Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Although the Czech Republic is considerably more liberal than the United States, Czechs are typically more reserved than Americans, especially when meeting people for the first time. Czechs do not always smile as a social greeting as Americans, the British, and many other Westerners do. This can create a false impression that Czechs are cold or unfriendly. Czechs are more formal than Americans and a serious demeanor is regarded as a sign of respect for the visitor and the business being transacted. The Czech language uses the formal and informal forms of “you” so even if you do not speak the language, consider the fact that it is normal course for Czechs to refer to new people in a more formal manner. Business partners do not usually call each other by their first names; however, Czech businesses are becoming more comfortable with informality when dealing with foreigners. Most Czechs will not be insulted if their foreign visitors address them by their first names early in a relationship. Building relationships in the Czech Republic is important. Building a network of contacts takes time and commitment. An attempt to accomplish business with a flurry of quick meetings and barrage of emails is more likely to result in failure. Czechs prefer to get to know you, to learn about your background and your company, and then, if they are comfortable with you, get down to deal-making. Most Czechs want to build long-term, two-way business relationships and will be put off by too much emphasis on an immediate sale.
Because the Czech Republic is a small country where industry leaders know each other well, word-of-mouth reputation is extremely important, especially where business and government intersect. News about you - good or bad - can spread quickly. Political and business circles often interlink, and at higher levels it is not uncommon for individuals to move from a ministry job to the private sector and back to the government over a period of several year period. It is therefore important to maintain strong contacts.
It is customary to be punctual or even early for appointments and engagements. It is best to start arranging meetings several weeks before your visit, as Czechs are reluctant to arrange impromptu meetings.
Czechs are very gracious and will open a meeting with the offer of a beverage when they host business visitors. It is polite to accept at least a glass of water. Business luncheons are normally more formal than in the United States. Even if dining alone with one business contact, expect to order multiple courses and do not expect the lunch to be finished in less than two hours. Rushing through lunch is considered ill-mannered. Working breakfasts are not common in the Czech Republic. Although the Czechs regard the custom as an amusing American oddity, they are also very amenable to attending, as an offer of food is considered gracious and the typical Czech working day starts early.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Strikes and demonstrations do occur in the Czech Republic, and authorities are generally well-prepared and handle disruptions in a professional manner. Protect your security, avoid demonstrations whenever possible, and bear in mind that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful may turn violent.
Crime: The Czech Republic generally has little crime. However, you should still take precautions against becoming a victim of crime.
Emergencies: dial 112
Police: dial 158
Firefighters: dial 150
Rescue and First Aid: dial 112
Pickpocketing is problematic, especially in major tourist areas in Prague. Criminals operate in professional, highly organized groups and may be armed with simple weapons, so avoid direct confrontation. Do not leave your belongings unattended. High-risk areas include:
- Public transportation;
- The city center; and,
- Crowded areas and outdoor cafes.
For the most up-to-date information on travel advisories and warnings, always check the State Department Consular Information Sheet for the Czech Republic
Visa requirements: The Czech Republic (official short name: Czechia) is a party to the Schengen Agreement. Visit the Embassy of the Czech Republic’s website for the most current visa and entry requirement information for U.S. citizens and its FAQ section on Schengen visas.
- Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond the arrival date into the Schengen area to avoid difficulties entering and traveling within the Schengen zone. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
- You may enter the Czech Republic for up to 90 days for tourism, business, study, and most other purposes (except work) without a visa. This is counted along with presence in all Schengen countries for up to 90 days out of any 180-day period.
- You will need a visa for longer stays or to work for any period of time in the Czech Republic. When a visa is required, submit your application to the nearest Czech diplomatic mission at least 3-4 months in advance of traveling to the Czech Republic. The U.S. Embassy cannot help speed up foreign visa applications.
- The Czech Government requires travelers to be able to show proof, upon request, of sufficient finances to cover the cost of a traveler’s stay.
- You must also carry proof of a valid medical insurance policy contracted for payment of all costs for hospitalization and medical treatment while in the Czech Republic.
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s):
Currency exchange is widely available, and most businesses will accept Visa and Mastercard networked credit and debit cards. Thanks to the pandemic, contactless payment is becoming widely available as well. Local currency (koruna) dispensing ATMs accept most U.S. bankcards. Please note that the euro has not yet been adopted in the Czech Republic.
Telecommunications/Electronics: The Czech telecommunications infrastructure was updated to meet EU requirements before accession and is comparable to Western Europe. There is excellent coverage throughout the country. Internet access in Prague and other major cities and towns is readily available and is offered in most hotels. Additionally, Wi-Fi can be found free of charge in many cafes and bars in major cities. Local telephone and mail services are good, reliable and inexpensive. U.S. long distance operators serve Prague through direct access numbers.
Country code: 420 + number
Call to U.S. from Czech Republic: 001 + number
The Czech Republic uses a 220 current. Adaptors are required unless European round plugs are already part of the device.
Visitors will find travel in the Czech Republic to be similar to travel in Western Europe, except that costs are lower, particularly in the low season (November through April).
In central Prague, visitors will often find walking faster (and more relaxing) than traveling by car. The city also has excellent, and usually fast, public transit to most points. For trips outside Prague, we recommend hiring a car. The domestic train network is extensive, but can be slow.
Uber is available in Prague, but the local app-based taxi service Liftago is more reliable and available in more cities throughout the Czech Republic outside of the capital.
The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, part of the Slavic language family. Czechs have strong linguistic abilities. Younger Czechs are more likely to speak English whereas many older Czechs (especially those living outside Prague) speak Russian or German as second and third languages. In general, about half of likely business partners will speak good (or at least basic) English. The rate of spoken English is much higher in Prague. Basic English is widely spoken in most hotels and restaurants.
Czech is an extremely difficult language to learn. It is helpful to learn a few basic phrases to get around restaurants, hotels, and airports. For complex business negotiations, English-speaking interpreters are readily available.
Prague has good Western-style medical clinics and English-speaking doctors and dentists. For major operations and complicated illnesses, most Westerners return to the United States or go to Western Europe. We recommend travel insurance sufficient to cover costs of medical evacuation out of the country. This can be purchased through companies such as Europ Assistance and International SOS. Prague and most major outlying cities have pharmacies that stock many Western medicines or that can order specialized prescriptions in 24 hours. U.S. prescription drugs often have different names in Europe. Travelers should carry prescriptions noting generic names. Keep all prescription drugs in original containers to avoid problems with Customs officials.
Czech Emergency Number 112
U.S. Embassy +420 257 022 000
Canadian Medical Center +420 235 360 133
Motol Hospital +420 224 433 681; +420 224 433 682
Central Military Hospital +420 973 208 333
Local time, business hours, and holidays
Local time is Central European Time. A typical Czech business day is from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, with a break for lunch. The workweek is 40 hours (Monday through Friday).
When scheduling meetings or events to which Czech business guests are invited, it is best to avoid Friday afternoon during summertime (and Friday morning, if possible), as many Czechs have country houses to which they travel as early as possible on Friday. Czechs regard weekends and holidays as near sacrosanct family time, and they avoid allowing business to intrude on this time. As is the case in much of Europe, it is harder to make business appointments and contacts in the Czech Republic during July and August and close to major holidays, such as Christmas or Easter. Unlike in the United States, if a Czech holiday falls on the weekend, the government does not observe that holiday on the preceding Friday or on the following Monday, and no workday is taken off in observance of that holiday. A full list of Czech holidays (as well as U.S. holidays) can be found on the Embassy Prague website.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings: We are not aware of any difficulties when bringing computers, software, exhibition materials, or personal belongings into the country.