Official information that British people moving to and living in Latvia need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
Brexit: what you need to know
There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Latvia while the UK remains in the EU.
While the government continues to negotiate Brexit, you should:
Before you go
See our travel advice for Latvia and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Visas and residency
See entry requirements for Latvia in our travel advice.
If you plan to stay in Latvia for longer than 3 consecutive months, you must register with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA). This requirement does not apply to British nationals studying in Latvia, who can stay in the country for up to a year without registering.
Once resident in Latvia you must also declare your place of residence. You can do this at your local municipality, the OCMA or online through the Public Administration Services Portal. If you declare your residence at your local municipality or OCMA, you will pay a small fee. Online declarations are free.
See our travel advice for Latvia.
The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in and visiting Latvia.
You need a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get emergency medical treatment during temporary stays in EU countries. You also need comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your EHIC.
S1 form - healthcare paid for by the UK
You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Latvia and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.
You need to apply for a S1 form - contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pensions Centre.
Working in Latvia
Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).
Your employer will need to apply to the State Revenue Service for your unique tax code. If you already have a personal code in Latvia, they will use this. Your employer is responsible for deducting your income tax and social security payments from your income.
If you are self-employed, you must register with the tax authorities yourself. You will be responsible for calculating and paying your tax and social security contributions.
We recommend that you get professional advice on paying tax in Latvia. See the Latvian Association of Accountants for contact details.
There is a set rate for non-taxable minimum income, and you may be eligible for certain tax allowances (for example, if you have children whom you support). You may be able to claim some income tax back for expenses like education or medical treatment at the end of the tax year.
See the State Revenue Service for detailed information about paying tax in Latvia.
You may also be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
The Latvian government bases state pensions on the social security payments you made while working in Latvia. If you return to the UK, you may still be eligible for a Latvian state pension – see the State Social Security Agency for more information.
If you haven’t worked in Latvia, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.
If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.
Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
You may be eligible to claim some Latvian social security benefits – see Latvian social security benefits. Many Latvian benefits are only available if you have made enough social security contributions in Latvia.
In order receive benefits you must be a ‘permanent resident’. The definition of permanent residence for the purpose of receiving benefits is different from the definition of permanent residence in immigration legislation. You are likely to meet this requirement if you have a registration card (see Visas and residency) and have links to Latvia such as employment or family.
See the State Social Security Agency for more information.
Driving in Latvia
When your UK licence expires you must exchange it for a Latvian driving licence.
You can use your right-hand drive car if you are visiting Latvia. If you are resident in Latvia, you must register your car and make the necessary changes so that it is suitable for left-hand driving. You will have 6 months from the date you register residency to do this.
See the Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate for more information.
If you’re resident in Latvia, you can vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary elections.
See travelling with pets.
As well as the European emergency number 112, Latvia also has:
- 110 – police
- 113 – first aid
If you need urgent help, contact the British Embassy Riga.
Accommodation and buying property
Other useful information
Returning to the UK
To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Latvian authorities. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.