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Welcome to Latvia!

Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war are warmly welcomed by the Republic of Latvia and its citizens in these challenging times. We will provide you with accommodation, food, and other necessary help.

A hotline for services and support available for Ukraine residents in Riga: +371 27 380 380 (available 24/7)

I need help with transport to or from Latvia

Gribu Palīdzēt Bēgļiem logo The coordination between between organisations offering help and people needing it is managed by the non-profit organization Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem. Your data will not be made public and will only be used to contact you.

Arrival in Latvia

When traveling to Latvia, please bring valid travel documents, if you are able to. The absence of travel documents or medical documents (vaccination certificate, Covid-19 test) will not be an obstacle for Ukrainian residents to enter Latvia.

On arrival in Latvia via the border crossing points, a border check will be carried out for persons with biometric passports.

Ukrainian civilians who arrive in Latvia from another European Union country and have other travel documents but do not have a valid visa to enter the Schengen area will be given visas.

If a person arrives without travel documents, the identity of the person will be confirmed in cooperation with the competent Ukrainian authorities.

A Ukrainian citizen staying in Latvia on the basis of a residence permit is obliged to declare his place of residence in Latvia within one month from the moment of receiving the residence permit card. Information on how to declare your place of residence in Latvia is available here.

Transport from Poland
If you need help to get to Latvia from the Polish-Ukrainian border, contact the movement "Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem" by filling out this form. You will receive an answer within 24 hours.

Pets

If you have a pet traveling with you from Ukraine, please contact your nearest veterinarian to arrange a visit as soon as you settle down. The veterinarian will examine, register, chip and vaccinate the animal free of charge. Phone +371 67095245. Website of the Food and Veterinary Service: www.pvd.gov.lv

If you arrive in Riga, there is a volunteer-operated welcome booth inside Riga Bus Station. The booth is open 8:00 to 24:00 every day.

Contacts

Information on crossing the state border (24/7) is available by calling the State Border Guard +371 67913569, +371 67913568
The website of the State Border Guard website www.rs.gov.lv www.rs.gov.lv
The website of the Ministry of the Interior of Latvia www.iem.gov.lv/lv

Long-term stay

Ukrainian citizens who have a biometric passport do not need a visa for the first 90 days. Residents without a biometric passport will be issued a visa free of charge. You have the right to apply for a long-term visa with the right to employment, or apply for asylum in Latvia. More information here.

A long-term visa will be issued for a one year term. The possibility of renewing the visa will depend on the further development of the situation in Ukraine.

The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs

Phone +371 67209422 and +371 67209400 (Monday - Thursday 8:30 - 16:00; Friday 9:00 - 15:00) You have the right to communicate and receive answers in a language you understand and also to request the services of an interpreter. More information on the OCMA website.

You can apply for a visa:

  • In the Central Support Center for the Residents of Ukraine, Kalku Street 1, Riga
  • OCMA territorial offices outside Riga
  • by post or courier, sending documents to: OCMA Migration Division in Riga, Čiekurkalna 1.līnija 1, k-3, LV-1026 or any territorial division outside Riga

Documents required when applying for a visa:

  1. Copy of your passport (data section and pages with visas and / or border crossing marks).
  2. When sending documents by mail a 35mm x 45mm photo is required. No photo is required when submitting documents in person.
  3. Long-term visa application form.

The visa will be issued in the same place where it was requested. Visa is free of charge.

On-site state and municipal services are available at 138 State-Municipal Customer Service Centers (VPVKAC). They provide assistance to Ukrainian civilians in applying for visas, residence permits and registration of natural persons. The centers also provide advice and help to apply for e-services electronically.

Cities and regions

Support center in Riga
The Riga Support Center for the Residents of Ukraine is located at Kaļķu Street 1. The center is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information at riga.lv or by phone +371 80000 800.

Residents of Ukraine can receive advice and practical support at the support center, including:

  • apply for a visa,
  • submit applications for issuing personal codes and receive personal codes,
  • apply for a benefit in a crisis situation, guaranteed minimum income, benefit and housing benefit, certificate for receiving food parcels,
  • receive a package of food, household and hygiene products ,
  • receive information about registration in schools and kindergartens,
  • receive information about educational opportunities in Latvia,
  • receive consultations on employment,
  • apply for child, pension and disability benefits of Ukrainian civilians,
  • receive free Latvian SIM cards and e-tickets for the use of public transport,
  • receive information about the non-governmental sector's opportunities to help,
  • receive psychological counseling from the center "Skalbes"
Support in other cities

Other municipalities: more information here

Social support

Residents of Ukraine in Latvia can receive the following benefits:
  • One-off benefit in a crisis situation - 272 euros for an adult and 190 euros for a child
  • An additional monthly allowance of EUR 109 for the first person and EUR 76 for each subsequent person in a Ukrainian household
  • other material support or social services according to the individual needs
Contacts

For information on the available social support for Ukraine residents in Latvia +371 80700011 (Mondays to Thursdays from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm, Fridays from 8.30 am to 3 pm) More information on the website of the Ministry of Welfare.

