Who needs a visa?
Since Latvia acceded to the Schengen Agreement (on December 21, 2007) Latvian diplomatic and consular representations abroad issue uniform or Schengen visas valid in the territory of all Schengen countries. The advantage of Schengen visa is that a foreigner who wishes to visit several Schengen countries does not have to apply for separate visa in every Schengen country's representation.
Though there are no internal borders within the Schengen Area it is necessary to take your passport with you when you travel from one Schengen country to another.
The citizens of the European Union, residents of Schengen Agreement Area, citizens of the USA, Canada and some other countries do not require a visa to enter the Republic of Latvia.
Travelers who are not citizens of the EU and whose countries of residence do not have visa-free access to the Schengen nations are required to have a valid passport with a valid Schengen visa or a valid EU residency permit. Residents of the USA holding a Green Card require a visa as well.
Besides, nationals of a number of countries require also a special airport transit visa allowing to stay in an international transit zone of the airport of Riga. An airport transit visa is necessary for citizens of and persons holding travel documents issued by the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
A foreign national may stay in Latvia for up to 90 days during a six-month period. For longer stays it is necessary to register with the Department of Citizenship and Migration and receive a national long-term visa or a residence permit. Residence permit is valid only for staying in Latvia and for crossing the territory of other Schengen countries in transit in order to reach Latvia. Though it is possible to apply for a visa at the representation of any Schengen country, please, take note that it is highly recommended to apply for a visa at the representation of the country whose territory will be the only or main destination of your visit, otherwise you may encounter difficulties at crossing the frontier or at consulate.
Please, note Latvian visa does not entitle you to enter Russia or any of CIS countries!
The Latvian Embassy or a Consulate of the Republic of Latvia takes a decision of the issue of a visa within 7 days of the receipt of necessary documents (as specified by the Cabinet of Ministers). If additional information is required, the process may take up to 30 days.
Documents required for applying for Schengen visa for travel to Latvia:
More detailed information is available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia web-site and at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs web-site.