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Visa for US citizen
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Adventurous Midlife



Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:49 pm    Post subject: Visa for US citizen Reply with quote

I know there are recent changes in long-term visa length and health insurance requirements. It has been suggested to me to apply for a long-term visa in the US prior to my arrival in Prague for a TEFL course because of timing issues.

After looking at the embassy website, my question is if I don't yet a have a job offer, (since I am going to Prague to get TEFL certification and then apply for a job) which visa do I apply for?

Thanks for any light anyone can shed!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the chicken-and-egg problem: I don't think you can apply for a long-term visa until you have a job. Otherwise, what reason would you give to stay longer than the 90 days you get as a tourist?


In the past, the way it worked was that you went over as a tourist (you automatically get 90 days) and when you landed a job, your employer assisted you in filing the paperwork for a work visa. So long as the paperwork is filed within the 90 day time period, you are usually ok to start working.

To get a work visa prior to landing a contract seems impossible....

(but I am not up on this week's requirements, so hopefully others will be able to shed more light on this).
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ElJuero



Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Visa for US citizen Reply with quote

Adventurous Midlife wrote:
I know there are recent changes in long-term visa length and health insurance requirements. It has been suggested to me to apply for a long-term visa in the US prior to my arrival in Prague for a TEFL course because of timing issues.

After looking at the embassy website, my question is if I don't yet a have a job offer, (since I am going to Prague to get TEFL certification and then apply for a job) which visa do I apply for?

Thanks for any light anyone can shed!


So it is possible for US citizens to work in Czech.? I thought it was part of the EU or the Shengen zone and nearly impossible for non-EU folks?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'new' EU member states are mostly open to non-EU teachers (meaning CR, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, etc) but it is more hassle for employers, who must help staff apply for working visas. It's getting more difficult to get through the process, but is still possible.

Here's the timing to consider: you have a total of 90 days in the entire zone. It means that you must have a job contract and paperwork filed for work visa within 90 days of arriving in the zone. If you don't make it, you have to leave the entire zone for 90 days - a simple border run used to suffice in the past, but no longer. Since Jan 2009, the law reads that you have 90 in 180 days.

It's true that some officials (in Poland, I know for sure) have allowed teachers to just make a border run and have then allowed their 90 days to re-start, but this is random. I also know some people who have been deported for overstaying.

Anyway, that's the current basics of the law. If you're planning to get a certification in Prague, you can press the course provider to give you real details on this - they will know the current situation best.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every country in the Schengen Zone has their own visa regulations. I don't know that any country in the zone actually bans Americans from working there, it's simply a matter of UK and Irish citizens being able to work without a visa. It's cheaper and easier for employers to hire them, and so it is harder for Americans to find work.

Czech employers tend to be more willing to hire Americans than other countries in the Schengen Zone (with the possible exceptions of Germany and Poland). Usually, though, Americans are not employed in the CR; they set up a business (via a zivnostensky List).

In order to get this visa you have to provide proof of financial means, and proof of accommodation. The latter must come from a legal Czech entity, or a statement from the owner of a house or apartment, or a lease agreement. Unless they have a reason to, most Czechs will not give you this document because it makes it difficult for them to get rid of a tenant who does not pay rent. Not that you wouldn't, but it's a fear many Czech landlords have. You might also have to apply for the zivnostensky list before you apply for the visa, and this must be applied for in the municipality where your place of business is legally registered (more dealing with Czech landlords).

Your other options are to get a working visa (but you have to land a job), or a visa for other purposes (which requires a letter from a Czech entity confirming the purpose of your stay).

Once you land a job, most (if not all) schools will sponsor your zivnostensky list and visa. The reason for this is that YOU pay all of the fees.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it takes 90 days to process the visa once you have supplied all of the documents to the embassy. The Schengen zone recently changed its rules so that non-residents can only be in the zone for 90 out of 180 days. Seems like the days of Americans flooding Prague to work as tefl teachers might be coming to a close.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know that any country in the zone actually bans Americans from working there, it's simply a matter of UK and Irish citizens being able to work without a visa


Actually, some years back when I was first looking for work in the Belgium-Nederlands region, both countries had language on their books stating (roughly) that: English teachers do not fall into the category of urgent needs workers and are therefore ineligible for visas in all but exceptional cases. I recall that my employer at that time had to write and send a special petition for an exception in my case to Den Hague.

