Departure to Riga


Passport, Visa & Permits to Riga


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Passport

You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. In the EU minors also need to have their own passport.

Visa

A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials on a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country. This permission is called "entry clearance".

Who needs a visa?

Citizens of EU member states, as well as of European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Swiss Confederation may enter Latvia without a visa and stay for up to 90 days within a six month period. This condition applies also to over 30 other countries. You can find an up-to-date list of countries the citizens of which do not need visas on the homepage of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

If your country is not included in this list or you wish to stay in Latvia for longer than 90 days, you need to apply for a visa. You can apply for a visa prior to entry in Latvia at a Latvian consular mission in your country.

Short-term Visa

The short-term visa, also known as Schengen C-type visa, can be issued for one, two, or multiple entries. It is intended for short visits - not more than 90 days in a 180 day period - and its maximum validity period is five years.

Application for this visa costs 60 EUR. You will need a valid travel document, a filled out application, a photograph, a proof of travel medical insurance, documents regarding the purpose of journey, accommodation, or approved letter of invitation, as well as proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the stay and the return home (14 EUR per day).

As Latvia is a member of the Schengen zone, this visa gives rights to stay not in Latvia but also other Schengen member states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Island, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Long-term Visa

Foreigners who intend to stay in Latvia for longer than 90 days in a six month period need to apply for either a long-term visa, also called the D-type visa, or a residence permit. The long-term visa is valid for the maximum period of one year. It is issued by the Office of Citizenship an Migration Affairs and costs between 60 and 80 EUR.

To apply for a long-term visa, you will need a valid travel document, a filled out application, a photograph, a proof of travel medical insurance, documents regarding the purpose of journey, accommodation, or approved letter of invitation, as well as proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of the stay and the return home (14 EUR per day).

This visa allows to travel and stay in the territory of other Schengen states for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period.

Visa with Work Permit

With the notable exception of EU nationals, foreigners who wish to work in Latvia need to obtain a visa or temporary residence permit and a work permit. This condition applies also for cases when the employment does not exceed 90 days within six months, and for individuals who do not need a visa for entering Latvia.

Visas with work permits foresee short-term entry and residence on grounds of employment and are issued by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and are available for a limited range of persons. These include foreigners who are students, consultants for local authorities, board members, exclusive founders, and large investors of corporations. Also foreigners who plan to be employed in the fields of science, arts (music, dance, cinema), education, evaluation/accreditation, and IT can receive a visa with work permit.

Permanent Residence

If you wish to reside in Latvia for more than 90 days within a six month period, you will need to apply for a residence permit. The documents necessary for obtaining a residence permit depends on (1) whether your country has a visa agreement with Latvia, (2) the purpose of your stay in the country, e.g., employment contract, family unification, scientific cooperation etc. A complete list of documents necessary for applying for permanent residence can be found on the homepage of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

The length of validity of the residence permit depends on a person's employment, family status and/or real estate investment in and in most cases will not exceed five years. Issuing of a residence permit costs between 100 and 400 EUR depending on whether the documents are processed in five, ten, or thirty business days.

For more details please consult the following information prepared by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

Citizenship

To be eligible for applying for Latvian citizenship a person needs to be above the age of 15, a permanent resident of Latvia for minimum of five years prior to application, and have a legal source of income. The naturalization procedure includes a test on fluency of the Latvian language and a test on knowledge of the Latvian Constitution, the national Anthem, and basic knowledge of the history and culture of Latvia.

Dual citizenship is currently allowed for citizens of member states of the EU, the European Free Trade Association, NATO, as well as for citizens of Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand. Citizens of other countries are required to give up their former citizenship upon becoming a Latvian citizen.

This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation.

Update 26/08/2015


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