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Travelling in the EU / Schengen

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Summary information about visa-free regime

Short-term stays and relevant legislation

The rules for short-term stays - entry, stay, visa requirement, visa requirement exemption, and procedures and conditions concerning the granting of short-term visas - are, apart from some exceptions, dictated by European legislation, specifically.

For the purposes of short-term stays, a distinction must be made between states applying a common visa policy, i.e. states for whom the aforementioned Council Regulation No. 539/2001 is binding, specifically the section thereof containing a list of third countries whose citizens must hold a short-term visa when crossing internal borders (Annex I to the Regulation), and a list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from this requirement (Annex II of the Regulation). The states applying a common visa policy are all the Schengen Area states and also Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus.

The rules for entry, stay and granting of short-term visas laid down by the aforementioned Schengen Borders and Visa Code are binding for all member states of the Schengen Area. Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus are not yet part of the Schengen Area; please contact the appropriate authorities of those countries for conditions of entry, stay, granting visas as well as recognition of a Schengen visa for entry to their territory. (information correct at August 2016: Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Cyprus all allow entry to their territories to the holders of a valid Schengen visa, and also to holders of long-term visas or residence permits issued by Schengen states. For the latest information concerning entry to the territory of those countries, in particular information concerning the conditions that a specific Schengen visa, long-term visa or residence permit must satisfy, please contact the appropriate authorities of those countries directly. The Czech Republic cannot guarantee entry to the territory of another state).
 

Basic information and rules for short-term stays - with visa requirement / visa-free

A short-term stay is a stay of a maximum of 90 days during any 180-day period, which means a period of 180 immediately preceding each day of stay (note: the length of stay is calculated according to the entry and exit stamps entered into the relevant travel document at the border-crossing point). For the purposes of such short-term stays, European legislation divides third countries into those whose citizens must hold a visa, and those whose citizens are exempt of such conditions for entry and short-term stay in the territories of the states applying a common visa policy.

The rule of a maximum duration of a short-term stay in the Schengen Area of 90 days in any 180-day period applies for both of the above categories. In the case of third country nationals with the requirement to hold a visa, a short-term stay is governed by the further conditions of the visa granted, i.e. the number of entries (visas for one, two or multiple entries), territorial validity (visas valid for the entire Schengen Area or a visa with limited territorial validity for selected member states) and also the visa expiry date and the length of permitted stay for which the consulate has granted according to the intended trip.

In addition to the general 90/180 rule, third country nationals who are required to hold a visa must behave according to what the specific visa that they hold permits them. Third country nationals of those countries that are exempt from the requirement to hold a visa may stay in the territory of the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. Before exceeding this max. permitted period, they must leave the Schengen Area. Third country nationals are not permitted to enter again until they satisfy the stipulated conditions, i.e. that upon entering they do not breach the aforementioned rule of maximum duration of short-term stay (90/180).

We recommend using the "Schengen calculator", a useful tool for checking that you are not breaking this rule (to redirect to the European Commission website, please click on this link):

Exemption from the requirement to hold a visa for short-term stays does not apply to third country nationals who intend to perform gainful activities in the territory of the Czech Republic. For a stay exceeding 90 days, a national long-term visa or residence permit issued by a certain Schengen state (according to the state in which such long-term stay is to take place).

The mere fact that a third country national has made an application for a visa or a residence permit, does not entitle him/her to exceed the aforementioned time limit.

For the purpose of identification outside the Czech Republic, a third country national who is staying in the Czech Republic on a residence permit must hold both a valid travel document and a valid biometric residence card. A residence card is not a travel document.
 

Combination of long-term and short-term stay

Third country national may stay in the territory of the Czech Republic without a visa for a period not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period on condition that they hold a valid travel document and a residence card issued by another Schengen state, or long-term visa issued by another Schengen state. In the same way, a third country national may stay in the territory of other Schengen states for a period not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period on condition that he/she holds a valid travel document and a residence card or long-term visa issued by the Czech Republic.

Before expiry of a long-term visa / residence card the holder must leave the Schengen Area; this does not apply to third country nationals who are exempt from the requirement to hold a short-term visa. After their long-term visa or residence card expires, such persons may begin their short-term, visa-free stay within the Schengen Area for a max. period of 90 days in any 180-day period and only afterwards they must leave the Schengen Area. Before the long-term visa/residence expires, the third country national must leave the member state in which they were staying on a long-term visa/residence card, and only later return to that state; without interrupting the short-term stay, this would constitute one continual, uninterrupted long-term stay for which the it would be necessary to hold the relevant authorisation according to national legislation (long-term or permanent residence or valid long-term visa).
 

Stay on the basis of bilateral visa exemption agreements

If a bilateral visa exemption agreement exists between the Czech Republic and the third country national’s country of origin, he / she is allowed to stay in the territory of the Czech Republic for longer than the Schengen rules for short-term stays (90/180). You can find information about bilateral visa exemption agreements between the Czech Republic and third countries and the rules for implementing them here.

  


Department for Asylum and Migration Policy, December 11th, 2017

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