Expat Latvia

Latvia is quickly becoming one of the hotspots for expats looking for a low cost of living with a high quality of life. Latvia is nestled in the Baltic’s and has constantly been conquered and re-conquered during its history. However, today it is finally free and this country of 2.5 million people are extremely patriotic and looking to make their country a success. Latvia has opened its markets and borders to spur investment and create wealth. If you are looking for a great place to find a high quality of life with a low cost of living, Latvia may be for you.


The climate in Latvia is pretty moderate with comfortable weather during the summer and cold temperatures during the winter. During the summer months, the climate tends to be warm with temperatures in the 60’s. During the winter months, temperatures can hover around the freezing mark and drop into the teens. Snow and rain are common.

However, if you are used to the northern and Midwestern climates of America, you should have no problem living comfortably in Latvia.


The government of Latvia is a parliamentary democracy. For the most part the government is very stable and secure. In recent years it has joined the EU and has relationships with Russia.

If you are looking to visit Latvia, you can easily gain entry for 90 days (for US and UK citizens). If you would like to stay longer, you can apply for a long term visa either by gaining a work permit or investing in the country. The currency in Latvia is Lats, however in some touristy places, Euros and British Pounds are accepted. The language in Latvia is either Lettish or Lithuanian; however English, Russian and German are spoken by many, especially the younger generations.

The main city in Latvia is Riga. You will find that this city is very modern and very cosmopolitan. Most expats first settle down in Riga and then work themselves deeper into the country.

You can find out more information about this great expat location by visiting Welcome to Latvia or the Embassy of Latvia in Washington D.C.

Tax System

For the most part, Latvia has a moderate income tax rate. The individual income tax rate is a flat rate of 25% and this is for both citizens and expats. For corporate tax, the rate is far lower at 15%. Besides these taxes, there are also other taxes including the value added tax (VAT) and a real estate tax. For most investors, the tax rate is extremely beneficial and a great place to start an enterprise.

Medical Care

Medical care in Latvia is usually adequate; however you might occasionally find some pockets where medical care may be hard to attain, especially for serious illnesses and injuries. Many doctors speak English and there are a few clinics that cater to foreigners such as Americans, Germans and the British.

For serious illnesses, most patients choose to seek medical care in their home country, especially if they live in the EU. Expats should be able to pay for medical care out of pocket and if you are working for a company, you should be able to receive health insurance. For expats from the states, you can purchase international travel insurance which usually includes medical care for serious illnesses and hospitalization. Many plans also come with the provision of evacuating you to your home country in case of serious illness or injury.

For those expats that are reasonably healthy, there is no reason not to visit and stay in Latvia.

Real Estate

While investment is welcomed and expats are treated equally when investing in Latvia, corruption is noticeable. It should be noted that there have been many incidents in which expats have mentioned corruption as a reason they dropped out of an investment or chose not to invest or paid significantly more for property.

For those expats that are looking to live in Latvia for less than a year or only a few years, your best bet is to rent an apartment or lease an apartment or home. Prices are affordable to moderate depending on where you would like to live. For instance, Riga is probably the most expensive, but still very affordable, especially for those who have adequate savings and income. Renting an apartment in Latvia usually is only costs a few hundred dollars per month and can be even less if you share the cost with a few roommates.


While Latvia isn’t considered a shopping Mecca, you can find practically all the necessities. The best shopping is located in Riga, which is a very cosmopolitan city. Besides markets, boutiques and shopping malls, you will find good restaurants, pubs and lots of clubs. For many expats, the nightlife and quality of life in the city makes living in Latvia definitely worth it.

If you are living in a smaller town, expect much less offerings. Many residents of the smaller towns are usually older and still comfortable with the old ways. While it may seem quaint, you may not feel as comfortable in these areas if you consider yourself materialistic.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Latvia is very affordable. While prices have been on the increase for Americans, especially due to the weak dollar, for the most part, you will find many products and services at very reasonable prices. Rent is usually affordable; the same goes for food and entertainment. For those on a low or non existent budget, this might be one of the better places to visit and become an expat.

Web Sites for Expats Living in Latvia

Expats Network International

Expats Network International is the widest and most trustworthy Site for property investors, real estate emerging markets travellers, expats, expatriates within Baltic Sea Region, Byelorussia and Ukraine.

Latvia Country Guide

Country guide to Latvia from ExpatForum.com.

Extradition from Latvia

The Extradition treaty between Latvia and the United States of America was signed on January 15, 1998

The Latvia supplementary treaty was signed at Washington, October 10, 1934

Map of Latvia