On Wednesday, 15 July, the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia adopted several decisions in order to be able to collect information about travellers entering Latvia more effectively.
Thus improving the ability to check compliance with self-isolation rules and to trace the spread of the Covid-19 infection. The need for third-country nationals to travel to Latvia to obtain visas and residence permits has also been reduced.
As of 16 July all arrivals in Latvia are being registered
Although the incidence of Covid-19 is continuing to grow in the world, in Latvia the spread of the virus has been limited and kept low so far. But still, after arriving in Latvia from countries with 16 or more new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, strict self-isolation must be observed.
The new decision of the government has put a system in place that will allow services to make sure that arriving travellers who must comply with the 14-day self-isolation requirements, are in fact doing so.
Starting from 16 July, a questionnaire procedure for arriving travellers has been established and the restrictions on the issuance of visas for entry into Latvia from countries with a wide spread of the infection.
From 16 July, before entering Latvia, all passengers of international passenger carriers have to submit a completed questionnaire to their carrier, indicating the countries that they have visited during the last 14 days, their contact information, and the address chosen for performing two weeks of self-isolation, as well as confirming their compliance with the national epidemiological safety measures. Questionnaire in Latvian, English and Russian available here.
Information on passengers who have been in countries widely affected by Covid-19 will be passed on to the National Police for executing self-isolation control.
Information on other passengers will be passed on to the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, in order to allow them to promptly identify possible contact persons if necessary. Passenger data will be stored for 14 days for the purposes of epidemiological investigation and then deleted.
D visa applications from residents of countries with high spread of Covid-19 are not accepted
In order to reduce the import of the Covid-19 infection from third countries, from 16 July no long-term category D visa applications will be accepted or considered from residents of countries with 16 or more new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. Visa applications received by 16 July will be processed as per the usual procedure.
The decisions on granting residence permits get extended until 31 December 2020, thus changing the current procedure of issuing residence permits within three months. Additionally, in order to make decisions on extending residence permits, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, when assessing whether the person has resided in Latvia for the required time, will consider the absence in the period from 12 March 2020 to 31 December 2020 as justified.
Consequently, third-country nationals will not have to enter Latvia in order to fulfil the requirement of staying in Latvia for maintaining their temporary residence permit.
It will be possible to receive both temporary residence permits and visas at Latvian embassies and other representations abroad without coming to Latvia. It should be noted that these documents will only be issued when the prevalence of the infection in the country of receival has decreased below 16 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
It should be also noted that information about the start of the new academic year in Latvia (remotely or in face) will follow, as until 31 July studies in a distance format are still in force.
All of the government decisions, current restrictions, and other information related to the spread of Covid-19 in Latvia, as well as frequently asked questions and answers are available on the www.covid19.gov.lv website or by calling 8345.