Getting a trade license has become a bit simpler

The easiest way to start doing business is to get a trade license, but it requires a bit of legwork and a lot of patience.

Business Essentials
Raymond Johnston | 28.11.2010

If you plan to do business in the Czech Republic, you will need to have more than a three-month tourist visa. One option is to get business license, or živnostenský list. This is easier than establishing a company, but it also offers fewer legal protections — it doesn’t limit your liabilities.

A business or trade license allows you to perform activity to make a profit. The law governing the licenses was changed in 2008 to make the process simpler. Instead of registering in the district you live in, you can go to any “one stop” business license office, also called a point of single contact (PSC). More informationon the PSCs is available at from state agency CzechTrade.

While the new procedures reduce the number of times you need to fill in the same information on forms for different entities, you still need additional documents, all of which need to be in Czech. Translations need to be done by a certified Czech translator. All documents have to be no more than 90 days old. Journalists, translators and language teachers are among those who no longer need to prove qualifications or obtain multiple licenses for each job area. Others may need to show translated diplomas or professional certifications.

The law also now includes a list of unlicensed trades for which you no longer need to prove qualifications and no longer need to obtain multiple licenses for each job area. This list includes editors, journalists, interpreters, translators and language teachers. For other professions, especially those in medical or financial fields, you may need to show translated diplomas or professional certifications.

The next document you need after the one-stop form from the licensing office is a clean criminal record from the countries you lived in for three or more months during the last three years. If the country you come from doesn’t issue such documents, you need a statement from your embassy. The US, for example, does not issue extracts of criminal records. The Commercial Office will obtain your Czech criminal record if you have lived in the Czech Republic for three or more months.

You also need to prove that your landlord will allow you to conduct business from your address if you are not the owner of the property. If your landlord is not willing to give permission for you to operate a business, another option is to contract with a company that provides virtual offices. You will also have to pay a Kč 1,000 administration fee.

People from outside the European Union need to show that they are allowed to reside in the Czech Republic with either a Category D visa or a long-term residency permit. EU residents need a temporary residency permit if the main reason for their stay is business. Non-EU residents without a long-stay permit of visa also need to register at the Commercial Court (Obchodní rejstřík).

If you do not have permission for a long-term stay before starting the process of getting a business license, you may need to apply for a business visa from a Czech Embassy outside of the Czech Republic.

Once the paperwork is filed, you should be able to get a business license within two weeks. You will also have to register at the social office and tax office, and pay for health insurance. It is possible to navigate all these steps on your own, but the help of someone who speaks Czech is essential as it is sometimes difficult to find English speakers working in government offices. Some private companies also offer help in getting a business license. 

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