Moving To Prague: Things to Know Guide For Expats and Students

Prague is known the world over as a center of culture, with a large number of art galleries, theaters, concert halls, museums and historically interesting buildings throughout the city. It is both the Czech Republic’s capital, and it’s the largest city, boasting a long history (having been founded in the 7th century). Trailing only Paris, London, Rome and Istanbul in visitors to European cities – Prague attracts tourists and expats alike.

For all of these reasons, or perhaps because of new employment within the city – you may be moving to Prague soon. If that’s the case, you’ll need detailed knowledge about the required documents and import duties that customs requires. Otherwise, your belongings could be delayed endlessly or shipped back to your origin country. It’s even possible that you could incur heavy fees, while your goods are impounded and stored at the port or point of entry.

To help you avoid this unpleasant and unnecessary scenario, we’ll cover the basics when it comes to importing your household belongings and vehicle into the Czech Republic, during your relocation to Prague.

Are There Import Duties For Your Household Goods?

Three Requirements For Exemption

You’ll be relieved to hear, that your household goods can all be moved to Prague without paying any import duty or tax. This assumes you meet the three guidelines required for you to be exempt. The first is that your belongings be purchased a minimum of six months ago and that you’ve been using them personally. The second is that you’ve lived outside of the Czech Republic for at least the last year. The third and final requirement is that you bring your items into the country, within a year of receiving your Czech visa.

An Additional Rule

Though this additional regulation isn’t required upfront to pass through customs under exempt status – you must follow it, or your status will be rescinded. Customs mandates that you do not sell any of your belongings during your stay in the country – otherwise you may be charged import fees after-the-fact.

Requirements to Be Allowed Entry

Separate from the guidelines governing import duty exemption, if you don’t meet these requirements, your shipment won’t be cleared to enter the country. It’s necessary that the company you’ll be working for in Prague, have a valid business license issued by the Czech government. It’s also required that you contact the local government in Prague – to obtain the accreditation and registration you’ll have to present to customs.

Also, if you don’t have a lease or contract showing your housing has been confirmed within the country – your shipment will be denied entry. Customs does provide you up to six months to get this contract to them, but presumably, your shipment won’t be released until this paperwork has been submitted. Finally, you’ll need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number, or your shipment will be unable to proceed.

What Paperwork Do You Need?

An Experienced Company Will Streamline the Process

You’re no doubt expecting the paperwork requirements to be quite heavy, and this is often the case when relocating to a new country. Unfortunately, if you aren’t highly experienced concerning the logistics involved in international moving – it’s very possible that you’ll have irregularities or omissions in your documentation. This can cause some potentially serious problems, ranging from delays or more detailed inspections to having your goods denied entry altogether.

The best strategy to sidestep this kind of potential disaster is to work with a qualified international moving company. Not only will they be well-versed in the ins and outs of the custom’s inspection process – but they’ll be aware of all the documentation you’ll need.

Required Documentation

Though an experienced shipping company will guide you through the process, you should still have a good idea of what paperwork you’ll need to gather – before undertaking your move into Prague. Czech customs will need to see your passport and Original Bill of Lading or Air Waybill.

You’ll also need to show your Residence Visa and Letter of Employment from the company you’ll be working for in Prague. This must be on the official business letterhead, and state how long you’ll be in the Czech Republic for work, the title of your job and a confirmation that the company will cover all import duties or taxes. Presumably, this last statement is just a further guarantee, should you fail to pay any required taxes or duties yourself.

Proof of medical coverage is also mandatory, for all non-citizens entering the country – and this coverage must be valid within the Czech Republic to satisfy this requirement.

Further Paperwork

As already mentioned, customs won’t release your shipment until you submit your lease or housing contract. This lease must be for a minimum of two years, according to some sources. Also, some reputable sources mention the need for a Bank Guarantee, which should be for half the full value of your shipment. This deposit will be refunded after you receive stamped approval at the border or point of entry for all of your paperwork – and these documents are delivered in person to customs.

