Studying in the Czech Republic Part 3

Studying in the Czech Republic Part 3:

Arrival in the Czech Republic

The long-term visa affixed on my passport allows me to travel not only in the Czech Republic, but in other Schengen countries as well. It is valid for 6 months with maximum duration of stay at 60 days. I cannot find an affordable flight from Manila to Prague or from Singapore to Prague, so I decided to fly to Vienna instead. When I was booking my flight, there was a price difference of around SGD 250 between a Singapore to Vienna flight (one connecting flight) and a Singapore to Prague flight (2 connecting flights). It was cheaper to fly to Vienna and go to Prague from there.

Studying in the Czech Republic - Arrival
Václav Havel Airport Prague

I stayed for two days in Vienna and travelled by train to Prague, train cost me 17 euros. Carrying two luggage, one backpack, one handbag and one other recyclable bag, I couldn’t possibly take all these with me in the Prague subway and in the bus. I did not want to take a taxi because taxis in Prague have a negative reputation of scamming tourists. I decided to leave my bigger luggage and the recyclable bag at the main train station’s self-storage lockers. You can leave your things there for 24 hours for a minimum of 100 CZK depending on the size of the locker that you need. I find self-storage lockers in Europe train stations are very useful.

After arriving at my school, I was admitted at the dormitory. I cleaned up my room, arranged my things, find something to eat and all that. As with the usual relocation, I needed to arrange the basics which are getting a Czech mobile number, opening a Czech bank account, finding an affordable grocery or supermarket, etc. Of course, I also needed to settle school stuff like late enrolment, school cards, and class schedules.

Studying in the Czech Republic - Arrival
View from my dorm room

 

Reporting residency and having biometrics taken at OAMP MVCR

With the type of visa I hold, the most important thing to do after arriving in the Czech Republic is to report to the Ministry of Interior, Department of Asylum and Migration Policy (OAMP MVCR) within three working days from my arrival. I needed to report my residency and have my biometrics taken so the ministry can issue my residence card. For long-term visa and for citizens of other countries, I think they only need to report their arrival to the Foreign Police, which the school dormitory will usually do for you after they ask you to fill out a form.

There are three OAMP MVCR offices in Prague where I can report my arrival and have my biometrics taken: Cigánkova, Žukovského and Hládkov. I did not know of Žukovského and Hládkov office since the embassy gave me a paper with instructions to proceed to Cigánkova.

On my second day in Prague, I went to Cigánkova office. The office opens at 8am but I read beforehand that payments for applications cannot be done in cash or card at the offices. Payments should be done in terms of revenue stamps, so I went to the post office first to buy stamps. There are two offices in Cigánkova, the second floor office accepts only those with appointment. If you do not have an appointment, then you should proceed to the first floor office. Or should I call it floor 0 and floor 1, since they usually refer to ground floor as 0.

Anyway, I arrived at the ground floor office a few minutes before 9am but there are already a lot of people in queue. I got my queue number and waited. There was a waiting area and once your number is called, you have to proceed to another room where the counters are. There are numerous tv screens which shows the numbers being served. I was not expecting to wait very long, maybe because I did not have an appointment, and my area is outside the office’s catchment. It was nearing lunch time and I needed to collect my luggage from the self-storage lockers at the main train station by 12 noon. After almost three hours, I decided to leave and collect my luggage, thinking I will just go back the next day after my late enrolment.

On my third day, I had to go to the scheduled late registration for my course at 9:30 in the morning. I finished at around 10:30. Before proceeding to the OAMP MVCR Cigánkova office, I went to buy lunch first as I know it will be a long wait. I arrived the office at around 11:30 and got a ticket. My number was 990, the previous day was 985, so I guess I would have to wait longer. Time passed and my number was not called, the office closes at 3pm that day.

Finally, it was 3:20 pm, there were only three people left waiting in the office and my number was called. Only for the staff to tell me that the queue number I took was wrong and she cannot process my concern. I could not get another number since the machine will issue the last ticket one hour before the office closes. She advised me to go to Žukovského office (which they also refer to as Delta) on Monday, since it is the office that covers my area of residence.

It was only Thursday, 20th September then but on Fridays, the three offices only accept those who made an appointment. I did try to make an appointment online but the earliest I could get was on the 27th of September at Hládkov. This was way late from the three working days I was supposed to report to the ministry.

Studying in the Czech Republic - Arrival
OAMP MVCR Žukovského office

Monday came and I was in the Žukovského office before 7:30 in the morning. There were already a number of people but I was able to get queue number 304. I think the numbers are assigned based on the purpose because when the office opened, they started calling in 1, 301, 401, 601, you get it. There are more counters in this office, around 35 compared to Cigánkova’s 25.

