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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR VISITORS

  • Latvia (Republic of Latvia)

    Capital: Riga

    Currency: Euro

    Official language: Latvian

    Other languages: Russian, English

     

     

    Entrance regulations. Polish citizens can freely cross borders within the EU and the European Economic Area. Travel documents verifying the right for an entry to Latvia and a temporary residence for no longer than 90 days are National Identity Cards and passports. Before travelling it is necessary to make sure the documents are in a condition allowing to confirm the owner’s identity. The documents should remain valid for at least three months after the planned leave.

     

    Changes in the Latvian Petty Offences Code. Changes have been in force since January  1, 2011, when new security measures were introduced in a form of warranty deposits for foreigners (tourists and carriers) who commit a civil offence and leave without paying the fee. The warranty deposit can be charged for purchasing and possessing drugs and illegal substances (also in small amounts), driving without a valid permit, exceeding the speed limit, driving under influence of alcohol and/or drugs, acts of hooliganism, public drinking, etc. In addition, the warranty deposits will be also charged in case of exceeding the passenger or load limits per carriage, not meeting the condition requirements of the vehicles, transport of dangerous goods, transport of banned products and/or food of a short expiration date, and violating the work hours regulations (drivers). The amount of the deposit is decided by a civil servant  who prepares an offence report. If the decision of charging a fee is made on the place where the offence occurred, the sum of the deposit cannot exceed the maximum fee for this offence. If a driver of a vehicle registered abroad commits an offence under the Road Transport Inspection, the vehicle registration document and the driving permit are kept by the state Police of Latvia until paying the deposit or the fee.

     

    Customs Duties. Tourists travelling to the EU member states remain under the regulations of bringing in and out products in amounts for personal usage and not available for reselling. Minors under 18 years old are not allowed to cross borders with alcohol and tobacco products on them.

     

    Legal Provisions. Import, purchase, possession and trade of illegal drugs and other psychotropic substances are strictly banned and can lead to imposing severe punishment including imprisonment.

     

    Residency permit. Tourists staying in Latvia for no longer than 90 days do not need a residency permit. Permanent stay (of more than 90 days in total within a six month period) should be registered within three months of the entry at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (Pilsonîbas un migrâcijas lietu pârvalde).

     

    Insurances. Polish citizens who regularly pay social security contributions for the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia – NFZ) are entitled to use medical services in Latvia in case of emergencies. Before coming to Latvia it is however advisable to get an insurance that will cover full costs of medical treatments (beyond the compulsory health insurance) and the costs of transport back to Poland if needed.  Republic of Latvia recognises policies from Polish insurances companies as valid. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a replacement certificate should be taken for a GP surgery.

     

    Vaccinations & Health Care. Overall no sanitary and epidemiological risks and no compulsory vaccinations. Seasonally increased rick of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) infection; occasional cases of diphtheria and tuberculosis. Polish citizens are entitled to the public health care services on the bases described above. It is worth to note down that for a checkup with at a specialised physician, a referral from a GP is required. The prices may vary from 10-15 EUR for a GP checkup to 30-40 EUR for an overnight stay in a hospital.

     

    Additional Information for Drivers. Relatively low traffic with exceptions of transit roads to Riga and the capital itself. Dipped headlights are required throughout the whole year. Winter tires are required from Dec 1 to March 1. The police pays a lot attention to keeping speed limits (cities: 50 km/h, outside cities 90 km/h, trucks heavier than 7.5 t: 80 km/h) and right parking.

     

    Transport. Good public transport in Riga and varied transit links around the country. Single bus ticket in Riga costs 0.60 EUR if bought in advance, more if bought from the driver (no age discounts available). There is a bus link between Riga International Airport and Riga centre, same tariff applies. From the 1st of April until 30th of September a fee of 2.00 EUR must be paid when entering Jūrmala with an own vehicle due to ecological measures.

     

    Safety. Basic safety measures apply. Tourists are advised to pay particular attention to their belonging in the areas of train and bus stations. Tourist help available 24/7 in Russian and English: (+371) 22033000.

     

    Religion & Holidays. Largest groups are Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox. Some widely celebrated holidays have pagan roots, including Meteņi, Miķeļi, Jāni, and Mārtiņi. Jāni, also known as Līgo, one of the largest annual feasts linked to many public events in every city, is celebrated on the summer solstice on 23 and 24 June. Traditionally, women and girls wear a crown of flowers on their heads on Jāņi, while men wear a crown of oak leaves. Other national holidays include May 1 (International Labour Day), May 4 (Declaration of Latvian Independence). November 18 (Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia),

     

    Working Hours. Common working hours are 09:00-17:00 with a lunch break at 12:00-13:00. On days directly before national holidays, offices and banks usually close an hour earlier.

     

    Important Contacts

    Local information: 1188 (available Russian and English)

    Tourist support: 2203300

    Fire Service: 01

    Police: 02

    Emergency Service: 03

    European Emergency Call Number: 112

     

     

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