Latvia Visas and Work Permits Guide

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Latvia Visas and Work Permits

With low costs in administration, labor and tax, attractive business incentives, and a high work-life balance, Latvia is an appealing business expansion option for foreign companies, entrepreneurs, and workers. Latvian visa and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the zones foreign nationals reside in: the European Union, the European Economic Area, and outside zones are all affected by these regulation

However, not all companies have the resources or the time to do all the legwork.  At Bradford Jacobs, as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) with years of experience in Employer of Record (EOR) services, we have plenty of both to help you arrange the required visas and permits. 

The required Visas and Permits in Latvia

Companies entering Latvia’s market will find processing work permits and visas a major issue. Acquiring these documents, as well as implementing your employees in a new territory (both foreign and domestic) require an in-house specialist department – and every new country comes with its own demands. We are experts in Latvian recruitment and payroll and can ensure an employee’s swift implementation in Latvian with the correct visa and permit documentation.

What types of Work Visas and Permits in Latvia are there?

There are 3 types of Visas that one may apply for to enter Latvia:

  • Schengen Visa (Short-Stay Visa C) – Individuals who wish to enter Latvia for short-term purposes (90 days within a 6-month period) must apply for a Schengen Visa, except in cases where visa-free administration can be applied (depending on the country). A foreigner who holds a short-stay visa may travel through the Republic of Latvia or any other Schengen states, and may stay in Latvia for not more than 3 months in a 6-month period.
  • Schengen Transit Visa (A) – entitles a person to stay in the transit area of an international airport in Latvia, during a stopover or change of aircraft.
  • Long-Stay Visa (Type D): Individuals who wish to enter and stay in the country for a longer period (max. 1 year). One may also travel to other EU/EEA states with this Visa type. This visa type is necessary for those that wish to acquire work and residence permits in Latvia.

All three visas can be single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry.

How to obtain a Latvian Work Visa

For non-EEA employees to obtain a Long-Stay Visa for Latvia, this requires gathering certain documentation. First, the employer must apply for an employee invitation and an OCMA decision (which includes a residence permit) on behalf of the employee. Once received, the Long Stay Visa application can begin.

The employee should provide their employer with the following documents that must be translated to Latvian or English and legalized for both the decision and the Long Stay Visa (although documentation requirements may vary according to country of the non-EEA employee):

  • The application forms: which can be submitted electronically or by hand.
  • OCMA decision: should be dated no later than 6 months prior to the application date.
  • A valid passport: Your passport must be issued within the last 10 years, contain at least two blank pages, and be valid at least 3 months after the visa’s duration.
  • Photos: Passport photos that have been taken around the time of application, in color.
  • Employee’s Invitation
  • Proof of sufficient funds and means
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Ticket reservation
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Confirmation of state duty payments to the embassy/consulate (EUR 65)
  • Proof of health insurance: the sum insured must be for at least EUR 42,600.
  • A certified copy of a valid employment contract, which has been notarized or approved by a public authority. The employee’s salary must be (at least) equal to the National Minimum Wage, and equal to the national terms of employment.
  • Proof of employee’s qualifications and experience
  • Any relevant certifications, licenses, references, or authorization.

How to Apply for work visa/work permit in Latvia

To obtain a Long-Stay Visa (D) and work permit, the employer must first apply for an OCMA decision (which doubles as a residence permit) and an invitation on behalf of the employee to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA). Once this is done and approved, the employee must then apply for the work visa:

  • Fill in the national visa application form: this can be done online or by hand.
  • Present documents: You need to present/attach the required documents you have collected to your online or offline application.
  • Schedule an appointment with your embassy/consulate: Once application is done, you must make an appointment at your local Latvian embassy or consulate. This process may vary according to the regulation in your country of residence and might include an interview.
  • Go to the embassy/consulate & give your biometrics: Your fingerprints need to be scanned and facial image taken (if you have not travelled to the Schengen Area in the last 5 years) at the Latvian embassy/consulate.
  • Pay the visa fee: The payment process/requirements may also vary according to the country of residence.

A work permit is issued simultaneously with a Long-Stay Visa, once approved. The visa process can also be done online through the OCMA website or in person at the embassy/consulate.

The process time for a residence permit and long-stay visa is 5-15 business days for each application. However, it is best to apply ahead of time, in case of any possible delays.

How much is a Latvia Work Visa?

Long-Stay Visa applicants are subject to a visa fee of EUR 60.

Working Visa / Permit for Latvia

To legally work in Latvia, members of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) do not require a work visa or work permit. Non-EEA nationals, however, require both – which are both granted on the application of a Long-Stay Visa.

A Long-Stay Visa D authorizes a person to enter Latvia for a maximum period of a year, but the need for a work permit and/or residence permit depends on the type of national visa, which varies according to the job and qualifications of the foreign national. Non-EEA nationals (in both cases) must also apply for social insurance and a tax number. Long-Stay Visas, or Work Visas, are normally authorized for a year, but they can be renewed.