You’ll also need to provide customs with a Power of Attorney, giving permission to your international shipping company to move the shipment through customs for you. A detailed inventory that includes all the monetary values of your items is also needed. Take note that any electronic items are required to have the company that makes them, model number and serial number listed. Finally, this form should be written in Czech and requires that you write the date and pen your signature. The last piece of paperwork customs will request, is your Official Declaration. This states how long you plan to stay in the country.

Are There Import Duties For Your Vehicle?

Import Duty Discussed

Unfortunately, the regulations regarding import tax and duty are a bit fuzzy – which just highlights the need to work with a qualified international vehicle shipping company. One respected source mentions that usually you’d be required to pay an import tax for CZK 10,000 – but this can be exempted. You only have to prove that you’ve lived outside the Czech Republic for a minimum of the last 12 months and that you’ve been using the vehicle for the previous 6 months.

Other sources don’t specifically disagree, but they only discuss temporary importation. Whether bringing your vehicle with you for a long-term move into the country falls under this category of temporary importation, isn’t clear. That said, if your shipment is classified as a temporary import, you’re required to take it with you (export) when you move back out of the Czech Republic. Thus, you cannot sell it while you’re living in the country.

Your vehicle would also only be allowed to remain inside the country’s borders, during the term of your temporary work contract. To learn more about how your import will be classified – and indeed if there are even different classifications such as temporary and permanent vehicle importation – you should contact Czech customs to get the latest information available. You’ll also need to contact them if you plan to import a new vehicle, as import duty and value-added tax apply in this situation.

What Are the Requirements For Duty Exemption?

The possible different import classifications aside, there are certain requirements which you must meet to be eligible for duty exemption. Your vehicle needs to be purchased by you at least six months before shipping it to the Czech Republic. You’re also required to use it personally during that time. Another regulation is the overall age of the vehicle, and it must not be older than 5 – 8 years (depending upon what source you consult).

Additionally, a specialized inspection (call the Czech Technical Inspection or STK for short) is required. If your vehicle fails this inspection, it likely won’t be allowed into the country. If you do successfully pass, you’ll be given a certificate giving you permission to operate it in the Czech Republic for the next three months. During this time, you’re required to get the vehicle registered for permanent authorization to operate it.

However, it may be possible to just submit to a technical inspection every 3 months to obtain a new certificate – if you plan to live in the country for less than a year. You should also be prepared to present both the written technical specifications of your particular vehicle and the owner’s manual during your inspection.

Additional Regulations, Registrations, and Taxes

Also, be aware that additional regulations, registrations or taxes may apply. One example is the need to display a road usage tax sticker in your window when operating your vehicle on the main highways. You can purchase these at gas stations – though whether you can pay the tax, there isn’t mentioned.

What Paperwork Do You Need?

Required Documentation

Bringing a vehicle into the Czech Republic requires that you have all your ducks in a row – which includes presenting the appropriate documentation. You’ll need your passport, housing lease agreement, a driver’s license (this must not be expired) and your Residence Permit. Customs will also want to see the certificate of title and the registration from the origin country, for the vehicle in question.

A receipt, purchase agreement or invoice is also required – and this must state if the vehicle was new when you bought it, the date and the city where the sale was completed. The owner’s manual is also a necessary piece of paperwork, along with a Power of Attorney if you’ve hired a third-party shipping company to complete the customs process for you.

What Shipping Company Should You Select?

A great deal of care should be taken when selecting an international shipping company. It’s vital that they have the expertise, equipment, infrastructure, and proficiency to handle the complexity involved in an international move. You should also select an outfit that can handle both your household goods and your vehicle – as hiring two different companies to handle these shipments can lead to a logistical quagmire.

A-1 Auto Transport Inc has more than two decades of experience with all types of international shipping, and they have the experience to do the job right. Having all commercially-available shipping methods at their disposal – they can handle your relocation whether you wish to transport your goods by land or sea. They’re especially proficient when it comes to the delicate task of shipping your vehicle – and doing so without damage or unnecessary custom’s fees or delays due to improper paperwork.

For a move to beautiful Prague without the stress, uncertainty and unexpected complications that occur all-to-often without world-class help, choose a professional company for all your international moving needs.

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