The admission process to higher education establishments comprises application, entrance exams, registration for studies and matriculation. The right to study in a school of higher education is granted to every citizen of Latvia, to persons who have received the non-citizen passport of the Republic of Latvia, as well as those who have received permanent residence permits in Latvia having the appropriate educational background. In order to be enrolled in a school of higher education, a document attesting to the acquisition of secondary education is necessary.
Additional requirements on what other documents need to be submitted are determined by each individual education establishment according to the entrance regulations adopted by the Senate of the school. Admission procedures may vary depending upon the level of competition to enter a particular programme. In Latvia both Atestāts par vispārējo vidējo izglītību (Certificate of general secondary education) and Diploms par profesionālo vidējo izglītību (Certificate of secondary vocational education) confer the rights for admission to higher education.
Specific provisions for foreign students
Foreign students can be admitted to Latvian schools of higher education if their documents on secondary education correspond to the Latvian standard. The overall procedure of evaluation and recognition of foreign credentials is stated in the Law on Education, Article 11.
The evaluation of the academic degrees and education documents acquired abroad, as well as the evaluation of the documents on secondary education is carried out by the Academic information centre. The respective school of higher education takes a decision based on the reference certificate issued by the Academic information centre on the recognition of the academic degree or education document acquired abroad for the continuation of studies. The knowledge of the foreign student is tested according to general regulations applying to all students, and it must correspond to entrance requirements of the respective school of higher education. There must also be sufficient competence in the language of instruction.
The recognition of partial studies in higher education acquired in another country is carried out by that school of higher education where the student continues his/her education. The school determines to which study programme the partial studies abroad correspond, in what mode the student can continue the studies in the respective study programme and, if necessary, what additional requirements must be met in order to continue studies in the respective study programme in Latvia.
There are no separate requirements and selection procedure specifically for foreign students. Higher education establishments may ask all students for specific subject marks obtained in secondary school. For example, for studying medicine, the mark in biology and chemistry is compulsory in the certificate on secondary education and additional entrance exams may also be required.
There are no specific language requirements aimed at foreign students in Latvia. Usually study programmes are offered in either Latvian, English or, Russian, or a combination of these languages. The higher education institutions do not strictly define the need for language tests (some schools ask for TOEFEL tests). Students need a good knowledge of the language in which they would like to study. Language skills are usually checked in discussions with the student. It is possible that the higher education establishment organises formal testing for language skills.