Consular fees payable by card at 76 more embassies
Since March of last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the CR has been testing a non-cash payments project at selected embassies. During the testing period, it was possible to pay consular fees at these embassies not only in cash, by bank transfers or cheque, but also by credit card. Now the ministry is significantly expanding this service.
From 1 May 2021, 76 offices around the world have joined the embassies in London, Sydney, Brussels and Moscow that were included in the pilot project. The main objective was to cover all EU countries, which was achieved, except for the embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. Card payment can also be used by applicants in e.g. Tel Aviv, Washington and Hanoi.
Among the fees that can be paid by card are those for issuing a new passport or a visa. The fees will be debited in crowns or in euros. If the fee is paid from a foreign exchange account, it will be debited at the current rate set by the bank with which the account is held.
This extension of services, long called-for by applicants, will contribute to greater comfort when paying fees, and will also be safer from an epidemic point of view, as cash payments pose an increased risk of infection.
According to the ministry, the introduction of card payment for fees is not the end of the improvements to the quality of consular services: in the coming months and years, the ministry plans to further extend the list of embassies and matters where card payment is possible, and even introduce possibility to pay fees online, for instance.