If you are a traveler planning to visit Latvia in the year 2021 or beyond, please note that there are new rules and regulations for obtaining a visa. The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a new system that will ask travelers from more than 60 countries to apply for a visa waiver before they can legally enter the country. This is done to secure the border, prevent terrorism, and better track tourism.
The benefits of an ETIAS is that there is no need to physically visit an embassy or have an in-person interview. In fact, the process to obtain an ETIAS for Latvia is quick, simple, and takes less than 20 minutes to complete. Everything is digital and done online, so there is less hassle and stress for the traveler.
Latvia, the EU, and the Schengen Area
Latvia, like its Baltic neighbors, joined the European Union on May 1, 2004. It was inaugurated into the Schengen Zone in 2007, which means that travelers can easily travel between the borders of Latvia and other Schengen countries without having to go through a rigorous entry process.
Who Needs ETIAS to Travel to Latvia?
Travelers from 60 nationalities are required to have a Latvian ETIAS before they can officially enter the country. The list includes countries from around the world, such as the United States, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, Nicaragua, the United Kingdom, Saint Kitts and Nevis, El Salvador, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, and more.
Passport and Document Requirements for Latvia ETIAS
Before travelers can apply for the ETIAS visa waiver for Latvia, there are just a few things they need to have.
First and foremost, the most important ETIAS requirement for Latvia is a passport that is valid for at least three months after entry into Latvia. Travelers will also need to have an email address for receiving their ETIAS acceptance, as well as a valid form of payment (such as a debit or credit card) in order to pay for the application fee.
How Can I Apply for Latvian ETIAS?
If you wish to apply for the Latvian ETIAS program, you must first start with the online application.
The ETIAS application will ask for the traveler’s details, which includes passport information (issue date, expiration date, passport number), personal details (full name, date of birth, gender, and place of birth), contact details (email, address, and phone number), and your travel itinerary. Applicants will also need to fill out details about their health, as well as any criminal activity and other sensitive background information. The application takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Once approved, the ETIAS is valid for three years (or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first). The traveler can use their ETIAS to travel to other Schengen countries without having to re-apply for a new ETIAS. This includes Latvia’s neighbors, Estonia and Lithuania.
Travel Information about Latvia
Latvia (also known locally as Latvija) is one of the three countries that comprise the Baltic states. Its neighbors are Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south.
Latvia’s capital is Riga, where more than half of the country’s citizens live. It is a thriving and charming European city, with cobblestone streets, cozy houses, and little details everywhere you look. Travelers are especially drawn to the Old Town Riga, as well as the Central Market, the Bastejkalna Park, and the charming homes along Albert Street.
The country is rich with nature, forests, and wildlife, as well as a coastline that is home to many beach towns. One of the most famous seaside resorts is called Jurmala, where celebrities and stars from the USSR used to vacation in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Today, it is still a thriving beach town, with many tourists coming from neighboring countries and beyond. Travelers looking to relax and enjoy the sun are especially recommended to pay a visit to Jurmala.
History buffs will enjoy Gauja National Park in Northeast Latvia. It is famous for its many historical structures, such as the 13th-century castle, as well as the mysterious Gutmanis Cave and many lakes and forests scattered around the park.
If you are visiting during the summer, don’t miss the Līgo festival, which falls on June 23. It is the main traditional ethnic festival in Latvia and is characterized by singing, dancing, and a large bonfire. This festival celebrates the summer solstice and is followed by Jāņi (St. John Day) on June 24.