Long a popular tourist destination, the Czech Republic is becoming a trendy expat destination. Prague has a relaxed and cosmopolitan charm, and is home to the European headquarters for many international corporations. If you’re looking for a cultured city that offers a high standard of living and a thriving social scene, Prague is a great choice.
Working in the Czech Republic
As a member of the European Union, the Czech Republic has a highly developed economy. While the auto industry is the largest industry in the company, the technology and financial sectors are growing. If you’re not a member of an EU nation and plan to be in the country for more than 90 days, you will need to obtain a long-term residence permit. If you’re primary purpose is work, your work permit will double as a long-term residence permit. You will need to find a potential job before applying for the work permit. Work permits are valid for up to two years but can be renewed. Because the US has a double taxation treaty with the Czech Republic, US expats will only owe Czech taxes on their Czech income.
Despite being in the EU, currency is the Czech crown, not the Euro. In order to open a bank account, you will need your passport and may need proof of a Czech residence.
Life and Lifestyle in the Czech Republic
The cost of living is low compared to Europe, and housing is generally affordable, although costs are rising. Housing in Prague is more expensive than elsewhere in the country. Public transit is inexpensive and easy to access; because of this, many expats (especially in Prague) forgo owning a car. Clothing, however, is more expensive than elsewhere in Europe, so keep an eye out for bargains at vintage stores.
In order to rent an apartment, you will need to provide proof of income, a copy of your visa or passport, and possibly references from previous landlords. Deposits of one to two months rent are customary, and any damages will be deducted from it. It is possible for expats to buy property in the Czech Republic, but be aware that English language listings often have higher listing prices than on Czech listings, which are already 10-15% above their market prices.
The Czech Republic has quality, western healthcare, and Prague in particular is becoming a hub for healthcare. Anyone working in the Czech Republic is automatically enrolled in the country’s public health insurance, but short term, non-working residents and retirees will need to buy insurance, and having health coverage is required by law.
Czech is the primary language, and while younger Czechs may speak English, it will be hard to get by on just English, especially outside of Prague. Take the time to learn some basic Czech before you go. Czechs are straightforward and direct, so don’t expect a lot of elaborate politeness or accommodation.
Moving with Kids
Public schools, including university, in the Czech Republic are free for legal residents and EU nationals. The language of instruction is Czech. Many expats, however, keep their children in private, national schools. School years run from September thru late June.
Moving to the Czech Republic
If you’re ready to take the leap and move, think carefully about what you’re bringing. You’ll need to partner with a good moving company whether you’re moving your whole house or just the essentials to get you through a year or two.