Ukrainian civilians will be entitled to the following support packages upon receipt of a certificate from the municipal social service on the crisis situation: one person will be able to receive two food parcels, a hygiene and household goods parcel, two additional child food parcels if the family has young children aged 7 to 24 months, as well as an additional package of hygiene products if the family has small children under 2 years of age. In addition, families with school-aged children will be able to receive a package of neccessary school materials.

With a certificate, you will be able to receive support packages at any of more than 400 distribution points throughout Latvia. The certificate can be obtained from the municipality (see “Cities & regions”). It is also possible to receive ready made meals in the soup kitchens without presenting a certificate or other documents. More information here.

Ukrainian civilians can use the regional public transport and carry their luggage in Latvia - trains and buses - free of charge, upon presentation of an identity document. More information can be found here.

Ukrainian civilians registered at the Riga Support Center can use the capital's public transport free of charge.

Housing

Latvia provides accommodation and meals for Ukrainian residents in Latvia free of charge for the first 120 days to those, who have started receiving services before 24th of May and 120 days of accommodation and free meals for those who have started receiving services from 25 May.

Starting from July 20, municipalities can make a decision on accommodation for up to 60 days, if it is not possible to provide accommodation for up to 120 days in the relevant municipality. The municipality will be able to make a decision on accommodation for up to 60 days only if the municipality has reached 80% of the actually possible number of accommodated Ukrainian civilians and it is not possible to provide accommodation in another municipality.

If you need accommodation, please contact the 24/7 hotline +371 27380380 If you are in Riga, you can also contact the Riga city hotline +371 80000800 (workdays from 8am to 6pm) Ukrainians in Latvia are mainly accommodated in hotels and tourist accommodation facilities, as well as in the families of Latvian residents.

Certain groups of persons who, for objective reasons, may find it difficult to provide housing after the period of accommodation provided by the state, have the possibility to receive accommodation support also after a period of 60 or 120 days, but no longer than until December 31 of this year.

Individuals who are eligible for accommodation after the 60 or 120 day period are disabled; provides care for persons with disabilities; is of retirement age according to the retirement age set in Latvia; acquires education in person at a pre-school, primary education, general secondary or vocational secondary education institution or transfers to studies at the next level of education, obtains education at a higher education institution or continues education in Ukraine through distance learning or remotely at a primary education, general secondary or vocational secondary education institution; is a woman registered as pregnant; is one of the child's parents or an emergency guardian who takes care of the child up to the age of two; provides care and care for a preschool-aged child and the child does not have the opportunity to attend a preschool educational institution; is a child of preschool age who does not have the opportunity to attend a preschool educational institution. Explanation of the groups of persons who have the right to receive accommodation support after 60 or 120 days under the Ukrainian Civilian Support Law is available here.

Latvian residents who accommodate Ukrainian civilians in their homes free of charge, are eligible to receive state support.

Households can receive compensation of 100 euros per month for the first person accommodated and 50 euros per month for each subsequent person, but not more than 300 euros per month. If a natural person owns several properties in which Ukrainian civilians are accommodated free of charge, compensation may be received for each property in which Ukrainian civilians are accommodated. The application for compensation must be submitted to the municipality within 14 days of the start of accommodation.

Both legal person and individual, accommodating civilians in Ukraine free of charge may be reimbursed for a period exceeding 120 days, but not beyond 31 December 2022, if they are accommodating persons who are unable to provide accommodation on their own (see above). More information is available here.

Ukrainian civilians whose housing costs are higher than their income or who do not fully cover their housing costs can apply for housing benefit. Benefits are granted and paid by the municipal social service. For the first three calendar months, the benefit is paid without an assessment of the material situation, while after the end of the first three months - with the assesment of the material situation. Information on the application procedure and the required documents is available here.