Non-EU and non-EEA nationals may also apply for an EU Blue Card – this works both as a work and residence permit for highly-qualified non-EU workers who wish to work and live in the EU. To meet the qualifications, you will need:

  • Proof of your higher education qualification (university degree, transcripts, etc.), or in some case, proof of at least 5 years of relevant professional experience.
  • An employment contract of at least a year (does not apply for self-employed work or entrepreneurs).
  • A higher-than-average salary compared to the average salary of Latvia (except when the lower salary threshold applies).
  • Long-Stay Visa application.
  • The necessary travel documents – passport, health insurance, travel itinerary, etc.
  • Proof you meet all legal requirements to practice your profession, where this is regulated.

If you are expanding into Latvia and need help with your employees’ visa and work permit compliance – contact us today!

Business Visa Latvia

To engage in business-related activities in Latvia, any non-EEA national will need to apply for a Business Visa. The type of Visa needed is a Short-Stay Visa C. The application for this visa requires the following documents:

  • An invitation letter from the Latvian company you will be visiting, which includes their address and the dates of your visit.
  • A certificate from your employer stating your business travel.
  • A business bank statement of the last 6 months.
  • Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies (if applicable)
  • An original certified copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (registered with joint stock companies), their trade license (first issue and most recent renewal), as well as any proprietorship or partnership documents.
  • Expenses: the employer or partner company must state expense coverage on the letter or invitation.

The maximum validity of a Short Stay Visa C is 3 months within a 6-month period, and costs EUR 80. However, the time validity of this visa may vary, according to what your embassy grants you.

Latvia Visa for EU citizens

Work visas and permits for Latvia are not required for EU and EEA nationals, regardless of the purpose or length of stay. However, EU nationals must have a National ID Card or passport that is valid for the duration of their stay.

However, if EU/EEA nationals plan to stay in Latvia over 90 days, they must register as soon as possible with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) to receive a residence registration certificate.

If an EU national wishes to stay in Latvia for the purpose of a job, they may stay in Latvia for up to 6 months without registering. However, they must register with the State Revenue Service (VID).

Latvia Visa for USA citizens

American Citizens who wish to enter Latvia do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes, due to the Schengen Agreement. From end 2022, however, they will need an ETIAS – which is an electronic travel authorization for short stays in the Schengen Area within a 180-day period.

If required to travel to Latvia for longer than 90 days, however, an application for a long-stay visa and residence permit is required, which must include the following documents:

  • The application form – fill out by hand or fill it in electronically.
  • 2 passport photos – recent, whole-face with a light background.
  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the return date, and have at least 2 blank pages, as well as copies of previous Schengen Visas (if applicable).
  • A copy of your travel itinerary.
  • Proof of European travel medical insurance of a minimum of EUR 30,000 coverage within the entire Schengen Area.
  • Criminal record certificate.
  • A cover letter stating the purpose of the visit to Latvia.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (at least EUR 10,000).
  • Proof of civil status (if required).

Latvia Visa for Canadian citizens

Canadian citizens do not require a Schengen visa to travel to Latvia, or any other country in the Schengen Area. From end 2022, however, they will also have to apply for an ETIAS, an electronic travel authorization for short-stays in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

However, if you plan to travel for more than 90 days, especially for work or study, you will need to apply for the appropriate visa, a work permit, and a residence permit, which provide the following documents:

  • The application form – fill out by hand or fill it in electronically.
  • 2 passport photos – recent, whole-face with a light background.
  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the return date, and have at least 2 blank pages, as well as copies of previous Schengen Visas (if applicable).
  • A copy of your travel itinerary.
  • Proof of European travel medical insurance, which covers the entire length of your stay.
  • A cover letter stating the purpose of the visit to Latvia.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Proof of sufficient funds (at least EUR 10,000).
  • Proof of civil status (if required).

Latvia Visa for China

Chinese citizens require a valid visa to enter the Schengen Area, regardless of the duration of their stay. However, if a citizen has a diplomatic or service passport, they are exempt from acquiring a visa (depending on their length of the stay).

To find employment in Latvia, Chinese citizens require a work visa, a work permit, and a residence permit. Documents must be submitted with an English or Latvian translation, and legalized.

Latvia Visa for UK Citizens

In January 2021, the rules for traveling to the Schengen Area have changed due to Brexit. UK citizens can travel to the Schengen Area without a visa for up to 90 days within any 180-day period, regardless of the purpose of your visit.

However, to stay longer than 90 days (for work or study), you will have to apply for a visa and the relevant permits.

UK Nationals must have at least 6 months validity after your departure date on your passport, and you may have to show proof of travel (itinerary, accommodation, etc.), health insurance, and funds at border control.

If you are expanding your business into Latvia and would like to know more about the country’s visa and work permit requirements and compliance, contact us today.