Guidance

Czech Republic: providing services after EU Exit

Guidance for UK businesses about Czech rules and regulations on service provision if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Introduction

If the UK leaves the EU on 12 April 2019 without a deal, UK firms and service providers will face additional steps or potentially even barriers to trade.

You will need to comply with both local and EU/EEA-wide rules in the following areas:

  • cross-border trade
  • establishing and structuring your business
  • business travel and visa requirements
  • recognition of UK professional qualifications
  • data protection

Cross-border trade

If you’re a UK business providing services in the Czech Republic, you’ll need to follow Czech regulations about:

  • acquiring authorisations or licences to provide a service
  • complying with specific local business regulations

The Czech e-government portal for service providers can help you to:

  • find out what you need to know about providing services in the Czech Republic
  • understand local regulations
  • complete the relevant administrative procedures online

Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in the Czech Republic to help you comply with specific regulations.

There may be regulated sectors in the Czech Republic where EEA nationality requirements could prevent you from providing services.

To find out if these apply to you, contact the appropriate competent authority.

You can also read guidance published by the Czech government for foreign nationals and foreign companies.

Contact the Office for the Protection of Competition if you have complaints or queries about anti-competitive practices.

There are also non-governmental organisations that provide advice to UK businesses operating in France, for example the British Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic.

These organisations are not associated with the UK government, and their views are not representative of any government policies.

Establishing and structuring your business

If you’re a UK service provider or business, you may face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a company registered in an EU member state.

You should consider if you’re likely to face:

  • additional requirements on the nationality or residency of senior managers or directors
  • limits on the amount of equity that can be held by non-nationals

UK companies and limited liability partnerships that have their central administration or principal place of business in certain EU member states may no longer have their limited liability recognised.

Setting up a business

You can find out how to set up a business in the Czech Republic on:

Sector specific information

For audit firms established and approved in EEA states under the Audit Directive, a majority of the ownership and management bodies of an audit firm must be ‘qualified persons’.

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, ‘qualified persons’ will continue to include EEA qualified auditors and EEA registered audit firms, but will not include UK qualified auditors or registered firms in future.

As a result, the ownership and management of some EEA audit firms may need to be restructured.

If you’re a UK legal professional who has investments in law firms in the Czech Republic, you should contact the Bar Association of the Czech Republic for further information on the implications for your investment.

If you’re a UK citizen, service provider or business operating in the EU and in any doubt about your legal position, seek appropriate professional advice or contact the government of the country where you own, manage or direct a company for more information.

Business travel and visa requirements

UK citizens

When the UK leaves the EU, the rules for travelling in Europe will change

Find out about passport requirements after Brexit

In the event of no deal, the European Commission has proposed granting UK citizens visa-free travel to the EU after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Under these conditions, if you’re a UK citizen you’ll be able to travel to the Czech Republic without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, for the purpose of:

  • business meetings
  • training
  • sports or cultural events
  • short-term study

Should you need to undertake activities not listed above or intend to stay beyond 90 days in any 180-day period, you will need to check with host country authorities, as visa requirements can vary between EU/EEA member states.

Professionals

If you’re engaging in a professional activity in the Czech Republic you’ll be subject to different requirements, depending on:

  • your occupation and situation
  • whether you are self-employed or an employee
  • your business and the length of your stay

Certain professions may have to meet extra conditions and you may be required to show supporting documentation at the border.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Labour Inspection Office have more information about:

  • supporting documentation
  • work and residence permits
  • other conditions
  • visas including intra-corporate transfers

Recognition of professional qualifications

The EU’s Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive provides a framework of rules on professional qualification recognition amongst the members of the EEA and Switzerland.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the MRPQ Directive will no longer apply to the UK.

If your qualification falls under the MRPQ Directive and it is already recognised as valid before exit day, it will remain valid after exit day.

For some professions there are additional sectoral frameworks, for example, audit and legal services. If your route to recognition derives from the Audit Directive, or the Lawyers Establishment Directive please see the specific advice below.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK nationals seeking recognition of their professional qualifications in an EU member state will be assessed under the rules of the host EU member state.

Legislation on the EU-wide recognition of professional qualifications

The European Commission has produced guidance on the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in the UK for professions that fall under the MRPQ Directive after EU Exit

The guidance states that:

  • if your qualification is already recognised as valid, it will remain valid
  • after the UK leaves the EU, UK nationals seeking recognition of their professional qualifications will be governed by the national policies and rules of that EU member state
  • after the UK leaves the EU, UK nationals intending to provide temporary and occasional professional services in any EU member state will be governed by that state’s national policies and rules

Read the European Commission guidance for specific professional occupations.

Information on the EU-wide recognition of professional qualifications

The European Commission’s Regulated Professions Database (REGPROF) can help you identify:

  • professions that are regulated in each EEA state and Switzerland
  • contact details of the member states’ appropriate authority for that regulated profession
  • points of single contact of each EU or EEA country, which give information on registering for professional recognition online

Information on the recognition of professional qualifications in the Czech Republic

If you are offering professional services in the Czech Republic, look at:

Statutory auditors

If you are a statutory auditor, you will need to establish whether any existing recognition you have in an EU member state will continue to be valid.

You can read:

For UK statutory auditors, the Public Audit Oversight Board of the Czech Republic (site in Czech) should be able to provide further information.

The European Commission’s guidance or ‘preparedness notice’ in relation to the MRPQ Directive outlines that lawyers who have transferred into an EU member state profession through the provisions set out in the MRPQ Directive by exit day will continue to have their qualification recognised and will be able to continue to practise should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

This preparedness notice does not deal with the recognition of qualifications under the Lawyers Establishment Directive.

If you’re a UK-qualified lawyer working in the Czech Republic, either using a Czech professional title or a UK professional title, you should contact the Czech Bar Association (site in Czech) for specific advice.

Data protection

UK businesses will need to continue to comply with data protection laws if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

To ensure continued compliance, you may need to make changes ahead of the UK leaving the EU if your business:

  • operates across the EU and/or the EEA
  • exchanges personal data with partners in the EU and/or the EEA

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) provides information on data protection and Brexit including the ‘6 steps to take’ checklist.

International data transfers

The UK government is legislating to provide that, on the UK’s exit from the EU, transfers of personal data from the UK to the EU/EEA (for example the Czech Republic) will be permitted.

No additional steps need to be taken at this point if you plan to only transfer personal data from the UK to the Czech Republic. You should review your privacy information and your internal documentation to identify any details that will need updating when the UK leaves the EU. Find out more on documentation requirements in the ICO’s six step guidance.

If you receive personal data transfers in the UK from the EU/EEA (for example the Czech Republic), you and your EU/EEA-based partners need to think about what GDPR safeguards you can put in place.

Read ICO guidance on international data transfers.

Use the ICO tool to identify and assess your options for complying with EU law on personal data transfers from the EU and EEA to the UK after 12 April 2019.

Your lead data protection authority

If you are a UK business with its headquarters in the UK but with operations in the EU and processing personal data across EU/EEA borders, you might need to deal with a lead supervisory authority in the EU.

Find out more about lead data protection authorities on the ICO website.

You can also read the European Data Protection Board’s guidance on lead supervisory authorities.

The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection is the Czech lead data protection authority.

EU representatives

If you’re a UK business that offers goods or services in the EEA, or monitors the behaviour of EEA subjects, but will not have an established presence in an EU or EEA state after 12 April 2019, you may need to employ a European representative.

Find out more about European representatives on the ICO website

Published 11 March 2019