All non-EU students attending an UPCES semester are required to obtain a Czech student visa.
UPCES students must apply for a LONG-STAY VISA (over 90 days) for the purpose of study. A visa application can only be submitted at a Czech Embassy or Consulate office outside the Czech Republic. In the United States, you should apply to the Embassy or Consulate that corresponds with your PERMANENT state of residence. These offices are located in:
Use the document here to find the Embassy or Consulate that corresponds with your PERMANENT state of residence.
Do I need a passport in order to apply for a Czech visa?
Yes! You cannot apply for a Czech Visa without a valid passport. If you already have a passport, it must be valid three months beyond the end of your study abroad term.
If you do not have a passport, UPCES strongly recommends you apply for a passport with expedited processing as soon as you decide to study abroad. If you apply to UPCES near the application deadline, you may need to visit a U.S. Passport Agency to request same day processing.
How does the visa process work?
To apply for a LONG-STAY VISA (over 90 days), you will need to follow these steps:
Collect the required visa documents. These documents are listed on the website of your appropriate Czech Consulate or Embassy (see links below). The UPCES office in Prague will provide you with detailed instructions and all the required Czech-language documents after acceptance to the program.
Once the application is fully completed, you will submit all materials (along with your passport) to the Consulate or Embassy. Be sure to submit everything before the relevant deadline.
You may submit your application in person OR via overnight USPS delivery. If you submit by mail, you must enclose a prepaid, self-addressed overnight envelope for return delivery. Those who live near a Czech Consulate or Embassy should apply in person, if possible.
When the Consulate or Embassy receives your application, they will review it for completion and send all materials (excluding your passport) to the visa officials in Prague.
The visa officials in Prague have 60 to 90 days to approve the application for your visa. When your visa is approved, the visa officials electronically inform your Consulate or Embassy to issue the visa directly into your passport.
The Consulate or Embassy immediately returns your passport (with your visa) via the enclosed prepaid and self-addressed USPS overnight return envelop. If you applied in person, the Consulate or Embassy will contact you to pick up the passport in person.
How long does the visa process really take?
Because complications may arise in obtaining a visa, we strongly urge all incoming UPCES students to apply for the visa as soon as they receive the necessary documents from our office. The visa process will usually take up to 90 days, and may take as long as 120 days in extreme cases. The UPCES staff will assist students as much as possible in the visa application process but it is the individual responsibility of each student to apply for a visa.
Are the visa application guidelines the same for each Czech Consulate and Embassy?
Although the guidelines will be very similar, each Consulate and Embassy may have slightly different requirements for the visa application. You need to comply with the details of the Consulate or Embassy to which you are applying as stated on their website's "Visa Requirements" webpage. Links to these webpages are available here:
My application was returned to me with an "incomplete" notice. What does this mean?
A returned application simply means the Consulate or Embassy determined something was missing from your application. In certain cases, the return notice may ask for additional documents not initially required. When this happens, please take the appropriate measures to obtain the requested documents and return your application as soon as possible. Always inform the UPCES staff of any additional requirements you are asked to meet.
I plan to travel internationally while my visa is in process. Is it possible to retrieve my passport during the visa processing time?
Yes, it is possible to retrieve your passport from the Consulate or Embassy. Although you MUST submit your original passport when you apply for your visa, you can request to have it returned to you during the processing time. To do so, you will need to submit a photocopy of your passport along with a typed letter stating the need to withdraw your original passport. If you apply for your visa in person, you may sign this letter in front of the visa officials. If you submit your application by mail, you must have the letter notarized as well. Be sure to include a prepaid, self-addressed USPS overnight envelope for the return shipment of your passport.
When your visa is approved, you must return to the Consulate or Embassy with your original passport in order for the office to issue your visa. If you cannot visit the Consulate or Embassy in person, you will have to mail in your passport and again include a return overnight USPS envelop (prepaid and pre-addressed).
My visa is only valid for the length of the UPCES semester. Can I still travel in Europe before my visa starts or after it expires?
Absolutely! If you are an American citizen, you can travel in Europe for an additional 90 days, before or after the program. If you are not an American citizen, please contact the UPCES staff for details about your travel eligibility. DO NOT extend the designated dates on your visa application to match your additional travel plans.
Sending an incomplete application to the consular office will result in a delay in processing your visa application.
You should make 2 photocopies of all documents before submitting your application. When applying to the consulate or embassy, you should submit one set of photocopies along with your original documents, and keep one set of photocopies for your personal records.
If your middle name is listed on your passport, be sure to include it directly after your first name on the visa application form.
If you apply for your visa in person, be sure to check the office's opening hours. In general, the offices are open between 9:30am and 12:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. It is best to arrive as early as possible.
The Embassy and Consulates can be difficult to reach, especially over the phone. They occasionally fail to respond to e-mail inquiries as well. If you have an urgent question, be persistent and consider visiting the Embassy or Consulates in person if you can. Be sure to inform the UPCES Director if you are having difficulties.
Visas are issued only by the Czech Embassies and Consulates located outside the Czech Republic. A visa can be issued only by the same Embassy or Consulate where the application was submitted. Applicants must wait for their application to be approved before traveling to the Czech Republic. Hence, you cannot apply for a visa in the U.S. and pick it up in the Czech Republic or elsewhere in Europe.