Today's post is in response to some reader questions from MiGrant. Here is what MiGrant asked:
- Since you ask... I'm (probably) moving back to
this year — lived there for a few years in the 90s — and right now I'm interested in practicalities. How hard is it now to get a residence permit for someone self-employed? Where to buy fresh vegetables? Where's the best Gold's Gym equivalent? Can I switch my Prague iPhone over to a Czech carrier, or will I have to get a new one? That sort of thing. US
Thanks for your questions, MiGrant. I've been doing some detective to work to find answers, and here they are. Please remember I'm not an expert in issues dealing with visas and residency permits, and all information supplied here is basic and not to be used as an official guide.
Residence permit for self-employed.
The process is a bit long, and full of bureaucratic red-tape, but that's typical. You must be somewhat familiar with this aspect of living in the Czech Republic since you lived here before. One major change, as of this year, is that the Ministry of the Interior now handles long-term visa and permanent residency permits. This was formerly the job of the infamous Foreign Police. Another change since you last lived here is that people applying for permanent residency now have to pass a Czech language exam in order to live here.
MiGrant, you didn't specify if you are an EU citizen, or from outside of the EU. The requirements will be different for a non-EU citizen, than for an EU citizen. If you are non-EU, you will have to apply for a long-term visa at a Czech embassy outside of the Czech Republic. The visa process cannot take place while you are in this country. The application process usually takes from six to eight weeks, but can legally take as long as four months. In addition to supplying the required documents, you are required to undergo an interview as part of the application process.
Along with this, you'll have to supply the usual proofs of accommodation in the Czech Republic, along with proof of health insurance, and proof of financial means to support yourself in this country. This is basic information about you will need to apply for residency in this country. You can find detailed information on the Ministry of Interior's website.
Being self-employed you will first need to obtain your residency or long-term visa, then you will be able to either work under an s.r.o or zivnostensky list (trade license). This is a bit complicated to explain in one post, but there is a difference between an s.r.o and working for yourself under a trade license. Basically, an s.r.o. is a limited liability company and will offer more protection for your personal assets. There are also certain tax advantages to doing business under an s.r.o. The zivnostensky list (trade license) offers a couple of advantages such as less professional fees for accounting and tax compliance, along with being able to deduct more expenses for tax purposes. One of the main drawbacks to the trade license is that you will be held responsible for your company's liabilities, and the rate of income tax is higher than for an s.r.o. However, the trade license is easy to get and the cost is minimal.
Again, all of this information is only basic...I'm not an expert in this area. To find expert help, you might check on the Business Directory of Expats.cz to find those who will know all the ins and outs of getting the correct visa and the best legal way for you to be self-employed in the Czech Republic. If any readers have more specific information to help MiGrant with this question, please respond in the comments below.
Another reader had an answer to your fresh vegetable question. Sean said fresh vegetables are available at the now popular farmers markets. Sean's right. Farmers markets are popping up all over, and we have several here, in Prague. You can find a list of farmers markets on the Czech Off the Beaten Path website.
Farmers markets are growing in popularity here. I can personally attest to the fact that these markets have some of the best produce to be found in Prague. The prices on some goods are a little higher than the grocery store, but these products are well worth their price. And the quality is much higher than what we can find in our local grocery stores. Everything Jiri and I have bought there--from klobasa, fruit, vegetables and sadlo--has been excellent and fresh. All sellers are registered and bring produce from all over the Czech Republic. On my last visit to our local farmers market, I noticed a booth selling klobasa and other smoked meats from Croatia. Otherwise, all the other products were from the Czech Republic. We believe in supporting Czech business and buy regularly at our local market.
Here again, Sean was very helpful with his response to MiGrant's question about gyms in Prague. We have some great gyms all over Prague. A couple of those, used by many expats, are the Cybex at the Hilton, and Fitness Millenium. These are only a couple of the many excellent gyms found in Prague.
You can use your iPhone here, but only if it is unlocked and you have a Czech SIM card. If not, you will have to buy a new phone and data plan once you come to Prague. I found three major mobile phone companies who carry the iPhone: Telefonica O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
I hope this information will help you, MiGrant, and other people who might have the same questions. Again, this information is basic, but you can find further details about each topic by following the links supplied in each section. Some of these links are in Czech only. All of these links are supplied to help readers find more information. I am not affiliated with any of the companies or organizations mentioned here (aside from links to material for this blog and related website), and I am not an expert in visa or residence applications.
That's all for today! I hope you all have a great week!
Photo credit: Sher Vacik
(c) 2011 by Sher Vacik