Surviving the Foreign Police

Surviving the Foreign Police

If you´re living Prague, or plan on living in Prague, you´re likely to encounter the bane of most expats, a truly despised institution – The Foreign Police.

Prague now has a single office that deals directly with foreigners, on Konevova street in Prague 3 (a head office still exists on Olsanska street, but this office no longer deals directly with clients.) For all non-Czech citizens in Prague, for matters regarding visas, residency, applications for asylum, declaration of stays for tourists, and more, you’ll need to take a trip to the Konevova location; unfortunately, this office does not have e-mail support – the head office does, but only for general enquiries (specific visa questions will be left unanswered).



Foreign Police in Prague:
https://www.expats.cz/go/?jHBr8FkmL8

If you´ve already been to the foreign police, then you know what to expect. If not, expect trouble. Long lines, not a word of English, and just general unpleasantness. But you´re going to have to go at some point, so here´s how to prepare:

Clear Your Schedule

Though things have improved in recent years, you´re still likely to encounter some ungainly queues at the foreign police. On a good day you may be in and out in a matter of minutes, but be prepared to wait at least two hours – possibly longer. At the very least, make sure you have an entire morning or afternoon free. I´m informed that since certain things (residency renewals/extensions, etc.) are handled on a quarterly basis, and people usually wait until the last minute to do these things (residency extensions must be filed 14 days before the old one runs out, by the way), the queues are longest at four times during the year: the months of March, June, September, and December. If at all possible, it´s recommended to avoid taking a trip to the foreign police during these months. However, the days of having to camp out overnight just to get inside the building are no more – queues at the foreign police are no longer comparable to those of a Star Wars film (though visitors may leave feeling just as depressed as viewers of the latest additions to George Lucas´ opus).

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Have Your Documents in Order

There´s only one thing worse than a trip to the foreign police – multiple trips to the foreign police. Before you take the trip, make sure you have everything you need; in fact, bring everything you might need (passport, driver´s license, library card, etc.). A phone call to the foreign police info line (420 974 841 356-7) will likely be of great help – as long as you speak Czech. If not, get someone who does to call before you go, as they should be able to tell you exactly what you need. Most expats have had their own troubles with the foreign police, and hopefully have some answers as well. A search on the expats.cz forums may also be helpful. Also, know where to go: where exactly in the building – different queues serve different needs. A Czech-speaker or someone with previous experience will again be helpful. If you don´t speak a word of Czech, you´ll likely encounter some difficulties.

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Bring an Interpreter

It bears repeating: you´re not going to find anyone who speaks a word of English (outside, perhaps, of fellow queuers) during a visit to the foreign police. It´s not absolutely necessary, and may not be possible, but it would be of invaluable service to bring a Czech speaker with you when you go. Even if you have everything in order, any kind of miscommunication could mean trouble. A few mispronounced words and you may get political asylum instead of permanent residency. Non-communication, if you don´t speak a word of Czech, may leave you staring at a befuddled officer and going home empty-handed. With someone who can understand and communicate with the foreign police, things can only go smoothly (provided, of course, that all your documents are in order).

As long as you´re informed and prepared, your visit to the foreign police should go, if not exactly smoothly, a great deal better than going in blind. You´re also much more likely to accomplish you´re reason for being there.

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Alas, getting simple information about the foreign police can also be a problem; the MVCR (Czech Republic Ministry of Interior) website houses the homepage of the Foreign Police, but they´ve also, apparently, left a good deal of outdated information on the site. Here´s what seems to be the most up to date info on the Foreign Police:

http://www.mvcr.cz/rs_atlantic/project/article.php?id=9209

With contact info, including opening hours, and the purposes of each office.

It´s all in Czech, of course.



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