Foreign travel advice

Czech Republic

Summary

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The UK is leaving the European Union. The rules for passports, entry requirements, driving, EHIC cards and more may change after Brexit.

This page will be updated with country-specific information for travellers to Czech Republic as things change. Sign up for email alerts and view the latest updates for UK nationals travelling to and living in Europe.

Over 300,000 British nationals visit the Czech Republic every year. Most visits are trouble-free.

England take on the Czech Republic in a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier in Prague on Friday 11 October 2019. If you’re travelling to Prague for the match, check out our dedicated information and advice page for travelling fans in addition to this travel advice.

In addition to the Czech Republic v England match, several high-profile events are taking place in Prague on 11 and 12 October. The Signal arts festival and a national day of mourning and funeral for the Czech singer Karel Gott are each expected to draw crowds in the tens of thousands into Prague city centre. Public transport will be very busy and may be subject to disruption. If you’re in Prague over the weekend, allow extra time for journeys (particularly to and from the stadium if attending the match) and stay respectful of any mourners you see.

When using public transport you must validate your ticket when you board or you could be fined.

You should carry your passport with you at all times for identification.

Only buy alcohol from legitimate places like supermarkets or bottle shops. Make sure the bottle has an original, untouched seal around the cork or cap.

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in the Czech Republic, attacks can’t be ruled out.

If you’re living in or moving to the Czech Republic, visit our Living in the Czech Republic guide in addition to this travel advice.

If you’re travelling to the Czech Republic to do business or provide services, see further guidance on providing services in the Czech Republic after Brexit. The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. For information on the European Health Insurance Card see Health.

Safety and security

Crime

Most visitors to the Czech Republic experience no difficulties but you should be aware of street crime and petty theft, particularly in Prague.

Prague city police advises visitors of the following:

  • always exchange currency at a currency exchange office or bank, never on the street as this money is often counterfeit
  • avoid contact with women and men acting as street prostitutes as they are often pickpockets
  • take care when using cash machines
  • the sale and distribution of drugs is illegal and the drugs are often hazardous counterfeits
  • be aware of consumption charges in night clubs; they are often high. Be careful with consumption cards, which carry high financial penalties if they are lost before the bill is paid

Take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way as you would do in the UK. Take precautions against pickpockets and bag snatchers and don’t leave your belongings or food / drinks unattended.

Petty theft is a problem, especially in major tourist areas in Prague. Try to avoid busy carriages on the metro and trams, which are favoured by pickpockets. There is also a risk of pick-pocketing on flights from the UK. It is best to keep your passport and valuables with you before and during your flight.

Beware of bogus plain-clothes policemen, who may ask to see your foreign currency and passport. If approached, don’t show your money, but offer instead to go with them to the nearest police station. If you suspect that you are dealing with a bogus police officer, you can call 158 or 112 to check their identity. No police officer in the Czech Republic has the right to check your money or its authenticity. 

Report any thefts in person to the Czech police within 24 hours and get a police report crime number. Prague police station (Jungmanovo namesti 9, Prague 1 – nearest metro stop is Mustek) is open 24 hours and has English translators. There’s also a police station at the airport where you can get a police report. It’s possible to obtain a reference number for a crime related incident by reporting it to a police station in the UK, but it’s much better to report the crime in the Czech Republic.

If your passport is lost or stolen you will need to obtain a police report and apply for an Emergency Travel Document from the British Embassy in Prague.

Every lamppost in Prague has a 6-digit number posted at eye-level. Should you require assistance from the police or emergency services, these codes will help pinpoint your location if you’re unable to offer an exact address.

Local travel

If you’re travelling in a group keep a careful note of your hotel telephone number and address in case you are separated from the rest of your party. Leave contact details of your travelling companions with a friend or relative at home who you can contact if you get separated from your group.

If you travel on public transport you must buy a ticket before you travel and validate it via the machine when you board. You’ll be fined on the spot if you are travelling with a ticket that has not been validated. The fine, usually 800 crowns (around £22.00), is paid directly to the ticket inspector. You should get a receipt. If you can’t pay the fine the police will be called and you may go through identity checks. The fine can be higher if you’re unable to pay on the spot. You can buy tickets at most large hotels, metro stations and at many newspaper stands (‘Trafika’) and convenience stores.

Every year there are accidents involving trams. Take extra care when near tram tracks and make sure you look both ways. Trams can’t stop quickly.  

Seasonal flooding (normally during the Spring) occurs occasionally. Check the Ministry of Agriculture website for more information. By selecting ‘Enter’ you’ll see a map of the country which showing any current flood warnings.

