A special permit is needed if persons over 15 are visiting zones in the border area. Recently the public has been increasingly violating these rules. With the beginning of the tourism season, the State Border Guard and tourism specialists hope to improve mutual communication, and to inform the public more about the procedures for filling passes.
The Burial-mound of Friendship (Draudzības kurgāns) in Pasiene parish is one of the most popular tourism sites in the border area of Latvia. The site is adjacent to Russia and Belarus.
There is a requirement for a special permit, but many tourists are unaware that it is mandatory. The area is also cordoned off and signs are installed that it is a border area.
“Unfortunately, the statistics show that people ignore it. Last year, we had eight violations detected and already 18 this year. Pandemic, people are maybe restrained from those mass gatherings. Curiosity, arriving somewhere from the other end of Latvia to see how the border looks in real life,” said the chief of the border guard department of Pasiene, Lieutenant-Colonel Sandris Buliga.
For infringements, administrative responsibility can range from a warning to a fine of up to €500. The State Border Guard said that a special pass in the two-kilometer border zone is necessary for tourism, as well as to go berry-picking, mushrooming and other activities. The pass may be requested on the latvija.lv portal and shall be examined within three working days. The tourism information center of Ludza has observed, though, that the system is complicated, an approval or denial of the pass is difficult to find, and businesses are also breaking the rules.
"There were a number of companies that organized hikes or other activities in the border area, without informing or making reservations. Perhaps there is an opportunity to improve communication in some way and to improve the procedures and system for setting up the permit itself, because, let us agree, not everyone is working in a digital environment at the moment," said the Head of Ludza Tourism information center Līga Kondrāte.
To find out more about the request and receipt of permits, one may call an informative phone line of the border guard, 67075616.