Guidance

Healthcare in Latvia

Healthcare information for UK nationals visiting, living in or moving to Latvia.

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This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Latvia after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Latvia.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Latvia in place.

For example, if you are a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will not be able to use this to access your healthcare as you do now.

The Latvian government has adopted no-deal legislation in relation to the rights of UK citizens.

If you live or work in Latvia

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

If you are a UK posted worker, you need to follow any announcements from the Latvian government on the ongoing domestic healthcare reform debate to see whether you will be able to buy into the state system to continue receiving the healthcare you need on the same terms as a Latvian national. If this is not possible, you may need to get private healthcare insurance.

S1 certificate holders

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Studying in Latvia after Brexit

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you’re already studying in Latvia before Brexit, the UK will cover your healthcare costs for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you’re being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services when visiting the UK

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Latvia and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

If you’re living in Latvia before Brexit, you can use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you:

Returning to the UK permanently

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Denmark.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need. If you have any pre-existing conditions, talk with your insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Living in Latvia

This information is about healthcare in Latvia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living in Latvia after Brexit.

If you are a permanent resident in Latvia, you are entitled to access state-funded healthcare under the same conditions as Latvian nationals.

S1 certificate

This information is about healthcare in Latvia before Brexit. Find out about S1 certificates for UK nationals living in Latvia after Brexit.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Latvia and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Latvia. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. It is important to have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit. You can find more information under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Working in Latvia

This information is about healthcare in Latvia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living or working in Latvia after Brexit.

You are entitled to the same healthcare as Latvian nationals if you are a permanent resident in Latvia.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Latvia, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Latvia.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs:

Studying in Latvia

This information is about healthcare in Latvia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals studying in Latvia after Brexit.

The UK government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad. If you’re a UK resident studying in Latvia, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read the NHS guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Visiting Latvia

This information is about healthcare in Latvia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals visiting Latvia after Brexit.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Latvia. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Latvia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Latvia if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Take any documents about your health condition or medicine with you.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read the NHS guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Healthcare services in Latvia

Finding help in an emergency

If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency in Latvia, call 112. This call is free of charge. 24-hour urgent care is available at all hospitals and some health centres (called Poliklinika).

Dentists

Dental services are not provided under the Latvian NHS. Ensure you have an adequate health insurance policy to cover you for any dental treatment necessary in Latvia.

Hospitals

You need a GP or specialist referral to be admitted to hospital in non-emergency situations.

Read the information about outpatient services.

Read the information about inpatient services.

Read the information about healthcare in day hospitals.

Prescriptions

Pharmacies in Latvian are called Aptieka. You will be charged for your prescriptions in full unless they are for specific conditions (including diabetes, cancer or mental health problems), in which case you will receive back 50 to 100% of the fees you paid.

Read the section about medicines that can be reimbursed on the Latvian NHS website.

Bringing your own medicines to Latvia

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

See more information on travelling with controlled medicines.

Published 23 September 2019