Those international students who will start their studies in Latvian higher education institutions for the first time after 1 January 2021, in the first semester will study and take examinations only remotely.
If the practical part of the studies is planned in the first semester, the higher education institution must transfer it to another study semester. The only exception is the study process in medical residency programmes.
The decision is temporary
Such a decision has been taken by the Latvian government on 8 December 2020. This has been adopted considering the epidemiological conditions in Latvia and to minimize face-to-face contacts, but this decision is temporary and will be reviewed as soon as studies at Latvian higher education institutions and colleges can resume.
As we have reported before, the state of emergency has been extended in Latvia until 11 January 2021. Prospective students are advised to follow the latest updates provided by Study in Latvia or their chosen university.
Only practical classes can be implemented in person
Currently, only practical classes can be implemented in person and only those that cannot be performed remotely or if special equipment or materials are required.
Higher education institutions are invited to regularly provide information and maintain continuous communication with each enrolled international student, both about the organization of the study process remotely and the requirements for achieving learning outcomes.
Different regulations for researchers
The new regulation also affects scientific institutions attracting foreign researchers to work within the framework of a scientific research project. If the term of employment with an international researcher is planned to be longer than 6 months, the foreigner and his family members will be obliged to comply with strict epidemiological requirements and all restrictions set to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection after the arrival in the country.
As the epidemiological situation improves, the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia will encourage the easing of restrictions. However, it is now important for everyone to adhere to the strict restrictions imposed by the government to stop the uncontrolled spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Issuing of visas and residence permits
Latvian embassies abroad are also taking the new decision into account. As the studies during the 1st semester of the higher education study programmes must take place remotely, the new students do not have a reason to enter Latvia and therefore apply for a visa.
Current students and students of exchange programmes can submit visa applications if there is a document issued by the higher education institution in Latvia about the need to organize studies in person.