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Latvia Student Visa for International Students

Latvia Student Visa for International Students
Alpina ChariApr 9, 2024

In recent years, Latvia has witnessed a remarkable surge in the influx of international students, positioning itself as an increasingly attractive destination for higher education. This small Baltic nation has seen a staggering 40% increase in foreign students enrolling in its universities over the past decade. According to the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, the country currently hosts over 10,000 international students from more than 100 countries, with the highest influx coming from neighboring regions such as Russia, Ukraine, and India. The reasons behind this phenomenon are manifold. Firstly, Latvia offers a high-quality education system that is both affordable and internationally recognized. With tuition fees averaging around 3,000 to 6,000 EUR per year, pursuing a degree in Latvia is significantly more cost-effective compared to many Western European countries or the United States. Additionally, the country boasts a rich cultural heritage, vibrant cities, and a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning experiences. Another key factor contributing to Latvia’s appeal is the abundant employment opportunities available to international students. To avail all the benefits of studying in such a compelling and welcoming environment, prospective students, primarily from non-EU nations, have to procure a Latvia student visa for international students. The Latvian study visa not only allows foreign nationals to study in the country legally but also permits them to work part-time, enabling them to gain valuable work experience while offsetting their living expenses.

This article delves into the intricate details of the Latvia study visa for international students, including eligibility requirements, application processes, and more.  

Latvia Student Visa: Highlights 

Purpose Legally reside, study, and work in Latvia
Duration Initial validity is up to 1 year, with an additional four months after completion of studies
Extension Can be extended annually, as long as the student is enrolled and making satisfactory progress
Cost 60 EUR for a single-entry visa
Processing Times Usually around 15 working days

Latvia Student Visa: Details  

The Latvian Study Visa, or type D visa, is a type of visa that allows international students to enter Latvia to pursue their education. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the entry and stay of non-EU/EEA nationals who wish to enroll in accredited educational institutions within the country. One of the key benefits of this visa is that it allows international students to work part-time during their studies, subject to certain restrictions and conditions set by the Latvian authorities. Additionally, it provides access to various student support services and facilities offered by the educational institution and the government.

It is granted for the duration of six to one year, depending on the duration of the program, and can be extended annually. The visa allows students an additional 4 months after the completion of studies, to apply for a post-graduation course or seek employment. It is important to note that the Latvian Study Visa does not automatically grant residence rights in Latvia. International students are required to obtain a separate residence permit, which is issued alongside the study visa and serves as their primary identification document during their stay in the country. To obtain a residence permit, students must apply within 90 days of arriving in Latvia, counting from the first day of entrance. The application must be in Latvian, and students are advised to communicate with the international department of their chosen university in Latvia for more information. Students in bachelor’s programs receive a residence permit for the study period and an additional 4 months, while those in master’s and doctoral programs receive a residence permit for the study period and an additional 4 months, with the possibility to request an additional extension for 9 months to find a job. 

After completing their studies, international students have several options for obtaining additional visas in Latvia, including an Entrepreneur Visa, Work Visa, and Residence Permit. International students enrolled in full-time master’s and doctoral programs can extend their residence permit to 9 more months to seek a job. The extension of the visa to 9 more months is not guaranteed, as the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs evaluates each individual application based on the information provided. After staying in Latvia for five years with a Permanent Residence card, students can apply for Latvian citizenship, but they must renounce their current citizenship. 

Suggested Reading: Living Costs for International Students in Latvia

Latvia Student Visa: Eligibility 

The specific requirements may vary depending on your country of origin, the educational institution, and the duration of your studies. However, here are the general eligibility requirements for a Latvian student visa:

  • You must have been accepted into an accredited educational institution in Latvia, such as a university, college, or vocational school. The educational institution must provide you with an official acceptance letter or enrollment confirmation.
  • You must demonstrate that you have enough financial resources to cover your living expenses, tuition fees, and other costs during your stay in Latvia. The minimum amount required may vary depending on the duration of your studies and is typically determined by the Latvian embassy or consulate in your home country. Acceptable forms of proof include bank statements, scholarship letters, or sponsorship documents.
  • You are required to have comprehensive health insurance coverage that is valid throughout your intended stay in Latvia. The insurance policy must cover medical expenses, hospitalization, and repatriation in case of an emergency.
  • You may need to provide evidence of your accommodation arrangements in Latvia, such as a rental agreement or a letter from the university confirming on-campus housing.
  • Depending on the program you intend to study, you may need to demonstrate proficiency in the language of instruction, which could be Latvian, English, or another language.
  • You may be required to submit a criminal record check or a police clearance certificate from your home country and any other countries where you have lived for an extended period.
  • In some cases, you may need to undergo a medical examination and provide a health certificate to prove that you do not have any contagious diseases.
  • You must hold a valid passport that meets the validity requirements set by the Latvian authorities.

Suggested Reading: Scholarships in Latvia for Foreign Students

Latvia Student Visa: Application Process 

Determine the Nearest Latvian Embassy or Consulate:

  • Identify the Latvian embassy or consulate responsible for processing visa applications in your country of residence or nationality.
  • Check their website or contact them to confirm the specific application procedures and requirements.

Gather All Necessary Documents:

  • Collect all the required documents as per the embassy/consulate’s guidelines, which may include application forms, photographs, academic documents, financial proof, and others.

Complete the Visa Application Form:

  • Obtain the Latvian student visa application form, either online or from the embassy/consulate.
  • Fill out the form accurately and completely, providing all the requested personal, educational, and travel details.
  • Sign and date the form.