The municipality may enter into a lease agreement with a private individual (landlord) for the accommodation of Ukrainian civilians. In this case, the municipality will pay a private person (landlord) a fee for the use of the dwelling in the amount of 100% of the agreed rent, which will include all payments related to the use of the dwelling, including utility payments, but not more than 300 euros per month for the dwelling. An individual in this case does not charge rent to a resident of Ukraine. The support is available for up to 120 days, but no longer than 31 December 2022. More information here.

Short-term accommodation

If you wish to look for accommodation on your own, for short term options we recommend using:

Long-term accommodation

For long-term options of apartments we suggest these websites:

Healthcare

State covered healthcare
Every Ukrainian civilian who arrives in Latvia or is already here is eligible for the same free of charge state-covered healthcare and medical services, including medicines, as are available to Latvian residents.

Civilians of Ukraine in Latvia have the opportunity to receive various healthcare services. More information about available healthcare services can be found here.

Urgent medical assistance

If you or your family member needs urgent medical assistance on arrival in Latvia, please inform the State Border Guard officials on duty at the border crossing point or call 113.

Contacts

Information about healthcare in Latvia: +371 8000 1234. If calling from abroad, please use: +371 67045005 (Monday-Thursday 8:30 - 17:00; Friday 8:30 - 15:00)

The website of the Ministry of Health www.vm.gov.lv
The website of the National Health Service www.vmnvd.gov.lv

Medical assistance for children

The Children's Hospital Foundation offers assistance to Ukrainian civilians in coordinating thealth services, as well as financial support in cases of neccessary medical services not covered by the state, transport to a medical institution, psychological assistance, medicines or medical supplies. More information here. Phone +371 25680140

Psychological and emotional support

Free psycho-emotional support is available for children, adolescents and their families. More information here.

General Practitioners (GP) consultation number

In case you need medical advice outside the working hours of GPs, please call the GP consultation number 66016001 (Monday-Friday 17:00 - 8:00; weekdays - 24/7).

Information on determining disability, as well as information on support measures to reduce the consequences of disability, is available here.

Support of non-governmental organizations

Information on non-governmental organizations providing support to Ukrainian citizens is available here. The list also includes organizations that provide support for people with visual and hearing impairments, as well as people with disabilities, and can support with technical aids and applying for dedicated parking card.

The termination of an unwanted pregnancy

Ukrainian civilians, who have suffered from violence during the Russian war in Ukraine, have access to state-funded abortion in Latvia. In order to receive the service, Ukrainian civilians must obtain an identity document and make an appointment to a specialist. The full list of facilities making the procedure, is available here.

Children

Ukrainian civilians in Latvia can receive childbirth allowance, childcare allowance and family state allowance. Information on the amount of support and the conditions for receiving it is available here.

Several Latvian companies and non-governmental organizations offer children the opportunity to participate in various interest education activities at a discount or free of charge. The wide offer is available at https://propozycii.lv/

Every child who has arrived in Latvia as a refugee from Ukraine has the opportunity to receive education in the state language or in the minority language at the pre-school and primary education level. Also, children will be able to attend interest education groups without any restrictions. Information on admission procedures in schools is available on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science.

The Children's Clinical University Hospital (BKUS) provides all necessary medical care to children from Ukraine. To apply for medical assistance and examinations, please call +371 256 801 40 . Information on the support provided can be found on the BKUS website. Information on vaccination for children is available here.

Children and youth from Ukraine have the opportunity to participate in summer camps in Latvia for free. Camp programs for Ukrainian and Latvian youth offer both Latvian language lessons and various other types of events and creative activities that will improve communication and interaction skills. The list of camps and their locations can be found here.

Information on what to do if:

  • the child has arrived in Latvia without parents or an adult known to him,
  • the child has arrived in Latvia with another Ukrainian family, but without his parents,
  • the child has come to his acquaintances, relatives, but without parents,
  • if a group of children from the Ukrainian orphanage arrives in Latvia

is available here.

Information on children rights in Latvia is available here.

Job opportunities

Ukrainian civilians may start employment in Latvia if they have obtained a long - term visa or residence permit with the right to employment without restrictions for a period of up to one year. Upon entering into employment, a Ukrainian civilians are entitled to a one-time employment allowance of EUR 500. The benefit must be applied for at the State Employment Agency within one month after starting work. More information on applying for the employment allowance can be found here.

The State Employment Agency (SEA) will help Ukrainian civilians find employment in Latvia.

  • At the Riga Support Center at Kalku Street 1,
  • At any SEA customer service point in person or by phone (Monday to Thursday - from 9.00 to 16.30; on Fridays - from 9.00 to 15.00).
Contacts

State Employment Agency toll-free number: +371 80200206
Available vacancies and jobs are available on the SEA website.

