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Traffic regulation peculiarities


Road traffic regulations:
- vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road
- speed limit in residential areas is 50 km/h
- speed limit outside residential areas is 90 km/h
- vehicles are required to drive with lights turned on at all times of day and night
- seatbelts must be used at all times
- all vehicles not exceeding 3,5 t fully laden have to be equipped with winter tyres. It is forbidden to drive with spiked tires from 1st may to 1st September
- the maximum permitted alcohol concentration in the blood is 0.50 mg for drivers with more than two years experience and 0.20 mg for drivers with less than two years experience

The driver must be able to produce the following documents if requested by police or border guards:
- standard European vehicle driving licence or other licence meeting the requirements of the convention on road safety (1968) in the respective transport category.
- vehicle registration document.
- third party insurance cover, border crossing contract or green card (it is possible to purchase appropriate insurance at border crossing points).
- up-to-date technical registration document.

The same regulations and documentation requirements apply to motorcyclists.

From September 1, 2001 Latvia has visa-free agreements with 32 countries, including all the European Union countries, and this greatly facilitates making tourist and business trips for the citizens of Latvia.

First of all, travellers have to be sure that their vehicle, which they are planning to use for their trip, is in the proper technical condition.

Otherwise, the technical condition of the car can be checked on the Latvian border, or in any other foreign country, and then you will have to pay a fine; you will not be able to continue your way until the car’s malfunction has been fixed.

Note: to travel by car that belongs to another person, you need to have a notarized letter of permission. Depending on the country which you are going to visit, a notarized letter has to be certified with an Apostille or legalized. More detailed information about the necessity to certify this document can be obtained at the Consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia on Elizabetes Street 57, tel. 7 286 815, as well as at Auto-moto Society of Latvia (LAMB) on Raina bulvaris

Credit Cards
Latvia is one of those countries in which cash is in wide circulation, that is approximately 30% of the active money.
The most commonly used credit cards for paying in Latvian hotels, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets are EUROCARD, MASTERCARD, VISA, JCB, DINER'S CLUB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, EUROCHEQUE, stored-value cards issued by Latvian banks, as well as you can use services of the national banks for withdrawing money from your account, or you can withdraw money from cash machines (ATMs).

Travellers Cheques
You can also use American Express® or Thomas Cook® Travellers Cheques. It is widely known that Travellers Cheques are a safe and easy way to protect not only your travel money but also your passport and credit/debit cards.
You can exchange your Travellers Cheques for cash or use them as a means of payment in any convertible currency all over the world. American Express® and Thomas Cook® are the most widespread Travellers Cheques.

Electricity


The power supply voltage in Latvia is 220V, 50Hz, European-style 2-pin plugs.

ADVICE AND INFORMATION


Latvia is a small country on the Baltic Sea with ancient history and traditions. There are many interesting tourist sights which will attract everyone. If you want to enjoy nature - there is not only the serene Gulf of Riga and the open Baltic Sea, but also nature parks, fast rivers and lakes with beautiful forests on the shores. Those who are interested in history will be fascinated by the medieval castles and culture of the ancient Latvians. If you are interested not only in entertainment but also in gaining new knowledge and information you are welcome to visit Old Riga, where you will find not only fabulous architectural monuments but also various night clubs and pubs. There are many beautiful churches in Latvia - both ancient and modern. There is a wide range of relaxation,health rehabilitation and outdoor recreation possibilities. And of course, don’t forget to make inquiries about events that are going to take place during your stay in Latvia. There is the possibility for you to enjoy the traditional Latvian celebrations, different cultural events and entertaining programs throughout the year.

Latvia is the country where you can enjoy your trip - come with the tourist group or have a nice time together with your family. You can have a variety of choices from taking a number of exciting tours to spending several weeks in the guesthouse near a river or lake, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. This web page will help you to get to know Latvia and it will help you to choose the best pastime to suit your mood and make the most of your trip to Latvia.

 

Latvian health care insurance is based on the principle of residence.
State compulsory health insurance resources are formed by the fixed part of the income tax (28,4%) and state budget subsidy.
The above-mentioned resources guarantee the coverage of expenses for health care services in the volumes defined by the state or the minimal volume of health care services.Currently all the citizens of the Republic of Latvia and its residents, as well as citizens of other countries, who have received residence permission, receive guaranteed medical assistance budgeted by the state.
You can get health care services at state, regional and private medical institutions.
It is possible to get health services budgeted by the state only in the medical institution that has the agreement with the Health Compulsory Insurance State Agency.

Health care is organized according to the following structure:

Outpatient (Ambulatory) Care - health services provided without the patient being admitted, and no overnight stay in a hospital is required. The primary health services fall under this category: the services of ambulatory care centres, hospital outpatient departments, family doctors, physicians. This type of service is also called primary outpatient health care.

Inpatient Care - health care that you get when you stay overnight in a hospital. Inpatient care services include emergency, acute care, and first aid medical services (highly complex and skilled services).

When the patient is getting medical services, he has to pay a certain amount of the service value – patient liability. This is a fixed payment defined by the state, and which the patient has to reimburse to the medical institution for rendered health care services.
Vaccinations


Persons entering Latvia should hold valid health and life insurance documents which guarantee to cover expenses for medical care such as immediate medical care and transportation to the nearest hospital.

No obligatory vaccinations are required going to Latvia. However if spending some time in forests and certain other endemic areas between March and October it is recommended that visitors have a vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks live in overgrown forests or meadows and feed by sucking blood from mammals. Most are harmless but a small proportion of them carry the encephalitis virus.

