For those unfamiliar with the Czech language, a visit to the Ministry of Interior can be quite a daunting experience, especially when going in underprepared. With the long lines, frustrating bureaucratic procedure, stacks of paperwork, and most importantly, a breakdown in communication, the process can get stressful and needlessly expensive.
But don’t worry, your experience can be as hassle and cost-free as possible with these helpful pointers for handling the Ministry of Interior like a champ.
First things first, whether you’re applying for a visa or an employee card, you need to have a crystal clear idea of the documentation you’re expected to bring. Although you can find lists of required documents online, it is highly advised to consult with a professional to guarantee you fully understand each and every detail.
Although there are plenty of visa assistance companies advertised online, they can be expensive and in many ways unnecessary, especially considering that there are several NGO’s to choose from (we suggest Poradna pro integraci) who essentially provide many of the same services absolutely free. It really comes down to your comfort zone.
A paid visa help service will consult, help you make appointments, and assist you to various offices. An NGO, on the other hand, consults you on how to handle the process on your own. Regardless of which you decide to go with, if it’s your first time visiting the Ministry, get some professional advice beforehand.
Make An Appointment
This might seem like a no-brainer, but making an appointment in advance goes a long way in ensuring the experience will be as painless as possible. The last thing you need before beginning the process of presenting your stack of documentation to the MOI officer is to pointlessly wait in a long line for several hours.
Do yourself a favor; set up an appointment online at the Foreigners Registration System.
The FRS registration process is quick and easy. Once you’ve made the appointment, you’ll receive all of the necessary info for your visit via email. You just need to show up no earlier than a half hour before your scheduled time or up to 15 minutes after.
Once you’ve arrived at the MOI, find a kiosk, type in the number supplied in the email, and wallah! You’re usually seen in five minutes or less. When it’s this efficient, why even consider doing it any other way?
Bring A Czech Speaker
Going to the MOI alone as a non-Czech speaker can be a serious gamble when it comes to communicating. Yes, when visiting restaurants, shops, and similar establishments in Prague, it’s common that someone will be able to speak to you in some degree of English. The same doesn’t apply to the Ministry of Interior and most other government offices.
This is not to say that no one will speak English, only that the chances are much less likely.
You may say to yourself, “that’s fine, I’ll just use Google Translate.” This is also not an ideal option. The problem with Google Translate is that for it to work efficiently a strong data signal is preferable and unfortunately the MOI, like many other buildings in the Czech Republic, are built of dense construction which can make obtaining a phone or data signal difficult.
The best plan is to simply bring a Czech language speaker along. Having language assistance will better guarantee that you understand everything clearly, which is especially important in the case you’ve presented incorrect or incomplete documents.
It’s important to keep in mind that the MOI officer is holding your future in Prague in their hands. The last thing you want to do is make the process more frustrating for them by coming in without a means for clear and easy communication.
Ensuring your stay in the Czech Republic is too important to gamble. For everyone’s sake, come with someone who understands the language, or even better, a Czech native.