Purely practical insights for anyone hosting an event in Riga. Answers to FAQs on things like money matters, visas and internet access in Latvia.
Latvia belongs to the Schengen Area. The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the resource for information on visas for arrivals from other parts of the world: www.mfa.gov.lv/en.
Most restaurants, hotels, and shops accept major international credit cards. Contactless payments are common.
Standard opening hours are Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. Some central or shopping centre branches may remain open longer and be open on Saturdays. Currency exchange offices are open on Sundays too. Cash machines/ATMs can be found all over the city.
VAT on goods bought in Latvian shops with a TAX FREE shopping sign at the entrance may be refunded upon leaving Latvia by air, sea, or land, as long as you have a Tax Free shopping receipt that was validated by customs upon departure. For further information visit www.global-blue.com, call + 371 6721 2590 or inquire at locations with the TAX FREE sign.
Should you wish to export valuable artworks and antiques, you will need a permit from the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (www.mantojums.lv). To export furs and hunting trophies, a license is required from the State Forestry Department (call +371 6702 7251).
Latvian is the official state language. Russian is the mother tongue for one-third of the population. English and German are widely spoken. Younger people may also speak Scandinavian languages or French.
For Persons Who Use A Wheelchair
Newly-built hotels and venues are wheelchair-accessible. Historical locations and older properties are being adapted where possible. Obstacles may still exist in the streets, so wheelchair users would benefit from an assistant.
The European Health Insurance Card is valid in Latvia. Paid healthcare is available to all visitors to the country regardless of insurance coverage. English is widely spoken by medical personnel.
There are no mandatory vaccine requirements for entering Latvia. If you plan on spending time in rural or forested areas between March and October, a vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis is recommended.
Power And Communications
Wireless internet is free at most hotels, venues, and restaurants. Riga also has a public access wifi network.
112: national emergency hotline
1188: info line e.g. transport inquiries, business opening hours (paid service)
To make international calls, dial 00 followed by the country code.
To call Latvia from abroad, dial the international code 00 371 followed by an eight-digit number.
Latvia has three mobile operators: BITE, LMT, and Tele2.
Mailboxes are yellow and blue and feature the word “Pasts”. Buy stamps at post office branches and Narvesen kiosks.
Express mail and courier services: DHL, TNT, UPS, EMS, and DPD.
220 volts AC, 50 Hz; European-style 2-pin plugs are in use.
Tax Advice For Convention Organisers
Convention organizers who are VAT-registered in the country of their headquarters are liable to be registered for VAT in Latvia and must charge customers Latvian VAT. Applications for VAT refunds must be submitted within six months of the end of the taxation year and posted or handed in at: Large Taxpayers Board, State Revenue Service, Jeruzalemes iela 1, LV-1010, Riga, Latvia. These provisions are the same as in other EU member countries.
For further information please contact: email@example.com or MP.firstname.lastname@example.org (for customs issues) www.vid.gov.lv/en/servicing-international-and-large-taxpayers
Tourist Information Centres
Riga's main tourist information center is located at Rātslaukums 6 (next to the House of Black Heads).
To find your closest centre outside Riga, visit www.latvia.travel/en/article/tourist-information-centres.