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REMINDER: 'Essential' international arrivals in Latvia only from February 11

As previously reported by LSM, from February 11 only travellers who can demonstrate that they are travelling for essential or important purposes will be able to enter Latvia from other countries.

Until 25 February, only essential travel to Latvia is permitted; passenger transportation to and from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Portugal is completely suspended.

In view of the increasing risks of the spread of the COVID-19 virus and in further efforts to restrict the disease, on 5 February, the Cabinet approved amendments to Cabinet Order No. 655 of 6 November 2020, Regarding Declaration of the State of Emergency. According to the current set of amendments, only essential travel to Latvia shall be permitted from 11 February to 25 February 2021.

As of 11 February, entry to Latvia from European Union Member States and the European Economic Area Member States, the Swiss Confederation through international passenger carrier services or by a private vehicle is permitted for "urgent and essential" reasons only. These are defined as:

  • work;
  • training, studies;
  • family reunion;
  • in order to receive medical services;
  • transit;
  • accompanying a minor;
  • return to one’s permanent place of residence;
  • attending a funeral.

In addition to showing that they have submitted their information at covidpass.lv, documents proving the purpose of entry will have to be presented to the State Border Guard or the State Police. The traveller will not have to present the documents if information that confirms any of the above-mentioned purposes of entry is already available in national information systems. For instance, information on the person’s place of residence can be checked in the Population Register during immigration control.

It should also be noted that during this period it will not be possible to complete registration on the covidpass.lv website without entering a self-certification that one of the above-mentioned reasons exist. The international carrier must make sure that its passengers have submitted this self-certification.

These particular measures and restrictions which have been instituted do not apply to persons crossing the border of Latvia in performance of duties and responsibilities related to their work as commercial carriers, such as hauliers.

Entry to Latvia in a private vehicle is allowed for Latvian nationals, including nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom, and permanent residents of the European Union who have a residence permit in Latvia.

Since 25 January 2021, travellers coming to Latvia have been asked to show proof of having a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. Travellers who have already contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus and recovered will need to show a doctor’s note attesting to this.

If a traveller to Latvia is unable to show a test result (printed or on an electronic device), or a note from the doctor, the traveller will not be allowed to board the plane, train, bus, ferry, or other means of transportation. The test result or the note from the doctor must be in English, French, Russian, or in an official language of the country from which they are beginning their trip to Latvia.

This requirement also applies to those arriving in Latvia in a personal vehicle. A negative COVID-19 test results must be indicated in the Covidpass.lv form, which will be checked by the State Border Guard and police officers.

Latvian nationals travelling in a private vehicle are also permitted to enter Latvia even though they have a positive test result. The main requirement is that such individuals must have a document proving that the test has been taken.

Persons entering Latvia to perform their job duties or travelling to or from their place of work, and employees of commercial transport companies are exempt from the COVID-19 test requirement. Children under under 11 years of age are also exempt. For other exemptions, please see Paragraph 35.4 of the Cabinet Regulation No 360 “Epidemiological Safety Measures to Limit the Spread of Covid-19 Infection” issued on June 09, 2020.

After arriving from a country with a high incidence of COVID-19, a ten-day self-isolation period is compulsory.

More information is available at the Transport Ministry and Foreign Ministry websites, as well as the covidpass.lv website.

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