Guidance

Living in Latvia

Official information for British people moving to and living in Latvia need to know, including Brexit guidance, residency, healthcare and driving.

Brexit: what you should do

Stay up to date

You can also:

Visas and residency

Check the entry requirements for Latvia.

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).

Once resident in Latvia you must also declare your place of residence. You can do this:

Visas and residency after Brexit

After Brexit, you will have to change your residence document for a new one before 31 December 2020.

If you already hold a residence document, a letter from OCMA that explains how to get a new document after Brexit will be sent to your declared place of residence in Latvia.

All residence documents that are issued before the UK leaves the EU, including eID cards or paper documents in A5 format, will be valid until 31 December 2020, unless the residence document is valid for a time period before that date.

In the event of changes to residency rules or registration processes after Brexit, we will update this guidance as soon as information is available. Sign up to our email alerts.

Passports and travel

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Latvia.

Read our travel advice for Latvia and sign up to email alerts for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

Passports and travel after Brexit

After Brexit, the rules on travel will change. Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. During this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of the negotiations.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, new travel rules will apply. You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

If there’s no deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU, EEA or EFTA country, within a 180-day period. You must retain evidence of travel (such as train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU, EEA or EFTA country, you will be able to transit through other EU, EEA or EFTA countries to reach your country of residence.

Healthcare

If you are a permanent resident of Latvia, you are entitled to the same healthcare as Latvian nationals. If you are a temporary resident and live in Latvia in connection with your employment or you are self-employed, you and your family members can receive state-funded healthcare services.

Read NHS guidance about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Latvia.

If you live in Latvia and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You must apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

If you are resident in Latvia, you must not use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK for healthcare in Latvia.

When you travel from Latvia for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay: 

If you are a student, read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.

You can find an English-speaking doctor in Latvia.

You must also check your prescriptions are legal in Latvia.

Healthcare after Brexit

If there is a deal, your current rights on access to healthcare in Latvia will remain the same until the end of the implementation period.

If there’s no deal, you will have the right to state funded healthcare until 31 December 2020 if:

  • you are employed or self-employed, in which case your family members will be entitled to the same healthcare services as you
  • your healthcare is provided under the S1 form scheme
  • you started your studies at university or college in Latvia before the day the UK leaves the EU, you will have access to state-funded healthcare for the duration of your studies

If you currently have your healthcare costs paid for by the UK government, we can help if you are asked to pay for treatment during the first 6 months after Brexit. To organise a payment, you must give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there’s no deal. The UK has offered to maintain the EHIC scheme if there’s no deal. However, this is reliant on Latvia continuing to accept UK EHICs.

Read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals in Latvia and how it may change after the UK leaves the EU.

Working in Latvia

Read our guidance on working in another EU country.

Some jobs may need you to apply for a UK criminal records 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.

Working in Latvia after Brexit

Read the guidance on providing services after Brexit if you are planning to start a business, provide a service, or do a job in a regulated profession after Brexit.

If there is a deal, your right to work will not change until the end of the implementation period.

If there’s no deal and you enter Latvia after Brexit, rules for third country nationals will apply for working in Latvia.

Read the Latvian government’s guide on working in Latvia as a citizen of countries outside the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).

Money and tax

The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Latvia to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

Read the guidance on:

National Insurance

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

If you are employed or self-employed in the EU and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.

If the end date on your form is after 31 October 2019, you should contact the relevant EU, EEA or Swiss authority to confirm whether you need to start paying social security contributions in that country after 31 October, as well as UK National Insurance contributions.

Find out more about social security contributions after a no-deal Brexit.

Money and tax after Brexit

If there is no deal, it may become more expensive to use your UK bank card in the EU. Read more about using a bank card, insurance or other financial service in the EU.

Brexit will not change existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Latvia. You should send your taxpayer questions about double taxation to the relevant tax authority.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Latvia. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Latvia.

You can also seek professional advice at the Latvian Association of Accountants.

