In our work, the title of the article was asked many times. So we decided to share with you answers that we were able to figure out for ourselves. Because we’re confident that this article will be useful for you if you are a medical worker thinking about changing the workplace and moving to the Czech Republic.
We’ll talk about the detailed steps to take to the path to employment in the Czech Republic. Let’s throw in the subject of discussion some core questions that will give you a general picture of how to get started when considering an option of moving to the Czech Republic with the goal of being employed.
What does the Czech migration system provide for medical workers educated abroad? What levels of language proficiency are required to work in medicine? How to start preparing for a long-term employment process? What nostrification and approbation are? How to get them and pass the necessary examinations?
In order to be eligible to work in the Czech Republic, a graduate in the medical field from a non-EU country must:
- nostrify a diploma (as the first step)
- need to know the Czech language at an advanced level (i.e. from B2 to C2)
- pass the approbation exam consisting of written, practical and oral parts (the process of obtaining the right for a medic to work in the Czech Republic is called an approbation exam)
Types of residence permits in the Czech Republic for employment purposes
Let’s begin with basic legal requirements for work in the Czech Republic that you will definitely need to know. There are two main types of residence permits for employment purposes: employment card (zaměstnanecká Karta ) and blue card (modrá Karta ).
Blue is intended for highly qualified specialists (for example, programmers and engineers) who have received higher education in the specialty for which they apply.
The employment card is intended for all types of jobs, without restrictions on the level of salary and requirements for the education of the candidate.
To get a blue card you need to you must follow this procedure:
- Find an employer who will offer you a salary one and a half times the amount set by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
- The employer must register the vacancy with the Ministry of Labor, after which the information is freely available, and you wait 30 days. If during this time a candidate from among the citizens is not found, the vacancy automatically goes into the list available for foreigners.
- Sign a contract.
- Rent an apartment. Sometimes the employer helps with this by providing a hostel or an office apartment for the first time.
- Submit documents to the consular department of the embassy. They are considered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Czech Republic within 90 days, but sometimes the process is delayed due to the need to supplement the package of documents or correct errors. To get a D visa, you will need to present a medical insurance policy that is valid until the day you go to work.
In the Czech Republic, you will receive a biometric card valid for a maximum of two years. It is possible to change the employer, but for the first two years, the preliminary consent of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required.
To get a labor card you need to:
- Find a suitable vacancy in the database.
- Sign a contract.
- Find accommodation.
- Submit documents to the consular department of the Embassy. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will review them within 60 days, after which you will receive a D visa and enter the country to issue a biometric card. To get a visa, you must present a health insurance policy for a period from the date of entry into the country to the day of going to work.
The labor card is issued for a maximum of two years, after which it can be extended. You can change employers no earlier than 6 months after receiving the first document.
It would be logical to start by explaining what nostrification is. Nostrification is the process of recognizing a foreign diploma is equivalent to a Czech diploma. A foreign medical professional must first obtain the nostrification of his diploma.
Basically, the first thing you need to do even if you didn’t start learning the Czech language, which is mandatory for employment, is to apply for the nostrification. Take note that you have to contact a court translator for translation of your diploma because sometimes nostrification is denied due to incorrect translation. A copy of the translation certified by a notary, together with an application for nostrification, must be submitted to one of the medical faculties of the Czech Republic, for example, to the 1st Faculty of Medicine at Charles University in Prague. The good thing is you can do this even when you’re still in your home country. There’s no need to go to the Czech Republic for this. Keep in mind that nostrification takes 2 -3 months. You can use this wait time to start learning Czech.
The cost of filing an application for nostrification varies from 1000 CZK to 3,000 CZK (depending on your specialization).
The faculty will compare the program of your diploma with theirs – if the main criteria are met, you will receive nostrification.
You also need to note that nostrification doesn’t expire. With that in mind, you have the opportunity to start with nostrification and continue to prepare for the next stages on the way to obtaining the right to work in the field of medicine in the Czech Republic.
