What should never change in Riga, Latvia

Entry requirements for Latvia

Coronavirus / Covid-19: Current notice for travelers

The worldwide travel warning was lifted on October 1, 2020. Instead, the Federal Foreign Office issues differentiated travel and safety information for each individual country. We are currently warned or discouraged against unnecessary tourist trips to a large number of countries.

Before you travel to Latvia, please check the entry regulations as well as the travel and safety instructions of the Federal Foreign Office as well as the applicable quarantine regulations and test regulations of the federal states for return travelers. Please note that the situation is developing dynamically and can change at any time.

The following official websites are available for this purpose:


Book Latvia vacation


Entry to Latvia at a glance

A successful trip stands or falls with the right planning: Here you can find out what to consider when entering Latvia.

So that nothing stands in the way of a trip to Latvia, find out about the entry requirements in advance. Well informed and with the necessary documents in your pocket, you will explore a country that is full of surprises. So that there are no nasty surprises when entering and leaving the country, here is an overview of the respective regulations.

What travel documents are required to enter Latvia?

Citizens of all EU members and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not need a visa to enter Latvia. The national identity card or passport is sufficient. You can enter the Schengen area without border controls - regardless of whether you enter Riga by land, by ferry or by plane. However, you should always have a valid identity card or passport with you. You can use this to prove your own identity and identify yourself at a security check. Temporary travel documents are also recognized.

The entry requirements for Latvia also grant some non-EU members a visa-free stay of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days. These include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican State. Outside Europe, this includes Australia, Brazil, Israel, Japan, Canada and the USA. A detailed list can be found at www.mfa.gov.lv. A special regulation applies to Turkish citizens. If they have a residence permit in a country belonging to the Schengen area, they only need a valid passport for a stay of up to 90 days. Turkish citizens who do not have a residence permit in the Schengen area, on the other hand, have to apply for a visa.

Citizens of the following nations must apply for a visa in any case: China, Georgia, Russia and Belarus. A valid passport, copies of the first four passport pages, the completed application form and two biometric passport photos are required. In addition, the purpose of the trip must be documented and evidence must be provided that the accommodation costs and the return journey can be paid. An existing international health insurance must also be proven. The visa must be applied for at the respective representation of Latvia in the applicant's country of residence, possibly also electronically. If you want to stay in Latvia for more than 90 days, you need a special long-term visa or residence permit. A processing time of up to ten days should be taken into account for processing a visa application, significantly more for long-term stays.

In the Entry with children you should note that each child must have their own ID. An entry in the parents' passport has not been recognized for several years. Children under twelve years of age need a child's passport, provided that an identity card has not yet been issued. Minors traveling alone must be able to show a travel permit from their parents or legal guardians who are not present. The latter must be certified by an official body (municipality, police, etc.).

What should be considered when entering with pets?

The entry requirements for Latvia see for the Entry of dogs, cats and ferrets from EU countries require that an EU pet passport is presented. This must have been issued by authorized veterinarians. In addition, the animal must have an implanted microchip on its neck and have a valid rabies vaccination. Pets under three months of age are exempt from the obligation to vaccinate. A health certificate is required for small animals, including birds, from non-rabies-free countries outside the EU. This must state that an examination for the presence of antibodies against rabies was carried out three months prior to entry. In total, no more than five pets are allowed into Latvia.

Which customs regulations should be observed?

As an EU citizen, you are allowed to import goods without restriction on entry, provided that these were not bought in the duty-free shop, are solely for personal use and are not to be resold. The following maximum quantities apply to people aged 17 and over: 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, 1kg tobacco, 10l high-proof alcoholic beverages, 20l intermediate products enriched with alcohol (e.g. port wine, sherry, Campari), 90l wine (of which a maximum of 60l sparkling wine) and 110l Beer. No restrictions apply to perfumes or eaux de toilette. Unlimited fuel can be carried if it is in the vehicle's tank and a maximum of 10l in a reserve canister. If the quantities are higher, the reason must be stated.

