- +Voluntary work
1. What documents do European volunteers from third countries require, so they can come to Latvia and perform voluntary work?
A foreigner, who intends to perform voluntary work in Latvia, must obtain an entry visa for a maximum of 90 days. If the foreigner wishes to stay in the Republic of Latvia to perform voluntary work as a participant of a voluntary work programme financed by the European Commission or an international organisation, he or she is issued a long-stay visa for a period up to one year. As a part of the application process for a long-stay visa the foreigner is required to submit:
- a valid travel document valid for a term exceeding the validity term of the requested visa by at least three months with at least two empty pages for affixing visas;
- a visa application form completed in compliance with Annex 2 of Visa Regulations;
- a photo made during submission of the application or a scanned photo;
- a copy of the document confirming that he or she has an insurance policy specified in the Immigration Law, if any required;
- documents justifying the place of stay;
- documents attesting that he or she has the necessary financial means to stay in the Republic of Latvia and to return to the country of residence or depart to another country;
- documents justifying the purpose of entry.
- +Latvian language
1. Can I be exempted from the examination of the knowledge of Latvian language?
Persons with a medical condition that causes functional limitations or medical diagnoses indicated in Regulations No. 733 of the Cabinet of Ministers "Regulations Regarding the Amount of the Knowledge of the Official Language and the Procedures for Examination of the Knowledge of the Official Language for the Performance of Professional Duties and Duties of Office, Receipt of the Permanent Residence Permit and Obtaining of the Status of a Long-Term Resident of the European Union and the State Fee for Examination of the Fluency in the Official Language" Annex 3 are exempted from the examination of the knowledge of the official language. Persons exempted from the examination must present an opinion of a doctor-rehabilitationist to the official of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
1. Can an arrival from a third country buy a dwelling in Latvia?
Foreign citizens can buy any type of residential property in Latvia: houses, apartments, land intended for construction of a home and commercial property: hotels, shops, restaurants etc.
2. Where can I find information of the average housing prices in Latvia?
Information on the average housing prices can be found in market reviews of real estate companies and analyses published by banks.
3. Why do I have to reside (and must declare my place of residence) with my spouse, if I am staying here based on a residence permit related to a marriage?
Section 26 of the Immigration Law provides that the spouse may request a residence permit and in these cases a residence permit is issued on the condition that the marriage is monogamous, spouses will live together and they have a common household.
1. What do I do, if I require medical assistance in Latvia?
Medical assistance in the case of a minor injury, a sudden illness and a sudden attack of a chronic disease is provided by a general practitioner. Outside the working hours of the general practitioner one may:
- call the General Practitioners Telephone Helpline 66016001;
- attend doctors on duty;
- attend urgent medical assistance stations;
- seek medical aid at hospitals emergency departments.
In life-threatening situations one must call the State Emergency Medical Service (SEMS) at 113!
If you are using the mobile application eHealthPoint, it can transfer the data on the callers location (GPS coordinates) and the callers information (name, surname, personal code), if it has been entered, to SEMS at the time of the call to the emergency telephone number 113. In many situations this information may speed up the dispatch of a medical team and the provision of medical assistance considerably. The application will also indicate the closest healthcare institution, show its contact details and services it provides, along with a navigation map with the route to the closest healthcare institution marked on it. The mobile application can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play and App Store.
2. Do all newcomers have to pay for medical assistance?
Foreigners issued a permanent residence permit in Latvia and stateless persons, who have been granted the status of a stateless person in the Republic of Latvia, a refugee or a person under subsidiary protection as well as asylum seekers are entitled to the minimum state paid healthcare, the spouse of a Latvian citizen or Latvian alien, who holds a temporary residence permit, is entitled to receive state-paid obstetric care. A person with the state social insurance for the purposes of healthcare according to the Law "On State Social Insurance" is entitled to healthcare services provided under the national compulsory health insurance.
- +Residence permits
1. To who do I have to submit documents to apply for a residence permit?
The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the State Border Guard, diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Latvia abroad and the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for the documentation and control of the arrival and stay of foreigners in the Republic of Latvia in their respective areas of competence. Documents for requesting a residence permit must be submitted to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
