Road Conditions and Safety: We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with both the traffic laws of the Czech Republic to avoid fines, detention, or potential imprisonment.
- On two-lane roads and in small towns, drivers will encounter uneven surfaces, roads in poor condition, irregular lane markings, and unclear sign placements.
- Pay special attention when driving on cobblestones and among streetcars in historic city centers, especially in wet or icy conditions.
- To drive in the Czech Republic, visitors must have an International Driving Permit (IDP), available from AAA in the United States, to accompany a U.S. driver?s license. Failure to have an IDP with a valid license may result in an additional fine if stopped for a traffic offense, or denial of an insurance claim after an accident.
- There is a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. Police can use breathalyzers on drivers stopped for any reason. Driving with any detected alcohol in the body, however slight, is illegal and usually leads to immediate fines and possible criminal proceedings.
- Czech law requires the use of headlights at all times.
- A toll sticker is required for all cars to drive legally on major highways. For more information, visit the official Czech highway toll website.
- All private cars, including those of foreign visitors, must carry additional safety gear, including reflective jackets, triangles, and a first aid kit.
- Using hand-held cell phones while driving is prohibited.
- Streetcars always have the right of way over other vehicles and pedestrians, including at crosswalks.
Public Transportation: Public transportation in the Czech Republic is generally very good. There are extensive intercity train and bus networks, and larger cities have high-quality urban mass transit systems. Information on tickets and pricing within Prague can be found here.
- Passengers on public transportation must buy a ticket prior to boarding and validate it upon boarding to avoid being fined. Tickets must be validated by inserting it into a validator found inside trams and buses and in the entry halls of Metro stations.
- In Prague, tickets can be purchased at newspaper stands and post offices and from vending machines at all metro stations and at major tram stops. Tickets can also be purchased by text message on a mobile phone on a Czech network, but the traveler must have received the reply message with the ticket before entering a tram, bus, or metro station.
- Travelers may encounter plain-clothes ticket inspectors wearing small metal badges with ?P?epravn? Kontrola? on them at any time. Fines for failure to have a validated ticket range from 50 to 1500 CZK. In Prague, the usual fine is 800 CZK if paid on the spot or within 15 days. Inspectors should provide a receipt for on-the-spot payments.
- Trams always have the right of way over pedestrians, including at crosswalks.
- Legitimate taxis are clearly marked, and the Embassy strongly recommends calling for a taxi rather than hailing one on the street. If calling is not possible, visitors should get taxis at clearly marked ?Fair Place? stands. The potential for substantial overcharging in taxis exists, particularly in tourist areas. Agree on a price in advance or ensure the driver is using the meter. Mobile applications for transportation sharing are legal and functional in some Czech cities.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Czech Republic?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Czech Republic?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Prague has adequate Western-style medical clinics with English-speaking doctors and dentists, but its system is organized differently than in the United States. Though central emergency rooms exist in most hospitals, patients are often sent to a specialty clinic to treat specific medical conditions. Family practices like those in the United States are mostly in larger cities.
- All major hospitals accept credit cards or cash as a method of payment. Private specialists usually expect cash, though some private facilities accept credit cards.
- Ambulance services are on par with those in the United States. Response time is usually less than 15 minutes. Ambulance companies generally expect payment at the time of service.
- If you plan to camp or hike in long grass or woodlands from March to October, you run the risk of both tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease. While there is a vaccine for encephalitis, no vaccine exists for Lyme disease. Use insect repellent and proper clothing as extra protection.
- U.S. living wills stipulating no exceptional interventions to prolong life are not honored in the Czech Republic due to laws against euthanasia.
General suggestions and information:
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Czech Republic to ensure the medication is legal in the Czech Republic Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
- Ensure the security of your passport to prevent incidents of pick-pocketing or theft.
- Carry your passport at all times. Czech Police, customs, or immigration officials can request to see your passport at any time, as the U.S. has no other form of national identification. You may be fined if you fail to produce your passport.
- Keep a copy of your passport bio data page (and pages with valid visas) in a safe place separate from the passport itself.
- Czech customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, etc. Contact the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., for further customs guidance. The U.S. Embassy cannot help clear goods through Czech Customs or advise on what items can or cannot be imported to the Czech Republic.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
- The sale, possession, or use of illicit drugs is against the law in the Czech Republic.
- The Czech Republic has a strictly enforced, zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.
