Thursday, May 13, 2010

Applying for Czech visa

I seem to be applying for visas all my life... Starting out with the F1 visa that I got for the US college, I once had J1 to teach Japanese in Allegheny College. Then H1 to work in the US, etc.  Now I need to apply for a spouse visa in order to be able to stay in Czech Republic with my hubby. 

The process has been rather cumbersome, and unfortunately the information regarding the documents that I need to prepare for the visa application has not been very crystal clear. We thought we prepared all the documents necessary and went to the Czech Embassy in Bratislava to apply for a visa last weekend, but we failed to do that as we didn't have the translation of certain documents :-(   Hopefully by next week, we will have everything, so that I can apply asap.

In order to apply for a visa here in Czech Republic, you have to present the following documents to the Czech embassy:
- Passport
- Application form (for Schengen Visa) + 1 photo
- Proof of funds to cover the cost of stay in the territory
- Marriage certificate
- Copy of rental contract or the document confirming the availability of accommodation
- Police record proving that you don't have a criminal record (in my case both from the US and from Japan)

With regards to the US police record, it was easy. You can simply sign the paper claiming that you never committed any crimes in the US, and go to the notary office and get the paper notarized. 

However, for the Japanese police record, you actually have to go to the police station where your last "Jumin-Hyo (registration of residence type of official goverment record)" was registered, submit the application with required documents, and wait for a week for them to get a police record in a sealed envelope (you shall not open it!).  Then, you have to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, submit the envelope to get an apostille from them.  It typically takes only one day, but since I had to leave the next day, I called them in advance to arrange a quick turn around. The envelope is again sealed. But, not yet done! Once you have that, then you have to go to the Japanese Embassy in Prague (or have someone go there on behalf of you by writing a letter explaining why you cannot go by yourself), and have the document translated into Czech. This process typically takes up to 3 days, but we contacted them in advance and managed to get the translation back in 1 day (well, someone from my hubby's office kindly went there for me for this part of the process). The final sealed envelop after all these processes is the one you have to take for the visa application. You can also get the Japanese police record through theJapanese embassy in Prague, but it will take up to 2 months.

What we didn't have was the translated marriage certificate. We got the apostille from the California government, but apparently we needed to make a copy of the certificate/apostille, have them translated into Czech, and get a notary on the translated documents. 

Fortunately and very luckily, we have people from my hubby's company helping us on preparing the translation and notary. Thank you!!!  I should be very close to apply for the visa!

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