Moving to Latvia
ALL the essential information you’ll need for moving to Latvia and making it a smooth and stress-free transition
- We’ve checked out why you should move to Latvia what to do and where to go and we’ve looked at living in Riga, the country’s capital.
- We’ve given you 4 essential things you should know about moving to Latvia and 3 essential keys for Residents Visa and Work Permits and we’ve introduced our article with 5 great reasons for moving to Latvia.
- Want to keep in touch with friends and family we’ve set out the most popular mobile operators. Finally, what’s the cheapest season and months to move? You’ll find we’ve covered this too….
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Latvia does seem to have it all.
It’s becoming a popular expat destination, with a high quality of life, low taxes and low cost of living coupled with natural beauty in abundance.
For whatever reason, you’re intending to make this international move to Latvia, know that although you’ll have challenging moments, if you’re up for putting some time into planning there’s absolutely no need for your blood pressure to rise! Top Tip: book your international removing company right now. Ensure you have the date you want firmly in your diary with this done, you’ve got your goal to plan every small step towards the move and the biggest step of all!
Here are 5 great reasons for moving to Latvia
- Latvia has it all: beautiful beaches, 13th-century fairy tale castles dotted in and around the fairy tale forests. There’s even a palace, The Rundale Palace, modelled on Versailles.
- You’ll need to put aside a lot of time to spend in the capital of Riga because it’s a UNESCO world heritage site; an extraordinary mix of a medieval town and art nouveau buildings alongside glass skyscrapers, together with a fantastic nightlife. Beer gardens and street cafes can be found in many of the sunny squares throughout the city. You can easily see why expats are attracted to the high quality of life that’s found in Riga.
- Forests in Abundance.
Approximately forty-five percent of Latvia is covered in forest. Begin by visiting Kemeri National park and the Gauja National park. Beavers, birds of prey and lynx are just some of the animals you’ll see walking through the forests of Latvia, magical animals we usually only see on films! If you’ve ever considered living in a tree house then this is the country for you…
- Are you a lover of Art Nouveau? Riga, Latvia’s capital city has over 750 amazing art nouveau buildings. Visit the Museum of Decorative art and design for art nouveau fabrics and furniture or take a stroll around the capital exploring the mythical beasts, goddesses and gorgeous nature motives decorating the building facades.
- Do you love singing and dancing? Then you’ll enjoy Latvia’s week-long dance festival. Held every five years since 1873, it’s a joyful celebration of the spirit and culture of Latvia. During the Second World War, dancers would continue to secretly dance for peace, coming together for the dancing and disappearing quietly into the woodland. By the way, Latvia has a rich folklore tradition, the art and culture are greatly influenced by the large gipsy community.
Living in Riga
- It’s always wise to make a checklist of must have’s, would like to have and will travel if necessary priorities when you are researching where to live. Check out food shopping, any last minute late night facilities close to hand and nearest health care facilities. These small steps in your plan will ease you lightly into your new country and home and mentally prepare for your move.
- Riga, is the commercial hub as well a world heritage Site. It’s, therefore, popular with expats. Rental flats are usually fully furnished. Best to look online where you’ll find with 85% of rentals. Here’s a list of the best websites: best site available in English, and more upmarket sites also available in English.
- If you want to get away from the bustle of the capital then consider Ziepniekkalns by the banks of Daugava River. It’s a quiet neighbourhood with Soviet-high rises. You’ll find renting here is a good price and your everyday needs will be well catered for including parks, restaurants and supermarkets, all within walking distance.
- On the other side of the Daugava River, you’ll find Plavnieki perfect for families with homes surrounded by greenery.
When should you move?
You’ve got the date in your diary that’s the most important thing to organize. Taking time out to forward plan with flexibility is the key, with these
4 essential tips you should know.
- Best time to move? Well anytime is a good time, however, most people like to move in the summer. So be prepared for the higher cost. Choosing a move in the winter is the most cost effective solution, along with the down time weeks – just before and after Christmas or Easter also offering a slightly cheaper option.
- What time of month should you move? Are you renting? If so, most leases begin on the first of the month, however, you’ll find a better deal with removal companies if you can move mid-month. What about negotiating to begin your rental mid month? Week-ends tend to be more expensive. Would you believe that fuel prices could fluctuate throughout the week and tend to be higher on the weekends?
- Be specific on the time because you could miss rush hour traffic if you move early morning or late evening. This might save on fuel costs.
- If you are planning on moving pets, then plan their move well ahead of check out the veterinary requirements for Latvia. Best to take their favourite food with you to cover you for the first few months as they settle in too. That goes for children too! Favourite foods to keep them happy (and quiet?!)
4 Essential things you should know about moving to Latvia
- The country is bilingual speaking both Latvian and Russian, although you’ll find English is widely spoken. Latvia enjoys a stable government since its independence in 1991 and is considered a rewarding destination for expats.
- First the good news: healthcare is free in Latvia. However, it’s wise to rely on private health insurance because the standards most expats will be used to is still not the norm in Latvia and especially outside of Riga. For further information do visit
this site. The same goes for education with most expats choosing to send their children to one of the international schools situated in Riga rather than rely on the Latvian education system.
- Interested in property investment? Then you’ll be pleased to know there are no restrictions, which means Latvia is a popular holiday home spot for expats, especially if they enjoy outdoors sports. There’s red tape (isn’t that the norm wherever you go?) and some would say high levels of corruption (maybe not too much the norm) therefore wise to hire a reputable English speaking lawyer to handle transactions. A more practical option is to consider renting which is affordable and probably easier in the short term.
- The cost of living in Latvia is relatively low, although Riga itself is more expensive than rural areas. Yet most expats will find Riga generally cheaper than other European hubs. Tax is a welcome low at 23 per cent for Residents and expats with businesses a low 15 percent.
3 essential keys for Residents Visa and Work Per-mits
- If you are a citizen of a country abiding by the Schengen agree-ment you can stay in Latvia for 90 days without a visa. The Latvian Minis-try of Foreign Affairs has listed the countries with visa exemptions: www.mfa.gov
- For stays longer than 90 days, you’ll require a residence permit. Appli-cations are made through the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration.
- You’ll need various documents (best to make several copies – remember the red tape) Paperwork in any country is normally tedious and in duplicate. Items to include are: photo, documents confirming you have financial means, place of residence, a form for a residence permit request, a document confirming the state duty payment, if you are opening a business you will require a business plan approved by a sworn auditor, and documents confirming sufficient financial means to commence activities. Further information can be found on
There’s nothing like keeping in touch with friends and family
Mobiles: There’s no need for documents to purchase a prepaid SIM-card. You’ll find cards in stores located in shopping malls in every Latvian city. Choose from four mobile networks: Amigo, Bite, LMT and Tele2
Mobile Internet covers almost the whole of Latvia with operators providing either 3G or 4G. There are free Wi-Fi hotspots provided by Lattelecom free operator, however if you decide to use them, you’d need to wait 15 seconds and watch an ad in a browser before gaining full access. For further information check out: https://know.lv/en/mobile-phone-networks-and-internet/