Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
You need a valid passport to enter Latvia. Latvia is a party to the Schengen Agreement; as such, U.S. citizens may enter Latvia for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your intended period of stay, and Latvian Border Guards strictly enforce this policy. Only one stay of up to 90 days is permitted in the Schengen territory within a six-month period. If you plan to visit multiple European Schengen zone countries on the same trip, you should pay attention to the total number of consecutive days spent in member countries, including Latvia. U.S. citizens are advised to carry passports when traveling to neighboring Baltic countries from Latvia – even on day trips – as random passport checks are possible. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact Sheet.
In addition, upon entering or exiting the country, you must declare cash in excess of 10,000 Euros (or equivalent value) to Latvian customs.
If you are going to stay in Latvia for more than 90 days, you must apply for temporary residence. You must have a valid insurance policy, which includes coverage of medical expenses while in Latvia. Repatriation costs, including funeral and disposition of remains costs, also have to be covered by the policy. One of the requirements for the temporary residence application is a criminal record check from the United States, which can be requested through the FBI. You must submit proof of identity, which consists of name, date and place of birth, and a set of ink-rolled fingerprint impressions.
For more information, contact the Latvian Embassy at 2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, tel. (202)328-2840, fax (202)328-2860. Within Latvia, contact the Ministry of Interior’s Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs at Ciekurkalna 1st line, building 3, Riga, LV-1026. Tel. (371) 8300, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are planning to travel to the Russian Federation from Latvia, even in transit, we recommend you obtain a visa prior to entry into Latvia. The process to apply for a visa at the Russian Embassy in Riga can be lengthy, and may involve submission of your passport for an undetermined period of time.