Saturday, November 20, 2010

Czech visa renewal

It was only 4 months ago that I was granted my first Czech visa, but since I am here on a spouse visa, they could only grant me till my hubby's visa's expiration date which was until Nov 12th. 

The application process can be started four months prior to the expiration, so theoretically speaking, I could have started the process right after getting my first visa, but who wants to worry about it until the last minute :)  The important thing to remember is that you need to apply at least 2 weeks before the expiration date.  I was planning my Japan trip around the timeframe, so we decided to go ahead and submit whatever we can to the foreign police in mid Oct before my trip to Japan.

It required me a lot of work when I applied for the visa the first time (see here and here). The renewal is easier in a sense that you don't have to go to the Czech embassy in a neighboring country and you need less documents. The application can be submitted to the local foreign police, which however is only open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8am to 5pm and Fridays from 8am to noon.

For the renewal, you have to submit the following documents:
- Copy of your passport picture page
- Copy of your visa
- Application form
- Accomodation contract covering the entire duration of visa
   * the signatures of owners authenticated by notary
   * all owners have to be mentioned and signed in the accommodation contract
   * land register statement: the person who signed the contract has to be the same person who is written in the land register statement
   * If the flat association called “Druzstvo” exists, you also have to get the confirmation from Druzsto that the foreigner can live there
- Official translation of marriage certificated with an apostille from California Secretary of State
- Insurance covering the duration of visa

Insurance here works quite differently here. In the US or Japan, you can be on your spouse's insurance. Here, you can't. You have to have your own insurance. And, as a foreigner, you have to have a specific type of insurance, which is not that cheap unfortunately. In my case, we had to pay around CZK 35K (much cheaper compared to the US, but still a big ouch!)  for an annual coverage.

After coming back from Japan, I prepared all the additional documents and went down to the foreign police. Well, I accidentaly went there on Tuesday and only found out it was closed.  So, I went back again on Wednesday, especially because I needed to get a new address stamped in my passport for my driver's license as well. They accepted all the docs and gave me the stamp I wanted after a lengthy explanation. They told me to come back on Friday the 12th to get my visa. 

On Friday, I finished other admin stuff and went down to the police station at 11:20am (40 mins before their closing time).  But, guess what?  It was closed!  How come??  I tired to open the door nobs and tried the bell several times, but nothing! I guess they randomly close earlier some times. :-( So, I reluctantly got on the packed tram (reminded me of the rush hour train in Tokyo in fact...) and went back to my apratment.

Monday morning, I went back, and the process was ultra smooth. The lady who was there could not speak English that much, but she was very friendly (no one ever was friendly there before) and NICE (and no one ever was that nice there before, either).  She pasted the visa sticker in my passport, logged some information into the database, and that was it.  I got my visa!  Now I don't have to deal with this for another year. Whew!

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