Dealing with the Czech bureaucratic system and submitting a public foreign document to a Czech authority or a court is a common practice for many expats living in the Czech Republic. There are many situations in which you will need to translate your documents to and/or from the Czech language and officially authenticate them. However, the specific type of authentication needed usually depends on the purpose, issuing authority, or bilateral agreements between countries.
What types of documents need to be authenticated?
- notarial acts (such as verification of a signature, certified copies, extract from Commercial Register, Trade License Register, Cadastre Register, or extract from Czech criminal record)
- tax documents (certificate of tax domicile, confirmation of tax registration)
- foreign educational documents (confirmation of primary and secondary education, university diploma)
- registry documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, certificate of citizenship)
- certified translations
Legalisation of documents
Document legalisation is the process of verification of foreign public documents (such as diplomas, birth certificates, extracts from registers, powers of attorney, marriage and birth certificates, extracts from the Penal Register, etc.) for the use of Czech authorities.
There are two ways to do this, based on your country of origin:
If you are coming from a country that signed the treaty of the Apostille Convention, you need an apostille. This applies to the majority of countries including the UK, USA, Germany, even China. The full list of signatory states can be found here: Status table – HCCH. The authority responsible for supplying apostilles may differ in each country – you can look up which authority is responsible for apostilles in your country here: Authorities – HCCH. The authority issues an apostille, which is added to the original document. Apostilles are usually written in the official language of the state they were issued in, which is why an official translation is necessary (more on that below). The authorities responsible for apostilles on Czech documents are the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Czech Ministry of Justice, or the Notarial Chamber of the Czech Republic, depending on the type of document.
If your country hasn’t signed the Apostille treaty (these include Canada, Pakistan and others) you need your documents to be superlegalised. There are three steps in the process: first, the document has to be notarized in the home country of the foreigner by a notary public; then the authority of the state that holds records of all registered notaries has to authenticate the stamp of the notary; and finally, the document is superlegalised at the Czech embassy.
Further information: Verification of foreign public documents – Ministry of Interior
Official translations of documents are often obligatory when applying for all kinds of permits and licenses. The translations can only be made by a court interpreter. In the end, three documents are handed to the authorities bound together: the original document or a certified copy (authorized by a Czech notary), its translation, the court interpreter’s clause with their signature and a round stamp. You can find a court interpreter online and we recommend using the official registry of court interpreters from the Chamber of Court Appointed Interpreters and Translators. Some agencies offer the service too, however, always make sure they have the necessary authorization from the regional court.
Recognition of foreign education and diplomas
Do you want to study in Prague? To utilize any qualifications or education obtained in a foreign country, it is necessary to have that education recognized by the Czech educational system.
Recognition of primary and secondary education
A notarized copy of a secondary school leaving certificate is very commonly required to apply for a bachelor’s degree programme at Czech universities. A graduate of a foreign school who has completed primary, secondary, or higher vocational education — not university education — needs to go to the Department of Education at Prague City Hall to apply for nostrification of their foreign education documents.
Required documents to submit:
- A completed application form (download here)
- A certified copy of your secondary school leaving certificate – this must be prepared by a Czech notary and be legalized or apostilled in your country of origin with an official Czech translation from a Czech court translator attached. The type of translation that you need is called “soudní překlad” in Czech.
- A certified copy of your transcript of all secondary school subjects that you’ve studied, with the total number of hours studied – again, this must be prepared by a Czech notary, legalized or apostilled in the country of origin, and have an official Czech translation from a Czech court interpreter attached.
- Proof that the school which issued the school leaving certificate is integrated into the education system of your country of origin (if it is unclear from the leaving certificate and transcript issued by the school)
- Proof of payment of an administrative fee (CZK 1,000)
- Copy of a valid identity document (passport or ID)
- Proof of accommodation
You can submit the application either in person, through a representative who has an official authorization (power of attorney) to act on your behalf, or at the postal services (not recommended).
In the case of submitting your application in person, it should be at Prague City Hall. The times that they are open can be found here. The application fee of CZK 1,000 must be paid at the cash desk in the same building.
- Nostrification – nostrifikace.mkc.cz
- Studies recognition – Study in Prague
- Recognition of foreign education – skoly.praha.eu
Recognition of university education
The recognition of a foreign university education degree in the Czech Republic is carried out by the public universities that offer a degree program with the same or similar content. The relevant public higher education institution can be found in the list of accredited degree programs in the list of public universities in the Czech Republic by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. For military education, the recognition authority is the Ministry of Defense, and for study programs in the field of security, the recognition authority is the Ministry of the Interior.
Required documents to submit:
- A completed application form, which you can find on the website of the university offering your study program
- A certified copy of a foreign university diploma — this must be prepared by a Czech notary and be legalized or apostilled in your country of origin with an official Czech translation from a Czech court translator attached. The type of translation that you need is called “soudní překlad” in Czech.
- A certified copy of the legalized diploma supplement, or a list of completed exams – must be prepared by the Czech notary and translated by the Czech court interpreter. The diploma supplement is a standardized document issued in the countries that participated in the Bologna Process. If you don’t possess the diploma supplement, just submit the list of completed exams.
An application with all required documents should be submitted to the university which is offering your study program. It is always useful to contact the university and ask for more details about where exactly to submit your application. There are 3 ways to apply: in person, through a representative who has an official authorization (power of attorney) to act on your behalf, or through the postal service (not recommended).
Universities have 30 days to process your application and make a decision. However, in difficult and complex cases, this time period can be extended to 60 days.
Bilateral agreement: In case your university education was completed in Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, Poland, and Slovenia (i.e. countries which have signed a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic about recognizing foreign school reports as equal to Czech education certificates), the regional authority will issue a certificate recognizing the equivalency of the foreign diploma in the Czech Republic after all required documents are submitted.
If you have any doubts about whether the university provides the right degree program, don’t hesitate to contact the university. If in doubt about which university provides the required study program, feel free to contact the Higher Education Institution Department of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
What to remember?
- Documents that are not originally issued in the Czech, English or Slovak languages must be officially translated into Czech or English.
- In case you are sending the document via post, please make sure to send in certified copies of documents, not the originals (unless otherwise stated).
- If you have other choices, do not send the required documents via post – it takes a lot longer and it is common that things get lost sometimes.