Since nostrification is the recognition of the conformity of curricula, it is advisable to compare the number of hours of your curriculum for each subject with the program of the university where you send documents for nostrification. Examples of curricula of Charles University “General Medicine” and “Dentistry”.
Documents for nostrification can be submitted without arriving in the Czech Republic (by power of attorney to a contact person in the Czech Republic).
If nostrification is denied, an appeal can be made (independently, through a translator, or through a lawyer).
When your documents are translated, you need to fill out an application for nostrification (filled in Latin). An example is found on the website of the Charles University of the Czech Republic (the form of an application).
You must attach the following documents to your application:
- Notarized copy of the diploma
- A notarized copy of the diploma supplement (must include the name of the subjects and their hours, passed tests, and exams)
- Original or notarized copy of a document confirming successfully passed state exams, if they are not included in the diploma supplement
- Power of attorney, in case that contact with the university will be carried out by a legal entity or another individual.
- Notarized document confirming the change of surname, if it was changed.
- Charles University may ask you for additional information, for example, a detailed curriculum of your university.
It is recommended to send the documents directly to the administration of Charles University. On the following address
Rektorát Univerzity Karlovy
Ovocný trh č 5
Information about the payment of nostrification is in the application itself.
After successfully passing nostrification you need to get the right to work by passing special exams (approbation). For this purpose, you must submit an application to the Ministry of Health. This process can even take several years.
The process of obtaining the right to conduct medical work in the Czech Republic is called an approbation exam.
The approbation exam tests knowledge of the specialty “General Medicine”, knowledge of the Czech healthcare system and the basics of law in medicine in the Czech Republic, and knowledge of the Czech language.
The approbation exam consists of 3 parts (written, practical, and oral), which are taken sequentially. You can not start the next part if you didn’t pass the previous one.
This process is complex and time-consuming, but remember that the approbation process must be completed within 30 months after applying for participation otherwise, the attempt isn’t counted.
You can apply for approbation only after receiving nostrification.
The composition of the oral examination committee is determined by the Ministry of Health and the Doctor’s Chambers for doctors but nurses pass their approbation exams in The National Center for Nursing and Non-Medical Health Professions (NCO NZO).
Speaking about approbation examination for nurses – written tests (the first stage) can be taken in Czech, English, French, German, or Russian. You are given 60 minutes to answer the questions.
You can apply for approval only 4 times. Each next try cost more (the first attempt is 3000 CZK, the second is 4000 CZK, the third and last is 6000 CZK.). After the fourth unsuccessful attempt, the applicant can no longer apply for diploma recognition in the Czech Republic.
The first stage is a specialty test (general medicine – for doctors, dentistry – for dentists, pharmacy – for pharmacists, nursing for nurses), plus a test on healthcare organizations.
If you pass the written test, the next stage is the practical part – a six-month internship (for a doctor) and 30 – 40-day practice for nurses in a medical institution. The practice can only be taken in a special certified medical institution. The applicant is responsible for searching for the required medical institution. Therefore, you should start looking for a vacant place to practice before taking the test.
After completing the practice, both doctors and nurses must pass an oral exam in Czech. After that, the medical professional can get permission to carry out medical activities as a recognized specialist in the Czech Republic.
The application must be accompanied by:
- a certified translated copy of the diploma
- a certified copy of nostrification
- copy of work permit (if you have)
- a certificate from a doctor about the absence of contraindications for working as a doctor
- police clearance certificate from the country of which you are a citizen
- a copy of the passport (a copy of the passport does not need to be certified)
- a certified copy of a marriage certificate or a certificate of surname change (in case of surname change)
- tax stamps for 2000 CZK (can be bought at any Czech post office, called kolková známka)
A doctor’s certificate and a police clearance certificate must be no older than 3 months, copies must be certified by a notary and a court translator.
