Frequently asked questions

02.12.2014. 19:09

What advantages do Latvia's inhabitants gain from Latvia joining the Schengen Agreement?

On joining the Schengen Agreement Latvia's inhabitants, when travelling to Lithuania and Estonia as well as crossing the borders of Schengen states within the Schengen internal space, no longer need to stop at the border and have their passports checked. Furthermore, these borders may be crossed at any point, not just at border control points.

What is a maximum duration of stay in the Schengen area for a foreign national holding a Schengen visa?

The maximum duration of stay in the Schengen area for a person holding a Schengen visa is 90 days in every six-month period starting from the date of first entry in the territory of the Schengen area.  

Is a passport necessary for travelling from one Schengen state to other Schengen states?

When travelling from one Schengen state to other Schengen states, it is necessary to take your passport with you. While in some other Schengen states you may be requested to produce your passport, for example, by police officers.  

What are the advantages from Latvia joining Schengen for citizens of third countries holding a valid residency permit?

Foreigners who are in possession of residency permits issued by Latvia, may reside in other Schengen states for a period of up to 90 days in any half-year. It is no longer necessary to obtain a visa separately for this purpose.     

Can a citizen of a third country who has been issued with a Latvian residency permit travel to other Schengen states for the purposes of employment?

A residency permit issued in Latvia does not confer the right for a foreign national to travel for purposes of employment to other Schengen Agreement states.

The Schengen Agreement does not apply to employment issues.

Can a foreign national who has been issued with a residency permit valid for another Schengen state enter Latvia? 

Article 21 of the Schengen Convention stipulates that a foreign national with a residency permit valid for a Schengen state may enter and stay in another Schengen state for a period not exceeding 90 days in any half-year. Each Schengen state determines for itself which of the documentation it has issued permits a person to travel to another Schengen state, and information regarding such documentation shall be included in Annex 22 to the Schengen Borders Code "List of residence permits issued by the Member States". 

If a person is uncertain whether the documents in his possession confer such rights, he is recommended to consult with the immigration authorities of his country of domicile.  

May a foreign national in possession of a long-stay visa (type D) issued by another Schengen state, enter Latvia?

Under the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council that entered into effect on 5 April 2010,  a foreign national in possession of a valid long-stay visa (type D visa) issued by a Schengen state, may enter and stay in the territory of other  Schengen states for a maximum duration of 90 days in any six-month period.

In which cases is a multiple-entry visa issued?

A multiple-entry visa may be issued to a foreign national if the applicant proves the need to travel frequently and/or regularly and justifies such need, in particular due to his occupational or family status, and if the foreign national has used any previous visas lawfully, as well as proves his integrity and reliability, his economic situation in the country of origin and his genuine intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa applied for.

A citizen of a third country has been issued a visa having limited territorial validity, i.e., a visa not valid in all Schengen states. Bearing in mind that border control at internal borders has been abolished, can such a person nevertheless enter countries where his visa is not valid?

A person who has been issued a visa having limited territorial validity may cross in transit or remain only in those countries indicated on the visa.

Even though border control on the borders of the Schengen Agreement member states has been abolished, this does not exclude the possibility of a person's unlawful presence in a foreign country being discovered during a police check.

Do representations of Latvia issue only Schengen visas?

Representations of Latvia issue Schengen visas valid for the territories of all Schengen states. The maximum time a foreign national may stay in the Schengen area with a Schengen visa is 90 days in any six month period. Representations of Latvia abroad also issue visas with a limited territorial validity and airport transit visas.

Should a foreign national need to stay in Latvia for more than 90 days within a half-year, he should apply for a national long-stay visa or a residence permit, depending on circumstances.

What does the 'period of grace' of 15 days mean when a visa is issued?

The period of validity of a visa for one or two entries also includes an additional 'period of grace' of 15 days which does not affect the length of stay indicated on the visa. This means that, when issuing a visa, 15 days are added to the period of validity indicated by the foreign national in his visa application. Thus a foreign national may enter or leave the territory of the Schengen states within the period of validity indicated on the visa, but may stay for as long as indicated in the "duration of stay" section on the visa.

(For instance, a foreigner has indicated in his visa application, that he would like to enter the Schengen area on 01/01 and to leave on 10/01, with the total duration of stay of 10 days. The visa will be issued for the period of validity from 01/01 to 25/01 (01/01-10/01+15 days), but the number of days of the visit will remain unchanged, i.e. 10 days.)

Can a Schengen visa be extended whilst in Latvia?

The Schengen visa can be extended if there exist force majeure or humanitarian reasons preventing a foreign national from leaving the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the period of validity of or the duration of stay authorised by the visa. Such an extension shall be granted free of charge.

The period of validity and/or the duration of stay of an issued visa may be extended if the visa holder provides proof of serious personal reasons justifying the extension of the period of validity or the duration of stay. A fee of EUR 30 is charged for such an extension.

In Latvia, a visa can be extended by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior.

Can a tourism agency apply for visas on behalf of its clients?

Tourism agencies may submit visa applications to representations on behalf of their clients. The decision on the accreditation of the specific tourism agency shall be taken by the representations themselves. Of significance to a representation, when deciding whether to co-operate with a particular tourism agency, shall be its reputation acquired while working with representations of Latvia as well as other Schengen states in the country of residence.   

Can a new application be resubmitted after a visa application has been refused?

If a visa has been previously refused, an application can be resubmitted. The new application will be considered in view of all the available information.