2. In what instances a residence permit may be requested without leaving the territory of Latvia?
A foreigner may submit documents for requesting a residence permit to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, if:
1) he or she is staying in the Republic of Latvia on the basis of a valid visa and is:
- a lecturer with an accredited educational institution;
- a scientist, who has concluded an agreement on scientific cooperation with a scientific institution included in the register of scientific institutions;
- a consultant (expert) providing assistance to a public institution or a person, who is involved in implementation of an international agreement or project the Republic of Latvia is a party to;
- a composer, a musician, a singer, a choreographer, a dancer, a director, an actor, a circus artist, a member of the technical staff of the show or the head of a cultural institution funded by the state or the local government;
- has gained the right to employment in the Republic of Latvia or is staying in the Republic of Latvia due to employment, for which no confirmation of the right to employment is required;
- a sports trainer;
- a professional sportsman upon an invitation from a sports club;
- a pupil of an accredited educational institution in the Republic of Latvia or a full-time student. This condition does not apply to a foreigner, who is a citizen of a state included on the list mentioned in Section 4, Paragraph 9 of the Immigration Law, or a foreigner, who has been granted the status of a stateless person, a refugee or a person under subsidiary protection, or a person granted temporary protection in a foreign state;
- a parent of a Latvian citizen or a Latvian alien, who requests a residence permit based on Section 30 of the Immigration Law;
- a minor child.
2) he or she is staying in the Republic of Latvia on the basis of a valid residence permit;
- he or she is staying in the Republic of Latvia legally and holds a residence permit of a resident of the European Union issued in another EU Member State;
- he or she is a family member of a foreigner, who has been issued a residence permit of a resident of the European Union in another EU Member State and resides in the Republic of Latvia legally, if the family has been founded in another EU Member State before the foreigner, who holds a residence permit of a resident of the European Union issued in another EU Member State, has requested a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Latvia;
- he or she is a citizen of a state, whose citizens do not require a visa to travel to the Republic of Latvia;
- he or she has a valid residence permit issued in another Shengen state;
- he or she holds a valid temporary residence permit issued to him or her as an intra-corporate transferee by another EU Member State, and the foreigner requests a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Latvia as an intra-corporate transferee.
3. Is it possible to receive a residence permit based on a marriage?
A foreigner, who is a spouse of a Latvian citizen or a Latvian alien, or the spouse of a foreigner, who has been issued a permanent residence permit, is entitled to apply for:
- if documents are submitted for the first time — a temporary residence permit for a period of one year;
- if the documents are submitted for the second time — a temporary residence permit for a period of four years;
- if the documents are submitted for the third time — a permanent residence permit.
4. Can the document about the required means of subsistence be submitted by the spouse or another relative, when applying for a residence permit?
A Latvian citizen, a Latvian alien or a citizen of a EU Member State, a European Economic Area State or the Swiss Confederation residing in the Republic of Latvia with a registration certificate or a permanent residence certificate, or a foreigner holding a valid temporary residence or permanent residence permit in the Republic of Latvia may submit a notarized application or an application signed in the presence or an official of the office or the mission about the payment of the foreigners subsistence expenses.
1. What are employment opportunities in Latvia without the knowledge of Latvian language?
If the employee has no contact with customers (visitors, buyers etc.) and is able to communicate with the employer (understands work tasks, comments, praise etc.), is employed in the private sector, he or she can work without the knowledge of Latvian language.
1. What are education opportunities for arrivals from third countries in Latvia?
Newcomers are entitled to education: basic education (9 years), secondary education (12 years), as well as vocational education and higher education can be acquired at public and private educational institutions.
2. Is education available only in Latvian language in Latvia?
Higher education is available in foreign languages too in Latvia. Basic and secondary education can be acquired in minority schools, vocational education is available only in Latvian language. There are private educational institutions in Latvia, where one can learn also in foreign languages in addition to Latvian.
1. A citizen of which country should become a child born in Latvia to a family, where one parent is a citizen of the Republic of Latvia, the other parent – a citizen of the Russian Federation?
The child may retain the citizenship of both countries until the age of 18. Upon reaching the age of 18 the child may choose the citizenship of one of these countries.
- +Taxes, old age pension
1. What is the amount of taxes for arrivals from third countries for the owner of an enterprise (LLC, IM)?
Taxes are the same as for entrepreneurs in Latvia.
2. Does a newcomer from a third country can receive the old age pension in Latvia, if he or she has worked and paid taxes in Latvia?
That depends on the country the newcomer has arrived from and whether Latvia has an agreement on social security with the newcomers country of origin. Latvia has concluded agreements with the following countries — Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Canada and Australia.
3. Where to find information on 2nd pension level?
Information about the 2nd pension system can be found here: https://www.vsaa.gov.lv/en/services/for-employees/2-nd-tier-mandatory-state-funded-pension-scheme/
4. What is the 2nd pension pillar?
2nd pension pillar: https://www.manapensija.lv/en/2nd-pension-pillar/2nd-pension-pillar/
- +Various matters
1. Are newcomers from a third country entitled to an inheritance in Latvia?
A newcomer from a third country has the right to receive an inheritance in Latvia.
2. Where can a non-resident open a private bank account in Latvia?
A non-resident can open a private bank account with any bank in Latvia.
3. Where can a newcomer from a third country obtain legal counsel, if an administrative penalty has been imposed upon him or her, for example, a parking ticket, a ticket for exceeding the speed limit?
