On 10 September 2020, a draft Cabinet Regulation, “Regulations of the Consular Register”, prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was announced at the State Secretaries’ meeting.
The Consular Register is an information system maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which individuals voluntarily enter information on their planned travel (for a short stay abroad not exceeding three months). Information contained in the Consular Register is used in providing consular assistance.
The Consular Register has been functioning since 2012. However, this year, while organising a large-scale repatriation of Latvian nationals during the emergency situation related to the COVID pandemic, the consular service was made aware of technical limitations to the functioning of the current Consular Register that hindered the work of the service in rendering urgent consular assistance to Latvian nationals abroad. In view of this, the draft regulation envisages upgrading the Consular Register to make it more user-friendly for both travellers and those providing consular assistance.
For instance, those travelling will be able to enter information in the Consular Register on themselves and underage children in their guardianship or custody; upon entering information, personal data will be checked against the data in the Register of Physical Persons (Population Register) to prevent any mistakes. Tour operators for their part will be able to enter information on organised tours.
Registration with the Consular Register is voluntary and it is not a condition for receiving consular assistance for individuals in emergency situations abroad.
The draft of the Cabinet Regulation is accessible here (in Latvian) and it has been referred for inter-institutional agreement and approval. The draft is also being harmonised with the Association of Latvian Travel Agents and Operators (ALTA).