How will Brexit affect Latvian residents and citizens?

Take note – story published 2 years ago

How will the UK's exit from the European Union - 'Brexit' - affect Latvian residents and citizens in practice? Foreign Affairs Ministry outlined the main changes December 4.

On 31 January 2020, Britain officially left the European Union (EU). Until 31 December, a transitional period has been set, which means that the United Kingdom does not participate in EU decision-making, but cooperation continues as it has been. 

Next week, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to start an informative campaign explaining in detail the changes Brexit will bring. The main points however, have been clarified now.

Permanent and temporary status in the UK

Persons who have arrived in Britain from Latvia by the end of this year will be able to apply for both temporary and permanent resident status.

Persons who have stayed or lived in Britain for up to five years will be able to apply for temporary status.

Persons who have stayed in Britain for more than 5 years will be eligible for permanent resident status.

Registration for resident status should be done by 30 June 2021. Persons who have not registered for any of the statuses until this date will not be allowed to be legally present in the UK. You can only apply for a status with a valid identification document (passport or ID card). You can register electronically or by sending the required documents by mail.

At least 108 000 Latvian citizens have already applied for the status of temporary British resident. The statistics include applications for both temporary and permanent status, and one person is not prohibited from applying for both.

Visas and travel

From January 1, only short-term trips to Britain may be made without a visa. Latvian nationals will not need visas when travelling to the United Kingdom for journeys which will not exceed 6 months. No visas will be required for tourist trips.

Visas will only be needed if they are scheduled to stay in Britain for more than 6 months. Latvian citizens who will go to study, train or work to Britain for more than 6 months will have to get a visa (for a fee). Students can receive visas as early as October 5 this year.

In order to obtain a work visa, a number of criteria will need to be met, for example, a statement from the employer, as well as proof of English knowledge.

Traveling minors will need notarial confirmation that a child may travel alone.


In future, the goods received in mai from Britain will have to be sorted at customs. Consignments from the United Kingdom to Latvia will be divided into two categories: commercial consignments and non-commercial consignments to which a customs duty or value added tax (VAT) will be added accordingly.

Commercial consignment goods (Internet purchases) from the UK will have to be declared. From 1 January to 30 June of the following year, consignments will have to be declared and VAT paid if the value of the goods exceeds EUR 22. From 1 July, all purchases will have to be declared as from 1 July 2021. If the value of the goods exceeds EUR 150, both customs duties and VAT will have to be paid in order to obtain the consignment.

Non-commercial consignments (from one natural person to the other) must be declared and subject to VAT and customs duties if the value of the goods exceeds EUR 45.


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