Types of visa

20.01.2015. 10:53


Schengen visa is a visa that gives a foreigner the right to stay in Latvia and in other Schengen member states – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Island, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland – for a period indicated in visa sticker.

Uniform visa has two types – A and C – depending on the purpose of the entry.

A type visa is intended for crossing international transit zone at the airport of a Schengen member state.

C type visa is issued if a foreigner wishes to visit or transit one or more Schengen member states.

Airport transit visa – A type

This visa may be issued to stay in an international transit zone at the airport of a Schengen member state. It is an airport transit visa that is required for nationals of several countries who need to change an airplane at the airport of a Schengen member state or whose airplane lands in the airport of a Schengen member state on the way from one non-Schengen member to another non-Schengen member state.

In principle an airport transit visa allowing to stay in an international transit zone is required for citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka or foreigners holding travel documents issued by the aforementioned countries. However, there are several exceptions when an airport transit visa for citizens of these countries is not needed. About specific cases, please, consult the consular officer of the relevant mission.

Short-stay visa – C type

This visa is issued for a short-term visit in, or transit through Schengen member states. It is a short-stay visa which depending upon the purpose of the visit may be issued for one, two or multiple entries.

The validity period of the visa may not exceed 5 years. An entry means crossing the border between a Schengen member state and a non-Schengen state. A foreigner holding a C visa may stay in Schengen member states no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. The validity period of visas for one or two entries includes also a 'period of grace' – additional 15 days that do not influence the period of stay indicated in the visa. This means that, when issuing a visa for one or two entries, 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 sticker.                                                  

In case of transit, the length of the authorized stay is established corresponding to the time necessary for the purpose of transit. In order to receive a visa for transit, the travel document must bear a visa for the country of destination, if required.


Foreigner who needs to stay in Latvia more than 90 days in a half-year period depending on the circumstances should apply for a long-stay visa (or a residence permit). Under Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council that came into effect on 5 April 2010, a third-country national holding a valid long-stay visa issued by a Schengen state may travel and stay in the territory of other Schengen states no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. 


If a third-country national needs to enter a Schengen member state but there are circumstances forbidding him to have a uniform visa valid in all Schengen member states, he may be granted a visa with a limited territorial validity. It means that visa is not valid for entering all Schengen member states, but only those indicated on the visa. If it is said on a visa that visa is valid only for Latvia, a foreigner is barred from entering other Schengen member states.

Visas with limited territorial validity may be issued for transit or a short-term visit in a Schengen member state no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.