Applying for your long-term visa or residence permit for the purpose of studies
Now that you have been accepted in your preferred school and course, it is time to apply for your long-term visa or residence permit.
The visa that you will apply for will depend primarily on the length of your studies. The normal tourist short term visa or Schengen visa is valid for up to 90 days (you apply for this at VFS and not at the embassy). If you are studying as an exchange student, then you can apply for a long-term visa for more than 90 days.
In my case, since my course is for two years, I applied for a long-term residence permit. The Czech embassy in Manila will accept my application and send it to the Ministry of Interior in the Czech Republic for decision. Once approved, the embassy will affix a long-term visa (valid for six months but with maximum duration of stay of 60 days) on my passport so I can enter the Schengen territories. Once I reach Czech Republic, I will then report to the Ministry where they will issue the long-term residence permit.
Documents to prepare
For my long-term residence permit application, I prepared the following:
- Valid Passport.
The passport should be valid at least 90 days from the time you leave Czech Republic.
- 2 passport photos with a light background (both should be signed at the back)
- Biometric Features – fingerprints
Biometric features were taken during the interview at the embassy.
- Fees, if any
For my case, there were no fees collected at the embassy. I think it depends on what type of visa you are applying for and what school you are going into. I read somewhere that for certain schools, visa processing is free but I cannot find that website anymore.
- Supporting documents
Proof of acceptance in the university (in Czech)
This would come from the university. The school automatically processed and sent it to me once I was accepted. The document is in Czech with an English translation at the bottom. It basically says that I was accepted in the university and how long it will be. The school put one year only, since the residence permit is valid for one year and needs to be renewed or extended for the next year.
Proof of accommodation (in Czech)
I chose to stay in the university dormitories as this is definitely cheaper than staying outside, like 50% cheaper. In terms of paper works, this is also easier than if you would rent outside the school. The accommodation contract was also provided by the school together with the acceptance letter.
Proof of funds
I asked for a letter of credit standing from my bank in Singapore which I asked to be notarized and translated to Czech as well, together with a copy of the front of my debit card. I also prepared copies of my bank statements. During my visa interview, I was told the bank statements would have sufficed and the translations were not necessary. Oh, well!
As a general rule, you should be able to prove that you have 15 times the amount of the existential minimum (currently is at 2200 CZK) for the first month and double the amount of existential minimum every month thereafter.
For example, for a stay of one year, you would need to prove that you have (2200 x 15) + ((2200 x 2) x 11) = 81,400 CZK
These funds do not need to be in your name as you can also have sponsors or scholarships. In my case, all my documents are under my name. You can check other details at the Ministry of Interior’s website.
- Criminal record extract (in Czech)
In the Philippines, this is basically the NBI clearance. The embassy gave me a translation template where I only needed to fill in the personal particulars from my NBI Clearance, so I did not need to pay for a translator for this. The embassy just then verified the translation (for a fee). The NBI clearance, since it is a public document, also needs to be authenticated by the DFA and superlegalised by the Czech embassy in Manila.
If you lived in another country for more than 6 months within the past three years, you also need to get the criminal record extract from that country. I have been working in Singapore for five years during the time I applied, so I also requested for a Certificate of Clearance (COC) from the Singapore Police Force (you can see more information here) . I went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have it authenticated, and then to the Honorary Consulate of Czech Republic in Singapore for superlegalisation.
I did not know that there is an honorary consulate in Singapore, so I had to arrange the superlegalisation after my visa interview in Manila. I just mailed the superlegalised COC to the Czech embassy in Manila. There is no Czech embassy in Singapore and for Singapore residents who want to apply for long term visa, they can go either to the embassy in Malaysia or Indonesia.
- Travel Health Insurance (before visa is affixed to passport)
Once my application was approved, I was required to present a travel insurance with coverage of at least 60,000 Euros covering my stay in the Czech Republic (including transit). I took an insurance from Pojišťovna VZP , all transactions were done online. They then sent the final documents to my billing address.
Note that all these documents should not be older than 180 days except for your passport. Also, you need to submit two copies, one original and one plain copy.
Submission of Application and Interview
To schedule an appointment, the embassy requires to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is only for schedule of visa appointments and not for inquiries. You can only send the email from Monday starting at 10 am because you need to include a unique alphanumeric code in the subject of the email. Without the code, the email will not be valid. If you are successful, you can have your appointment the next week. If not, you need to wait for the new code the next Monday.
In the email, you also need to include the following:
- First name and surname
- Date of birth
- Passport number
- Purpose of travel for long-term visa/ long-term residence permit
- Phone number
- Passport data page (as attachment)
- Document proving the purpose of travel (as attachment)
Details on application submission and interview, as well as the weekly unique alphanumeric code can be found at the Czech embassy in Manila’s website.
On the day of the appointment, ensure all documents are correct and that you are prepared for the interview. The interview was held in another room in the embassy visa processing area. My biometrics were taken, and I was asked basic questions about myself. I was also asked details on the purpose of my travel to the Czech Republic which is to study.
If your interests are honest and genuine, there is really no need to be nervous about the interview. If you have done your research on your course and processed all your documents for your study, then you can definitely answer all the interview questions.
Even if the interview was conducted in English, the documentation on the proceedings submitted to the Ministry of Interior should be in Czech. I signed the documentation as the interviewer asked me to (but I cannot understand any word in it and just trusted the Consul). The interviewer translated what she wrote on the documentation so at least I know what is written there. As with other visa applications, you need to leave your passport but if you need it, you can request to take it with you first.
Approval and Issuance of Long-term visa
After three weeks, the embassy sent me an email confirming that my application was approved. They asked me to get the insurance policy and proceed to the embassy so that they can affix the long-term visa to my passport. The embassy will not affix the visa if you cannot present the insurance policy or if the insurance policy presented is not sufficient. Since everything is okay, they affixed the visa to my passport and I am off to Europe!
For visa application details and schedule, please always consult the embassy that you are submitting your application to. Again, these are my experiences and may be different for other cases.