Latvia Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Latvia
How safe is Latvia?
Threat level: Low-Medium
COVID-19 Situation in Latvia
There are reported cases of the coronavirus in Latvia and due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, a state of emergency has been declared on the 9th of November that will be in effect until the 6th of December. As a result of this, shops, public and entertainment venues have been closed.
Further measures include the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and in public places indoors, and the obligation for people to maintain social distancing, as well as restrictions in place for public events.
Further to this, international travellers are subject to a 10-day quarantine period on their arrival and must fill in a self-declaration form, indicating the address where they will be self-isolating. Despite the new strain of coronavirus in the UK, UK travellers are allowed entry in Latvia on the condition that they take a COVID-19 test on arrival and they must self-isolate for 10 days.
See our healthcare section to find out about preventive measures against coronavirus.
Security in Latvia
The general travel advice for Latvia is that there is a low risk of terrorism in the country, and that travellers are advised to remain vigilant in relation to crime and in particular street crime.
Tourists can sometimes be overcharged for drinks in areas such as bars and clubs, this can be avoided by seeking bars and clubs recommended by sources, such as hotel staff or holidaymakers.
Latvia has strained relations with neighbouring Russia, as Russia attempts to affect the country’s national security. This has stemmed from the belief that Russian minorities in Baltic countries are being unfairly persecuted and disadvantaged due to their ethnic background. Behaviour displayed by Russia include economic sanctions and displays of military power close to the Latvia border. 2016 saw internal and external security become the primary focus of the government.
Latvia does not have particularly high crime rate, and there is generally little issues with civil unrest. There is a minor risk of pick pocketing, petty theft and robbery, mainly in the capital city Riga. It is recommended that you avoid unlit streets and parks when it is dark, as this increases the risk of being targeted. Do not leave valuable unattended in vehicles as theft, especially in Riga, is common.
Latvia's International Relations
Latvia is a part of many organisations including the United Nations, Council of Europe, International Monetary Funds, UNICEF and many more. It joined the European Union in 2004.
The country maintains good relations with most European countries including United Kingdom and France, as well as holding embassies for South Africa, Canada, USA, China and varying other non-European countries.
Travelling around Latvia
When travelling by car in Latvia, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU.
Any European Union visitors are able to use their driving licence to operate a vehicle in Latvia. Non-EU countries may have to apply for an international driving licence, without this your vehicle could be confiscated by the police. Contact your local embassy for more details. If you are bringing a vehicle into Latvia, you must ensure you have your original vehicle registration documents with you. Failure to carry these will mean you cannot take your vehicle out of Latvia at the end of your stay.
Latvian regulations require drivers to use their vehicle’s headlights at all times, regardless of the conditions outside. During the winter months between December and March, winter tyres must be fitted and all vehicles must have a first aid kit and emergency travel equipment. It is important to be cautious on the roads as the rate of traffic collisions and fatalities in Latvia are one of the highest in Europe.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Latvia
Police emergency: 110
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 113
The universal 112 number is available in Latvia. Calls to 112 can be answered in Latvian, English or Russian. Alternatively, you can reach the police at 110 or ambulance at 113.
The emergency number for a gas leakage is 114.
Time now in Riga:
Consular information for Latvia
U.S. Embassy Riga
Samnera Velsa iela 1,
Telephone: + 371 6710 7000
Telephone: + 371 2920 5708 (Out of hours)
British Embassy Riga
5, J.Alunana iela
Telephone: +371 6777 4700
Visa requirements for Latvia
Latvia is part of the Schengen Agreement and thus, most countries can enter Latvia for up to 90 days without the requirement of a visa. If you are unsure whether your country is included, contact your nearest Latvian Embassy.
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals can travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, to stay longer than 90 days in Latvia whether for work, study, business travel or any other reasons, a visa will be required. Please note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days will be cumulative and will count towards the 90-day limit.
Healthcare and Immunisations
If you are a British citizen, your UK EHIC card remains valid when travelling to an EU country until it expires, providing access to state-provided healthcare in Latvia. After that, British citizens must apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will cover them for state-provided healthcare in the EU. Nevertheless, you will be required to show proof on arrival that you have travel insurance for your trip.
COVID-19 cases have been reported in Latvia. There is no vaccination against the disease, protection is through preventive measures. To avoid contracting the disease, apply good hygiene practices, maitain social distancing, wear a face mask, avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.
It is advised that visitors to Latvia are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. You may also want to consider vaccinations for Hepatitis B and Tick-borne Encephalitis. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Generally health facilities in Latvia are a good standard. For European citizens, an EHIC card will allow you to access state-provided medical treatment if necessary on your trip.
Ensure adequate travel insurance is purchased before entering the country as medical evacuation may be required in the event of a serious injury or emergency.