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Latvia

Latvia is a stable democracy with a developing economy. Most tourist facilities found in a western European city are available in the capital city of Ruga. However, some of the goods and services taken for granted in outher countries are not yet available in other parts of the country. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Latvia for additional information.

Latvia

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Latvia
Continent: Europe
Capital City: Riga
Boundary Countries:

Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Riga: ARS Medical Company, Children’s Clinic, Children’s Hospital, Diplomatic Service Medical Center, Gailezera Hospital, Latvian Red Cross, Private Clinic, State Disaster Medicine Center, Stradina Hospital, Via Una Poliklinika

Main Cities:

Riga, Valmiera, Ogre, Salaspils, Jürmala, Jelgava, Ventspils, Liepaja, Aluksne, Rezekne, Aluksne, Jekabpils, Daugavpils

Country Size: 64,589 sq km
Population: 2,259,810

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3%

Currency: Latvian Lat (LVL)
Predominant Religions:

Luthern, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox

National Holidays: Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note- 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 was the date of de facto independence from the USSR
Economic Status:

Latvia is a stable democracy experiencing rapid economic growth.

Security:

Latvian Republic Defense Force: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze)

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Riga
1 Samnera Velsa St. (former Remtes)
Riga LV-1510
Latvia
Phone: +371 6710 7000
Document Requirements:

A valid passport is required. Latvia is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. citizens may enter Latvia for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact Sheet. Travelers remaining in Latvia for more than 90 days, including 180 day periods that cross over two half-calendar years, must apply for temporary residence. All travelers must have a valid insurance policy, covering medical expenses while in Latvia. Repatriation costs, including funeral and disposition of remains costs also have to be covered by the policy. In addition, upon entering or exiting the country, travelers must declare cash in excess of 10,000 EUR to Latvian customs. For more information, travelers may contact the Latvian Embassy, at 2306 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202)328-2840, fax (202)328-2860. Within Latvia, contact the Ministry of Interiors Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs at Ciekurkalna 1st line, building 3, Riga, LV-1026. Tel. (371)67588675, e-mail: pmlp@pmlp.gov.lv. Any traveler to Russia, even in transit, is advised to obtain a visa prior to entry into Latvia. The process of obtaining a visa at the Russian Embassy in Riga can be lengthy, and may involve surrender of the passport for an undetermined period of time. Visit the Embassy of Latvia website for the most current visa information. Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information.

Major Airports:

Airports:  46, Airports w/paved runways:  24

Riga International Airport (RIX/EVRA)
Riga Airport, Latvia, Riga LV 1053, LATVIA
Tel: +371 6 766 8300
Fax: +371 6 766 8301
E-mail:
office@riga-airport.com
Website: 
www.riga-airport.com
Customs, hours: 24 hours
Tel: +371 720-70-43

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Civil unrest is not a problem in Riga. There have been no incidents of terrorism directed toward American interests. Incidents of anti-Americanism are rare. However, instances of racially motivated verbal harassment, and on occasion, physical assaults on non-Caucasian foreigners, have occurred in Riga. There have also been reports of non-Caucasian foreigners being subjected to extra scrutiny by security guards in shops and malls in Riga. Additionally, individuals advocating alternative lifestyles have experienced harassment.

Crime in Riga is generally non-violent. The majority of non-violent crime tends toward acts of pick pocketing, identity theft, and personal scams. However, there have been instances of serious violent assaults and robberies. Street crime is a serious problem, particularly for tourists. Riga has one of the highest rates of car theft in the world. Internet crime is a growing concern in Latvia.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total: 9.16 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: TOTAL 71.6 years (male 66.39/female 77.1)

Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None

Recommended: Hep A & B, Typhoid, Rabies
Boosters: MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Hepatitis is present. According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis is a significant problem in Latvia, with 9% of all cases being multi-drug resistant.

Tickborne encephalitis (TBE) is widespread in Latvia. Cases of diphtheria have declined (after a large outbreak in the 1990s) with improved rates of immunization.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical care in Latvia is steadily improving, but remains limited in several important respects. There are a few private clinics with medical supplies and services which are nearly equal to Western Europe or U.S. standards. However, because of the lack of equipment and resources, most major invasive procedures or surgeries in Latvia are not recommended. Hospital services have shown good progress but are still not equal to Western standards.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 3
Referrals: 14
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 has been documented in wild birds or other avian species in several of the countries in Eastern Europe. Avoid all direct contact with birds, including domestic poultry (such as chickens and ducks) and wild birds and avoid places such as poultry farms and bird markets where live birds are raised or kept.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +371

Internet Country Code:  .lv

 



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