Customs regulations for your trip to Latvia

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs 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.

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Diplomatic franchise (diplomats)
  • Detailed inventory in English
  • Pro-forma invoice with values
  • Formal letter to Customs with detailed information about reasons of moving into Latvia (the first time or return, temporary move or permanent, etc.)
  • Letter of employment (foreigners)
  • Copy of employment contract (foreigners)
  • Rental agreement (foreigners) / proof of real estate ownership (returning citizens or EU citizens from outside the EU)
  • Proof of living abroad from origin shipping country of European Union (EU) for a period of at least 12 months) (returning citizens, EU citizens from outside the EU)

 Specific Information

  • The shipment must arrive within 12 months of the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • Diplomats may import household shipments duty free.
  • Returning citizens may import household shipments duty free if having lived abroad for at least 12 months.
  • Returning citizens must present a letter issued by the Repatriation Centre of Latvian Citizenship and Migration Affairs of their status and may import household shipments duty free.
  • If the owner of the goods is not a resident of Latvia, they must have a residence and work permit before arriving to Latvia.
    • If these documents are not present at the time of Customs clearance, the shipment will be delayed.
  • For shipments entering by roadway, Customs must be notified and receive documents at least 1 hour prior to shipment arrival.

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.

Dutiable Items

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.

  • Weapons:
    • For the import of personal arms, hunting weapons, gas pistols (revolvers) and munitions, the owner of the goods must apply for a license at the Home Affairs Ministry Police Department.
    • The license must be obtained prior to import as a valid firearms license from abroad must be presented upon entry.
  • Medications:
    • The owner of the goods can import all medicines as long as the owner of the goods can provide proof that they are for personal use only.
    • It is recommended to attach a doctor’s prescription to prove the necessity.
    • Drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as equipment for the use of them, cannot be imported.
  • Alcohol:
    • The import of alcohol is restricted.
    • Some exceptions may be allowed depending on the mode of transport used to enter the country.
    • Contact the destination agent for specific information.
  • Excise goods:
    • Excise goods such as tobacco, coffee, lemonade, etc. may be restricted.
    • Contract the destination agent for specific information.
  • Fur and hunting trophies:
    • A license is required for import.

Import regulations:

Free import to passengers arriving with goods purchased within the EU which are for personal use only:
1. tobacco products:

  • 800 cigarettes;
  • 400 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each);
  • 200 cigars;
  • 1 kilogram of smoking tobacco;

2. alcoholic beverages:

  • 10 liters of spirits over 22%;
  • 20 liters of alcoholic beverages less than 22%;
  • 90 liters of wine (though no more than 60 liters of sparkling wine);
  • 110 liters of beer.

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:

  • 200 cigarettes; or
  • 100 cigarillos (max. 3 grams each); or
  • 50 cigars; or
  • 250 grams of tobacco; or
  • proportional assortment;

2. alcoholic beverages, for passengers aged 17 and older:

  • 1 liter of spirits over 22% volume, or non-denatured ethyl alcohol with more than 80% volume; or
  • 2 liters of spirits or aperitifs made of wine or similar beverages less than 22% volume, or sparkling wines or liquor wines; or
  • a proportional mix of these products; and in addition
  • 4 liters of wine; and
  • 16 liters of beer;

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.

  • pets need to be identifiable (tattoo or an electronic identification system), vaccinated against rabies and have a health certificate. For more information please refer to the nearest embassy.
  • maximum of 10 kg of meat, milk and dairy products coming from Croatia, Færøer Islands, Greenland and Iceland
  • powdered milk for babies, food for children and special medical food (including pets food) may be allowed if they need not to be refrigerated prior opening and that it is brand packaged food and the packaging has original seal (unless in use at the time) and its quantity must not exceed the weight of 10 kg originating from Croatia, Færøer Islands, Greenland and Iceland, and of 2 kg if originating in other countries.
  • fish only if it is disembowelled and does not exceed the weight of 20 kg,
  • currency – no restrictions if coming from EU country. Declarable for all travelling outside EU when the amount exceeds 10.000 euro or equivalent in another currency.
  • coats, fur and leather shoes made of protected animals will need special authorization

Prohibited Items

  • Pornographic materials
  • Narcotics and illegal drugs
  • Subversive materials
  • Meat and milk and any items thereof from non-EU countries with the exception of limited amounts from Andorra, Croatia, the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and small amounts of specific products from other countries
  • Protected species and products thereof as listed by the CITES (Washington Convention) for example ivory, tortoise shell, coral, reptile skin, wood from Amazonian forests.

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Pets:

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 Clearance regulations:

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

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.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Technical passport
  • Proof of ownership for a period of at least 6 months

 Specific Information

  • Motor vehicles must be registered in the owner of the goods’ name.
  • Motor vehicles may enter duty free only if owned and operated for a minimum of 6 months and the vehicle meets European requirements.
  • The vehicle must have a valid license plate and third party liability (TPL) insurance policy valid within the entire territory of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Rabies vaccination certificate valid for 12 months (dogs)
  • Original international vaccination book
  • Certificate of origin
  • Veterinary health certificate in English or Latvian

Specific Information

  • The veterinary health certificate must be issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of import.

Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings

  • Antiques and artwork:
    • All antiques and artwork must be declared.
    • Two photographs for each item need to accompany documentation.
    • Contact the destination agent for specific information.
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