Guidance

Living in the Czech Republic

Advice for British people living in the Czech Republic, including information on Brexit, health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

Living in the Czech Republic

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in the Czech Republic, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.

Brexit

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU while the UK remains in the EU.

For more information please visit UK Leaving the EU: What You Need to Know.

Health

Healthcare in the Czech Republic

The UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid for holidaymakers and temporary visitors who need to use the state health system while in another EU country. For more information please visit NHS website.

If you intend to settle permanently in the Czech Republic you need to either obtain Form S1 (previously E106), which indicates that you have made full National Insurance contributions in the UK, or to arrange health insurance with a commercial company on arrival. For further advice contact the

If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension, request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999. If you are in receipt of an exportable DWP benefit you can request an S1 form the office which pays your exportable benefit. It is your responsibility to keep the Overseas Healthcare Team or office which pays your exportable DWP benefit up to date with any changes in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to an S1 (E121). When received, register the S1 form with your local social security office, before you register with your local GP surgery and obtain a medical card.

Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle) Room TC001, Tyneview Park Whitley Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE98 1BA, Tel 0191 218 1999, (Mon-Fri 08:00-17:00).

The Czech health care system provides a high level of professional medical care, which is paid for by a range of health insurance providers. As a foreigner seeking medical care in the Czech Republic, it is essential that the person has medical insurance to pay for the cost of care – such as in the event of a sudden illness or injury.

In the Czech Republic a foreigner can be insured either under the public health insurance program or through some type of travel (commercially sold and provided) health insurance coverage.

In the Czech Republic, healthcare services are basically paid for by one of the public health insurance companies. All individuals have to have insurance – it is mandatory that no qualifying individual can be denied coverage by a public health insurance company. In the case of employment, the employer pays for health insurance at the rate of 13.5% of your income (of which one third is paid by the employee and two thirds by the employer). In certain cases, the insurance premiums are paid for by the state (dependent children, pensioners, etc).

A foreign person participates in the public health insurance program and obtains the same rights to receive care paid for by public health insurance as other insured persons, if they are either of the following:

  • a person with a ‘permanent resident’ status in the Czech Republic
  • an employee of an employer with a registered address, or of a person with a permanent residence in the Czech Republic

When you visit a doctor, you will have to show your Health Insurance card. The major public health insurance companies to which you can subscribe are:

Foreign nationals without permanent residency in the Czech Republic and who are not employed in the Czech Republic cannot participate in the public health insurance program. In most such cases, these individuals will need to arrange for their own private health insurance. Such insurance is different from and independent of the public health insurance program. It is based on a contractual relationship (an insurance policy) entered into between the insured person and a private insurance company.

Further information

For information on moving to The Czech Republic, and healthcare, visit the EHIC Czech Republic website. For detailed information on Czech health insurance, please visit Czech Ministry of Health website. For more information on the Czech Social Security system, please visit the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs website.

Health cover while studying abroad

If you are going to the Czech Republic to study as part of your UK degree, your UK EHIC card will cover you for the duration of your course. If you are going to study in the Czech Republic, and your course is not part of a UK degree (for example, postgraduate studies), your EHIC will be valid for 12 months. For more information on healthcare in The Czech Republic while studying, please visit the Studying abroad as part of a UK recognised course website. Tuition fees are far lower than in the UK, if universities charge at all. Many Czech universities also offer a wide range of programmes in English.

Education

The Czech Republic has a good standard of education for all ages. For information on the school system in the Czech Republic, please visit the Czech embassy website’s section on schooling.

Employment and recognized qualifications

As citizens of an EU member state, British citizens and their family members are not deemed to be foreigners for the purpose of employment and they have the same legal status as citizens of the Czech Republic. Further details on employment in the Czech Republic can be found on the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs website

Entry and residence requirements

You should carry your passport with you at all times for identification. Please check current Travel Advice for the Czech Republic for information on entry requirements.

Residency

After arriving in the Czech Republic you are required to report your place of residence in the Czech Republic if the expected duration of your stay is longer than 30 days. In this situation, within 30 days of entering the Czech Republic, you are required to report your presence to the appropriate Foreign Police Department that holds jurisdiction in the location of your stay in the Czech Republic. If you don’t speak Czech it would be advisable to take someone who does with you.

If you intend to stay in the Czech Republic for longer than 3 months, you can apply for a certificate of temporary residence or a permanent residence permit.

You are also bound to report a change of surname, marital status, changes in data contained in your residence card (i.e. certificate of temporary residence or permanent residence permit). In case you are staying in the Czech Republic without any residence card, these changes are to be reported to the Foreign Police. In case any residence permit/certificate was issued, changes need to be reported to the Ministry of Interior.

Ensure that your name is on the post box where you live. Not having your name on the post box could result in your post not being delivered.

