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July 6, 2023

Latvia Extends Entry Ban on Russian Citizens Until March 2024

Following the most recent developments in Russia, the Republic of Latvia has decided to extend the existing entry ban on most Russian nationals until March next year. The same was first imposed on September 19, 2022, and was scheduled to expire next Friday, June 30.

Due to the continuation of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine, which still poses a threat to Latvia’s internal security, the Cabinet of Ministers decided on June 27, 2023, to extend the deadline for the entry of Russian citizens into Latvia until March 4, 2024,” a statement of the government reads.

However, exempt from the entry ban, and eligible to enter Latvia will remain Russian citizens who hold one of the documents listed below:

  • a residence permit issued by the authorities of Latvia, the European Union, a country of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation,
  • a long-term visa of a member state of the Schengen Agreement
  • a short-term visa of a member state of the Schengen Agreement

At the same time, exempt from the entry ban will remain family members of EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens, as well as persons whose entry into Latvia is related to humanitarian reasons, employees of transport and passenger transport service providers, etc., SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Entry restrictions will continue to apply to Russian citizens who wish to cross the EU’s external border for tourism and entertainment purposes,” the government has clarified.

The decision follows the rebellion of the mercenary Wagner group in Russia against Moscow last Friday, led by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who had warned he would try to overthrow Putin. The move had alarmed the EU countries neighbouring Russia, which rushed to strengthen their borders immediately after the announcement was made, amid fears that a possible conflict in Russia could affect their internal security, and the security of the EU as a whole.

Amongst the first measures taken by Latvia last Saturday was suspending all types of visa applications from Russian citizens, including those for humanitarian reasons, which have now resumed.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, has also warned that Latvia will not offer any type of reception for people claiming they have been part of the coup or those fleeing the rebellion.

A similar entry ban has also been imposed by Finland in September 2022, aside of the other two Baltic countries, Estonia and Lithuania. Due to the current situation, the government is now looking to tighten up the entry restrictions in a bid to prevent Russian citizens for finding loopholes to travel to Finland.

>> EU Visa & Entry Restrictions for Russian Citizens in 2023