EU citizen’s temporary residence certificate – lessons learned from COVID-19

The free movement of persons is one of the essential principles for the functioning of European integration, without which we no longer can imagine our work and private lives. Most of us use this freedom just for tourism or short-term work purposes. But many EU citizens stay in the Czech Republic on a long-term basis and the recent closure of borders has made their entry in the CR more complicated.

The coronavirus crisis has clearly shown that any advantages from the integration of European countries may be neither entirely permanent nor certain. With the closure of internal borders, many citizens of other EU countries got into very complicated situations, irrespective of whether they dwelled in the CR or were just about to arrive here. For several weeks, entry into the CR was restricted to those who were not Czech citizens or did not hold Czech residence permits. This decision made the lives of many EU citizens quite difficult, affecting also their employers who could not know when these persons would be able to resume or commence their jobs. However, these situations could have been prevented had they obtained a certificate of temporary residence.

The Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals explicitly stipulates a reporting duty for EU citizens whose stay exceeds 30 days. Within thirty days of their arrival, foreigners must visit the Czech Alien Police and report their place of residence (unless the foreigner’s address is reported by an accommodation provider). Foreigners are quite often unaware of this duty. However, there is also another option how to meet this duty, with a number of advantages: applying for a certificate of temporary residence, i.e. a document that rather than a residence permit is an official certificate of temporary residence in the CR, issued by the Asylum and Migration Policy Section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Apart from the fulfilment of the reporting duty, the certificate may also significantly help in dealing with certain ordinary life-related matters such as applying for parking permits in blue zones, mortgages and loans, or purchases and registrations of vehicles.

Above all, certificate holders acquire the status of a person with a Czech residence permit. It cannot be excluded that internal borders within the EU will again be closed in the future as a result of negative pandemic developments and only foreigners holding Czech residence permits will be allowed to cross the Czech borders. The certificate of temporary residence that may now seem an unimportant technicality may thus help prevent many unpleasant situations.

 

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