When my number was called, I went in and greeted the staff. Then she started talking in Czech which I could not understand. I only understood “nemluvíš česky” and I said “Nemluvím česky” which means I don’t speak Czech. She handed me a piece of paper saying that legal proceedings are done in Czech and we should have translators. She said something about “Charitou” which I take it that I should ask help from the Charity office in the waiting area. There are Charity offices (Arcidiecezni charita Praha) in both Žukovského and Cigánkova.

Maybe I looked so depressed that day that she just proceeded with the process and spoke bits of English. It was a good thing it was only to report residency and take biometrics, if there was an interview, I am pretty sure she would send me away. She gave me a piece of paper for my biometrics scheduled at 1:30 in the afternoon.

I went to the Charity office and they explained to me that for the biometrics I should go back 15 minutes before the stated time and get my queue number from the ticketing machine again. They would also be available to help me in translation, I just needed to knock on their door and tell them once my number is called. Which I did. I finally finished that day, the lady at counter 35 took my photo and fingerprints and asked me to return on the 10th of October to collect my card. She asked me to prepare 1000 CZK in revenue stamps as payment for the card issuance.

Using the Ticketing Machine

For the residency reporting

  1. You have to choose from 3 options – (1) with appointment online, (2) with appointment via call centre or invitation and (3) no appointment. I chose (3) no appointment since I did not really set up any appointment.
  2. You need to select your purpose – (1) personal submissions within the covered areas, (2) personal submission outside covered areas and (3) power of attorney. I chose (2) within the covered areas since the Žukovského office covers my address.
  3. After pressing the second option, the machine showed me various purposes but I chose “Others” as what the staff in Cigánkova told me to do

For the scheduled biometrics

  1. You have to choose from 3 options – (1) with appointment online, (2) with appointment via call centre or invitation and (3) no appointment. I chose (2) with appointment via call centre as the lady from Charity office advised me to, since the OAMP staff already put me in the schedule for that day’s biometrics
  2. The machine showed the names of people with appointment for the next 15 minutes, I clicked on my name and the number slip was printed.
Studying in the Czech Republic - Arrival
OAMP MVCR Žukovského office

For your info, below are the addresses, covered areas and opening times of the three offices:

MOI office Praha I BIO
Responsibility for Praha-Východ districts, Praha 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Žukovského 888/2
Praha 6
Tel.: 974 820 680

Opening hours:

  • Mo, We: 8.00 – 17.00
  • Tu, Th: 8.00 – 15.00
  • Fr: 8.00 – 12.00 (only for clients with an appointment)

 

MOI office Praha II BIO
Responsibility for Praha-Západ district; Praha 2, 4, 5 and 10
Cigánkova 1861/2
Praha 4 – Chodov
Tel.: 974 820 680

Opening hours:

  • Mo, We: 8.00 – 17.00
  • Tu, Th: 8.00 – 15.00
  • Fr: 8.00 – 12.00 (only for clients with an appointment)

 

MOI office Praha III BIO

Responsible for foreign university students with residence in the Capital City of Prague and the Praha-Západ and Praha-Východ districts (I was told they speak English here but I have not experienced for myself)

Hládkov 682/9 Praha 6 – Střešovice

Tel.: 974 820 680

Opening hours:

  • Mo – Th: 8.00 – 16.00 (only for clients with an appointment)
  • Fr: 8.00 – 12.00 (only for clients with an appointment)

 

Tips

  1. Make your appointment even if you are not in the Czech Republic yet. You can make an appointment either by calling +420 974 820 680 or online at frs.gov.cz. Having an appointment will significantly reduce waiting time.
  2. If you decide to go to the office without an appointment, prepare to wait and have food and drinks with you. There are vending machines available but I did not really like the snacks it offers. In the Cigánkova office, there are vending machines for coffee, cold drinks and snacks. In the Žukovského office, there is only a vending machine for hot drinks but there is a Billa supermarket downstairs. There are also a few restaurants in the area but my concern is what if your ticket number is called while you are outside. You would have to get a ticket number again.
  3. Have a translator with you! You can hire translators (which are paid hourly) or ask for help from the Charity office within the MVCR office but consider that they might not always be available.
  4. If there is something you are not clear about, you can always ask the Charity office. I tried to ask from the Informace (Information) but the guy said he does not speak English.

I hope my three-part post on studying in the Czech Republic will be able to help you if you intend to go here and study. You can ask me if you have questions and I will try to help if I can.

You can find the first two posts below:

Studying in the Czech Republic Part 1: Finding and applying to your preferred school

Studying in the Czech Republic Part 2: Applying for your long term visa/residence permit

For more posts about Europe, check them out here.

 

xoxo

Wews

 

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