Pensions

You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire to Latvia, you can claim:

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a life certificate from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Pensions after Brexit

The UK government will continue to pay a State Pension to those eligible in the EU after Brexit. Your UK State Pension will be uprated in April 2020, 2021 and 2022 if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

If there is a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in Latvia you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Latvian pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after the end of the implementation period.

Read our guidance on pensions if there’s no deal.

Benefits

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Latvia. You must:

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.

Latvian benefits

You may be eligible to claim some Latvian social security benefits if you have made enough social security contributions in Latvia.

To get benefits you must have a residence document and be living in Latvia for employment or family reasons.

The State Social Security Agency has more information.

Benefits after Brexit

The UK government will continue to pay child benefits and disability benefits to those eligible in the EU after Brexit.

If there is a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in Latvia, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Latvian contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after the end of the implementation period.

Read our guidance on benefits and pensions if there is no deal.

Driving in Latvia

You must exchange your UK licence for a Latvian driving licence before the UK leaves the EU, You can still use your Latvian licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.

For information on driving in Latvia, read our guidance on:

Bringing a UK vehicle to Latvia

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

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 have 6 months from the date you registered your residency to do this. The Latvian Road Traffic Safety Directorate has more information.

You can read the EU´s guidance on car registration and taxes in Latvia. You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.

Driving in Latvia after Brexit

If there is a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same as they are now until the end of the implementation period.

Read our guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit.

Voting

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

If you’re resident in Latvia, you can register to vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary elections.

To vote in Latvia you must be:

  • at least 18 years old on election day

  • registered on the Population Register of Latvia

  • registered to vote

To register to vote in the European Parliament elections, citizens of EU Member States need to submit a signed application to the Central Election Commission of Latvia. You can get the application form and more guidance from the [Central Electoral Commission of Latvia[(https://www.cvk.lv/en/central-election-commission/central-election-commission).

UK nationals resident in Latvia will no longer be eligible to vote in local and European Elections after Brexit.

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Latvia, you will need to register a birth abroad.

If someone dies in Latvia you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

You may also need:

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Pets

You will still be able to travel to and from the UK with a cat, dog or ferret when the UK leaves the EU, but the rules will change. Read guidance on pet travel to Europe after Brexit.

While the UK is still a Member State you’ll be able to travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport. If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you’ll have to visit your vet to get a pet passport.

Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK and on exporting horses and ponies: special rules.

Emergencies

Dial the European emergency number on 112 or Latvia also has:

  • 110 – police

  • 113 – first aid

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact the British Embassy Riga.

Returning to the UK

Read our guidance on:

Tell the Latvian and UK authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

If you return to the UK check if your tax status will change.

Read our guidance on bringing your pet to the UK and importing vehicles to the UK.

If you get healthcare in Latvia through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Disclaimer

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.

Published 15 November 2013
Last updated 23 September 2019 + show all updates
  1. Brexit update: healthcare section updated to reflect transitional arrangements announcement
  2. Brexit update: Pensions section updated to include further details on State Pension uprating.
  3. EU Exit update: ´Passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU' has been updated. The section now has information about travel to EEA and EFTA countries.
  4. EU Exit update: added updated information in passports, pensions and returning to the UK section
  5. EU Exit update: updated EU Exit information in voting, healthcare and visas and residency sections
  6. We have updated the contact details you need to apply for an S1 form.
  7. EU Exit update: Added link to Brexit information on the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website in the EU Exit section and added information on registration in the event of ‘No Deal’ from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs website to the visas and residency section. Please see the [information on the OCMA webpage](https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/information-on-brexit.html) on registration in the event of ‘No Deal’ scenario.
  8. Updated information on passports: you must use the checker tool to see if your passport is still valid for your trip
  9. EU Exit update: Added link to national outreach event to EU Exit section and link to Department for Transport website with information about exchanging driving licences to the driving section.
  10. EU Exit update: updated information on access to healthcare
  11. EU Exit update: updated information on pensions and driving.
  12. EU Exit update: New information in residency and visa section on draft withdrawal agreement in principle between the UK and EU. Plus information on travelling with pets in Europe in pet section.
  13. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  14. First published.