At 312 metres (1,024’), Gaizinkalns is the highest point in Latvia. Not high enough – look at neighbouring Estonia. Their highest point is Suur Munamagi at 318 metres (1,043.47’), a whole 6 metres (20’) higher. So the Latvians started to build a tower so that they could be higher, but it never got finished and is now closed as unsafe. However, its Freedom Statue is 43 metres high (141’), one of the highest monuments in Europe. If you are moving to Latvia from UK you might be pleased to know that Latvia regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It joined the EU in 2004 and has been a member of the Schengen area since 2007. The capital city is Riga and the currency has been the euro since January 2014. Ethnically, the population is 59% Latvian and 29% Russian, and more than a third live in the capital, Riga.
A British citizen holding a British passport does not require a visa when relocating to Latvia from the UK. But you do need to register with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), unless you are studying in Latvia, when you can stay in the country for up to a year without registering. You also need to register your place of residence. There is a complicated list of documents required to register which you will find at this website.
The list seems to depend upon your reason for wanting to live in Latvia, but basically you need proof of your ability to support yourself, your ID and family status, application form, photographs, proof of residence – and more depending upon your reason for applying. The process takes around a month to complete, so leave plenty of time. Pensioners can also apply, provided they can prove they can support themselves and pay state duty.
Although Britain is not a member of the Schengen area, and therefore customs formalities apply, because we are members of the EU, there is little of consequence to concern the average Briton relocating to Latvia. If you stop at another Schengen country on your way to Latvia, the controls will be dealt with there.
The rules that do apply are designed to ensure the safety and security on the external borders of the Schengen area, which does cover most of Europe. It protects health of humans and animals, and protects national treasures and economic interests. However, rules do change and you are advised to check with the Latvian embassy well before you leave the UK. You do not want to be held up at the border.
London W1U 5LY
Tel: 0 20 7312 0041
There are no restrictions on the amount of currency you can bring in from the UK. There are limits on alcohol and drugs, see this website for full details:
Pets require their own pet passport, microchips, rabies vaccinations within 1 year, but not closer than 21 days from departure, and up-to-date routine vaccinations. If you intend to bring the pet back to the UK you must ensure the rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.
There are several sites where you can get information about expat clubs, news and communities. These three sites will give you a taste of what is available.
Kwintessential Latvia this site even offers a course in relocating to Latvia.
Wash your car frequently in winter as the salt on the road is very corrosive – and be careful where you fill up as some garages sell substandard petrol.
Go ahead and get a free quote on removals to Latvia.
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