Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
The transit of goods through Latvia is not subject to import and export duties or Value Added Tax (VAT).
The applicable import rates vary depending on the origin and the type of goods imported. Since Latvia is a member of the WTO and the EU, rating practices required by these organizations have been adopted. As an EU member state, import tariffs are dependent and regulated by the pertinent EU-U.S. bilateral agreements.
There are no import or export tariffs for the movement of goods between Latvia and other EU countries.
The Customs Law provides for customs duty exemptions, and foreign investors commonly exempt the temporary import of goods.
Besides customs duties, imports are subject to VAT and may also be subject to excise tax and tax on natural resources.
Don’t become involved with drugs. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to lengthy pre-trial detention and possible custodial sentences.
Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited and may lead to detention and a financial penalty.
For identification purposes, you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times. If possible, leave your passport and other important documents in hotel safes.
There are on the spot fines for those found travelling on public transport without a ticket or with a ticket which has not been validated. Tickets can be bought from the driver or from shops/kiosks but must be validated by using machines sited within the bus/tram. Additional tickets should be purchased from drivers for large pieces of luggage and/or pets.
Taking food and drink into the EU
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
The National Customs Board of Latvia is part of the State Revenue Service, an institution of direct administration subordinate to the Minister of Finance. Latvia has been a member of the World Customs Organization (WCO) since 1992.
When products enter the EU, they need to be declared to customs according to their classification in the Combined Nomenclature (CN). The CN document is updated and published every year, and the latest version can be found on the European Commission`s website: European Commission – The Combined Nomenclature
U.S. exports to the EU are subject to an average tariff of just three percent. U.S. exporters should consult “The Integrated Tariff of the Community,” referred to as TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté), to identify the various rules which apply to specific products being imported into the customs territory of the EU. To determine if a license is required for a particular product, check the TARIC.
The TARIC can be searched by country of origin, Harmonized System (HS) Code, and product description on the interactive website of the Directorate-General for Taxation and the Customs Union. The online TARIC is updated daily.
Free import to passengers arriving with goods purchased within the EU which are for personal use only:
1. tobacco products:
2. alcoholic beverages:
Free import to passengers arriving from non-EU Member States (incl. Aland Island, Canary Islands, Channel Islands and other similar territories) :
1. tobacco products, for passengers aged 17 and older:
2. alcoholic beverages, for passengers aged 17 and older:
3. medicinal products sufficient for personal needs;
4. other goods (for air travelers) up to a total value of EUR 430.- per traveler.
The provision of free import is applicable for only one entry within a 48 hour period. If a person enters more than once during a 48 hour period and has imported goods under the provision of free import on the first arrival, then customs duties will have to be paid.
Products of animal origin, not originating from an EU Member State, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino or Switzerland, are not permitted to be imported into an EU Member State, with the exception of limited amounts from Andorra, Faroe Isl., Greenland, Iceland and small amounts of specific products from other countries.
Cats and dogs are subject to Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003 and Regulation (EU) 576/2013 .
Birds are subject to Decision (EC) No. 25/2007.
For more information contact the nearest embassy of Latvia.
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Latvia.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Latvia if it is labeled to that destination.
Currency Import regulations:
Same regulations as for export apply.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Euro-EUR) and foreign currencies: no restrictions if arriving from or traveling to another EU Member State .
If arriving directly from or traveling to a country outside the EU: amounts exceeding EUR 10,000.- or more or the equivalent in another currency (incl. banker’s draft and cheques of any kind) must be declared.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you need further information about entry requirements, contact the local immigration authorities or the nearest Latvian embassy/consulate. You should also check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.
From 11 February to 6 April 2021, entry into Latvia is permitted for essential travel only, defined as for work, studies, transit, medical treatment, funerals, family reunions, returning to your residence, and accompanying a minor.
Everyone who intends to enter Latvia is required to complete and submit an electronic form no earlier than 48 hours before entering Latvia. Further information is available on the Latvian Government’s COVID-19 website.