Expat communities in the Czech Republic

There are many ways to network with the approximately 10,000 British nationals who live in the Czech Republic. You can find more information on Expat communities on the following site Expats.cz

We would also recommend you follow us on Facebook (Brits in the Czech Republic) and Twitter (@UKinCR) for important consular announcements or information affecting British citizens in the Czech Republic. In the event of a crisis, we will update you via social media.

Benefits

UK benefits

For information on UK benefits please visit the benefits if you are abroad section

Czech contribution-based benefits

Working and paying contributions in the Czech Republic gives you entitlement to a number of Czech social security benefits. These benefits include unemployment benefit, and permanent and temporary incapacity benefit. Note that paying contributions as a self-employed worker does give you entitlement to unemployment benefit in the Czech Republic.

If you have worked in the Czech Republic but have been told that you do not have entitlement to Czech social security benefits as you have not paid enough national insurance contributions, you must make sure you declare the contributions you have made in the UK. They can be used to make up any entitlement as though they were paid in the Czech Republic. Also make sure that, as for any benefit application, you apply in writing.

Czech unemployment benefit

A job seeker can apply for unemployment support. S/he must meet the basic condition, i.e. over the previous three years s/he must for at least twelve months has been employed or performed other gainful activity constituting the basic obligation to pay insurance for old age pension and contribution to the state employment policy. Support cannot be provided to beneficiaries of old age pension.

For the first three months the amount of the support is 50 % of the previous income, falling to 45 % for the next three months. If the job seeker retrains the amount of the support will be 60 % of the previous income throughout the period of retraining.

People from 50 to 55 can draw unemployment support for 9 months, while for people over 55 the support period has been extended to 12 months. The maximum amount of unemployment support is 2.5 times the minimum subsistence amount valid for one person over the age of 26 as of the application date for unemployment support. The maximum amount of unemployment support during retraining is 2.8 times the minimum subsistence amount valid for one person over the age of 26 as of the date he begins re-training.

Contacts Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Na Poříčním právu 1, 128 01 Prague 2, Tel.: 221 921 111

MPSV Information Office, +420 221 922 462, www.mpsv.cz

MoLSA journal, e-mail: posta@mpsv.cz

Employment Services Administration, portal.mpsv.cz, e-mail: ssz@mpsv.cz

Labour offices (according to address of permanent residence) portal.mpsv.cz

Czech disability benefit

Full disability pension

An insured person may qualify for a full disability pension provided that:

  • s/he has become fully disabled and has completed the required period of insurance and s/he has not fulfilled conditions for entitlement to old age pension on the date of the beginning of the full disability, or, if s/he has been awarded a permanently reduced early old-age pension for reasons of having not reached retirement age.

  • s/he has become fully disabled as a result of an injury at work or an occupational disease

Partial disability pension

An insured person may qualify for a partial disability pension provided that:

  • s/he has become partially disabled and was insured for the necessary period.

  • s/he has become partially disabled as a consequence of an injury at work or an occupational disease

You should state any previous periods of contributions in the UK. You can prove previous periods of contribution in the UK by filling out a CA3916 and applying for a statement of National Insurance contributions from HM Revenue & Customs to assist sickness benefit claims.

Pensions

UK State Pensions

Please visit the moving or retiring abroad section for information on UK pensions for those moving abroad.

Czech Pensions

The Czech pension system consists of three parts.

The first pillar is the mandatory basic pension insurance, defined by benefits (DB) and funded on a running basis (pay-as-you-go = PAYGO). The system is universal and provides for all economically active individuals; the legal regulation is the same for all the insured persons, there are no industry-specific schemes etc. Only in the area of organizational and administrative provision there are some variations in the so-called power sectors (e.g. soldiers, policemen, customs officers, fire-fighters). The pension from the basic pension insurance is drawn by more than 99 % of the population in the retirement age.

In addition, there is a voluntary complementary additional pension insurance with state contributions, defined by contributions (DC), and capital funded. The additional pension insurance can be, according to EU terminology, considered the third pillar of the pension system. The third pillar also includes products offered by commercial insurance companies – particularly life insurance. Pensions granted from the third pillar so far represent only a negligible portion of incomes of the retired.

As of January 1, 2013, pension reform has ushered in parametric changes to the mandatory first pillar, transformation of the voluntary third pillar and the creation of the new voluntary second pillar. The goal of changing the pension system was to offer more means to financially safeguard retirement savings and motivate Czechs to invest responsibly.

Newly implemented savings in the second pillar offered by pension companies are embodied as partially opting-out of the first pillar, allowing participants to re-direct 3% of social insurance payments into the second pillar with the expectation that an additional 2% will be contributed from gross employee earnings.

For more information on the Czech Pension system, visit the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs website.