After that, the documents are sent to the address:
Odbor vědy a lékařských povolání
Palackého nám. 4
Notice that the original documents will not be returned, so send certified copies!
Required language skills
You may face problems for not knowing the Czech language even after receiving the nostrification of your diploma. This will jeopardize your chances of pursuing your career in the Czech Republic. That’s why it’s better to start learning the language before getting the nostrification.
When moving here, you must take into account that you will have to communicate with patients, colleagues, with employees of various administrations. You need a Czech language proficiency at minimum B2 to easily fit in. English will be a plus, but English will not work here. In addition, you have to understand that in order to successfully pass the last oral exam, you must have an excellent command of the IC language (level B2 is the minimum level so that you can pass this stage).
According to doctors who share their experience in passing all stages of approbation, in order to achieve a confident level B2, you need to study the language for at least a year. Of course, if you do your practice at a clinic in the Czech Republic, you would already have a B2 level proficiency., You will be able to take the next stage – an oral examination – with more confidence in the language.
There is no official basis for preparing for tests. Possible questions are discussed in some groups on social networks or on official sites. There are also exam preparation courses for doctors and nurses. Below we share the resources we have found for recommended literature and courses for healthcare professionals.
Institute of Postgraduate Education in Health Care (hereinafter referred to as “IPVZ”) organizes optional preparatory courses before the approbation exams twice a year. The specific dates and location of the preparatory courses are listed below, and those interested can apply directly through the IPVZ client system.
The courses are held in the Czech language, so it is necessary to have at least a basic knowledge of the Czech language. Use the help of an interpreter is not possible or allowed.
The participation fee must be paid in advance by bank transfer or at the box office of the ILF Hotel before the start of the course. Payment details will be provided in the course invitation you will receive after registering for the course.
Below is a recommendation for nurses.
Recommended literature for the professional part of the approbation exam ( ZIP format )
Recommended reading for the general part of the approbation exam picture_as_pdf
Exam questions for the professional part of the approbation exam ( ZIP format )
Information for the print version picture_as_pdf
Downbelow you will find sources taked from the official website of the Ministry of health of the CR
Žadost_o_uznání_zsobilosti_§_34.doc (140.00 KB )
In this link, you will find some questions and recommended literature that you can download for approbation tests from the website of INSTITUTE OF POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL EDUCATION.
The National Center for Nursing and Non-Medical Health Sciences (NCO NZO) conducts preparatory courses for applicants for the approbation exam , which can be completed in the form of e-learning or contact teaching. The courses are intended for foreigners from countries outside the EU who are preparing for the approbation exam (written and oral and practical).
Another useful resource we found is an e-shop where you can choose and buy materials for your preparation. Visit the website to explore the options that it offers.
Based on all the information provided in this article and our study of the migration of medical professionals from third countries to the Czech Republic, we can say that the procedure for recognizing medical education is very complex but possible.
A few things we want to draw your attention to once again: knowledge of the language (mandatory even for preparatory aim), readiness to retake exams (to 4 times), readiness to take on a complex independent preparation process. Be prepared to go through the approbation which may take 1-2 years, which is an ordinary thing.
In theory, you can only work after completing the approbation test, at the same time in order to obtain a visa to pass the approbation procedure in the CR, you already need to have an employment contract to get a residence permit. Therefore, no one can guarantee you that you will pass the approbation procedure successfully and quickly. And, without knowledge of the Czech language, you will not even be able to start preparing for the approbation tests, as all materials and courses are only available in Czech.
But, while doing research on the topic of residence permits for the purpose of employment, we didn’t find information that passing the approbation exams is a mandatory requirement. We can just assume how theory differs from practice. But we do not recommend getting employed without passing the probation exams. We just want to give you a whole picture. Therefore, we advise you to weigh the pros and cons, to research thoroughly all the processes involved in migrating before making such an important decision. Hope you will achieve your goal!
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