- Local police can require you to produce identification to establish your identity upon request and submit you to further questioning.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report
- Human Rights Report
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Czech Republic. Outside of Prague, particularly in small towns, such relations or events are less accepted. LGBTI travelers should use discretion when traveling in these areas. See our LGBTI travel information page and section six of the Department of State’s Human Rights Report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in the Czech Republic, individuals may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. The government generally enforces these provisions.
- Many buses and streetcars?especially in Prague?are configured for special needs access.
- 72 percent of Prague?s metro stations are accessible to persons with disabilities, and work to expand barrier-free access is ongoing.
- Taxi services for persons with limited mobility exist. There are several companies offering such services in Prague, and some service areas outside Prague.
- Much of the center of Prague, most interesting to tourists, was built centuries ago with narrow cobblestone streets that may make accessibility difficult or impossible.
- Accessibility outside of Prague is generally less available.
Women Travelers: While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically low, attacks do occur.
- Be aware of ?date-rape? drugs, including GHB and liquid ecstasy.
- Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served. Leaving your drink unattended or accepting a drink from a stranger can lead to serious consequences.
See our travel tips for women travelers.
Safety and Security
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
Strikes and Demonstrations do occur in the Czech Republic, and authorities are generally well-prepared and handle disruptions in a professional manner. Protect your security, avoid demonstrations whenever possible, and bear in mind that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful may turn violent.
Crime: The Czech Republic generally has little crime. However, you should still take precautions against becoming a victim of crime.
Emergencies: dial 112
Police: dial 158
Firefighters: dial 150
Rescue and First Aid: dial 1
- Pick-pocketing is problematic, especially in major tourist areas in Prague. Criminals operate in professional, highly organized groups and may be armed with simple weapons, so avoid direct confrontation. Do not leave your belongings unattended. High-risk areas include:
- public transportation,
- the city center,
- crowded areas and outdoor cafes.
- Victims of sexual assault report being drugged with rohypnol and other ?date rape?-type drugs.
- Use caution when accepting open drinks at bars or clubs, and do not leave drinks unattended.
- Pedestrian traffic violations, such as jaywalking, may be enforced in Prague?s city center. Discretionary fines range up to 2000 Czech crowns (about $100) may be applied. Refusal to pay may lead to a court procedure and an even higher fine. Streetcars have the right of way over pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Casinos and gaming establishments are government-regulated, but some have been affiliated with, or attracted the interest of, organized crime.
- Conduct currency exchanges at reputable banks or legitimate money kiosks. Pay close attention to the exact rate offered for the amount you wish to exchange, as rates may vary widely for smaller versus larger amounts and between different exchange offices. An offer to exchange currency by an unknown person on the street is most likely a scam.
- ATMs are widely available throughout major cities. Criminal organizations have used electronic ?skimming? to steal card information and PIN numbers at some ATMs. Use ATMs at secure, monitored locations (commercial banks, large hotels, and the airport).
- Auto thefts and break-ins are common in the Czech Republic, especially in major cities. Use parking garages and anti-theft devices. Don?t leave valuables in plain sight inside vehicles, as this significantly increases the possibility of theft.
- Overcharging scams persist. Verify charges paid with credit card are correct before signing for purchases, keep all receipts, and check your credit card accounts online to ensure correct billing.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112, and contact the U.S. Embassy 24/7 at +(420) 257-022-000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the United States
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport.
Local resources available to victims of crime can be found at: Bil? Kruh Bezpe?? (White Circle of Safety)
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for Worldwide Caution
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
The Czech Republic (official short name: Czechia) is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter the Czech Republic for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
- Passports should be valid for at least six months beyond the arrival date into Schengen, to avoid difficulties entering and traveling within the Schengen zone. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
- You may enter the Czech Republic for up to 90 days for tourist, business, study and most other purposes (except work) without a visa. This is counted along with presence in all Schengen countries for up to 90 days out of any 180-day period.
- You will need a visa for longer stays or to work for any period of time in the Czech Republic. When a visa is required, submit your application to the nearest Czech diplomatic mission at least 3-4 months in advance of traveling to the Czech Republic. The U.S. Embassy cannot help speed up foreign visa applications.
- The Czech Government requires travelers to be able to show proof, upon request, of sufficient finances to cover the cost of a traveler?s stay.
- You must also carry proof of a valid medical insurance policy contracted for payment of all costs for hospitalization and medical treatment while in the Czech Republic.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Czech Republic.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on the Czech Republic for information on U.S.-Czech Republic relations.