Early August, an amendment of Act on Residency for Foreigners took effect, which introduces changes in the area of immigration. The changes introduced by the amendment will be welcomed mainly by the citizens of United Kingdom residing in the Czech Republic until the end of 2020, who have not been able to process residency permits on time. Smaller changes also impact EU citizens and citizens from third countries (outside EU).

Changes impacting UK citizens

The amendment alters requirements for residency of UK citizens on the territory of the Czech Republic who resided there until 31 December 2020.

Based on the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement, United Kingdom found itself in an interim period until the end of 2020, during which time it was subject to EU rules, but could no longer influence them. In the immigration area, this meant for UK citizens that they were treated until 31 December 2020 as EU citizens. If UK citizens applied for a temporary residency certificate until 31 December 2020, they were treated as EU citizens as of 1 January 2021.

Those who did not request the certificate until the end of 2020 lost the EU citizen status, within the meaning of immigration laws, as of 1 January 2021.

This consequence should be mitigated by the amendment of the Act on Residency of Foreigners. The amendment stipulates that UK citizens who can substantiate that they lawfully resided within the territory of the Czech Republic as of 31 December 2020, can still file the relevant request. In that manner, they will be subsequently treated as EU citizens, but this is conditional on their being able to substantiate their stay retroactively.

Instead of the previously used temporary residency permit, they will newly be issued with the so-called registration certificate in the form of a biometric ID with 5-year validity.

UK citizens who requested the residency permit in time i.e. until 31 December 2020 are required to exchange their existing documents for new biometric IDs until 31 August 2022.

Changes for EU citizens

Changes will also impact EU citizens. Instead of a temporary residency permit, they will newly be issued the so-called registration certificate.  It will be an ID without biometric markers that will be valid for 10 years. EU citizens with temporary residency certificates issued prior to the amendment do not have to exchange their existing certificates – the exchange will only occur upon their expiry.

Changes for third country citizens

For third country citizens (outside EU) an exchange of existing residency permits for new biometric cards has started in August 2021. Validity of the existing documents without biometric markers ends on 3 August 2023. The exchange is free of charge. The recommended exchange date is until 31 August 2022 though.

Together with the above changes, new changes to the health insurance of foreigners take effect as of 2 August 2021. These are covered in our following article.

More detailed information with respect to changes introduced by the Act on Residency of Foreigners can also be found e.g. in the following document issued by the Ministry of Interior: An_overview_of_changes_introduced_as_of_August_2nd_2021.

If you are resident in the Czech Republic and are not sure about your obligations in the area of immigration laws or in relating tax areas, we would be happy to advise you. Our experience can save you not only time, but also money.