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Zivno Visa Know How: Czech Republic's Trade License Freelance Visa

Learn from ITA alumna Megan Newnham' experience and understand the process to get the Czech Republic's Zivno visa to teach English in the country.

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Visas, Visas, Visas   — The topic no one enjoys talking about, yet the topic everyone needs to know a lot about. It's a foreign topic to most, no matter how experienced of a traveler you are. Our alumni have been through the visa process firsthand and were tasked with walking us through the steps they took for their visas. Below, ITA graduate Megan Newnham walks us through the process she went through to obtain her visa for teaching English in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic Freelance Visa: the Zivno Visa

What Visa are You Living and Teaching On?

The visa I am currently living and working on is called a Zivnostensky list or Zivno for short. I entered the country on a Tourist Visa that was valid for my first 90 days of being in the country (but does not make you legal to work!!!).

What is the Zivno Visa?

The Zivno visa is also commonly referred to as Zivnostensky list. It is a trade license freelance Visa. It enables non-EU citizens to start their own business in the Czech Republic and work as self-employed individuals. It is typically used by entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.

Where Did You Process Your Visa?

Before I moved to Prague, I was able to get a bank letter from my U.S. bank, but the rest of the process must be done once you arrive in the Czech Republic. Some steps can be completed here while the actual application must be done at a Czech Embassy in a foreign city. I had to apply for my visa in Berlin, Germany, but other options include Vienna, Austria and Belgrade, Serbia.

Typically, it makes the most sense to go to the city with the earliest open application appointment, but I know people who have used this appointment as a way to travel to a new city! Even if you pick an application city at random, I would definitely spend some extra time exploring so it isn’t all paperwork!

Zivno Visa Czech Republic: Requirements

How Do I Get a Zivno Visa? 

In order to get your Zivno visa, you will need the following documents:

  • A valid passport from your home country
  • A bank letter from your bank in your home country stating that you have at least $7,400 in your account
  • A document obtained in Prague from the U.S. Embassy stating that you have not committed a crime within the country
  • Proof of accommodation (signed by your landlord)
  • A form signed by your landlord giving you permission to use your address as a business or a valid business address
  • Proof of Travelers Insurance (when you are on your tourist visa)
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • Proof of Social Taxes Paid

I must add the following information:

  • Your bank account must be a checking account with your name on the account
  • The form signed by your landlord to give you permission to use your address as a business can be purchased for about $20 per month

Where Did You Get Your Required Documents From?

I hired Visa Guru to handle all of my paperwork and visa processing. I received all of my documents from them and then took them to the appropriate office during my scheduled appointments.

**International TEFL Academy can provide you with the information for Visa Guru if you are looking to teach in the Czech Republic and get a Zivno visa!**

Visa for teaching English in Czech Republic

Please Outline the Steps Involved in Getting Your Visa Documents

The easiest way to get all of your documents is to hire someone to help you! Visa assistance is becoming more and more common as Czech government offices are notoriously difficult to work with. They do not communicate well with each other so it is best to hire an agency with a native Czech speaker to avoid any mistakes or confusion.

Did Any of your documents Need to Get Notarized, Apostilled or Authenticated?

The documents you must get signed by your landlord need to be notarized. My landlord took care of this himself, but you can also go to any post office (Česká pošta) and go to the Czech Point window for notarization. While they don’t always speak English, they do understand the forms and what you need. If you have a Czech-speaking friend or agency, it is best to bring them just in case.

How Many Copies of Each Document Did You Need?

I needed a minimum of two copies of each document.

*Important Note:* All signatures must be done in BLUE INK!!! This is weird, but mandatory and the government offices will not accept documents signed in any other color. Also, always make an extra copy for yourself and double-check that you have everything before you go to your appointment!

Czech Republic Work Visa

Where Did You Send Your Documents?

I took my documents in person to the U.S. Embassy in Prague, the Czech Embassy in Berlin, the Foreign Police office, the Health Insurance Office, and the Social Tax Office. Visa Guru sent all my information in to the Social Tax Office and Živnostenský Office.

What Were Your Total Visa Fees? Were They Covered or Reimbursed by Your School?

My total visa fees were $270/6,000kč to hire Visa Guru and about $200/5,000kč of additional government, application, and travel fees. I had to pay for the entire process myself and was not reimbursed by my employer. Some employers do offer working visas, but if you leave that employer, you become illegal to work immediately.

How Long did it Take to Receive Your Visa?

My visa took about 3 ½ months to receive after I applied for it which is an extremely long time to wait compared to some of my friends. Most American visas take 4-6 weeks to process, but as more Americans and foreigners, in general, are moving to the Czech Republic, the process sometimes takes longer.

Teach English in the Czech Republic

How Long is Your Zivno Visa Valid For?

My initial visa was good for 8 months (approved in November and expiring in July), but the long-stay visa I will be on next year can be from 1-2 years, depending on personal preference of the applicant.

Can You Renew Your Visa? If So, Do You Know the Process to Renew it?

Yes, you can! The visa renewal process is actually much easier than the initial visa! It can take a long time, but the steps are much fewer. You simply apply for a bridge visa, provide the same documents from your landlord as in your first visa, and provide proof of income, health insurance, and taxes paid. As long as you make more than 20,000kč/month (everyone that I know makes this), you will easily be approved.

Are There Any Restrictions to Your Visa?

I have heard that there are restrictions on the amount of different people you can invoice in a given month, but I have never heard of anyone having a problem with this. The good thing about being on a freelance visa is that you can leave a job at any time. You can also choose where and how much you would like to work, while remaining completely legal!



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