Entry, Visas, Residence and Work Permits

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A Schengen Visa 
Residence and Work Permits for Researchers and Students  
Procedures for Citizens of EU and Their Family Members 
Entry and Residency Wizard (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA)) 
Institutions 

A Schengen Visa

21 December 2007 - Latvia acceded to the Schengen Agreement. With Latvia‘s accession to the Schengen Area Latvian diplomatic and consular representations abroad have started to issue uniform or Schengen visas that are valid in the territory of all Schengen countries.

The maximum time that a person holding a Schengen visa may stay in the Schengen Area is three months in a half-year period, beginning on the first day of entry after crossing the external border of the Schengen area. If a foreigner will need to stay in Latvia more than three months in a half-year period he/she, depending on circumstances, will have to receive a national long-term visa or a residence permit. This visa is valid only for staying in Latvia. It will be also valid for crossing the territory of other Schengen countries in transit in order to reach Latvia. The accession to the Schengen Agreement has given to Latvia an opportunity to ensure that foreigners can receive Schengen visas for travelling to Latvia in the places where Latvia does not have its own diplomatic and consular representations. Presently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has concluded agreements with Germany, Hungary and France on representation in visa issuance in 21 countries.

Residence and Work Permits for Researchers and Students 

The Latvian migration legislation predicts simplified procedures regarding researchers, lecturers and students. A third-country national has the right to request a temporary residence permit in accordance with the procedures prescribed normative acts, if he/she,

  • is involved in scientific co-operation with Latvian host institution included in Register of Scientific Institutions, for a period of time provided for by the contract of scientific co-operation, but not longer than five years. A work permit is not necessary for third-country national in this case;
  • is a full-time student (including doctoral students) in educational establishments accredited in the Republic of Latvia, for the time period of studies, but not longer than for one year. A work permit shall be issued to a full-time student, if work time specified in work contract does not exceed 20 hours per week;

In both cases, the spouse of third-country national, minor children (also those under guardianship) and persons under trusteeship also have the right to request a temporary residence permit for the duration of the temporary residence permit issued to the third-country national.

Also after the expiration of the time period referred, a third-country national may again request a residence permit if the basis for requesting a residence permit is still valid.

A work permit is not necessary also if a third-country national on the basis of an invitation from an educational institution or scientific institution, or individual scientist in relation to scientific research or participation in the implementation of an educational programme and the intended length of stay in the Republic of Latvia does not exceed 14 days.

Procedures for Citizens of EU and Their Family Members

If the citizen of European Union Member States, European Economic Area States and the Swiss Confederation (hereinafter – Union citizens) resides in Latvia for a specified period, he or she shall be issued with a registration certificate. In case if he or she resides in Latvia permanently, the permanent residence certificate should be issued.

If a family member of a Union citizen, who is not a Union citizen, resides in Latvia for a specified period, he or she shall be issued with a residence permit for a family member of a Union citizen. If such person resides in Latvia permanently, a permanent residence permit should be issued.

If the Union citizen or his or her family member has established legal employment relations or is a self-employed person in the Republic of Latvia, a work permit shall not be necessary.

The above mentioned documents shall be issued free of charge. The documents shall include the personal identity number, which is essential also to perform the procedures of taxation and social security!

Entry and Residency Wizard (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA)) http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/iecelosana.html 

Wizard, offered by Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), available in English, Latvian, Russian, helps foreign nationals quickly find relevant information about entry and residence in Latvia, i.e., what documents are required and where application forms can be obtained or documents submitted.

Step by step, as prompted, the user of Entry and Residence Wizard supplies information about the anticipated stay until the final page summarizes the requirements or the application procedure for each specific case:

  1. step: Your country of citizenship
  2. step: The length of stay – less or more than 90 days
  3. step: Purpose/reason for stay - scientific collaboration, studies (university), student exchange program, employment contract …

The above is an automated process, based on the norms regulating immigration as specified in the legislation of the Republic of Latvia, and it encompasses the most frequent scenarios based on the reason or purpose of residence.

Under very specific scenarios, when Entry and Residence Wizard is unable to find an answer, please visit the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) portal (sections "Visas and invitations" http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/vizas.html and "Residence Permits" http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/uzturesanas.html).

Institutions

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.am.gov.lv/) issue uniform Schengen visas and provide other consular services (see section „Consular Issues” http://www.am.gov.lv/en/service/). Information about diplomatic and consular representations of Latvia abroad and foreign countries in Latvia - see section „Diplomatic missions” http://www.am.gov.lv/en/diplomatic-missions/.

Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) (under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior) (http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/) is responsible for issue of identity documents and travel documents, implementation of state migration policy. The OCMA is also competent institution for issuing of work permit. The office is representative of Latvia in European Migration Network.

State Employment Agency (under the supervision of the Ministry of Welfare) (http://www.nva.gov.lv/) approves work invitations (if necessary). Representative of Latvia in European Employment Services EURES (http://www.nva.gov.lv/eures/).


If you need additional information or need personal assistance for particular case regarding the General information about Latvia, please use our HelpDesk or contact the EURAXESS Latvia Services Centre.

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Page last updated:29.09.2014