At a Glance

  • The Czech Republic has introduced an annual quota for business visas and Employee Cards from visa-required countries.
  • Although this change may reduce consular processing times, applicants will face longer overall waiting times once the quota is filled.
  • The law also streamlines application fee payments, simplifies the change of employer process and makes student/researcher permits more attractive, among other changes.

The situation

Czech authorities have introduced consular quotas for visa-required countries through a new law and have implemented other changes to streamline immigration processes.

A closer look

Key changes include:

Change Previous rule Impact

Consular quotas. Business visas and Employee Card applications (the main residence permit type) from visa-required countries are now subject to an annual quota. Separate quotas apply for standard applications and for key personnel. Most consular posts have started applying the new quotas.

There was no quota for these application types.

Although this change may reduce consular processing times, applicants will face longer overall waiting times once the quota is filled as they will have to wait for the next year's quota to open.

Fee payments streamlined. Under the new law, Czech immigration fees for Employee Cards, EU Blue Cards and Long-Term Business Visas must be paid in a single payment when filing the application.

Previously, foreign nationals could pay a partial fee when filing the application and pay the remaining fee when collecting their residence permit.

Applicants must ensure that they have sufficient funds to pay all filing fees in a single payment.

Simplified change of employer process. Under the new law, Employee Card holders must notify the Ministry of Interior at least 30 days before changing employers or positions via a standard form and supporting documents. Applicants can start their new role once the Ministry confirms receipt.

Previously, changes of employer or role required consent from the Ministry, which was not always granted. As before, permit holders typically cannot change employers or roles within the first six months of their permit.  

Permit holders can more easily change employers or roles under the new rules, allowing for more internal movement in the labor market. 

Streamlining of student/research permit holders. Student/research permit holders will benefit from:

  1. The ability to change from most Czech permit types to a study or research permit within the Czech Republic
  2. Under the terms of the EU Students and Researchers Directive, study or research permit holders from another EU Member State can stay in the Czech Republic for one year without an additional visa. Their stay must be related to their current studies or research in the sending EU country.
  3. The number of Czech study programs which qualify for a study permit has been reduced in an effort to limit the study permit to full-time and/or daily study programs.
  1. Previously changing to a different permit often required leaving the Czech Republic to submit a new application.
  2. Study or research permit holders from another EU Member State had to obtain a new visa to stay in the Czech Republic past one year.
  3. Language and Pilot Schools, among other programs, are no longer eligible for the student permit.

Student/research permit holders should find it easier to navigate the Czech visa system post-graduation, which may attract additional scholars to the country; however, applicants should be aware of the more limited list of Czech study programs available under these programs.


A draft law detailing these changes was announced in April 2019. The draft bill originally also included shorter vacancy posting periods, but these were removed from the final bill.

Looking ahead

Although Czech authorities are not planning further changes in the immediate future, Fragomen expects the Czech Republic to continue searching for flexible solutions to address ongoing labor market shortages in a political climate that is critical of the rising immigration levels.

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