Taxis

It’s safer to use a major taxi company like Tick Tack tel: 14 144 or AAA tel: 233 113 311. If you do pick up a taxi in the street, always check the fare per km before getting in. Some taxis can charge highly inflated prices. The rates should be clearly marked on the side of the taxi. 

Road travel

You can drive using a UK Driving licence.

You will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive in some European countries as a visitor if there’s a no-deal Brexit. Check this guidance page for full information. You should also check guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit for information on other additional documents you may need to carry. If you’re living in Czech Republic, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

In 2018 there were 656 road deaths in Czech Republic (source:Department of Transport).This equates to 6.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2018.

If you’re planning to drive to the Czech Republic, you may like to consult the green line motoring helpline run by the Czech Central Automobile Club (UAMK), which has information available in Czech and English (telephone: 00 420 1230).

To drive on motorways you’ll need to buy a special vignette (sticker) from a Post Office, petrol station, bureau de change or at the border. Failure to display a valid vignette can result in a fine. More information about vignettes can be found on the website of the Czech Ministry of Transport.

There is a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

You must have your headlights on dipped beam when driving anywhere in the Czech Republic, even during the hours of daylight.

All private cars, including those of foreign visitors, must carry the following items by law: 

  • fluorescent green high visibility safety jacket
  • first aid kit, warning triangle
  • complete set of spare bulbs
  • complete set of electric fuses
  • jack
  • spanner
  • spare wheel or special tyres repair set

You need winter tyres between 1 November and 31 March.

For further information visit the website of the Czech Ministry of Transport and see the European Commission,AA and RAC guides on driving in the Czech Republic.

Terrorism

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in the Czech Republic, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public places, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Local laws and customs

Some bars and restaurants in the city centre don’t allow access to stag groups. Drunken or offensive behaviour is dealt with according to Czech law and may result in detention and or fines.

You may be fined if you attempt to cross a road or tram tracks within 50 metres of a designated crossing point (commonly marked by ‘zebra’ style crossing or traffic lights). You may also be fined if you cross at a pedestrian crossing if the green pedestrian crossing light is not lit.

Same-sex relationships and civil partnerships are legal in Czech Republic but same-sex marriages aren’t recognised in Czech law. Public displays of affection may be frowned upon or attract unwanted attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

You should carry your passport with you at all times for identification. The police may fine you or arrest you if you fail to do so.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

The rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit. If your adult passport was issued over 9 years ago, you may be affected. You should use this tool to check your passport is still valid for your trip before booking travel.

Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of travel. If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport. Any extra months on an adult passport will not count towards the validity requirement, so some passport holders will need to have more than 6 months remaining in order to travel.

You can check your passport here.

Visas

If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Czech Republic. If you’re planning a stay of longer than 3 months, see our Living in Czech Republic guide and contact the Embassy of the Czech Republic if you have further questions.

The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit, but you should not need a visa for short trips. The European Commission has proposed that British Citizens would be able to visit countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.

If you’re travelling to Czech Republic, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would count against the 90-day limit, but trips to other EU countries outside the Schengen area (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) would not. The 90-day visa-free period would not entitle you to work - most countries will require a visa and work permit. You may also need to get a visa before you travel if you’re planning to stay longer than 90 days, or your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit. You should check with the the Embassy of the Czech Republic what type of visa, if any, you will need.

After Brexit, on arrival in the Schengen area you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. As non-EEA nationals, different border control checks will apply, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket. UK nationals would not have an ongoing right to use the separate lanes provided for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from the Czech Republic.

Money

It is very difficult to change Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes in the Czech Republic.

Scottish bank notes can be exchanged in ERB Bank in Prague 5. Check with the bank beforehand that they still offer this service:

ERB Bank Exchange Štefánikova 78/50, 150 00, Prague 5

Health

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting the Czech Republic is available on the NHS website.

You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs remain valid, but this will change if there’s no deal.

The EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Czech nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

The UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to the Czech Republic as the circumstances change.

Whether you’re travelling before or after the UK leaves the EU, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you’re living in the Czech Republic, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In the Czech Republic guide.

If you intend to settle permanently in the Czech Republic you need to either obtain Form S1 (previously E106), which indicates that you have made full National Insurance contributions in the UK, or to arrange health insurance with a commercial company on arrival. For further advice contact the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), Durham House, Washington, Tyne & Wear NE38 7SF, United Kingdom, +44 191 218 1999, Overseas.Healthcare@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about something that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.