When entering Latvia from a non-EU country or for goods bought in the duty-free shop, persons over the age of 18 may import duty-free into Latvia: when entering by plane 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; when entering by ship or by land, 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g tobacco. Furthermore, 1l of spirits with an alcohol content of over 22% or 2l of spirits up to an alcohol content of 22% or sparkling wine, 4l of table wine, 16l of beer and medication for personal use are allowed. Gifts and other goods have a total value of € 430 (air or sea travel) or € 300 (for entry by land). For children under the age of 15, the maximum amount is generally € 285.

Health regulations and peculiarities for drugs and narcotics

All people entering Latvia must have health insurance. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, it is sufficient to present the respective health insurance card (EHIC), which ensures care and reimbursement of costs. However, in the event of a serious illness or an accident, the return transport home from Latvia will not be covered. These costs are only covered by taking out a foreign health insurance, possibly also additional costs for treatment in a private practice or at the dentist. There are no compulsory vaccinations when entering Latvia. Note, however, that Latvia is currently the only EU country that still has localized diphtheria. Standard vaccinations for children and adults should therefore be up-to-date and, if necessary, refreshed.

There are strict legal restrictions on taking medicines and narcotics with you when traveling with Latvia. A certificate of necessity in Latvian or English must be presented to take prescription-only medicines with you. The amount depends on the respective need for a maximum of twelve months if you are traveling from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. For everyone else, the amount is limited to three months. Please also note that medicines bought without a prescription in your own country may be subject to prescription requirements in accordance with the regulations in Latvia. The import of counterfeit drugs or drugs that are on the doping list is completely prohibited.

For narcotics that require a prescription, a medical certificate is required for the prescription in accordance with narcotics law. This is valid for a maximum of 30 days. There are different forms, one for the countries of the Schengen area and one for the other countries. Both are available on the website of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices at www.bfarm.de.

What else do you have to consider when entering or leaving the country?

The entry requirements for Latvia stipulate that Cashin whatever form, more than 10,000 euros must be declared upon entry, as well as valuable items (jewelry, furs). So there are always cash controls on entry and / or exit. The scheme also includes stocks, travelers checks and bonds.

It goes without saying that the import and possession of Drugs of all kinds is prohibited and is punishable by heavy penalties. Also the import of weapons and dummy weapons are also forbidden. Other types of weapons and ammunition (e.g. sport or hunting rifles and associated ammunition) must be declared. The Latvian border police will then issue the necessary special permit. Failure to comply with this declaration will result in a severe fine or even a prison sentence.

The import of counterfeit products as well as copyright infringing articles is strictly prohibited. Corresponding products are confiscated and there is a risk of a heavy fine or even imprisonment. Product piracy is not considered a minor offense in Latvia! You need a special export permit for cultural goods related to Latvian history and for art objects over 50 years old. Violation of this is considered a serious criminal offense.

Also the Species protection must be observed. For example, it is forbidden to pick up mussels and snails on the beach and to take plants or parts of them from nature with you. Please note that works of art or souvenirs can also contain materials from species-protected animals or plants. Again and again, due to ignorance when entering or leaving the country, species protection is violated, but the Latvian authorities at least punish them with a fine. Otherwise the import is more dangerous and not allowed harmful productsthat contain substances harmful to health, as well as unconstitutional or youth-endangering material.

Meat and dairy products may only be imported from EU countries as well as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland. If an animal disease breaks out in one of these countries, an import ban applies temporarily to this country only. Travelers from Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are allowed to import a maximum of 10kg of animal products from there. All others are only allowed to import animal products if an official health certificate from a veterinary medical service is presented.

What could be the reasons for a Refused entry be?

In accordance with the EU's free movement guidelines, Latvia maintains a list of undesirable nations under the Latvian Immigration Act. According to this, temporary entry bans may be imposed in certain cases. In such a case, Latvia mostly invokes threats to public order, security and health. Latvia was recently criticized in public for various entry bans. As in many other countries, otherwise statute-barred crimes can lead to an entry ban.

This article was last updated on October 19, 2020.

More articles