation, by ZOOM / Skype / Whatsapp / Phone or by email.