Family Reunification in the Czech Republic
In the globalized world a question often arises, how to unite families and close relatives when a person is moving to a foreign county for work, business, etc. This article describes the legal conditions of family reunification in the Czech Republic.
The Czech legal system offers few options how to unite the families for the purpose of their joint stay sojourn in the Czech Republic. The third-country citizens (i.e. citizens of the non-EU countries, whereby Switzerland are considered as EU) can apply for a family reunification visa with a maximum validity of one year. The application can be submitted by the foreign national who is a spouse, a minor child, or an adult dependent child of a foreigner who has a long-term or permanent residence in the Czech Republic. Application can be submitted also by foreign nationals older than 65 years who do not have a spouse or, regardless of age, by foreign nationals who are objectively unable to take care of themselves, if they are to reunify with a parent or a child having a long-term or permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic.
The application for a long-term visa over 90 days can be filed at a Czech Embassy located in the country of the applicant’s origin. In case the applicant has a long-term or permanent residence in some other country, he/she may submit the application in the country of his/her current residence. The citizens of some exempted countries such as citizens of the USA, Israel, Australia, Canada, etc. can submit the application at any Czech Embassy. The supporting documents proving the purpose of stay i.e. the family reunification are a crucial part of the application. Because of fraud prevention original documents demonstrating the relationship with the person to whom the reunification applies should be provided (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.). After the application is forwarded from the Embassy to the Ministry of the Interior of the CR, the statutory deadline for making the decision is 90 days (or 120 days in especially complicated cases).
The long-term residence permit for the purpose of family reunification is usually being granted in the CR following the visa for a stay over 90 days for the some purpose, however the application for a long-term residence may be also submitted independently on the long-term visa in same cases. The application can be submitted by the same range of relatives as in case of visas which are described above. If the applicant is already staying in the Czech Republic on the basis of a visa for over 90 days, he/she can file the application for extension to the long-term residence at the Ministry of Interior of the CR, otherwise at the relevant Czech Embassy. The long-term residence permit for the purpose of family reunification is generally being issued for a period corresponding to the validity of the residence permit issued to the person with whom the foreigner will be reunited, however not for less than 1 year (or 2 years in the case of family reunification with a holder of a permanent residence permit).
The long-term residence permit for the purpose of family reunification can be issued to a spouse or a minor child of a foreigner who has a long-term or permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic and his/her duration of stay in CR is already at least 15 months. A holder of an employee card must have been residing in the CR for at least 6 months, so that his/her closest family members can apply for the long-term residence permit soon after the employee mover to the Czech Republic. Holders of Czech Blue cards are not obliged to fulfil this condition and their family members can apply for the long-term residence for the purpose of family reunification immediately with the applicant for the Blue Card. After the application is submitted, the Ministry of the Interior has the statutory deadline for decision-making of 270 days (or 90 days in the case of family reunification with a holder of an EU Blue Card, Intra-Company Employee Transfer Card and The Intra-Company Employee Transfer Card issued by a different EU state).
A different situation occurs in case of reunification between a third-country citizen and an EU citizen. Under these circumstances the foreigner can obtain a temporary residence permit. The application must be submitted personally by a family member of an EU citizen at the Ministry of Interior office in the Czech Republic no later than 3 months after his/hers arrival to the CR. A spouse or a registered partner, parent of an EU citizen under 21 or 26 if the citizen is a dependent student, who takes care of him/her or a person who lives in a stable and serious relationship with an EU citizen other than marriage and with whom he/she shares are considered as EU family members. The relationship and cohabitation should last at least one year before the application is submitted, otherwise a more complex proceedings can be expected. Main difference from non-EU reunification is that marriage is not required. The temporary residence permit is valid for up to 5 years with the possibility of extension. The application shall be processed within 60 days after submission. However, delays can be expected according to our experience, especially in case of unmarried couples. The applicants should be ready for possible interrogations or contact visits of the Foreign Police at home. The mentioned interrogations and visits are aimed to prevent sham marriages or relationships. It is generally recommended to provide number of supporting documents to this type application. The Czech laws do not specify what documents should it be, but e.g. bank statements of a shared bank account, common photos or affidavits etc. are usually helpful.
For further information on this topic please feel free to contact:
JUDr. Monika Rutland, partner
rutland & partners, law-firm
Tel: +420 226 226 026