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Complete guide to applying for a Latvia tourist visa, the required documents, the eligibility criteria, and FAQs

Home of the oldest language and biggest waterfall in Europe, Latvia offers picturesque scenery that you can experience for affordable prices. It comes as no surprise that many people are looking to visit it. Tourists love visiting Latvia, especially Riga and if you are one of them who is eager to do the same, you might need a Latvia tourist visa. 

Note: The Latvia tourist visa is also referred to as a Schengen visa because it lets you visit all other Schengen countries as well within its validity period.

Do I Need a Tourist Visa to Visit Latvia?

You do not need a visa for Latvia if your home country:

  • Is part of the EU/EEA or Schengen.
  • Has a visa-free agreement with Schengen, such as the US, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, etc.

If you are from a country that does not have a visa-free agreement (e.g. China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Thailand, Turkey, etc.), and would like to visit Latvia, you must apply for a Schengen visa.

Is Latvia Part of Schengen Area?

Yes, Latvia is part of the Schengen countries, which issue a joint short-term visa. This means that with a Latvian visa, you can visit the other countries in the Schengen Agreement as well. You can get a Latvia Schengen visa for: 

  • Tourism.
  • Business. 
  • Family visit.
  • Medical treatment.

Latvia Schengen Visa Requirements

The required documents for a Latvia Schengen visa application are:

How to Apply for a Latvia Schengen Visa?

To apply for a Latvia Schengen visa you need to follow these steps:

  1. Complete the application form online. Print out the form, sign it, and attach it to the rest of the required documents.
  2. Locate a Latvian embassy or consulate. To submit your Latvia visa application, you must make an appointment beforehand. You can make an appointment online or by contacting the embassy/consulate directly. Schedule your appointment at least two weeks before your trip.
  3. Collect all the required documents. You have to collect all the documents listed under “Latvia Schengen Visa Requirements” above.
  4. Submit the documents at the embassy/consulate. On the date of your appointment, submit the documents and pay the visa fee. You may also be asked to sit in an interview for your visa application.
  5. Wait for an answer. The processing time will take around two weeks.

Latvia Schengen Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a Latvia Schengen visa usually takes around 14 to 15 days. In extraordinary cases, the processing time for a visa application may take longer, and you will have to wait for your answer for up to 45 days, such as during the summer season due to the high number of visa applications.

Latvia Schengen Visa Fee

The fees for a Latvian Schengen visa are as follows:

Category Fee
Standard Latvian Schengen visa €80
For children aged 6-12 €35
For children under the age of 6 Free of charge
Students on a school trip, researchers, and non-profit organizations with members aged under 25 who want to attend a seminar or conference in Latvia. Free of charge

The Latvian diplomatic mission that you apply to will tell you how to pay the fee. The payment can either be made in person when you apply or beforehand. You will be issued a document that will act as proof of the payment. This document needs to be submitted together with the other required documents for your Latvia visa application. 

Duration of a Latvian Schengen Visa

You can stay in Latvia and the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days during a 180-day period. However, a Latvian Schengen visa it can be issued for a shorter period of time as well. You can receive a Latvian Schengen visa with the following conditions:

  • Single-entry – Allows you to enter Latvia and the Schengen Area only once and stay for the time it is issued. After you leave, you cannot re-enter, even if you have remaining days.
  • Multiple-entry – Allows you to enter Latvia and the Schengen Area as many times as you wish, while the visa is valid. Your first entry should be in Latvia.

If you would like to stay longer than the 90 days that the visa offers, you are allowed to apply for an extension at the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration. Extensions are only given if you have a strong reason for it.

Can I Extend a Latvia Schengen Visa?

You can only extend a Latvia Schengen visa, if you have a  strong reason, such as:

  • Humanitarian or professional reasons, making it impossible for you to leave Latvia before the expiry of the visa.
  • You have proof of important personal reasons justifying the extension of your Schengen visa.

You can apply for an extension for the Schengen visa at the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration.

Another option for you is to reapply for the Schengen visa or to apply for a Latvian long-stay national visa.

Can I Study in Latvia With a Schengen Visa?

You can attend a short-term study course of up to 90 days with a Latvian Schengen visa, provided that your visa is issued for that duration.

However, as a non-EU/EEA citizen, long-term courses such as BA and MA studies, you need to apply for a Latvia national long-stay visa. A student visa is a long-stay visa that allows its holder to stay in Latvia for longer than 90 days. Student visas require additional documentation such as proof of enrollment at a Latvian school or university, a no objection letter, and a letter of invitation. The student visa needs to be combined with a temporary residence permit in order to be valid for your full studies.

Can I Work in Latvia With a Schengen Visa?

No, you can not work in Latvia with a Schengen tourist visa. If you would like to work in Latvia, you will need to apply for a work visa, work permit, and temporary residence permit to do so. A Schengen tourist visa is only used for tourism, visiting family or friends, business, or medical purposes.

What’s the Difference Between a Latvia Schengen Visa and Long-Term Visa

The differences between Latvia Schengen Visa and a D-Type Long Term Visa are:                  

Latvia Schengen Visa: Latvia D-Type Long Term Visa:
Is a short-stay visa Is a long-stay visa 
Your stay cannot exceed three months. You have to leave Latvia before your visa expiress Your stay can last for up to one year. After entering Latvia with a long-stay visa, you can obtain a residence permit and extend your stay in Latvia for years or indefinitely. 
Recommended for travel  Recommended if you want to study and work in Latvia
You do not need a strong reason to obtain a Schengen visa for Latvia.  You need a strong reason to obtain a long-stay visa. It could be a work contract, acceptance letter from a Latvian university, or having a close family member who lives there.

Tourist Attractions in Latvia

As a tourist, there are many places you should not miss when you visit Latvia. Here are some of the top tourist attractions that you must visit during your stay in Latvia.

Riga

Riga offers an architectural paradise with its colorful building and Gothic cathedrals. It has a lot of cafes and restaurants, just waiting for you to visit them. The best part is that Riga is a very affordable place to visit and is, therefore, one of the most favorite places to visit by tourists.

Jūrmala

A beautiful white sand beach, Jūrmala is a perfect option for those who want to enjoy the sound of waves and enjoy the warm weather peacefully. An escape from the busy and fast city lifestyle, foreigners love to visit Jūrmala as it offers them the relaxation they are always yearning for.

Gauja

From cliffs to caves and historical beauty, the Gauja National Park is a perfect spot for those who are nature adventurers and seek adrenaline in a perfect environment. It is stretched for over 90,000km so it will surely be a perfect spot to experience at least once in your lifetime.

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