Following the World Health Organization's declaration of a global pandemic, trom 13th of March to 12th of May the state of emergency has been declared in Latvia in order to control the spread of the coronvirus Covid-19.
With additional precautionary measures, which came into force on 16th and 30th of March the restrictions affect the work of educational establishments, public assembly, movement outside the state borders, gatherings of people in private and public events and other areas.
The main restrictions and guidelines affecting international students are as follows:
- Studies continue remotely. All in-person and on-site classes, lectures and trainings in all educational establishments are cancelled and should be placed online.
- Public events cancelled. All events relating to public holidays, commemorations, entertainment, culture, sports and recreational activities, including in nightclubs and discotheques, are prohibited irrespective of the number of visitors. Meetings, demonstrations, pickets and religious activities involving the assembly are also prohibited.
- Restrictions of travel are applied. International passenger transport through airports, ports, by bus and rail transport in Latvia has been cancelled as on 17th of March. This prohibition is not applied to the carriage of goods. These restrictions to travel through airport, port, railway and road crossing points shall not apply to nationals of the Republic of Latvia who wish to return to Latvia. Nor do they apply to foreign nationals whose permanent place of residence is in Latvia and who want to return here or to foreign nationals who want to leave Latvia.
- Quarantine mandatory for everyone returning from abroad. Everyone returning to Latvia from abroad must observe self-isolation by staying home for a 14-day quarantine. Breaking quarantine conditions will result in big fines. More here.
- Social distancing rules have been introduced. Social interactions are to be reduced to a minimum and frequent and careful hand-washing is urged in a policy characterised as "social distancing". On March 30 new restrictions on physical proximity apply to public indoor and outdoor activities and establish the rule that no more than two people may meet and that they must maintain a distance from each other of at least two meters.
If you are a prospective foreign student, please be aware that:
- Universities are working remotely. The international offices of higher education institutions, as well as the other government institutions related to the admission process in Latvia are likely to be working remotely.
- Changes in the work of Latvian embassies are applied. In the diplomatic missions and consulates of Latvia during the period of emergency, meetings in person for customer service will not take place. No applications for Latvian residence permits will be accepted during this time. The uninterrupted functioning of embassies including the possibility to contact the embassies by telephone, e-mail or mail remain in place.
If you are a current foreign degree or exchange student:
- Follow the information and guidelines provided by your university. If you are in Latvia in Erasmus+exchange, please contact your Erasmus+ International Coordinator. Most popular Q&A concerning Erasmus+ in light of the COVID-19 pandemic provided by European Comission can be found here.
Social service is available. If you have stayed in Latvia in Covid-19 distribution conditions and are studying remotely but left without means of living, then you can be assisted by the social service agency of the local government with which you have declared your stay. Please contact your university for assistance in receiving these social services.
- Legal stay is extended. Foreigners, whose period of legal stay in the Republic of Latvia will end during the state of emergency, will be able to leave the Republic of Latvia without any obstacles after the state of emergency is lifted. More here.
- Student discounts on public transport of Riga are cancelled. Be aware that “Rīgas satiksme” has issued new order of using public transport in Riga for discount recipients - a majority of public transport fare discounts have been cancelled for the period of the emergency situation. More here.
- Follow latest news in English. Regarding situation development in Latvia are provided by public broadcasting of Latvia: https://eng.lsm.lv/
All information regarding these measures below:
- The Declaration of Emergency Situation in English here.
- Restrictions with two-person, two-meter rule in English here.
- Changes in provision of Latvian consular services in English here.
- Changes in services of The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in English here.
- Changes in using public transport in Riga in English here.
- COVID-19 advice for the public by Latvian Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in English here.
- Frequently asked questions and answers about Erasmus+ during Covid-19 outbreak provided by European Comission in English here.