Information on job opportunities as well as practical information is available on the crowdsourced job opportunities platform
www.ukraine-latvia.com/jobs

More information on employment requirements and rules in Latvia is available on the website of the State Labor Inspectorate (SLI).

Information on employment opportunities in the field of education is available here.

Information on employment opportunities and requirements in the field of health is available here.

Finances

Possibilities to exchange hryvnias to EUR in cash are limited in Latvia. It is recommended not to withdraw cash from cash machines.

If you have Ukrainian hryvnia in cash, go to Tavex, Romkons, Eiro ars currency exchange points in Riga. One person can exchange hryvnia for up to 100 euros per week.

If you want to transfer hryvnia to a bank account in Latvia, you must first perform a currency conversion.

VISA and MasterCard payment cards issued by Ukrainian banks are operational in Latvia, but technical problems may occur. These payment cards can also be used to withdraw money from ATMs.

In most Latvian credit and financial institutions, Ukrainian civilians can open payment accounts free of charge.

In order to open an account and issue a payment card, it is necessary to visit the bank's customer service center in person, bringing with you a travel document or ID issued in Ukraine or a TUA (ID) issued in Latvia. It should be noted that most banks serve customers in person only upon previous appointments. Thus, please contact the specific bank before visiting.

More information is available here and on the websites of the following Latvian banks: SEB, Citadele, Swedbank, Luminor, Industra Bank, Regional Investment Bank.

Education

Ukrainian civilians can continue their studies as exchange students, while researchers can be employed in Latvian research institutions, receiving the same support for studies as for students in Latvia or researchers in existing research cooperation programs. The list of higher education institutions, study programs and contacts is available here

Latvian higher education and scientific institutions included in the Register of Scientific Institutions may offer internships to Ukrainian researchers at their institution. If the institution offers an internship (without remuneration) to Ukrainian researchers, the state will provide a research fellowship for scientific and academic work of 900 euros per month until 31st August, 2022. More information on application can be found here

Culture and socialization

Ukrainian civilians have the right to visit all state museums in Latvia free of charge. The list of museums can be found on the website of the Ministry of Culture.

Books in English, Ukrainian and Russian are available in Latvian municipal libraries. Libraries provide a chance to use all the common areas with computers and Internet connection, use working space, socialize, and participate in all of the organized events.

This site contains information about the cultural, sports and community integration activities available to Ukrainian civilians in Latvia. The calendar of events is available at https://podiyi.lv/

Useful resources

This website contains information about special offers of Latvian companies and non-governmental organizations for people from Ukraine. www.propozycii.lv

On this site you can find free latvian language courses, vet, hairdresser, buy a bike, have coffee or information if you need other services, or just community support. The latest advertisements from Riga and other Latvian cities are regularly added to the page - these are services for free or with a special discount.

In order to bring together those, those who want to donate clothes, shoes, furniture, household appliances, children's goods, etc., and those who need this help, an interactive map https://www.kartadopomogy.lv has been made. It provides information on more than 110 places in Latvia, where you can donate or receive the things and help you need.

Ziedot.lv extends assistance to Ukrainian refugees in Latvia, providing it to the same extent as to Latvians. A special section in Ukrainian language and an application form have been created on the portal Ziedot.lv, so that refugees from the Ukrainian war can rely on help for medical treatment, rehabilitation and the purchase of medicines, as well as receive consultations and support in emergency situations.

Other useful resources

If you want to become a volunteer, but do not know in which organization, we invite you to fill out this questionnaire, indicating your skills and opportunities! 

Voluntary work opportunities: 

- Riga support center for the citizens of Ukraine 

- Association "Tavi draugi" 

- Association "Young Folks" 

-"Common Ground" initiative

- The group of volunteer drivers of the "Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem" movement for cases when it is necessary to help move people or belongings, mainly in Riga 

- Latvian language teaching club of the "Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem" movement 

Startup support

The Latvian startup community is ready to warmly welcome techfugees, startups and their families in Latvia. Here are some of the major resources for tech entrepreneurs seeking practical information and assistance with relocation, setting up business in Latvia, as well as integrating into the local startup community.

The Latvian Startup Guide - spotlights benefits and opportunities of the Latvian startup welcome pack. It also contains useful information at a glance regarding moving to Latvia and everyday living. Reach us at info@startin.lv

Offer help

If you are based in Latvia and can offer your resources

or help such as accommodation, employment opportunities, legal help or anything else, please fill in the form below.

I can offer help

I can give a ride from the border

I can support with human aid*

* for enterprises