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Latvian visa

Latvia, as well as other countries of Schengen zone, can issue the following categories of visa:

Schengen transit visa (type А and В). This type of visa is issued only for transit cross through the territory of Latvia for the period of no more than 5 days. In order to obtain such a visa you need a proof that the shortest route goes through Schengen countries. A visa is issued on the ground of valid visa to the destination country.

Schengen entry visa (type C). Validity term of such a visa is from 1 month to 5 years (depending on the aim of your visit), in such case the continuous stay in Schengen zone will be up to 3 months within half a year.

Visa with a limited territorial validity (type B or C). You need such a visa if you do not have an entry permit to at least one Schengen country. The visa shall be valid only for entering the countries, stated in the visa, but not to all Schengen countries; meaning that if visa information states that it is valid only in the territory of the Latvian Republic, you cannot enter any other Schengen country with such a visa.

National (long-term) visa (type D). You will need such a visa if you plan to stay in Latvia for more than 3 months within half a year. In this case you will not be able to move freely thorough the territory of other Schengen countries – the visa is valid only for Latvia. This visa shall be valid for transit cross through the territory of other Schengen states in order to get to Latvia.

The aforementioned visas can be single/double entry and multiple:
If you have single/double entry visa, issued by the embassy of Latvia, you can enter the territory of Schengen countries through Latvia only once (or twice). You should better follow this rule, because if your visa is issued by the Latvian embassy, and you are going to the country other than Latvia, you will have to provide explanations while crossing the border; if your answer is unpersuasive, the authorities can deny your entry. You can return back from any Schengen country whatsoever.
If you have a multiple entry visa (multivisa) you can enter not only Latvia but any other Schengen state as many times as you like; however do not forget that the total duration limit of your stay in the territory of Schengen states shall not exceed 90 days in half a year.

Where I can obtain a visa: embassies and consular departments of Latvia

The reason for obtaining either Schengen or national visa, depending on the purpose of your visit (private, business, education, tourism) can be the following:
•    Invitation of an individual, company, enterprise or tourist company
•    Information proving enrollment in an educational institution
•    Confirmation of hotel reservation

Who has to make an invitation?

In fact, it depends on the aim of your visit; you friends, relatives, business partners or even a tourist company can act as an inviting party. Citizens, non-citizens of Latvia, stateless persons, having a valid travel document, issued by Latvian authorities as well as individuals having permanent residence permit in Latvia shall have the right to write an invitation.
•    If you go to Latvia to visit your friends or relatives, they have to write and send you an invitation;
•    An invitation, approved by the Department of Migration and Citizenship, can be replaced by the original written invitation from the host legal entity: organization, company, enterprise, educational institution etc., in case the aim of your trip is business meeting, conference, seminar and other scientific, cultural and art events.

The following information about the person invited shall be available for drawing the invitation: full name, nationality, place and date of birth, permanent address, ground and purpose of the trip, the planned residence place and duration of stay in Latvia, supposed place of visa application submission.
The number of invitation, drawn and approved by the Department of Migration and Citizenship, shall be introduced to the centralized database – the only thing you need is to write down this number in the visa application.
The application number is valid within 6 months as from the date of its approval. For example, if you received the invitation in November, submitted all the documents at the end of validity term of the invitation in April, you may obtain your visa for the term of up to 90 days, that means up to July inclusively.
It is highly recommended to apply for visa for the maximum term, stated in the invitation, as it is possible to prolong the Latvian visa only in emergency situations.

Terms and costs. The term of visa procurement is 7 working days; for express visa - 3 days. The cost of Schengen visa for the citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and some other countries, having bilateral agreements with EU, is 35 EUR.; for other countries (including Belarus and other CIS countries) - 60 EUR.
The following bodies are exempt from the fee for visa application consideration:
•    children up to 6 years old;
•    pupils, students and accompanying teachers; the purpose of the visit is studies or study placement;
•    research scholars from third countries, entering the EU territory with the purpose of scientific research.

Documents required to obtain a visa:

1. International passport (the validity term of the passport must be three months more than the visa term, the passport must have a minimum of two available pages for visas). ATTENTION! Starting from April 5, 2010, EU visa code comes into force. It states that an applicant’s passport should be issued not earlier than ten years from the date of its submission.

2. Filled-in application for visa procurement. You can either take the application in the consular department or print it from the website. The application is to be signed by the applicant only. Mistakes can be considered sufficient reason for visa denial; pay attention to the fact that sometimes the consular department officials accept the applications, but you learn about the mistakes only after visa denial.

3. 1 colour photograph 35 mm х 45 mm. The consular department imposes strict requirements in respect of photographs, for example the photograph term. The validity term of photographs for persons older than 20 years makes 4 years, for persons younger than 20 and for children – from 6 months to 2 years.

4. Health insurance policy. The policy must be valid in Schengen countries within the period of your stay in the territory of the countries. The policy amount sum should be no less than 30,000 EUR

The order and the terms of visa arrangement can change; for this reason, you are highly recommended to contact the embassy of Latvia or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvian Republic (www.mfa.gov.lv)  beforehand.

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