Since 4 July 2011, the Czech Republic has been issuing residence cards containing biometric data - facial image and fingerprints taken by special technical equipment. This practice brought by common EU legislation brings several changes for third-country nationals resident in the Czech Republic (CR) on a long-term or permanent residence permit. It does not apply to third-country nationals resident in the CR on a long-term visa who are not applying for a long-term or permanent residence permit. It also does not affect EU citizens and their family members.
(With the exception of application for recognition of the legal status of a long-term resident in the EC related to permanent residence permit of the family member of an EU citizen.)
Why are biometric data collected?
Collecting biometric data serves to verify the authenticity of the residence card and confirm the identity of its holder - a third-country national. As of 20 May 2011, biometric data (facial image respectively) forms a compulsory component of residence permits for third-country nationals issued by all EU Member States.
Biometric data are collected at selected - i.e. not all - offices of the Ministry of the Interior that are adequately technically equipped (offices labeled as “BIO” on the contact list). You are subsequently required to collect your residence card at the same office that collected your biometric data within a specified period. Please note that this office might not be the same office where you submitted your relevant residence application, or else, where you normally arrange other matters connected with your residence in the CR.
In connection with biometric data, you are required to:
present yourself at the Ministry office in person to provide biometric data and to provide a signature intended for digital processing,
on demand * of the Ministry (if you are resident in the CR),
if you are issued a long-stay visa for the purpose of collecting a long-term or permanent residence permit within 3 working days of entering the CR (if you were issued a long-stay visa for the purpose of collecting a long-term or permanent residence permit by a CR diplomatic mission),
comply with the requirement to provide your biometric data and to provide your signature for digital processing,
present yourself at the Ministry to collect the residence card within the specified limit* but at latest within 60 days of your biometric data being collected for reasons of verifying your identity, and/or the correctness of the personal details appearing in the card, the functioning of the data chip with your biometric data and the correctness of the processed biometric data contained.
* If you left a telephone contact number upon filing your application, you shall be contacted at this number to arrange an appointment for having your biometric data collected, or else, to collect your residence card. If you did not provide a contact phone number or Ministry officials are unable to contact you, you shall be invited in writing to provide your biometric data, or to collect your residence card within a specified time limit. In this case, you can arrange an appointment at the Ministry in advance by telephone - see contact details.
Attention: If, after receiving the decision on a permanent residence permit or after a decision on an extension of validity of a permanent residence card, you fail to collect the completed card, you will be fined with up to CZK 10,000. If you fail to collect a long-term residence card during the issuing procedure or a procedure on the extension of its validity, your application procedure will be terminated.
Residence cards without biometric data
Residence cards issued before May 2011 will remain valid until their expiry date or until any change in the details appearing in it occur, after which they will be replaced by residence cards with biometric data. You will be invited by the Ministry to provide biometric data for the purpose of issuing a new residence card (not earlier than May 2011).
Reporting changes in details in the residence card
In the event of changes in detailsappearing in the residence card (e.g. surname or passport No.) you are required to report the change to the Ministry within 3 working days from the date when the change occurred. In case your official address changes, you are required to report this:
within 30 days from the date of the change, if you expect the change will last for more than 30 days (if you have a long-term residence permit), or
within 30 working days from the date of the change, if you expect the change will last for more than 180 days (if you have a permanent residence permit).
Possibilities for representation
In dealings with the Ministry you can be represented by a different person to whom you give a power of attorney to act on your behalf – e.g. when submitting an application for an extension of validity of your long-term residence permit. This does not apply in the case of your applying for a new long-term or permanent residence permit and acts connected with taking your biometric data and collecting your residence card.
Under the Administration Fees Act, the following fees will apply to biometric cards (in the form of revenue stamps which may be bought at every post office):
issuing a residence card or extending its validity: CZK 2,500 (CZK 1,000 for children under 15 years of age), CZK 2,500 for both adults and children in case of a permanent residence permit;
changes to the residence card: CZK 1,000;
issuing a residence card in replacement of a damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen residence card or of a residence card whose data chip is nonfunctional: CZK 4,000 (CZK 2,500 for children under 15 years of age).
Can I refuse to provide biometric data?
No, you cannot. Providing biometric data is compulsory for all third-country nationals (with the exception of family members of EU citizens) who are issued a residence card connected to a long-term or permanent residence permit [§ 103/k of Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic (pdf, 1.1 MB)].
In what situations are biometric data not collected?
Under certain circumstances, fingerprint images are not captured - if this is impossible due to anatomical or physiological changes or else physical disabilities of the fingers. In such cases, the residence card shall be issued containing only a biometric facial image (§ 117a).
What are the rules for children?
For children under the age of 6, only a facial image is captured.
My current residence card does not contain biometric data - am I required to apply for a new card?
Your existing residence card remains valid for the duration of the period written in it. You will only receive a biometric card in connection with:
extending your long-term residence permit (you are required to submit your application earliest 90 days and latest 14 days before its expiry), or
extending your permanent residence card (you are required to submit your application 90 days before the expiry of your residence card), or
needing a new residence card to be issued (e.g. due to changes in some of the details appearing in it).
What will happen with my biometric data?
Your biometric data collected in connection with issuing the residence card is stored on a data chip located in the residence card and also in the Foreign Nationals Information System. Data storage is governed by the rules for personal data protection and data are deleted 60 days after the expiry or termination of validity of the residence card (§ 160/7).
Can I test the functioning of the data chip?
Yes, you have the right to request that the Ministry confirm the functioning of the data chip. If the suspected non-functioning proves to be no fault of your own, you have the right to be issued a new card free of charge (§ 117a).