Changes in provision of Latvian consular services announced

Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced March 13 some temporary changes to the manner in which consular services are provided overseas.

"In view of the state of emergency in Latvia and measures for containing the COVID-19 pandemic abroad, the diplomatic missions and consulates of Latvia will continue to ensure emergency consular assistance from 16 March to 14 April 2020. However, during this period, meetings in person for customer service will not take place. Visa applications will be received only at the outsourced service companies, except in cases related to national interests or to humanitarian reasons. No applications for Latvian residence permits will be accepted during this time," the ministry said.

"The purpose of the changes is in order to observe precautionary measures and to prevent the spread of infection as much as possible. The uninterrupted functioning of embassies including the possibility to contact the embassies by telephone, e-mail or mail remain in place.

"We call on all Latvian nationals to heed instructions by local authorities aimed at containing the pandemic and to act in responsible manner with regard to their health and that of other people," it said.

In addition on March 14 the ministry said that in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, a number of European countries for example, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, and Ukraine, are implementing special restrictions on travel, including by closing off their borders. Serious restrictions may be also encountered by travellers crossing “in transit” through these countries. Current restrictions do not apply to the transport of goods.

"Under such circumstances, there is a risk of ending up in a quarantine zone or being forced to observe a 14-day quarantine period abroad. The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges travellers to take heed of all information and instructions provided by local authorities," it said.

Further details are available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and the Consular Department’s Facebook site at www.facebook.com/celodrosi/ (in Latvian) or call +371 26 33 77 11.

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