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Migration after the state of emergency, current developments and observations

  • Czech Republic

    02-06-2020

    Although the declared state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic has ended and things are starting to return to normal from 25 May 2020, the effects of the changed regime are still evident in the area of the immigration agenda.

    Limited operation of embassies of the Czech Republic abroad

    According to initial information, restrictions on accepting and processing of applications for visa and stays at embassies of the Czech Republic abroad were to end with the end of the state of emergency, but most of them persist to this day. The restrictions are not governed by the situation in the Czech Republic, but are relaxed depending on the current situation in individual countries, or on their epidemiological measures carried out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic (MFA) maintains a list of countries in which the accepting of visa and stays applications at embassies of the Czech Republic has already been resumed, and where proceedings on applications for residence permits for over 90 days initiated before the outbreak of a pandemic also continue. The MFA regularly updates this list and also states the extent to which the immigration agenda is being carried out at individual embassies.

    It is currently only possible to obtain a residence permit at the embassies of the Czech Republic in the following countries: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Moldova, Mongolia, Germany, Poland, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Serbia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Turkey, USA and Vietnam.

    Measures in other countries do not yet allow the embassies to accept applications for visa or stays. At the same time, it is not possible to continue proceedings on applications for long-term stays, which were submitted at these embassies before the declaration of the state of emergency in the Czech Republic, or the introduction of appropriate measures in individual countries.

    The situation is constantly changing, so those interested in obtaining a visa or residence permit can only follow the website of the MFA or the particular embassy.

    Processing of applications for residence permits in the Czech Republic

    Unlike abroad, the offices of the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy (DAMP) in the Czech Republic are returning to their original operation faster. Since last week, it is possible to book an appointment for oneself not only for the collection of biometric data, which was the first to be restored during the state of emergency, but also for all other actions except applying for the extension of a permanent residence permit, reporting the loss or theft of a document or changes related to the stay of a foreigner in the Czech Republic. It is also not yet possible to apply for a replacement of a lost, stolen or damaged document.

    Without a booked appointment, it is possible to come to the DAMP office in very exceptional cases only, such as submitting an application for a residence permit for a newborn in the Czech Republic or to issue a bridging label. It would be difficult to maintain the appropriate spacing between the individual applicants in the long queues that usually form in front of the individual offices.

    When booking an appointment through the information and booking line of the Ministry of the Interior, we recommend being patient. The line is in operation again every weekday from 9 am to 2 pm and it is sometimes difficult to reach it due to the large number of callers. However, you can also use the option of booking via the Internet.

    Until further notice, priority is given to submitting new applications for long-term residence (including employment card and the blue card), for long-term or permanent residence of a child born in the Czech Republic, for permanent residence or temporary residence of a family member of a European Union citizen, by post or data box. Applications submitted in this way are treated as if they had been submitted in person. The DAMP will then invite the applicant to prove his identity or submit an original registry document.

    When assessing the timeliness of the application, the state of emergency is taken into account as a relevant reason for the late submission. However, if the time limit for submitting the application expires after the end of the state of emergency, the applicant must already prove the reasons for his late submission. To avoid possible problems with proving the reasons for late submission, we recommend using the option to submit the application by post or data box.

    Due to the large number of applications received by the DAMP during the state of emergency, delays can be expected in the proceedings for newly submitted applications. However, due to the limited access to public administration offices, the DAMP also sets longer deadlines than before for the elimination of errors in the application. In addition, the foreigner has the opportunity to request an extension or interruption of the proceedings in writing before the expiration of the time limit.

    Stay of foreigners in the Czech Republic after the end of the state of emergency

    Foreigners, whose current residence permit for staying in the Czech Republic has expired during the state of emergency or soon after its termination, and who are not interested in extending their residence permit, may leave the country within 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. This constitutes a kind of protective period, when foreigners are not in danger of being penalized for unauthorized stay in the Czech Republic. At the same time, however, it is not considered a so-called fiction of residence according to the Act on the Residence of Foreigners.

    When crossing the borders of the Czech Republic, foreigners will receive a special stamp in their travel document, certifying a tolerated stay in the Czech Republic, so that the countries through whose territory they will be travelling to their home country will not sanction them for traveling without a valid authorization. Entry into the territory of individual countries is always governed by the current epidemiological situation and measures taken by the state, i.e. it is always necessary to monitor not only the current situation in the Czech Republic, but also in all states of expected stay.

    Entry of foreigners with a residence permit into the Czech Republic

    Foreigners entering the territory of the Czech Republic are, with some exceptions, obliged to submit a medical certificate of completion of the RT-PCR test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 with a negative result supplemented by a certificate from the relevant laboratory. For a period of 14 days from the entry into the territory, all persons have limited free movement and are obliged to stay in their place of residence.

    Furthermore, for preventive reasons, foreigners will not be allowed to enter a DAMP office for a period of 14 days after their arrival in the Czech Republic. If a visit to the DAMP at this time is necessary to fulfill the legal obligation of a foreigner (e.g. the obligation to appear for the processing of biometric data necessary for issuing a long-term residence permit), non-compliance with the legal deadline for fulfilling the obligation will not be sanctioned.

    Foreigners who have already been granted a long-term visa for the purpose of collecting a residence permit before the declaration of the state of emergency may arrive in the Czech Republic from 11 May 2020 only if this visa is still valid. If the six-month duration of the visa has already expired, it is necessary to apply for a new visa at the relevant embassy, which may be a problem in some countries due to the persistence of epidemiological measures.

     

    Disclaimer

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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