Czech Republic

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 19 September 2013.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in the Czech Republic.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • Australia has a Consulate in the Czech Republic, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular assistance. The Australian Embassy in Poland provides full consular assistance to Australians in the Czech Republic.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Czech Republic for the most up-to-date information.

The Czech Republic, along with 25 other European countries, is a party to the Schengen Convention, which allows Australians to enter the Czech Republic without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention for more information.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 Euros or more in cash (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

If you are staying in private accommodation for more than three days, you must register at the local Foreigner’s Police Branch by presenting your passport, demonstrating valid health insurance and completing a ‘Registration of Accommodation’ form. This form can be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic website or you can get a copy at the local branch. Access to English speakers at local branches may be limited.

For Australians staying in a hotel, this registration process is generally carried out by the hotel.

It is mandatory for foreigners travelling to the Czech Republic to have valid traveller’s health insurance. For more information, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Czech Republic.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

There is an ongoing risk of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Crime

Street crime such as pickpocketing is common in the capital, Prague, especially on the road to the Prague Castle, at popular tourist sites and on public transport. There is a high incidence of passport theft, especially during the summer months. There is also a high incidence of car theft, particularly of newer vehicles. Valuables should not be left in parked cars.

Many foreigners have been robbed in night clubs, bars and restaurants including fast food shops in the centre of Prague. Care should be taken with personal belongings, particularly in crowded areas and locations frequented by tourists. Belongings should not be left unattended in youth hostels, even for short periods of time. Foreigners have also been robbed or assaulted after accepting "spiked" drinks from strangers.

Travellers have been robbed when criminals using fake police ID have asked to check the authenticity of their foreign currency and passports. Perpetrators of such crimes often work near ATMs. Police officers in the Czech Republic are not authorized to authenticate the validity of currency or passports.

Travellers have been robbed after accepting offers of help, particularly with luggage, at Prague's main railway station.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques and cash in Euros and US currency. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas.

When in the Czech Republic, you are advised to change money only at banks or the money exchange shopfronts located on almost every street in tourist areas, rather than money changers on the street.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

There have been many reports of taxi drivers refusing to use taxi meters and overcharging travellers. Try to ensure the meter is on when travelling by taxi. To avoid being overcharged, you should also avoid hailing a taxi on the street and instead find a ‘Fair Place Taxi’ stand or call to arrange an official taxi such as AAA Radiotaxi, Profitaxi or Citytaxi.

Seat reservations on Super City trains in the Czech Republic are mandatory. Failure to obtain a reservation prior to boarding will result either in paying for the seat immediately or on completion of the trip. In both cases you may also be fined.

The Czech Republic has a high rate of road fatalities. Speed is the main cause of road accidents and fatalities. Roads in rural areas may be in a poor state of repair.

To drive on all major highways, a motorway toll sticker (available at petrol stations) must be bought and displayed. Failure to do so may attract an on-the-spot fine.

It is mandatory for vehicles to have their headlights on at all times when driving.

The Czech Republic has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about Aviation Safety and Security.

Laws

When you are in the Czech Republic, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

It is illegal to photograph some buildings in the Czech Republic. These buildings generally carry signs stating that taking photos is forbidden. If in doubt, check with local authorities before taking photos.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in the Czech Republic is good. Health care providers often require cash payment in advance for services, including emergency care.

Travel in forested areas brings the risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis and other tick-borne diseases. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn.

There have been a number of hospitalisations and deaths resulting from drinking counterfeit or home-made spirits purchased in the Czech Republic. Alcohol should be purchased only in supermarkets or bottle shops. Purchasers should ensure the bottle has an original, untouched seal around the cork or cap.

Where to get help

Australia has a Consulate in the Czech Republic headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance which does not include the issue of Australian passports. The Consulate is able to issue provisional travel documents for travel to a nearby Australian Embassy. You can obtain full consular assistance from the nearest Australian Embassy which is in Poland.

Australian Embassy, Warsaw

3rd Floor,
Nautilus Building,
ul. Nowogrodzka 11,
Warsaw, POLAND
Telephone: (48 22) 521 3444
Facsimile: (48 22) 627 3500
Website: http://www.poland.embassy.gov.au/wsaw/aboutus.html
E-mail: ambasada.australia@dfat.gov.au

Contact details for the Consulate are:

Australian Honorary Consul, Prague

Unit 6/3,
Solitaire Office Building,
Klimentska 10,
110 00 Prague 1, CZECH REPUBLIC,
Telephone: (420) 221 729 260
Facsimile: (420) 29657 8352

If you are travelling to the Czech Republic, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

Should you require the local emergency services, you may contact the Ambulance service on 155 or you may contact the EU emergency line on 112 (operators routinely handle calls in English and other languages).

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy or Consulate you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Flooding can occur, especially in spring. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.