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Increasing the Czech language level required for obtaining permanent residency

What has the amendment to the law brought?

The government has passed an amendment to the law regarding the Czech language level required for obtaining permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic. In this article, we’re going to describe the amendment in more detail and advise you on what to watch out for when applying for permanent residence.

What’s the amendment about and who does it concern?

If you’re a foreigner living in the Czech Republic and you’re planning on applying for a permanent residence permit, you’ll newly be obliged to pass an A2 level Czech language exam, as opposed to the previously required A1 level. That means you’ll be facing a more difficult preparation. The obligatory Czech language exam does not apply to citizens of the EU and their family members.

Why the change?

This change aims to support foreigner’s self-reliance and motivate them to study the Czech language. Thanks to a higher level of Czech, they’ll have a better understanding of received information, they’ll be able to solve their issues at various offices, talk to doctors, inform themselves about their kids’ school grades and behavior etc., without needing an interpreter or another third-party. The change was decided on by an expert group made of representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior, Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies at Charles University, and other concerned institutions. Another sound argument is that at least an A2 level language exam is one of the requirements for permanent residence in almost all EU countries.

When does this new rule take effect?

Starting on the 1st of September, any applicants applying for permanent residence will have to take the A2 level exam. If you apply before the 1st of September (or if you’ve already applied), the amendment does not concern you and you’ll only have to prove an A1 level of Czech, just like it used to be. However, to be eligible to apply for permanent residence, you need to meet all of the requirements described down below. One of these requirements is 5 years of residence in the territory of the Czech Republic to the date of the application submission. That means that if you haven’t resided in the Czech Republic for 5 years by the 31st of August, you CANNOT apply for permanent residency and avoid the raised Czech level exam.

What does the exam look like?

The exam is made up of two parts – oral and written. The oral examination takes about 15 minutes and focuses on understanding basic information about day-to-day life and the ability to communicate such information. Grammatical errors and expressing yourself in simpler sentences are not a reason for failure. The written examination takes about 2 hours and consists of reading and listening comprehension and writing exercises. Before the examination, we’d recommend attending Czech language courses specially designed for permanent residency examination, so that you may get familiar with the format of the exercises.

How much does the exam cost?

Your first attempt can be paid for using a free-of-charge voucher, which you can obtain from the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior. Any subsequent attempts cost 2500 CZK.

How to learn the required level of Czech?

We’d recommend attending language courses run by nonprofit organizations and Centres for the integration of foreigners, which include the ICP :-) You can find more information about the courses HERE.

You can also make use of preparational e-materials, available on the www.zkouskaA2.cz website, on Facebook or YouTube.

You can of course also attend commercial courses in language schools and other institutions. 

What requirements must you meet and what do you need to apply?

A) If you’re a third-country national, you must submit with your application:

    • A document proving your uninterrupted stay in the Czech Republic for at least 5 years
    • Passport
    • 1 photo
    • Proof of accommodation
    • Proof of funds
    • Czech language exam certificate

B) If you’re an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen, you must submit with your application:

    • a document proving your uninterrupted stay in the territory of the Czech Republic for at least 5 years. If you’re a family member of an EU citizen, you may opt to prove an uninterrupted stay of only 2 years – however, in this case, you’ll also have to meet some other conditions. For more information, please make an appointment for our legal counseling at +420 252 543 846.
    • Passport (EU citizens may submit their ID card)
    • 2 photos
    • Proof of accommodation

Under what circumstances may your application for permanent residency be rejected?

Each application is evaluated individually and it’s always necessary to meet all of the conditions we’ve listed in the previous paragraph. If you fail to meet any of the requirements, your application will be rejected.

What questions did some of our clients have regarding this topic?

  • Can I use the voucher from the DAMP if I’ve picked it up before the amendment?
    • Yes, you can use the voucher for your A2 level exam, so don’t throw it away.
  • I’ve already passed an A1 level Czech exam, but I won’t meet the condition of 5 years of stay in the Czech Republic by the 31st of August. What does that for me?
    • Unfortunately, in this case, you’ll have to pass the exam again – but this time it’ll have to be the A2 level. You’re going to have to pay for it yourself – the DAMP won’t issue a new voucher.
  • I’ve met all the requirements for permanent residency, but I can’t register for a Czech language exam by the 31st of August, because the capacity is full. What should I do?
    • In this case, submit your application for permanent residence without the Czech language certificate. You’ll be given some time to take the A1 level exam and deliver the language certificate after the 31st of August.
  • If my application for permanent residence is rejected due to not meeting some of the requirements, will I have to take the Czech language exam again?
    • Yes, you’ll have to reapply for permanent residence again, including retaking the Czech language exam, this time at an A2 level. 

Got more questions?

If you’ve got any more questions, please feel free to attend our legal counseling. You may book the counseling by phone at +420 252 543 846 or email at info@icpraha.com.

We wish you good luck and patience.

Your ICP