How can I legally establish an employment relationship in Latvia?

What are the key steps for third-country nationals when being recruited for a job? 

Employers have the right to recruit workers from third countries only if they cannot find a suitable worker in Latvia or in one of the European Union Member States, the European Economic Area countries or the Swiss Confederation. Both natural and legal persons can recruit employees.

Step 1

Vacancy on the labour market. Third-country nationals may be recruited if the vacancy is registered on the State Employment Agency's CV and vacancies portal (in Latvian) and has been vacant for at least 10 working days.


The right to work without registering a vacancy is granted only in exceptional cases; for example, for artists, athletes, sports coaches and teachers, or if the employer is recruiting a highly qualified person who requires a European Union Blue Card.

Step 2

The employer issues a sponsorship or invitation for the employee to come to Latvia.

Employers have the right to choose the legal basis for an employee’s stay:

  • a short-term visa (for up to three months, not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period) or a long-term visa (for up to one year). The visa is issued if the employee is not to be employed for a longer period, if the employee is on probation or if the employee needs to start work as soon as possible;
  • residence permit (for up to five years; the residence permit card must be renewed annually) is chosen if the employee is to be employed on a long-term basis. When applying for and being granted a residence permit, a person is registered in the Register of Natural Persons and given a personal identity number.

Third-country nationals' right to work is evidenced by an inscription on their visa or residence permit, so there is no need for a separate work permit


What is the procedure for issuing an invitation or sponsorship?
  • If the documents are issued on the basis of an invitation – a visa:


Who does the registration? For third-country nationals to work temporarily in Latvia, the employer must submit to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs an invitation request together with the employment contract or a draft thereof and the prospective worker’s education documents.


A visa with the right to work is issued if the invitation has been accepted and shows an inscription: The right to work with a specific employer.

  • If the documents are prepared on the basis of a sponsorship – a temporary residence permit:


Who does the registration? If you intend to work long-term (more than three months), the employer submits a sponsorship request to the Office for Citizenship and Migration, together with the employment contract or a draft thereof and the foreigner’s education documents.


To obtain an entry visa and a residence permit with the right to work, you need a confirmed sponsorship.

What documents do I need to prepare to apply for a visa or a residence permit?


  • A valid travel document.
  • A portrait photo of a person.
  • Documents as evidence of education or work experience.
  • Criminal record certificate issued by the competent authority of the country of nationality or of the country of residence if the foreigner has resided there for more than 12 months.
  • Completed and signed visa or residence permit questionnaire form.
  • Documents confirming the necessary financial support for the foreigner’s stay in the Republic of Latvia (for example, an employment contract; ).
  • A copy of a document proving that the foreigner has health insurance.
  • Documents justifying the purpose of entry and stay (a copy of the employment contract or draft contract, or a copy of the company contract or draft contract), indicating the intended place of stay in Latvia.
  • An invitation or sponsorship number validated by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and issued by the employer; valid for six months.
  • A document on payment of the state fee.
Step 3

Submitting the employee's documents to the mission of the Republic of Latvia abroad.

The employee submits the necessary documents to a mission of the Republic of Latvia A full list of documents is available at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs website.

Upon receipt of a positive decision, the employee shall receive an entry visa at a mission of the Republic of Latvia abroad. If you enter Latvia with a visa issued for 30 days, for example, you must visit the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs within those days to obtain a temporary residence permit.

Step 4

What should I do when I arrive in Latvia?

When you arrive in Latvia, you must go to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to hand in your biometric data for the residence permit card. You will need to present a valid health insurance policy and a certificate from a Latvian medical institution stating that you do not have tuberculosis before you can get your card. Once you have received your residence permit, you must declare your place of residence in Latvia within 30 days. Once you've done that, you can go to a bank to open an account.


What if I’m already in Latvia?

Third-country nationals who have a valid residence permit issued by another Schengen State and nationals from countries whose citizens do not require a visa for entry to the Republic of Latvia or have a valid so-called “work visa” are entitled to submit documents to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs for application for a residence permit.


Ministry of Fogeign Affairs
More information: see here
Ministry of Fogeign Affairs
Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
More information: see here
Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
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+371 26959706 (I 8.30-18.00 II-IV 8.30-17.00 V 8.30-16.00)
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