When crossing the State border of the Republic of Latvia (entering or leaving) in places that are also the external border of the European Union, natural persons must declare cash if it is equivalent to or exceeds EUR 10 000.
The competent authority¹ is also entitled to request a person carrying cash of less than EUR 10 000 to complete a cash declaration form upon crossing the State external border if elements of potential illegal activities have been identified.
At border crossing points with a two-channel customs control system, individuals required to declare cash must cross the customs border and submit their cash declaration via the "red channel".
The competent authority¹ is entitled to request a person carrying cash of less than EUR 10 000 to complete a cash declaration form when crossing the external State border if there are indications of possible illegal actions of the person.
Upon the request of an official of the competent authority, a natural person shall be obliged to present the declared cash and participate in the controls of the declared cash.
It should be noted that the obligation to declare concerns all of the natural persons transporting cash regardless of whether the person is the owner of the cash.
Examples of lodging cash declarations at the border crossing site:
- a natural person with EUR 10 000 flying from Turkey to Latvia with transfer in Germany, submits a cash declaration in Germany – the transit country, because Germany is the first place where the external border of the European Union is crossed;
- a family (a husband and a wife) travels by car from Russia to Germany and passes through Latvia. The wife has cash of EUR 14 000 in her wallet. Since the obligation to declare applies to each individual separately, in this case, the wife will have to lodge a cash declaration (even though the amount per person would not exceed EUR 10 000 if the cash was split between each of the travellers).
Cash to be declared shall be converted into euro by applying the exchange rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB), which is published on the penultimate Wednesday of each month and used during the entire month that follows.
If foreign exchange reference rate against euro published by the ECB with regard to a particular foreign currency is not available, the most recent foreign exchange market rate against euro shall be used that has been published in a periodical publication or a website of a provider of financial information recognised by the global financial market.
Information on the published exchange rates of foreign currencies against the euro is available here².
The competent authority is the State Revenue Service. In border crossing sites of the Republic of Latvia where there are no customs control points, the functions of the competent authority are fulfilled by the State Border Guard.
²Information available in Latvian
Please note! Due to the EU-imposed sanctions, it is permitted to export banknotes of any official currency of an EU Member State to Russia and Belarus only in reasonable amounts for personal travel needs or to meet diplomatic requirements.
What is cash?
- Banknotes and coins that are in circulation as a medium of exchange or that have been in circulation as a medium of exchange and can still be exchanged through financial institutions or central banks for banknotes and coins that are in circulation as a medium of exchange;
- blank cheques, traveller’s cheques, promissory notes or money orders;
- coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- bullion such as bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99,5 %.
How to declare?
The cash declaration forms are available free of charge from the competent authority at the State border crossing point, as well as on the SRS website in Latvian (Cash declaration and additional sheet) or English (Cash declaration and additional sheet). Please note that while the forms (Cash declaration and additional sheet) are available also in Russian, those can only be used as an aid to complete the form in English or Latvian.
A natural person shall submit the completed cash declaration to the official of the competent authority at the border crossing point indicating the following:
- owner of the cash (if the declarant is transporting cash owned by another person);
- the intended recipient of cash;
- type and the total amount of cash;
- the economic provenance of the cash;
- intended use of cash;
- route (country of departure and the destination);
- means of transportation;
- place of border crossing, and confirmation with a hand-written signature that the information provided in the declaration is true.
What are the provisions on cash sent by freight, post or courier?
The competent authority is entitled to request that a cash disclosure declaration be
made for detected unaccompanied cash sent by post, freight, or courier shipment and
with a value of EUR 10 000 or more. Upon such a request, this declaration should be made within 30 days by the recipient, sender or by an appointed representative of the two.
The cash disclosure declaration forms are available free of charge from the competent authority at the State border crossing point, as well as on the SRS website in Latvian (Cash disclosure declaration and additional sheet) or English (Cash disclosure daclaration and additional sheet).
Please note that while the forms (Cash disclosure declaration and additional sheet) are available also in Russian, those can only be used as an aid to complete the form in English or Latvian.
What is the liability for failing to declare cash?
The obligation to declare has not been fulfilled if the information provided is incorrect or incomplete.
If the obligation to declare has not been fulfilled, the competent authorities may detain the cash and apply sanctions for non-compliance.
According to Paragraph 1 of Section 7 of the law "On Declaration of Cash at the State Border", for the failure to fulfil the declaration obligation laid down in laws and regulations in respect of cash that, upon crossing the State border, is brought in or out of the Republic of Latvia, a fine in the amount of up to 20 percent of the amount to be declared shall be imposed.
In accordance with Paragraph 2 of Section 7 of the law “On Declaration of Cash at the State Border” for non-compliance with the obligation imposed by the competent authority to disclose information about unaccompanied cash brought into or taken out of the Republic of Latvia when crossing the State border, a monetary fine of up to 20 percent of the amount for which there is an obligation to disclose information is imposed on a natural or legal person.
Pursuant to Paragraph 2.1 of Section 195.2 of the Criminal Law, for the non-declaration or false declaration of large amount of cash, which upon crossing the State border is brought into the Republic of Latvia or taken out thereof, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to three years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine. If this criminal offence has been committed by an organised group, the applicable punishment is the deprivation of liberty for a period of up to four years or temporary deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine.
Laws and regulations for controls of cash movement
Regulation (EU) 2018/1672 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on controls on cash entering or leaving the Union and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/776 of 11 May 2021 establishing templates for certain forms as well as technical rules for the effective exchange of information under Regulation (EU) 2018/1672 of the European Parliament and of the Council on controls on cash entering or leaving the Union
Law On Declaration of Cash at the State Border.
Further information is available on the European Commission website.