Moving to Latvia: A Safe Destination with Low Cost Of Living
Have you ever wondered how your life would change if you gave yourself a chance to escape from stressful metropolitan life and enjoy a purely natural atmosphere?
If so, then moving to a stunning Baltic nation with expansive beaches and vast green surroundings would be a great decision.
Our experts at IMovingTo will help you enhance your understanding of relocation to Latvia and comprehensively assist you in becoming a Latvian expat.
Explore Latvian Culture: Culture & Climate
Through its castles, manor houses, churches, and architectural gems, Latvia provides a rich cultural history. Here, one can discover stunning works of art, world-class Latvian music, and folk tunes. The Baltic culture of Latvia predates most of Europe. The rich cultural legacy of Latvians includes several customary occasions and festivals. The culture and vibrant folk festivals are deeply linked to Latvian folklore, dance, poetry, cuisines, and traditional clothing.
Expats relocating to Latvia will need to get used to the country’s temperate climate, which is influenced by the ocean, the sea, and humid continental regions. Although the country’s average temperature is generally constant, depending on where you live in Latvia, you could experience considerably warmer or colder weather.
Wintertime temperatures often range from -6°C to -30°C, and there will likely be a lot of snowfall. Average summertime temperatures are 19 °C. However, they can get as high as 35 °C.
Visa Types to Relocate in Latvia
An immigrant should adhere to all standards outlined by Latvian immigration legislation to arrive in Latvia. Depending on why you’re visiting, there are many options. To go to Latvia, you might require a work permit, a visa, or a Schengen visa. You need to obtain a residency permit to live here. The Immigration Law outlines the criteria for issuing one of these documents.
- Visas for short stays (C type) might be issued for a single entry or multiple admissions.
- Any foreign national who has to stay in Latvia for more than 90 days, depending on the situation, should apply for a long-stay visa (D type).
- The Schengen member states indicated on a visa with a specified territorial validity are the only ones permitted entry.
Cost of Living in Latvia
Living in Latvia has many benefits, including reasonable costs, especially if the income is foreign. On average, Latvia has a 52% lower cost of living than the UK and a 34.53% lower cost of living than the USA. Without rent, an estimated single person’s monthly expenses are €700. In Latvia, the cost to rent a studio apartment in the city center is about €350, and in outlying locations, it is about €250.
When it comes to general aspects of spending your income, you can consider these enumerations.
- Basic bills (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for a small apartment: €246.85
- Monthly transport pass: €50
- Three-course meal for a couple in a mid-range restaurant: €40
- Cinema ticket: €8
How to Get a Work Permit in Latvia
Due to the open EU borders and the freedom to work, EU residents seeking to move to Latvia can apply for any job and work for any employer; all they need to do is register with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) to let them know they are in the country.
For people wishing to work in Latvia, there are 2 types of residency permits available:
- EU blue card – for job seekers who are deemed to be “highly qualified” (either with 3 years of specialty education or 5 years of specialty experience)
- Residence visa with the right to work – suited for anyone wishing to find long-term employment in Latvia.
With regards to hiring you, the employer submits the following documents to the OCMA:
- Requesting sponsorship
- A draft of your employment agreement
- Documents regarding your education
In that case, the OCMA will grant the resident card with the employment right.
What Does the Process of Apartment Hunting Look Like?
In Latvia, foreigners are permitted to purchase real estate. It will be more sensible and less expensive for you to rent, though, because buying property is a lengthy process. You have the option to select between a short-term rental (1-6 months) or a long-term rental agreement depending on the length of your anticipated stay.
The majority of corporate offices, the commercial market, and the country’s economy are centered in Riga. Due to the malls, restaurants, and supermarkets that cater to their daily requirements, it is also where you will find the majority of expats.
In Latvian newspapers and through word-of-mouth, expats can find real estate offers. Working with an experienced real estate company is also advised if you would like to avoid frustration and reduce your stress while looking for an apartment. Websites like City24, varianti.lv, Rent in Riga, and Ektornet are among the most popular real estate portals in Latvia.
How to Move Your Belongings Effectively in Latvia
Whether you are an experienced expat or a first-time mover, the easiest way to transport your possessions is to use services provided by reputable international moving companies to make sure you don’t forget anything. Another great benefit of using their service is that they frequently provide international moving and packing services as well.
Depending on where you are shipping from, it takes 3-5 business days to reach Latvia. All containers traveling into Latvia arrive in the Port of Riga, where local customs officials examine the contents.
The volume or approximate weight of your belongings, the mode of transportation, and the distance that your shipment needs to travel all affect the typical cost considerably.
Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Latvia’s public healthcare system is managed by the Latvian National Health Services, which also provides financial support for specific treatments through social security. There is a minor cost for accessing the public healthcare system in Latvia for expats.
Foreigners residing in Latvia should be aware that the country’s public healthcare systems aren’t as efficient as its private healthcare system. The majority of them choose private insurance since the facilities are better and there are rarely long waiting lines.
Just like native Latvians, expats can choose their general practitioner and request a free consultation. However, they are only permitted to have a free GP visit twice a year. Therefore, we advise expats to choose a health insurance plan that covers them both locally and internationally.
Aetna International and Cigna Global are highly regarded foreign insurance providers that expats should look to for comprehensive international health insurance.
Social Activities for Expats in Latvia
The city of Liepaja often referred to as the “City of Wind,” is one of the most well-known locations when it comes to outdoor entertainment in Latvia. Over 140 imported and native tree species can be found in the 3 km-long Seaside Park, which is a popular destination for expats. In addition to swimming, Seaside Park guests can enjoy mini-golf, tennis, and go-karts.
The best time of year to go swimming in Latvia is from July to August. The gorgeous beach at Cape Kolka, where the Baltic Sea meets the Gulf of Riga, is one of the most beautiful venues to be in this country, which has the longest sand beaches in all of Europe.
Other popular locations for foreign nationals in Latvia include Tarzan’s Adventure Park in Sigulda and the Livu Aquapark, one of the largest water parks in Northern Europe. Animal-loving children of expat parents can visit Vienkocu Park to observe a variety of animal and fairytale sculptures.
Best Destinations for Expats to Live in Latvia
Riga is a vibrant city with positive energy. One of the largest collections of Art Nouveau architecture in the world may be found here, as Riga includes over 800 unique monuments and buildings. Riga boasts cobblestoned, winding streets that are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site and where you can admire the soaring magnificence of the Freedom Monument.
Sabile, which originated in the 13th century, is the location of the world’s most northern open-air vineyard. It’s highly recommended to visit the Open Air Museum at the Pedale Manor, which hosts several cultural performances and displays contemporary art pieces.
Besides, you shouldn’t miss the Abava Valley if you’re excited to visit archeological sites with ancient cemeteries and burial grounds.
The Baltic Sea is not far from Kuldiga. It is a city renowned for its stunning construction. The largest waterfalls in the entire world can also be found here.
You can also unwind on the beach at Venta River and then visit one of the many restaurants and coffee shops that are waiting for you in the confined, winding streets. The old bridge and the city’s historical core are 2 of Kuldiga’s main attractions.
Kandava boasts a wide variety of Neo-Gothic townhouses, several stone structures, and a wealth of architecturally stunning buildings.
The Old Town Square and the Promenade are home to charming cafes and markets. Chances are that you’ll encounter artisans there, selling their items.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Latvia
Liberal taxation system
The Latvian tax system stands out for its high level of transparency and reasonable rates. Several agreements have also been signed by Latvia to prevent double taxation. Individual capital gains tax is 15%, while the standard VAT rate is 21%.
The convenient process of doing business
Numerous government programs encourage small enterprises to enable residents of the nation to swiftly and easily create their businesses, and the reasonable tax structure and dependability of regional banks draw more and more foreign private entrepreneurs to Latvia.
Tourism, beauty, catering, and transportation are the most popular industries for starting your own business. Online shops have also been expanding rapidly in recent years.
The major attraction for many expats looking to invest in real estate in this Baltic nation is the cozy resorts of Latvia.
Thanks to the extensive infrastructure, locals and tourists enjoy all the seasons in this country. The most well-known resort in the Baltics, Jurmala, is just a half-hour drive from Riga. It is renowned for its hospitality and nice, temperate environment.
Infrastructure needs to be improved
Despite Latvia being a developed nation with a high-income advanced economy and a ranking very high in the Human Development Index, its rail and road infrastructures are insufficient for its general level of development and daily needs, lowering the overall standard of the nation’s infrastructure.
Latvia refers to a complicated structure with numerous systems and procedures to uphold consistency. Governmental organizations, major enterprises, and the military are typical examples of bureaucracy in Latvia.
Each of these organizations has a formal decision-making process, a written set of rules and regulations, and a hierarchical organizational structure.
As you can see, Latvia is a wonderful relocation destination that not only delights you with picturesque landscapes but also enables you to enjoy a high quality of life and enhance your career prospects.
Therefore, take advantage of the international relocation services at IMovingTo if you’re looking for professional moving services to simplify your relocation. We’ll ensure a pleasant relocation while streamlining the moving experience for you!