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Expat guide to living in Latvia

Expat guide to living in Latvia

Living in Latvia

Latvia has become a very popular expat destination. Expats are attracted to the country by its unspoilt forests and lakes. The taxes are comparatively low and the quality of life is very good when compared with other European countries. If you’re moving to Latvia as an expat we’ve got all the info that you may need.

Latvia Riga

Expat Clubs

International Women's Club of Riga
The Club boasts a membership of 126 women from 32 countries.
Address: Igora iela 49, Salaspils-LV-2119
Email: board.iwcr@gmail.com
FB: www.facebook.com/IWCRiga
Website: www.iwcr.lv/

International Schools 

The International School of Latvia
The International School of Latvia was founded in 1994 and is an independent co-educational, non-profit, college preparatory day school, which offers an educational program for children of all nationalities from 3 years to 18 years of age. Currently the student body is made up of nearly 30 different nationalities.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: Meistaru iela 2, Piņķi, Babītes pag., Babītes novads, LV-2107
Tel: +371 67 755 146, +371 67755018
Fax: +371 67755009
Email: frontdesk@isl.edu.lv
Website: www.isl.edu.lv
International School of Riga
Founded in 2001, ISR provides an internationally accredited education in English to students ages 2-16. The Riga campus serves Toddler through Grade 8 with the addition of Grade 9 in August 2013 and Grade 10 in August 2014.
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Address: International School of Riga, Zvejnieku iela 12, Riga, LV-1048, LATVIA
Tel: +371 6762 4622
Fax: +371 6762 4796
Email: frontesk@isriga.lv
FB: www.facebook.com/isriga
Website: www.isriga.lv

Local News in English

The Baltic Times
The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political, economic, business, and cultural events in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Website: www.baltictimes.com/
LETA – Latvian Information Agency
LETA is a national information agency that generates reliable and multi-faceted content and provides custom-tailored solutions for professional information users.
Website: www.leta.lv/eng/

Country Information 

Location: Europe
Capital City: Riga
Other Important Cities: Liepaja, Sigulda
Currency: Lats (Ls) (LVL)
Language: Latvia
Calling Code: 371
Internet TLD: .lv
Electricity: The country runs on 220V 50Hz. A major electricity producer and provider in the country is Latvenergo, which uses hydropower.
Address: Pulkveža Brieža iela 12, Rīga, LV-1230, Latvija
Tel: +371 67 728 222
Fax: +371 67 728 880
Email: info@latvenergo.lv
Website: www.latvenergo.lv/eng
Emergency Numbers:
Fire: 01
Police: 02
Ambulance: 03
Ambulance: 113
Fire: 112
Police: 110
Country Information
Country Study

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Due to its inclusion in the Schengen agreement, citizens from select countries may enter and stay in Latvia visa free for up to 90 days, these include citizens in the EU and US and others. Others who are not exempted must acquire a Schengen visa through a Hungarian embassy or consulate in their home or host country. The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has listed the countries with visa exemptions: www.mfa.gov.lv/en/service/4714/
For longer stays beyond 90 days, a residence permit must be obtained. This can either be temporary for a limited period like contractual employment, or permanent for long-term investment, business etc. Applications for residence permits are coursed through the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration.
Documents Required (but not limited to):
  • a definite sample form for a residence permit request;
  • a photo;
  • a document confirming the necessary subsistence; 
  • a document confirming the envisaged place of residence in the Republic of Latvia and the rights to stay there;
  • a document confirming the state duty payment;
  • a business plan approved by a sworn auditor for the envisaged operation period;
  • documents confirming sufficient personal financial means to commence the activities stipulated in the business plan;
For further information please visit: www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/residence-permits/


Riga is the more popular area in Latvia. Being the commercial hub of the country, much of the urban industries are located within this city. It is also dubbed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the deeply-rooted cultural background of Latvian traditions, architecture are evident. The city is bilingual, both Latvian and Russian. English is adequately spoken, especially in tourist areas.
Ziepniekkalns by the banks of Daugava river, is a quiet area with Soviet-high rises. Rent here is quite acceptable and the everyday environment is calm, perfect for those who need to get away from the bustle of the city. Amenities such as supermarkets, parks and restaurants are in walking distance.
Pļavnieki is another family-friendly area in Riga. This lies on the other side of the Daugava river. It has a lot of greenery despite the criss-crossing road infrastructures. The area is also host to a lot of commercial shops.
Renting a 1 bedroom apartment in Riga range from $286 to $432;  a 3 bedroom would range from $513 to $971 depending on the proximity to the city center.

Driving License

Expats may use their domestic and international driving license to drive legally in Latvia for a limited period of 6 months. Beyond this, they may exchange their domestic license for a Latvian one. A driving exam must be passed to do this.
Documents required:
  • passport or personal identification card (the person must have Latvian personal identification code)
  • the Driving licence to be exchanged
  • valid medical examination card (it must be presented, if no data is available in the CSDD Register)
For more information please visit the Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate site: www.csdd.lv/eng/qualification_of_drivers/obtaining_and_exchange_of_driving_licence/


Health facilities in Latvia are progressively improving up to standard, however it is still limited. There are private medical facilities that deliver better quality services in the main cities. Most expats prefer going to these. There is the Latvian National Health Service or NHS that is also available for non-Latvians or foreigners holding a residence permit. This provides subsidised or free medical care to eligible individuals. For more information please visit: www.vmnvd.gov.lv/en/health-care-system
Health insurance is highly advised, especially ones that can cover or reimburse medical evacuation costs. These can be expensive and advance payment or proof of insurance is required prior to administering the service. Personal medication should be stocked.
Insurance Companies
"Seesam" is the only Latvian insurer that offers the critical illness insurance for private persons as an exclusive, a separate product, unrelated to the health, life or other type of insurance.
Tel: +371 67 06 10 00
Website: www.seesam.lv/en
Gailezers Hospital

Address: Hipokrata Street 2, Riga 1038, Latvia
Tel: +371 704 24 24, + 371 753 64 66
Children’s Hospital
Address: Vienibas gatve 45, Riga, Latvia
Tel: +371 6706 4499
Website (Latvian): bkus.lv/page/
Diplomatic Service Medical Centre
Address: Elizabetes Street 57, 4th floor, Riga 1005, Latvia
Tel: +371 722 9942
Fax: +371 728 9413
Website: www.dsmc.lv/
Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopedics
Address: 22 Duntes Street, Riga 1005, Latvia
Tel: +371 739 9300
Fax: +371 739 2348
Website (Latvian): www.tos.lv/

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