Author: Santa Jirgensone/Elizabete Luisa Līviņa
The long waited 2021 has finally come. Nevertheless, the first month has already introduced us to several new traveling regulations. A passport will no longer be enough to cross national borders. According to the State Border Guard, what to expect when entering Latvia and what additional documents a traveler will be required to present.
Carefully evaluate the need to travel
All travelers arriving in Latvia, including those crossing Latvia in transit, must fill in an electronic confirmation form or Covidpass within 48 hours before entry, indicating the time of arrival, country of origin, mode of transport, and purpose arrival and address of stay. When filling in the confirmation, the person is assigned a unique QR code, which must be presented to the representatives of international passenger carriers before boarding the vehicle upon request and the border guard. As of January 15, an additional requirement has also come into force - a Covid-19 test has been performed no earlier than 72 hours before entry, with a negative result.
"We have become accustomed to global mobility in recent years, but in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel opportunities have diminished considerably. During this time, it is crucial to consider whether to travel at all, and it would be advisable to do so only in case of extreme necessity. At present, the crossing of the European Union's external borders is only allowed for certain groups of people - haulers or people traveling based on an employment relationship or returning to their country of residence. Internal borders are not closed, people can move freely, but the epidemiological situation calls for a careful assessment of the need for travel. If it is not possible not to move outside the country, any person returning to Latvia must meet the requirements set by the government, "says Major Kristīne Pētersone, Chief Inspector of the State Border Guard.
QR code - as necessary as a passport
An airline and international bus traffic Covidpass filling and QR code control rest on the carrier's shoulders. Those who travel by private transport are checked at the external borders by the State Border Guards. The guards check for personal documents and also ask for the QR code. Major Kristīne Pētersone admits that it is more difficult to control the existence of code at internal borders. As border control at internal borders has not been re-established, a compensatory mechanism has been established - immigration control in the vicinity of internal borders. In co-operation with the National Guard and the State Police, the State Border Guard has been carrying out under an enhanced regime since December 7.
"Everyday immigration control means control of the observance of the conditions of entry and residence of foreigners. Any time, anywhere in the territory of Latvia, border guards have the right to stop a car or turn to a person and check its legal basis to stay in Latvia. However, currently, the goal of tightened immigration control is to check the completion of entry certificates and covid test results for each traveler, randomly stopping cars on the roads near the internal border, which we do with the National Guard. At the same time, the State Police provides support by patrolling smaller streets, "says Major Kristīne Pētersone.
She emphasizes that border guards stop mainly light traffic. For the most part, there are no problems with haulers; The stumbling block is the actions of the people of Latvia who try to circumvent the government's requirements.
In case of questions or uncertainties, Major Kristīne Pētersone invites you to visit the new website of the State Border Guard www.rs.gov.lv/en, where current information for travelers is regularly published. The new website, created within the Public Administration Website Single Platform project framework, provides new technical possibilities, for example, the opportunity to watch a video with an invitation to fill in a covidpass before entering Latvia.
From January 15, the result of the Covid-19 test is mandatory for entry
To restrict the import of Covid-19 into Latvia, an additional security requirement came into force for immigrants. From Friday, January 15: everyone arriving in Latvia must take a Covid-19 test no earlier than 72 hours before entering and present a negative test result before boarding a public transport vehicle. A test must also be taken on arrival by personal transport.
"Like the QR code check, the check of test results at airports, ports and international bus transportation will be mainly up to the carriers, but it must be taken into account that the State Border Guard can recheck compliance with these requirements after persons enter Latvia. In the vicinity of the internal land borders, the State Border Guard will continue to check immigrants randomly, requesting to present the test results together with the QR code. A note about the test will also have to be noted in the electronic confirmation questionnaire Covidpass, "explains the Chief Inspector of the Border Guard.
The exemptions from these requirements apply mainly to people who regularly go to work in Estonia or Lithuania and regular haulers who have to complete a Covidpass every 30 days but do not have to take the test. However, for example, those who go to Vilnius for shopping or spend a weekend in Tallinn are subject to all the same rules that any immigrant in Latvia must follow.
All information related to travel in Covid-19 conditions and other current events useful for border crossers, news about the State Border Guard's work, information pertaining border zones, etc. c. can be found together on the State Border Guard website www.rs.gov.lv/en.
24-hour information phone of the State Border Guard on issues of crossing the state border 67075616
The single free 24-hour information phone "COVID-19" 8345
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