Life certificates

If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped. Call the IPC on +44 (0) 191 218 7777 for any queries you might have.

Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. This is now the same as the list of people who can ‘countersign’ a passport photo, although they don’t need to live in the UK, or have a British or Irish passport.

Driving licences and vehicles

Importing your UK-registered vehicle from the UK to the Czech Republic If you spend longer than 185 days of the year in the Czech Republic with your UK-registered car, Czech law says you must register your vehicle with the Czech authorities. The time starts from when you enter the Czech Republic. You will need to produce full documentation for your car, as well as your latest MOT certificate. For information on the complete process, visit the website of the Ministry of Transport (in Czech only).

UK-registered vehicles being driven in the Czech Republic must comply with all UK requirements for road tax, MOT and third party insurance covering the full time period the vehicle is used in the Czech Republic.

Once the car is registered in the Czech Republic, it must pass the required Czech MOT (called STK). Driving in the Czech Republic

  • the minimum age required to drive is 18 years

  • it is not necessary to swap your British Driving licence for a Czech driving licence.

  • if you ever need proof of your entitlement to drive you will need to apply for a ‘Certificate of Entitlement’ from the DVLA

Documents required

  • driving licence (European or international),
  • ID card (EU) or passport
  • vehicle documents (small certificate of roadworthiness, third party insurance and a green card)

Basic traffic regulations

  • vehicles must drive on the right,
  • seatbelts must be worn when driving,
  • lights must be switched on all year round,
  • children (under 150 cm in height) must be strapped into a car seat
  • the speed limit on the motorway is 130 km/hour, outside a built up area 90 km/hours and inside a built up area 50 km/hour
  • pedestrians on a crossing always have right of way
  • it is forbidden to hold a mobile telephone while driving; telephoning is only possible with a hands-free set
  • the level of alcohol permitted in the blood is zero per ml

For general regulations on driving in The Czech Republic, visit the Ministry of Transport website.

Tyres in the Czech Republic

From the start of November until the end of March, cars must be fitted with winter tyres if there is a continuous layer of snow on the road, ice or black ice and/or if with a view to the weather conditions it can be anticipated that it may start snowing or freezing during your trip. Czech Republic motor insurance regulations

Czech insurance regulations differ from those in the UK. It is important to check carefully what cover your policy provides.

Documents required

  • driving licence (European or international),
  • ID card (EU) or passport
  • vehicle documents (small certificate of roadworthiness, third party insurance and a green card)

Compulsory equipment in Czech Republic:

  • First-aid kit
  • A set of replacement bulbs
  • A set of replacement fuses
  • Warning triangle - not required for two wheeled vehicles
  • Reflective jacket – EU standard EN471. The driver of a vehicle with 2 or more axles must carry a reflective waistcoat, it has to be worn in the event of a breakdown or emergency outside a built up area, on all roads, expressways and motorways. It has to be worn when exiting the vehicle in such circumstances and therefore must be kept within the car (not in the boot). The waistcoat is recommended for car passengers and for riders of mopeds and motorcycles.
  • Winter equipment - Winter tyres are compulsory from 1 November to 31 March on all wheels of passenger vehicles and must be marked M+S when there is compacted snow or ice on the road. They are also compulsory whenever the temperature is lower than 4 degrees Celsius and there is a possibility of snow or ice on the road. These regulations also apply during winter periods to roads where indicated, even if it is free of snow and ice. The minimum depth on winter tyres is 4 millimeters. As snow chains can only be used when roads are completely covered by snow, we recommend that winter tyres are fitted.

Traffic fines

If you receive a traffic fine while driving in the Czech Republic (for example for speeding/parking incorrectly/tailgating) you will be asked to pay on the spot. Be completely sure of the identity of the person before you hand the money over.

An on-the-spot fine can be up to 5,000 CZK, and the maximum fine for a traffic offence is 100,000 CZK. An official receipt should be obtained. The police are empowered to retain the driving licence if a serious traffic offence has been committed. Illegally parked vehicles may be clamped or towed away.

Finance

Taxation

Britain has a double taxation agreement with the Czech Republic to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. In accordance with Czech and international law, all residents in the Czech Republic (nationals and non-nationals alike) are required to declare assets or groups of assets held outside the Czech Republic. Assets may include bank accounts, securities, rights, insurance, annuities, property, etc. The declaration is a separate exercise to the annual tax return.

Severe penalties for incorrect, incomplete or late reporting can be incurred and the legislation also means that criminal charges can be brought in the case of non-compliance. The requirement and potential penalties are in line with standard international tax practice. Taxation is a complex issue and it is strongly recommended that professional advice is sought.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 15 November 2013
Last updated 27 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated information on Brexit.
  2. Added Brits in the Czech Republic Facebook page to the information on expat communities in the Czech Republic.
  3. First published.