What is an Employee Card and what are the benefits of having one?
An employee card enables foreigners from countries outside the European Union (so-called third countries) to acquire and take advantage of long-term residence for the purpose of employment. It therefore directly connects TWO important needs of foreigners who want to work in the Czech Republic, namely long-term residence, i.e. longer than three months, and a work permit. A work permit mediated by an employee card is valid for all types of work, without exceptions.
The employee card therefore allows you to:
- legally reside in the territory of the Czech Republic for a period longer than three months;
- work in the job position for which the employee card was issued;
- work in another position or with another employer with the consent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What is the maximum length of time an Employee Card can be issued for?
An employee card is issued by default for the period of work with the employer, and for a maximum of two years. The validity of the employee card can be renewed. The standard processing time for issuing an employee card is 60 days, which can be extended by another 30 days in complex cases.
Where can I apply for an Employee Card? Is it possible to do it directly in the Czech Republic?
To acquire an employee card, you must apply through the embassy of the Czech Republic in the state of which you are a citizen. Exceptions to this rule exist for citizens of, for example, Australia, Canada, Brazil and Serbia. Citizens from these countries can apply for an employee card at ANY embassy of the Czech Republic.
You can also apply for an employee card directly in the Czech Republic if you have a long-term or permanent residence permit. This also applies if you have already been staying in the Czech Republic based on a visa for a stay of more than 90 days, or on the basis of a long-term residence permit issued for a purpose other than employment.
However, you cannot apply for an employee card if you have been staying in the Czech Republic on the basis of a long-term visa for the purpose of seasonal employment, or for the purpose of lengthening a stay, although exceptions can be granted.
To apply for an employee card, you must submit a special form in which it is also necessary to state the specific job for which you need to arrange an employee card.
What documents do you have to submit along with the application form? Is it sufficient to submit only the employment contract?
The following is a list of documents you are required to submit with your application:
- A valid travel document (usually your passport).
- A document proving that you have arranged accommodation in the Czech Republic (usually a valid rental agreement).
- One passport photograph.
- An employment contract for a specific job or another agreement relating to work to be performed in the Czech Republic. This document must show that you will be employed for a minimum of 15 hours per week and that the agreed wage is not lower than the set minimum wage in the Czech Republic (note: for 2021, the monthly minimum wage is CZK 15,200).
- If required, in accordance with the nature of the employment, it is also necessary to submit documents that prove you are qualified to perform the job.
Furthermore, you may also be requested to submit an extract from a judicial record and a document confirming the fulfilment of preventive measures regarding the transmission of an infectious disease.
All documents submitted with the application must be originals, or officially certified copies. Enclosed documents written in a foreign language must be original, and must be submitted with an officially certified translation into the Czech language. All the documents submitted with the application form may not be older than 180 days, with exception to the travel document and photograph, insofar as they correspond to your actual appearance.
Once your application for an employee card has been approved, you may travel to the Czech Republic. Upon arrival, you must report immediately to the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. They will collect the necessary data for the subsequent issuance of a biometric card. You are then obliged to start your job, for which your employer must provide you with evidence by issuing a document to this effect. You are obliged to present this document when collecting your prepared employee card.
Special (non-dual) Employee Card as long-term residence permit
In certain cases, you may also request a special non-dual employee card. Such a card can be issued if you – a foreigner – have the right to freely enter the labour market and intend to stay in the Czech Republic for a long time for the purpose of employment at the same time. In such a case, the employee card only serves as a long-term residence permit, not as a work permit.
Who has the right to freely enter the labour market in the Czech Republic? The following are just a few examples:
- A foreigner who obtained a certificate for completing secondary or higher education at a Czech accredited school.
- A foreigner who is a full-time student studying at an accredited Czech university.
- A foreigner who would like to be employed in the Czech Republic as a pedagogical worker or as an academic at a Czech university.
We can help with the application process
The whole process of applying for an employee card can be very demanding for foreigners. This largely comes down to the complexity of the entire procedure, the large number of exceptions, and/or the often difficult communication with Czech authorities. We can fully represent you in this process and arrange the correct form of employee card.