Free legal counsel is available at the Information Centre for Newcomers, Lacplesa Street 75-1B, Riga, LV-1011 (Latvia): http://www.integration.lv/
4. Why, where and how a car has to be registered, if one has come to Latvia for employment (a residence permit has been issued based on labour law) in his or her car, but needs to travel back to Russia or Ukraine on a regular basis? What are the conditions for driving a car registered in another country (outside European Union) in the territory of Latvia? What are the fines for a failure to register the car?
Since 1 January 2017 a person, who has a declared place of residence in Latvia, is allowed to drive a M1* or N1** category vehicle registered abroad in the territory of Latvia, if he or she has paid the motor vehicle tax.
The procedure applies also to rented vehicles registered abroad and vehicles in use before their registration in Latvia, if driven by a person, who has a declared place of residence in Latvia.
* Category M1 — motor vehicles designed and constructed mainly for the carriage of passengers and their luggage and comprising no more than eight seats in addition to the drivers seat.
** Category N1 — motor vehicles designed and constructed mainly for the carriage of goods and having a maximum mass not exceeding 3,5 tonnes.
The motor vehicle tax is paid based on the period of use of the vehicle:
- for a day (until the end of the day) – 10 euro;
- for a month (30 days) – 250 euro;
- for six months (185 days) – 600 euro;
- for a year (365 days) – 1000 euro.
The tax can be paid:
- by a bank card, by means of the electronic payment system e-CSDD https://e.csdd.lv/arvtlizmnod/ (the service is also available to persons, who are not registered as the users of CSDD e-services);
- at CSDD branch offices in cash or by a bank card.
The payment must contain the name of the person, who will drive the vehicle. If the tax has been paid, another person is allowed to drive the vehicle too. In that case one must take into consideration that the driver indicated in the payment document will be held responsible for use of the vehicle in Latvia (for example, a fine for a road traffic offence in the absence of the driver etc.).
CSDD ensures only collection of the tax, but it does not control its payment and refund. A decision about a refund of the tax or a part of it is taken by the State Revenue Service.
According to the Latvian Administrative Infringements Code, if the tax has not been paid, the driver of the vehicle can be issued a ticket for 150 to 400 euro.
A temporary or permanent registration of a vehicle registered abroad is possible in Latvia. If such a vehicle is registered in Latvia temporarily, foreign registration documents and number plates are submitted for safekeeping to CSDD and returned to the person, who submitted them, when the registration of the vehicle is cancelled for the purpose of its export from Latvia. More details are available on CSDD website in section "Temporary registration of a vehicle".
Information has been prepared based on VAS (state joint-stock company) "Ceļu satiksmes drošības direkcija" (Road Traffic Safety Directorate) website: www.csdd.lv
5. Where can I receive help, if I am suffering from discrimination by the staff of the higher educational institution I am studying at?
If you are suspicious of discriminatory treatment, you can apply for assistance at the Public Defenders Office, Baznicas Street 25, Riga, LV-1010.
6. Are any integration events/courses organised in Latvia, where can I find information about them?
Yes, various integration events/courses are organised in Latvia on a regular basis. More information: www.integration.lv.
7. In what language can applications be submitted to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs?
According to Section 22(4) of the Immigration Law, the documents for the approval of a sponsorship or requesting a residence permit may be submitted in the Latvian, English, French, Russian or German language. The inviter shall submit the application and explanations necessary for the approval of a sponsorship only in the Latvian language.
Based on Section 10(2) of the Official Language Law, State and local government institutions, courts and institutions constituting the judicial system, and State or local government undertakings (companies) shall accept from persons and examine only documents as are in the official language.
8. Can I submit documents to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs electronically?
Yes, you can submit documents to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (hereinafter referred to as OCMA) electronically by signing them with a secure electronic signature.
An application for approval of invitations/summons can be submitted to OCMA by sending them to e-mail: email@example.com using the e-service: the application to the institution is signed electronically (on www.latvija.lv) with a secure electronic signature, adding intended documents as needed.
The information has been prepared using the OCMA website: https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/
9. Can third country nationals residing in Latvia due to employment, including minors living with their parents, receive a European Health Insurance Card (hereinafter referred to as EHIC)? Will EHIC be in force in all the territory of the European Union, for example, if a family goes for a trip to Estonia?
In accordance with the information provided on the website of the National Health Service, "a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC is a plastic card, which certifies that the person is a resident of the European Union Member State, a country of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) or the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter Member States) and has a social insurance in his/her country. When you stay in other Member State for a short period of time, EHIC confirms your right to receive necessary or urgent medical healthcare in the amount it is provided to residents of the country concerned."
Any third country national, who resides in Latvia due to employment and has a social insurance, as well as his or her minor children, have the right to receive the EHIC.
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