When heading into forested areas it is advisable to wear long trousers tucked into socks, and to keep the head and arms covered. Regularly inspect skin and clothing to make sure no ticks are present. Encephalitis is a serious condition, so if a tick bite is found one should seek immediate medical help. Do NOT try to remove ticks from the skin yourself as this can leave the head embedded. If a person has not been vaccinated, immunoglobulin (Ig) should be injected within 72 hours.
Detailed information can be obtained at the Infectology Centre: 3 Linezera street, Riga (opened for urgent cases 24 hours). Tel: +371 7014595 (for vacinations), +371 7014552 (for doctor); website: www.infectology.lv

In case of illness or accident any hospital, health centre (called poliklinika) or surgery (called ambulance situated in the countryside) can be contacted. First aid will be provided at any health care institution in Latvia at the admissions department or accident and emergency centre. Twenty four hour medical care is available at all hospitals and also some health centres.

To call-out emergency medical care team: phone 03, from a mobile phone 112.

Twenty four hours information line about addmited persons in Riga hospitals: Tel: +371 7375472 (admited on the same day/night), +371 7375449 (admited few days before).

Pharmacies
Medicine can be bought only at pharmacies in Latvia and there is an extensive network of pharmacies around the country. They can also be found inside some hospitals and health centres, shopping malls, stations etc. Working hours vary from place to place but twenty four hours pharmacies marked with the letter ‘A’, can be found in major settlements.
Information line for pharmacies: +371 7281705.

Today there are six major operators in the public telecommunication market in Latvia – public telephone network operator “Lattelekom” Ltd and “Triatel” Ltd that delivers fixed telephone service and mobile network operators “Latvijas Mobilais Telefons” Ltd., “TELE2” Ltd., “Bite Latvija” Ltd. and “ZetCOM” Ltd. that are working in GSM 900 and GSM 1800 standards.


In the postal sector there are State joint stock company “Latvijas pasts” and some other companies providing postal and courier services.

It is possible to make international calls using the appropriate country codes from telephones in Latvia, including all public phone boxes. Public phone boxes can be found on the streets and public areas in train and bus stations, shopping malls etc., and contain information about how to make calls within Latvia, international country codes and local telephone catalogues. Making calls from public telephones requires a phone card, which can be readily purchased from numerous kiosks and shops. Phone cards cost 2, 5 and 10 Lats.

There are two types of public pay phones in Latvia accepting either phone cards, credit cards or coins. It is possible to receive calls as well as make them at pay phones and their individual number is shown on each telephone. Calls can be made to any country in the world and free calls made to emergency numbers (01, 02, 03, 04, 112).

Phone cards can be bought at kiosks, hotels, shops, post offices and petrol stations where the Lattelekom sign is displayed in denominations of LVL 2.00, 3.00 and 5.00 for local calls. International calls start from LVL 2.70.


Before you go get covered for all events

Documents those are necessary for crossing the Latvian border;
Health Services in Latvia: what kinds of health services are available, where health services can be rendered to you, as well as you will learn about vaccinations and insurance;
Money - information about possible ways of payment in Latvia (credit cards, payment cheques), as well as tax free shops and currency rates;
Communication - about telephone operator companies, internet service providers, postal services. There you will find the emergency telephone numbers as well.
Electricity - power supply and pin plugs;
Customs - what the EU citizens and the representatives of the Third World countries need to know when transporting the merchandise across the border of Latvia;
Transport and communication - road traffic regulations, as well as other normative acts.
Concerning the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers “On the mandatory inspection of the health insurance policy documents of foreign nationals crossing the state border of the Republic of Latvia”

On 1 May 2003 the Immigration Law of the Republic of Latvia entered into force. Article 4 Paragraph 1 Point 3 of the Law stipulates that a foreign national seeking entry to the Republic of Latvia is required to possess "a valid travel health insurance policy which guarantees the coverage of costs associated with health care incurred in the Republic of Latvia, including costs associated with return to the country of permanent residence in the event of serious illness or death. The circumstances under which a foreign national is permitted to enter and stay in the Republic of Latvia without a health insurance policy shall be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers."

No Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers determining the circumstances under which a health insurance policy is not required have as yet been elaborated. In view of this, the National Border Guard as of 1 May 2003 commenced applying a literal interpretation of the Law, asking that all foreign nationals seeking to cross the state border present the aforementioned policy. This has resulted in lengthy queues and inconvenience for travellers.

In order to optimise the processing of foreign nationals and avoid queues at state border crossings, the Cabinet of Ministers, having duly considered the recommendations put forward by the management of the State Border Guard and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a Decree on 6 May 2003 which stipulates that inspection of the aforementioned insurance policy documents at the state border shall be suspended for the following categories of foreigners:
- ?all persons not requiring a visa for entry to the Republic of Latvia;
- all persons having received their visa after the Immigration Law entered into force on 1 May 2003;
- all persons having received a residence permit of the Republic of Latvia;
- ?officials of foreign countries arriving in the Republic of Latvia on official visits or transiting across its territory who are using a diplomatic or service passport as their travel document, or who have received visas bearing the remarks "diplomatic visa" or "service visa";
- citizens of those countries with which the Republic of Latvia has concluded agreements on the reciprocal coverage of costs associated with medical services (in addition to citizens of Estonia, Finland and Sweden, who do not require a visa for entry into the Republic of Latvia, this category also includes citizens of the Ukraine).