With one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, Latvia is a destination of choice for many expatriates and international companies. If your company is planning a Latvian expansion, a team of talented workers can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth transition. That said, recruiting employees is just one step of the process. You’ll also need to ensure that all of your employees have the visas and permits they need to live and work in Latvia legally.
Types of Work Visas in Latvia
All foreigners will need one of the following visas based on their intended stay length:
- Type A, or airport transit visa: This visa is issued to foreign nationals who need to pass through the airport transit zone in Latvia as they travel to another destination.
- Schengen Type C, or short-term visa: This visa is also called a unified visa. It allows a foreign national to stay within the territory of the Schengen Area.
- Type D, or long-stay visa: A long-stay visa is granted to foreign nationals who are entering Latvia and need to stay for more than 90 days within a period of six months. This visa also allows the holder to travel throughout other countries in the Schengen Area during this time.
All three of these visas are available as single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry within the time the visa is valid. A long-stay visa is necessary for any foreign employees who plan to obtain a residence permit and work in Latvia.
Requirements to Obtain Latvia Work Visas
To live and work in Latvia, foreign nationals will need to obtain three documents: a residence permit, a Type D visa, and a work permit.
The required documents to support a residence permit application vary by the applicant’s country of residence. Details are available online from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA).
The documents to support a Type D visa application include:
- A passport that has at least two blank pages and three months of validity
- A completed visa application form
- One passport photo, which should be in color
- Documentation of residence permit approval from OCMA
- Proof of travel medical insurance
- A copy of the applicant’s flight information for the trip to Latvia
- Proof of payment for the visa fee
The requirements for a Latvian work permit include:
- A passport
- Proof of accommodations in Latvia
- Documents supporting the employee’s job qualifications, such as a diploma and CV
- A copy of the applicant’s residence permit, if available
- A letter from the employer
- Employees should reach out to the Latvian embassy for a full list of required documents to support each application
While a long-stay visa is required for foreign employees, this visa alone does not allow the holder to stay for 90 days. A residence permit is also necessary and should be obtained before application for a visa.
Residence permits are issued by the OCMA, which is a division of the Ministry of Interior. To apply, employees should complete the application form, print it, and sign it. They should submit the completed form along with the required supporting documents, all of which should be notarized and legalized, to the Latvian embassy or diplomatic mission in their country. An appointment is necessary, as applicants will also need to be interviewed. Applicants should receive a decision within 30 days.
After the officials at OCMA have approved the residence permit, applicants can move on to the next step: applying for a long-stay visa. This application should also be submitted at the Latvian embassy. Visa processing typically takes about five business days. Upon approval, the applicant should return to the embassy to pick up their visa.
Before they can begin working, foreign employees will also need a Latvian work permit. To obtain this permit, employees will need to demonstrate proof of employment with a company based in Latvia. In many cases, the residence visa is also a prerequisite. Work permits are issued by OCMA. Processing for work permits may take a month, so it’s recommended that employees apply at their local embassy before traveling to Latvia.
After obtaining the appropriate visa, employees may travel to Latvia. Upon arrival, they should visit OCMA to pick up their residence permit and work permit.
Other Important Considerations
Latvia is a member of the European Union (EU), which means citizens of other EU member states are exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa or residence permit. However, they will need to register with OCMA if they plan to remain in Latvia for more than 90 days.
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