Pay the Visa Application Fee:

  • Determine the applicable visa fee based on your nationality and the duration of your intended stay.
  • Pay the fee through the accepted payment methods, such as online payment, bank transfer, or at the embassy/consulate.
  • Obtain a receipt as proof of payment.

Schedule an Appointment (if required):

  • Some embassies/consulates may require applicants to schedule an appointment to submit the visa application and supporting documents.
  • Follow their instructions to book an appointment, either online or by contacting them directly.

Depending on the embassy/consulate’s procedures, you may need to attend an in-person interview.

Attend the Visa Interview (if applicable):

  • Prepare to answer questions about your educational plans, financial resources, and future intentions.
  • Bring any additional documents or information requested during the interview.

Submit the Visa Application:

  • Assemble all the required documents, including the completed application form, passport, photographs, and any other supporting materials.
  • Submit the application in person at the embassy/consulate or through an authorized visa application center, if available.
  • Ensure you receive a receipt or acknowledgment for your application submission.

Await Processing and Decision:

  • The processing time for student visa applications can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months.
  • Monitor the status of your application through the embassy/consulate’s tracking system or by contacting them directly.

Visa Collection or Delivery:

  • If your visa is approved, you will be notified about the procedures for collecting your passport with the visa affixed or having it delivered to you.
  • Follow the instructions provided by the embassy/consulate for visa collection or delivery.

Prepare for Travel and Arrival in Latvia:

  • Once you have your student visa, make the necessary travel arrangements and prepare for your departure to Latvia.
  • Familiarize yourself with any additional entry requirements or procedures upon arrival in Latvia.

Suggested Reading: Cost of Medical Studies in Latvia  

Latvia Student Visa: Documents Required

  • Completed and signed visa application form.
  • Valid passport with a validity of at least 3 months beyond the intended stay in Latvia.
  • One recent passport-sized color photograph with a white background.
  • Proof of admission or enrollment letter from the educational institution in Latvia.
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return travel costs. This can be in the form of bank statements, sponsorship letters, or scholarship documents.
  • Travel health insurance policy covering the entire duration of the intended stay in Latvia, with a minimum coverage of €30,000.
  • Accommodation proof, such as a rental agreement or a letter from the educational institution confirming accommodation arrangements.
  • Criminal record clearance certificate from the country of origin and any other country where the applicant has resided for more than a year over the last five years.
  • Medical certificate confirming the absence of any infectious diseases that would pose a threat to public health in Latvia.
  • Proof of payment of the visa application fee.

Suggested Reading: Best Medical Universities in Latvia

Latvian Student Visa: Cost and Processing Time

The fee for a Latvian student visa is 60 EUR. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid when submitting the visa application. To acquire a residence permit, students have to pay an additional 70 EUR. The processing time can be expedited to a minimum of 5 days, by paying 400 EUR. Applicants may need to cover additional costs, such as translation fees for required documents, courier fees for sending the application, and travel expenses for attending a visa interview.

The processing time for a Latvian student visa can vary depending on several factors, such as the completeness of the application, the applicant’s nationality, and the workload at the embassy or consulate. The standard processing time for a Latvian student visa is generally around 15 working days from the date of submission of the complete application. Some embassies or consulates may offer an expedited processing service for an additional fee, which can reduce the processing time to as few as 3-5 working days.

What to do if your Visa Application is rejected?

  • Review the reason for rejection: The visa officer should provide you with a written explanation for the rejection. Carefully review the reasons stated to understand why your application was not successful.
  • Gather additional documents: If the rejection was due to missing or incomplete documents, gather the required documents and ensure they meet the specified criteria.
  • Appeal the decision: Most countries have a process in place to appeal a visa rejection. Check with the Latvian embassy or consulate where you applied for the specific procedures and deadlines for filing an appeal.
  • Reapply with a stronger application: If you decide not to appeal or if your appeal is unsuccessful, you can reapply for a Latvian visa. Address the issues that led to the previous rejection and strengthen your application by providing additional supporting documents, such as proof of financial means, travel insurance, hotel reservations, and any other relevant information.
  • Seek professional assistance: Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or a visa consultancy service. They can review your case, advise you on the best course of action, and assist you in preparing a stronger visa application.
  • Consider alternative options: If your visa application continues to be rejected, you may need to explore alternative options, such as applying for a different type of visa (e.g., business, study, or work visa) or visiting a different country within the Schengen area.

Suggested Reading: Medical Studies (MBBS / MD) in Latvia For International Students

Conclusion 

In conclusion, obtaining a Latvia student visa is a crucial step for international students aspiring to pursue their academic goals in this country. With its affordable tuition fees, high-quality education system, and rich cultural heritage, Latvia continues to attract an increasing number of international students. A Latvian student visa allows students from around the world access to an enriching academic experience. While the process may seem daunting at first, carefully following the guidelines and providing the required documentation can ensure a smooth and successful application. It is essential to plan ahead, gather all the necessary documents, and submit a complete and accurate application to avoid delays or potential rejections. Seeking guidance from the educational institution or consulting with visa experts can also help navigate the process more efficiently. For more information and guidance regarding the visa requirements and other admission procedures in Latvia, as well as other countries, don’t hesitate to contact our admission experts at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!

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FAQ’s

You need a valid passport, an admission letter from a Latvian university, proof of sufficient funds, health insurance, and other supporting documents.

Yes, students can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year with a student visa, and full-time during vacations. 

The visa fee for a Latvia long-term student visa is 60 EUR for most countries and can go up if the processing time is expedited with an additional fee. 

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