If you want to study in a safe, uncrowded country, then Latvia is your best choice. Perched by the Baltic Sea, it’s home to world-class universities with affordable fees.
As with most European countries, you will need a Latvian student visa and residence permit to study in this country. Rules, of course, vary according to nationality.
Here’s how to go about with your residence permit and student visa application.
What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in Latvia?
Residents of the EU, EEA, and certain countries do not need a visa to enter Latvia. However, they will need to secure a residence permit upon entering as this is a requirement for opening a Latvian bank account.
On the other hand, residents of visa-required countries will need to apply for a long-term entry (Type D) visa. They should do so once their residence permit is authorized.
The Type D visa entitles the bearer to stay in Latvia for 90 days within a span of 180 days. The requirements for such are the following:
Your passport should be valid for three months after your intended departure date. It should have two blank pages for the visa placement.
Visa application form
You may access the application form at this website.
The application photo should have a white background. It should measure 35 by 45 mm.
To prevent processing delays, make sure that the picture has been taken within the last six months.
After the institution has accepted you, they will provide an OCMA-approved invitation. This document is valid only within six months from your application date.
This will be provided by the university as well. It should include the details about enrollment and the entire duration of the program. The student’s arrival date in Latvia should be mentioned as well.
Signed study agreement
This document will be provided by the institution as well.
Proof of previous education
This should include your prior diplomas and/or mark sheets.
Proof of accommodation
You need to provide your rental contract or any other document proving that you have somewhere to live in Latvia.
Proof of financial means
You will need to submit a bank statement indicating financial movement within the last three months. A duly signed and stamped bank balance confirmation is required as well.
If applicable, you will need to provide your income tax return for the last three years.
Proof of sponsorship
If somebody else will sponsor your studies, you will need to submit the following papers as well:
- Notarized sponsorship declaration
- Sponsor’s professional status
- Employed: Employment contract, pay stubs for the last three months
- Self-employed: Company registration, company’s bank statements for the previous three months
Proof of a reserved/booked ticket to Latvia is also crucial for the visa application.
It should have a minimum coverage amount of EUR 42,600 ($49,930). Likewise, it should be valid for at least 90 days.
How much money do you need for a Latvian Student Visa?
The cost of the category two type D visa is EUR 60 or $70.
If you need to lodge your application through a processing center, you will need to pay the fees it will levy.
As for the residence permit, the cost is EUR 45 ($53) for a routine decision (made within 30 days.) The fee is higher at EUR 90 ($105) for 10-day processing.
For a rush permit (issued within five days,) the fee is EUR 180 or $210.
Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students
Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in Latvia
You can get your Latvian student visa by following these steps:
1. Apply at a Latvian university.
The Latvian embassy requires several documents from the university, including an OCMA-approved invitation, written certification, and a signed study agreement. As such, you will need to have qualified or enrolled for the program to get these requirements.
2. Gather the remaining requirements.
Once you have the three documents mentioned secured, you may gather the rest of the Latvian student visa application requirements.
3. Apply for a residence permit first.
Compared to most European countries, visa-required students will need to apply for a residence permit before getting a visa.
Here are the documents you need to submit to your school to get your permit: (Note: these are independent of the above-mentioned visa application requirements.)
- Accomplished application form
- Proof of subsistence (EUR 500 or $585 a month)
- Document of duty payment
- Study agreement
- Statement on punishability/police record from home country or country of residence
You need to book an appointment to submit these requirements to the Latvian embassy or visa processing center.
You may pay the residence permit fees at the embassy/visa processing center via credit card.
4. Wait for permit approval.
Once the embassy approves your residence permit, you may proceed to lodge your visa application.
5. Submit your visa application documents.
If there is a Latvian embassy in your location, you may book your appointment for your student visa in Latvia and submit the requirements directly to the office.
In some countries, applications may be coursed through an embassy of another Schengen country.
If any of the said embassies are not available, you will need to submit your papers to a visa processing center such as VFS global.
The Latvian Embassy recommends applying for a long-term visa at least three months before your departure date.
6. Pay the visa application fees.
For embassy appointments, you may pay the fees through direct deposit, credit card, or any other method accepted by the consulate.
Visa processing centers will also receive payments, though with an additional service fee.
7. Wait for the visa to be issued.
The Latvian embassy will take about 15 calendar days to complete the processing. This duration may be longer for countries that require prior consultation.
8. Collect your visa.
You may get your Latvian student visa from the embassy/consulate or have it delivered to your home.
9. Fly to Latvia.
Congratulations on getting your residence permit and entry visa! You may now fly to Latvia.
Once you’ve settled in, remember to collect your residence permit once it’s available.
I hope that this article on getting a student visa in Latvia was helpful! If you are interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out Available Programs in Europe for International Students.