Apart from exquisite architecture and great beer, one of the benefits for many Americans and other non-Europeans teaching English in Czech Republic is that it is possible to get a visa and teach legally. Such is not typically the case in some other popular European nations like Italy and Spain where thousands of English teachers work on tourist visas. Below is a run-down on how Americans and others can get work visas to teach English in the Czech Republic.
Note: International TEFL Academy constantly monitors visa requirements for English-teaching job markets all over the globe, but requirements and processes for obtaining visas can and do change frequently. Please contact the consulate or embassy for the Czech Republic in your country to receive the most updated information about visas and work permits in that country.
Enter on a Tourist Visa
Work visas for English teachers in Czech Republic are commonly processed in-country, so you will enter the Czech Republic on a tourist visa which is typically valid for up to 90 days. Upon arrival, you can apply for a work visa that will enable you to teach English in Czech Republic legally.
For a list of countries whose citizens are able to enter Czech Republic without processing a tourist visa in advance, please visit the Czech Foreign Ministry's website.
Got questions about different types of visas? Check out the article: What is a visa and do I need a visa to teach English abroad?
Types of visas that will allow a teacher to work legally in the Czech Republic:
1. Zivno Business Visa (Trade License)
Technically known as Zivnostensky List (Zivno), this is the work visa most commonly used by Americans and other non-E.U. citizens teaching English in Czech Republic. You will apply for it directly from the government and it will allow you to work legally at any school in the Czech Republic that will hire you. Typically, to receive this type of visa, the teacher will need to work with a Relocation Service or Visa Help Service in the CR; paperwork and applications can be obtained from government zivnostensky offices. Visa assistance services can cost up to 1,000 Euro for the teacher.
Documents required to obtain a Zivno work visa to teach English in the Czech Republic (most can be taken care of in Czech Republic):
* Housing contract to prove residency.
* Proof of health insurance for one year. It is possible to purchase a plan known as Complex Insurance in Czech Republic for approximately $800.00/year. The plan provides basic health, dental and vision insurance.
* Bank or Credit Card statement proving access to at least $8,000 USD, including an original bank statement on bank letter head.
Although this may appear to be a high threshold, there are many ways around this. Most teachers will “borrow” the money from parents or friends, print the bank statement, and then return the money to the lender.
* Criminal Check Affidavit from your Embassy in Prague. Contact your national embassy or consulate in Czech Republic to learn how to obtain this document.
* Forms – Typical paperwork that needs to be filled out in Czech Republic and can obtained from zivnostensky offices and visa assistance companies.
Teachers can apply for this visa and for jobs while they are still on a tourist visa. It usually takes 2 – 3 months to get the visa back. If a tourist visa expires while waiting on Zivno, the teacher is still technically in the country legally because it is “in-progress.”
Read further: ITA alumna Megan's experience with Zivno
2. Standard Work Visa
This type of visa is less common because it requires extensive paperwork and financial expense for schools to sponsor it for teachers.
If a school hires you and agrees to sponsor a standard work visa, expect to spend approximately 100 Euro. You will also be required to provide an original Diploma that has been apostilled (an apostille is a special international notarization). Your diploma also needs to be translated into Czech. The translation can be completed in the Czech Republic, but it is recommended that you complete this in your home country prior to departure.
Working under the table without a work visa:
There are schools who will hire teachers that want to work “under the table” who don’t want to go through the process of obtaining a legal visa. It is uncommon for English teachers to be kicked out of the country unless they are causing a problem or engage in some sort of criminal conduct. Also, schools are more willing to hire teachers who do have a Zivno or a standard work visa. To learn more: "What is Teaching English Under the Table Without a Work Visa?"