Country guides Europe
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs with a hole for a grounding pin are standard. Most sockets also take the standard European two-pin plugs.
Czech is the official language but English and German are also widely spoken.
The official currency is the Czech Crown, locally known as the Koruna (CZK), which is divided into 100 Haler. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants and ATMs are widely available. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels; commission is highest in hotels. Banks are closed on weekends.
Though tipping in restaurants is optional and generally no service charge is added to bills, gratuities of about 10 percent are expected for good service. Taxi drivers are tipped by rounding up the fare at the end of the journey.
There are no major health risks associated with travel to the Czech Republic, and there are no vaccination requirements for international travellers. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, and long-term visitors to forested areas may want to seek medical advice about immunisation against tick-borne encephalitis. Medical facilities are good in Prague, but may be more limited in rural areas. After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance.
Most visits to the Czech Republic are trouble-free, though the risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks is a factor throughout Europe. Petty theft is a concern, especially on public transport and around the main tourist sites in Prague, so visitors should be mindful of their belongings. Violent crime is rare.
Drunken behaviour and drinking in public is punishable by law in the Czech Republic, and some bars and restaurants in Prague will not allow entry for stag parties. While same-sex relationships are legal, same-sex marriages aren't recognized; public displays of affection may be frowned on or draw unwanted attention.
Punctuality is expected in the Czech business world and dress should be smart and conservative. Initial greetings are usually formal to the point that titles and surnames are used unless otherwise indicated. Firm handshakes signal strength, and direct eye contact shows integrity.
German is the most common foreign language used in the Czech Republic but English is widely spoken by younger generations. Translators are available and any attempts at speaking Czech will be appreciated when doing business. There is generally some polite small talk to establish rapport at the beginning of meetings.
Deals can take a long time to complete due to significant bureaucratic red tape, so it's important to be patient. Business hours usually run from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Visitors from the EU may bring in 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, or 1kg tobacco; 10 litres of spirits over 22-percent volume, 20 litres of spirits less than 22-percent volume, 90 litres of wine (though no more than 60 litres of sparkling wine), and 110 litres of beer. All goods must be for personal use.
Travellers from non-EU countries who are over the age of 17 don't have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco. The same applies to one litre of spirits over 22-percent volume, two litres of spirits less than 22-percent volume, four litres of wine, and 16 litres of beer.
The international access code for the Czech Republic is +420. Purchasing a local prepaid SIM card is a good way to keep calling costs down, as international roaming can be expensive and international calls from hotels involve high surcharges. Many cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping centres offer free wifi.
Passport & Visa
The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Each of these countries issues a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of the other Schengen countries. All visitors must hold either an onward or return ticket, or proof of sufficient funds to buy a ticket, plus all documents required for onward travel. They must also fill in and sign a border-crossing card, and be able to show proof of the following at the request of the Authority of Aliens Police Service: (i) sufficient means of support for the duration of their stay; (ii) documents confirming financial security (credit cards, bank statements, etc.); (iii) documents confirming accommodation for their period of stay in the Czech Republic, or proof of another accommodation arrangement; (iv) valid health insurance, with complete coverage. It is highly recommended that visitors' passports remain valid for at least six months beyond their arrival dates. Visitors should also bear in mind that immigration officials often apply different rules to the ones travel agents and official sources state.
US citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the Czech Republic. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.
Passports endorsed 'British Citizen' must be valid on arrival; British passports with other endorsements must be valid at least three months beyond the period of intended stay. Passport exemptions apply to holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', as well as to holders of emergency passports issued to nationals of the United Kingdom. A visa is not required for passports endorsed British Citizen. No visa is required for holders of passports endorsed British National (overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and British Subject (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom).
Canadians must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the Czech Republic. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the Czech Republic. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days.
South Africans require a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the Czech Republic. A visa is required.
Irish nationals must have a passport, or emergency passport. Irish nationals are allowed to enter the Czech Republic with an expired passport. No visa is required.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in the Czech Republic. A visa is not required for a maximum of 90 days stay.
Czech Tourist Authority: www.visitczechrepublic.com/en-US112 (General), 158 (Police), 155 (Ambulance)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of the Czech Republic, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 274 9100.
Embassy of the Czech Republic, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7243 7908.
Embassy of the Czech Republic, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 562 3875.
Embassy of the Czech Republic, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6290 1386.
Embassy of the Czech Republic, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 431 2380.
Embassy of the Czech Republic, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 668 1135.
Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 9 306 5883.
Embassies / consulates in Czech Republic
United States Embassy, Prague: +420 257 022 000.
British Embassy, Prague: +420 257 402 111.
Canadian Embassy, Prague: +420 272 101 800.
Australian Consulate, Prague: +420 221 729 260.
South African Embassy, Prague: +420 267 311 114.
Irish Embassy, Prague: +420 257 011 280.
New Zealand Embassy, Berlin, Germany (also responsible for Czech Republic): +49 30 206 210.