Consular territorial competence

10.09.2015. 16:40

A third-country national must apply for a visa at the consulate of the competent Schengen state in whose territorial competence the applicant legally resides.

It is possible to distinguish following three options:

1) If the third-country national, who intends to travel to Latvia, legally resides in a state where a Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Mission is present, he or she must lodge their visa application at this Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Mission

2) If the third-country national, who intends to travel to Latvia, legally resides in a state without a Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Mission, but there is other Schengen Member State representing Latvia in the issuance of a Schengen visas, he or she must lodge their visa application at this responsible Diplomatic and Consular Mission of the other Schengen Member State. Please be informed that the Diplomatic and Consular Missions of other Schengen Member States represent Latvia only in the issuance of a short stay visas (uniform visa, visa with limited territorial validity and airport transit visa) with a duration no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.

3) If the third-country national legally resides in a place without a Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Mission and there is no other Schengen Member State that is authorised to issue visas on behalf of Latvia or the third-country national is willing to apply for long term visa with a duration of more than 90 days in any 180-day period, he or she must lodge their visa application at the Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Mission in whose territorial competence the applicant legally resides.

The territorial competence of the Latvian Diplomatic and Consular Missions is determined by regulations No. 500 “Regulations on the territorial competence on requiring visas at the Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Republic of Latvia” issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia on 1 September 2015.

!!! Please note that the territorial competence in the above mentioned Regulations is distinguished by two different categories of visas and they are as follows:  

In compliance with a Community Code on Visas – a short term visa (uniform visa, visa with limited territorial validity and airport transit visa) with duration no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. (Annex 1 of the above Regulations);

In compliance with Immigration Law of the Republic of Latvia – a long term visa with duration of more than three months in any six-month period from the date of first entry in the territory of Schengen Member State (Annex 2 of the above Regulations).

A visa application may be accepted by a competent Diplomatic and Consular Mission also if the third-country national is legally present but not residing in the territorial competence of the respective Diplomatic and Consular Mission. However, in this case the applicant has to provide a justification for lodging the application at that particular Diplomatic and Consular Mission. Since it is the Diplomatic and Consular Mission that decides on whether, according to a Community Code on Visas, it is competent to accept a visa application from an applicant who is legally present but not residing in it’s territorial competence, we suggest that the applicant contacts the relevant Diplomatic and Consular Mission in advance to clarify whether a visa application can be accepted by this particular Diplomatic and Consular Mission.