How to move to the Czech Republic: a guide to buying real estate and obtaining a residence permit
The purchase of real estate in the Czech Republic is a responsible step for every foreign citizen. Buyers have to take into account dozens of factors before finally making a profitable investment in local property. At the same time, they get an opportunity to buy real estate in one of the most secure European countries with a constantly progressing economy.
Requirements for buying a home in the Czech Republic
The Czech authorities do not have high demands for citizens from other countries. The conditions for buying real estate for foreigners are the same as for the local residents. The only requirement would be to provide an international passport and an amount of money for the purchase of property. One should pay attention to the fact that neither buyers nor sellers use cash since all property transactions in the country are carried out by means of non-cash payment.
To comply with the legal requirements, foreign nationals have to open an account in any Czech bank in order to send the money to the seller. Another option is to make a money transfer directly from your country.
How to buy residential and commercial real estate in the Czech Republic
Online catalogues are great when searching for properties. Most of the Czech sites have different languages to facilitate the search of properties for buyers from the CIS countries. When visiting such websites, foreign nationals will meet a great variety of offers both from real estate agencies and physical persons. The ads will help you form an accurate opinion about the properties on the market thanks to the descriptions and photos provided along with the ads.
Another secure way is to get in touch with a real estate agency. Specialists in the agencies have access to a large database of the local housing market and are aware of all the legal nuances. They can help a foreign investor find a suitable property quicker. Besides, a realtor can be your interpreter at the same time, which is especially important, since the purchase and sale transactions in the country are conducted solely in the Czech language.
The buying process in the Czech Republic
Residential and commercial properties in the country are purchased in accordance with the following procedure:
- A buyer selects a property with the help of a real estate agency or via the internet. They can view a property or assign the entire process to a confidant. To purchase a property in the Czech Republic, a foreign investor is not obliged to do it in person.
- All parties to the transaction enter into oral negotiations related to the property.
- If the buyer is satisfied with the conditions, they conduct a proper legal review of the transaction to make sure that the property is not collateral or a part of any legal dispute and is not involved in any unpaid loans.
- Then, a preliminary agreement is concluded. The buyer makes a deposit — around 5% of the price of the property. Before making a deposit, a foreign investor has to consider all the advantages and disadvantages in case they change their mind since the seller has the right to keep the deposit.
- The buyer transfers the remaining amount to the intermediary’s bank account.
- The parties conclude the main contract.
- The intermediary makes a transfer of all funds to the seller of the residential/commercial property.
Things you need to pay attention to when buying a property in the Czech Republic
Foreign citizens purchasing local property are advised to follow these simple rules:
- before buying property, view it on your own. The internet is full of ads with inaccurate or false information about the advertised property;
- always make a deposit if you’ve decided to purchase the property in question. The deposit shows the owner that your intentions about the purchase are serious. Thus, having a down payment on hand, he will not sell his property to any other buyer;
- enter into purchase and sale transactions only in the presence of a private lawyer or notary. They will make sure that the entire procedure is going strictly by the books.
In general, buyers from the CIS countries don’t have to be concerned over the purchase of real estate in the Czech Republic. Each and every purchase and sale transaction is concluded strictly in compliance with the law.
How to obtain a residence permit and permanent residence in the Czech Republic
To move to the country legally, foreign citizens are required to get the right to a long-term stay first. To get a long-term visa, for instance for 1 year, contact the Czech consulate. When the visa expires, you can apply for a residence permit for 2 years. This document is issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A foreign national can renew it every 2 years. Having lived in the Czech Republic for 5 years, foreign citizens can apply for permanent residence.
Types of residence permit in the Czech Republic
There are several long-term visas for foreign citizens:
- For the purpose of entrepreneurship. Applicants for this visa need to have a business in the Czech Republic or at least be planning to start it in the future. To renew this document, a foreign citizen must confirm that their business is profitable, and brings the revenue of not less than the minimum level across the nation.
- For the purpose of family unification. The opportunity to obtain this visa is available for spouses, dependent parents over the age of 65 years old, and children who have not reached the age of majority yet. The document can also be issued in the case of marriage with a citizen of the Czech Republic.
- For the purpose of employment. Those applicants who are 100% guaranteed a place in a Czech company have the right to get a long-term visa for the purpose of employment.
- Blue card. Highly qualified specialists whose salary level is 1.5 times higher than the average across the country are eligible for this type of visa.
- For the purpose of study. This type of visa is issued to foreign citizens entering Czech educational institutions or applying for training courses. To get a student visa, applicants need to confirm that they are enrolled and have enough money for living expenses.
- For the purpose of scientific research. This visa is for scientists who are planning to work for a long time in one of the Czech research universities.
- For the purpose of sport. Outstanding athletes who have received an official invitation to play for a national team are the ones eligible for this type of visa.
- Investment visa. To get it, foreign businessmen are required to invest more than 2.9 million euros in the Czech economy and provide at least 20 workplaces.
Advantages of a Czech residence permit
All of the aforementioned long-term visas give foreign citizens a number of benefits:
- permission to stay in the Czech Republic 365 days a year;
- unlimited number of entries to the country;
- free movement within the Schengen Area and free stay in EU nations for 3 months every six months;
- access to the services of social insurance and medical care provided you have an insurance;
- visa extending every two years after the residence permit expires;
- free admission of children to state kindergartens, schools and universities.
Special features of permanent residence in the Czech Republic
Foreigners who have lived in the country for at least 5 years are eligible for obtaining a permanent residence permit. This requirement implies that a foreign citizen has lived in the Czech Republic on a long-term visa or a long-term residence permit for 5 years. For those who reside in the country on the basis of a student visa, it is important to note that only half of your stay actually counts.
In general, to get permanent residence, you need to meet only two requirements: to confirm your knowledge of the Czech language by successfully passing the exams, and to prove that you have enough income to reside in the Czech Republic. In addition, foreign citizens have to take into account that in order to obtain permanent residence you must not reside outside of the country for more than 10 months during the required 5 years’ period of stay in the Czech Republic. Moreover, if you have been outside of the country for more than 6 months in a row, there’s a chance your application for the required status will be turned down. The exceptions are business trips and a number of other valid reasons. In this case, the reason for the absence must be confirmed by the relevant documents. As for Czech citizenship, foreign citizens can apply for it after 10 years of stay in the country provided they complied with a number of mandatory conditions.
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