I know that this was still the case in 2010, when my Dutch employer petitioned to have my specialist visa renewed.

I don't know if this applies to other countries, but it's (or was) more than just that EU citizens don't need a visa.

Anyway, not the case in the CR.
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Adventurous Midlife



Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you spiral & smithrn for you helpful responses.

In communication I've had with a course provider, I did not find them to be very helpful other than saying it's difficult but not impossible, and giving little advice other than referring to the Czech embassy website for information.

Maybe it's a matter of their realizing it will be difficult (if not impossible) without having to leave the country for 90 days while the visa application is in process...a real problem for most people to be able to manage...and they don't want to lose the potential trainee signing up for the course.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's even worse, actually - you don't just have to leave the country for 90 days, but the entire Schengen zone - basically meaning for most people that you go back to your home country.

Yes, it's tough.

Timing is very much key these days. The major hiring season for newbies is end August through September. If you time your TEFL course to end then, and start applying immediately, you maximise your chances of landing a job contract inside the 90 days.

Finding yourself on the job market at a down time won't help at all.
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ElJuero



Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for these great posts and all of the information. I happen to be traveling to Prague in the next month which is why I asked. Honestly, it looks like quite a hassle unless you've got someone there helping (spouse etc.), time and money to put into it. Nice knowing that the newer countries are a bit more open.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're open to working in other countries, both Poland and Hungary have shorter visa processing times. In Poland it's around 50-70 days, and in Hungary around 30. Poland has quite a market for tefl teachers, but I'm not sure about Hungary. This time of year, though, not too many schools are going to be hiring anywhere in Europe. The big peak, as spiral said, is late August into September, and then there's another small peak in January, but by now most schools will have hired all the teachers they need for the spring semester.
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ElJuero



Joined: 24 Jan 2009
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Smithrn,

Coincindentally, I'll be in Budapest for almost a month after a week in Prague. Maybe I'll check out some schools as possibilities. Might be good foothold for working and exploring eastern european possibilities.
Anyone know about schools in B'pest?
Very helpful trhead everyone.
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gwynnie86



Joined: 27 Apr 2009
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hypothetically... if an American citizen is married to an EU (British) citizen, does the visa game change? Or would they have to have achieved citizenship within that country first?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9589
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your British spouse is working in the CR (or other member state country) you should be eligible for a spousal working visa in the country where your spouse currently works.

If not - you are only eligible to work in the UK....(I last checked this personally in 2008, so it may be outdated - but my having a Czech spouse and permanent residency in the CR did not allow me to work in other EU member countries - it takes actual citizenship in the EU member country for that).


How's that for a run-on sentence? Cool
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Mercury Morris



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 29
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:16 am    Post subject: to the OP Adventurous Midlife.... Reply with quote

Do not trust the misinformed advice of the posters on this thread, or at least take it with a healthy grain of salt.

You do not need a job offer to teach English in CZ. What you do need is the following (as an American): a Bachelors degree (preferably liberal arts), a TEFL or TESL degree, a D-Visa (you apply for IN CZ when you arrive), and a Trade License (Zivnostensky List).

In other words, you/your partner will be a freelance, self employed ESL teacher in CZ. Mind you, there are other requirements and many hoops to jump through. You will need a minimum of $8,000 USD for the application for Visa and trade license and health insurance.

I highly recommend this accounting service in Prague for definitive, accurate information on establishing yourself as an English teacher in Prague-
http://www.alexio.cz/

There are several regular trolls, or posters on the CZ forum who paint a decidedly gloomy picture of the prospects for North Americans who want to live and work in CZ as English teachers. There is demand! It can be done! I'm an American and taught in CZ for a couple of years, no problems.

Don't trust the advice in these forums! They are negative for reasons unknown. Go to an informed accounting service such as the above and they will give you informed, impartial advice.
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Mercury Morris



Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 29
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:23 am    Post subject: Clarification to my previous post... Reply with quote

The $8,000 USD is what they currently require as your ability to support yourself while in CZ–it is NOT the cost for anything.

The CZ Ministry of Interior is trying to screen out immigrants from coming to CZ who cannot support themselves, or who need medical services and cannot pay for them. They want proof that you can pay your way and support yourself in CZ. That's all.
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