All travellers entering Latvia, including children aged 11 and above, are required to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken not earlier than 72 hours before boarding or before crossing the Latvian border individually, for example by road. Passengers who are unable to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test will be denied boarding. The certification must be in English, French, Russian or in the official language of the country from where the journey begins. There are very limited exemptions to the requirementto present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test. The test must be a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
Asymptomatic travellers arriving in Latvia from a country (or who have been in a country in the previous 14 days) where the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 cases in 100,000 of population over the previous 14 days exceeds 50 are required to self-isolate for 10 days after leaving that country. These countries are listed in the table of comparative epidemiological data published every Friday on the Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website. Travellers who have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person or who work in Latvia in the medical professions, as teachers, or as social workers are still required to self-isolate for 14 days.
If you have arrived in Latvia and are self-isolating but wish to leave Latvia before the end of your self-isolation period you should call the Latvian State Police on 110 and let them know of your intended departure.
Keep up to date with information from your tour operator, transport or accommodation provider on the impact on any existing travel plans.
Check country-specific FCDO Travel Advice for details of travel restrictions in the neighbouring countries Estonia and Lithuania.
You should follow the local quarantine measures of the country that you are in.
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
Any time you spent in Latvia or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
At Latvian border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:
If you were legally resident in Latvia before 1 January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. You must apply for a new residence status by 30 June 2021 to secure your rights.
You should carry your residence document, as well as your valid passport, when you travel. If you have applied for but not yet received your document, carry a copy of your certificate of application.
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Latvia. If you are resident in Latvia, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Latvia guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
You are required to have health insurance when you enter Latvia. This must include repatriation costs. Those who require visas for Latvia (other than EU family members) will need to show their policies upon arrival in Latvia.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Latvia. *[FCDO]: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
There have been reports of petty theft and robbery. Beware of pickpockets, avoid unlit streets and parks at night, and be extra vigilant if walking alone. Most thefts have been reported in Riga Old town, Central Market, central train and bus stations. You should remain particularly vigilant in these areas.
Reports of foreign tourists being charged extortionate prices for drinks or having fraudulent transactions debited against credit/debit cards have fallen considerably. You should, however, remain vigilant. Seek recommendations for bars and clubs from trustworthy sources like your hotel or other holidaymakers. When paying by credit or debit card make sure the transaction is completed in your presence and be wary of attempts to make you re-enter your pin number. Don’t leave drinks unattended.
If you wish to report a crime, call the Riga tourism police on +371 67181818 or the national police on 110.
Car theft occurs. Wherever possible use guarded car parks and keep valuables out of sight.
Be prepared for extremely cold and possibly hazardous weather if you travel to Latvia in the winter (October to March). There is likely to be snow on the ground and temperatures may drop to -25 degrees Celsius or below.
In 2019 there were 132 road deaths in the Latvia (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 6.9 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
You can drive in Latvia with a UK driving licence.
If you’re living in Latvia, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Drivers should carry original vehicle registration documents when crossing the border into Latvia (including motorcycles). If you do not have these documents, you will not be allowed to take your vehicle back out of Latvia.
There is a system called a Co-ordinated Accident Statement for use in case of road accidents when only two vehicles are involved in the accident, both vehicles are fit to continue the journey, there are no injuries and no other property has been damaged. Details of this are available from insurance companies. If you are not familiar with this protocol, or if the situation does not conform to the rules, then you should not attempt to move a vehicle that has been involved in an accident, even if it is blocking the road, until the police give permission.
Don’t drink and drive. The legal limit is 0.05% (0.02% for drivers with less than two years of experience). Those found over the limit face a large fine, licence endorsement and probable imprisonment.
Using a mobile phone whilst driving is prohibited unless using a hands-free device.
Winter tyres are required between 1 December and 1 March.
Local law states that drivers must use their headlights at all times, including during daylight hours.
You should use a major taxi company such as Baltic Taxi (+371 2000 8500) or Red Cab (+371 661 83 83). They are generally able to tell you the type, colour and number of the car in advance. If you do pick up a taxi on the street or at the airport make sure you only use official registered vehicles. These display yellow license plates. Even when using official taxis agree the approximate price of the journey before setting off as reports have been received of some taxis using meters which have been adapted to clock up higher rates. Some taxis operating from Riga airport can charge highly inflated prices.