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.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
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.
Further details on self-isolation are on the Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website and the Latvian Government’s COVID-19 website:
- if you are required to self-isolate you must carefully monitor your health for the period of self-isolation, including by taking your body temperature twice a day (in the morning and evening)
- if you experience mild flu-like (increased body temperature, cough, sore throat) symptoms for at least two days you should call 8303. The dispatcher will then evaluate on a case-by-case basis and refer you to a testing point or send a medical unit to you if you are unable to travel to a testing point
- in case of sudden onset of at least one of the following symptoms – dry cough, fever, shortness of breath – restrict contact with people nearby, but in case this is not possible, keep a distance of at least two metres from them, and call 113 immediately (State Emergency Medical Service).
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.
Regular entry requirements
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Latvia and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Latvian government’s entry requirements. Check with the Latvian Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
- if you stay in Latvia with a visa or permit, this does not count towards the 90-day limit
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:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
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
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.
Licences and documents
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.
See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in Latvia.
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.