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May 10, 2024

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Learn About Your Destination


Republic of Latvia
Exercise normal precautions in Latvia.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed. 

Exercise normal precautions in Latvia.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Latvia.

If you decide to travel to Latvia:


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months recommended beyond the period of stay


One page per stamp


Not required for stays less than 90 days within a six-month period




10,000 Euros or equivalent


10,000 Euros or equivalent

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Riga

Samnera Velsa iela 1 
Riga LV-1510
+(371) 6710-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(371) 6710-7000 or +(371) 2920-5708
Fax: +(371) 6710-7001

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the website the Embassy of Latvia in Washington for the most current visa information.

  • If you plan to stay in Latvia more than 90 days, you must apply for temporary residence.
  • A criminal records check from the United States, which can be requested through the FBI, is required for a temporary residence permit. You must also submit proof of identity and a set of ink-rolled fingerprint impressions.
  • The U.S. Embassy cannot take your fingerprints, but the Latvian State Criminal Police Department is able to provide this service at Bruninieku iela 72, Riga, tel: 371 6720-8662. For more information, contact the Latvian Embassy at 2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, tel: (202) 328-2840, fax: (202) 328-2860. 
  • You should carry your passport when travelling to neighboring Baltic countries from Latvia – even on day trips – as random passport checks are possible.

Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay if you plan on transiting a Schengen country review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.    
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.  
  • For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa  page.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Latvia.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks. However, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. 

For more information, see our Terrorism page.  

Crime: Crime against foreign visitors is generally non-violent in nature; however, violent assaults and robberies have occurred. Harassment of foreigners and same-sex partners has also occurred in Latvia.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take personal security measures to stay safe.
  • The most common crimes encountered by foreign tourists are purse snatching, pick pocketing, and mugging, especially during the summer tourism season.
  • Thieves have targeted foreign vistiors in Riga’s Old Town (Vecriga), Central Train Station (Dzelzcela stacija), Central Bus Station (Autoosta), and Central Market (Centraltirgus).
  • Avoid walking alone or using ATMs after dark.
  • There have been cases of visitors partying at bars and nightclubs in Riga who have been drugged and subsequently sexually assaulted.
  • Be aware of other common scams in restaurants and tourist pubs. Pay special attention to drink prices, as they may rise to exorbitant levels for tourists. Management may use force to secure payment.
  • Internet crime is increasing in Latvia.  Common schemes involve internet auction or job-search sites.

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.  

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.  
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories

Information regarding demonstrations in Latvia can be found on the U.S. Embassy Latvia website.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(371) 6710-7000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • Assist you with a list of non-governmental organizations and centers providing a number of programs for victims of crime in Latvia.  Please see our website for more information.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the local police at 112 and  the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is regulated and rules with regards to best practices and safety inspections are enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is available throughout the country. Outside of urban areas, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to provide assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned or deported. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Latvia are severe. You can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • You can be jailed immediately for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.

Special Circumstances: Latvia is part of the Eurozone and only euros are accepted.

  • Bank and currency exchange counters may refuse to accept U.S. currency that is crumpled, torn, discolored, or defaced (even small pen strokes are considered defacing). If such notes are accepted for exchange, an additional processing fee, based on the size of the transaction, may be charged. Cashing personal and Treasury checks issued in the United States may be time-consuming and costly.
  • ATMs are widely available in Riga and in major towns. For security purposes, it is recommended that visitors use ATMs located inside major hotels or shopping malls.
  • Telephone connections with the United States are reliable; however, U.S. toll-free numbers cannot be accessed from Latvia. 

Customs: Latvian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Latvia of items such as firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, business equipment, drugs, etc.

Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Contact the Embassy of Latvia in Washington or one of the Latvian consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated good are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines and have to give them up if you bring them back from the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Latvia.

Credible non-governmental organizations report widespread intolerance and discrimination against LGBTI persons, as well as underreporting to authorities of attacks and discrimination against LGBTI individuals.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Latvia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different than in the United States.

  • The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and other state services, and the government generally enforces these provisions. 
  • The law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, most buildings are not yet accessible. Although Latvia has made efforts to improve disabled access, only new and completely renovated hotels, guest houses, hostels, and public buildings provide suitable facilities for seriously disabled travelers. See our Traveling with Disabilities page.
  • You may find general information on accessibility and accommodations on the website of the Latvian Tourism Board.
  • You will rarely find easy-access public transportation and taxis. Free or reduced fares on public transportation are available only to persons with disabilities who are Latvian residents.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


The quality of medical care in Latvia continues to improve but often falls short of Western standards. Latvia has highly trained medical professionals, but hospitals and clinics suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. 

  • Many doctors speak at least limited English.
  • There are few private clinics in major cities that offer services equal to Western European or U.S. standards. 
  • Western-quality dental care can be obtained in Riga.
  • Payment is expected upon admission at private hospitals.

Prescription Medicines: Pharmaceuticals sold in Latvia are produced by companies certified in accordance with EU standards but may not be labeled the same as in the United States.

For general emergency services in Latvia, dial 112. For medical emergency services, dial 113.

Ambulance services are available in urban areas but not countrywide. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance in rural areas. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors in Latvia do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on types of overseas insurance. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Latvian Medicines Register Medicinal Product Register of Latvia to ensure the medication is legal in Latvia.

General Health Information:

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Tuberculosis.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme-disease are widespread throughout the country.
  • Use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to help diminish bites from ticks and other insects if you intend to visit parks or forested areas. 
  • Tick-borne encephalitis vaccinations are given as a series of three doses, and are not available in the United States. 
  • There are no vaccines against Lyme disease.
  • Hepatitis A is a significant health concern in Latvia. Hepatitis A vaccine is available in the US and is recommended for those with prolonged stays or travel in rural areas.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals Medical Resources. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: While in Latvia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

  • Latvia’s rate of automobile accidents and fatalities is one of the highest in Europe.
  • If you plan to drive in Latvia, you are required to obtain an International Driving Permit. You may get these through the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance for a small fee.
  • If you drive without an International Driving Permit, police could confiscate your vehicle.
  • If you are resident in Latvia more than six months, you are required to apply for a Latvian driver’s license.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists are required to wear small reflectors on clothing in Latvia whenever dark outside.

Traffic Laws: Driving while intoxicated is a very serious offense and carries heavy penalties. Latvian authorities use roadblocks and breathalyzer tests as enforcement tools.

  • You must use your headlights at all times. Speed limits are usually 50 km/hr (31 mph) in the city and 90 km/hr (55 mph) on highways.
  • There are many mobile and fixed speed cameras deployed throughout the country.

Public Transportation: Public transportation is considered safe, but travelers are encouraged to select well-marked taxis.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Latvia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Latvia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Latvia should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Latvia. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: January 10, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Riga
Samnera Velsa iela 1 
Riga LV-1510
+(371) 6710-7000
+(371) 6710-7000 or +(371) 2920-5708
+(371) 6710-7001

Latvia Map