Travelling outside the European Union

 Published: 14.03.2019. 16.30


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Entering Latvia from a country, which is not a member state of the European Union, e.g., USA, Russia, or other, as well as from certain EU territories (Aland Islands; Normandy Islands; within the Federal Republic of Germany - Helgoland Island, territory of Büsingen; within the Italian Republic - Livigno, Kampjoni d’Italia and Italian territorial waters of Lugano Lake; within the Kingdom of Spain - Ceuta, Melilla, and Canary Islands; within the French Republic - French Republic overseas departments), you can import in personal luggage the following without paying taxes.

Goods for personal use, own consumption or gifts, if their total value per person does not exceed:

  • 300 euro – travelling by land;
  • 430 euro – travelling by air or sea transport;
  • total value of imported goods for personal use cannot exceed 285 euro for children below 15 years of age regardless of travel type.

Calculating the total value of imported goods, the folloving is not taken into consideration:

  • the value of personal luggage, which is imported temporarily or is reimported;
  • the value of medicine for personal use of the traveller;
  • tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and fuel, which are imported in personal luggage and do not exceed defined quantitative restrictions.

Personal luggage is considered to be goods which are purchased in a third country and intended for traveller’s personal or family use or as gifts, if the line of goods and amount is not indicative of their import for commercial purposes. Personal luggage does not include traveller’s own clothing, perfumery and partly used items.

  • Permitted allowances for movement of excise goods
    • You are allowed to bring into the Republic of Latvia FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE, without paying duties, NOT MORE FREQUENTLY THAN ONCE IN SEVEN DAYS the following excise goods in the given amounts.


      Tobacco Products


      1. Travelling by road, rail or water transport:

      • 40 cigarettes or
      • 20 cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 3 grams each), or
      • 10 cigars, or
      • 50 grams of smoking tobacco or tobacco leaves, or heated tobacco
      • or tobacco products in any combination, if the sum of percentages for each individual tobacco product does not exceed 100 percent.


      2. Travelling by air transport:

      • 200 cigarettes or
      • 100 cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 3 grams each), or
      • 50 cigars, or
      • 250 grams of smoking tobacco or tobacco leaves, or heated tobacco
      • or tobacco products in any combination, if the sum of percentages for each individual tobacco product does not exceed 100 percent. 

       

      Examples of quantity combinations of tobacco products, which are exempt from taxation:

      • 100 cigarettes (50% of permitted quantity of cigarettes) and 50 cigarillos (50% of permitted quantity of cigarillos);
      • 50 cigarettes (25% of permitted quantity of cigarettes), 25 cigarillos (25% of permitted quantity of cigarillos) and 25 cigars (50% of permitted quantity of cigars).

       


      Alcoholic Beverages


       

      • 1 litre of alcoholic beverage with alcohol content above 22% by volume or undenatured ethyl alcohol with alcohol content of 80% or more,
      • 2 litres of alcoholic beverage with alcohol content up to 22% by volume, except for still wine and beer,
      • alcoholic beverages mentioned above in any combination with the total percentage of individual quantities not exceeding 100 percent,
      • 4 litres of non-sparkling (still) wine,
      • 16 litres of beer.


      Individuals below the age of 18 are not permitted to have a tobacco or alcoholic beverage allowance.

      Examples of quantity combinations of alcoholic beverages, which are exempt from taxation:

      • 1 litre of alcoholic beverage with alcohol concentration exceeding 22%, 4 litres of non-sparkling (still) wine, and 16 litres of beer;
      • 2 litres of sparkling wine, 4 litres of non-sparkling (still) wine, 16 litres of beer;
      • 0.5 litres of alcoholic beverage with alcohol concentration exceeding 22% (50% of permitted quantity of strong alcohol), 1 litre of sparkling wine (50% of permitted quantity of sparkling wine), 4 litres of non-sparkling (still) wine, 16 litres of beer;
      • 0.3 litres of alcoholic beverage with alcohol concentration exceeding 22% (30% of permitted quantity of strong alcohol), 1.4 litres of aperitif (70% of permitted quantity of aperitif), 4 litres of non-sparkling (still) wine, 16 litres of beer.

       


      Oil Products (fuel)


      • in the standard fuel tank of vehicle;
      • in movable fuel tank – not exceeding 10 litres per vehicle.

       


      Non-alcoholic Beverages and Coffee with regards to the restrictions defined for value of goods.


      Completion of the statement of excise goods movement


      If you cross the external land frontier of the Republic of Latvia by road either at the Latvian – Russian or Latvian – Belarusian border, you are obliged to complete the statement of excise goods movement and submit it either to the customs control point or at the border crossing point. By completing the afore-mentioned statement, the quantity of particular excise goods (alcohol, tobacco products and fuel) in your personal luggage should be indicated.

      When you need to cross the EU’s external land border by road more often than once in seven days, every time when it is repeatedly planned to return to the Republic of Latvia within a particular time period, leaving the country you are advised to fill in the statement of excise goods movement and submit it to the customs officer at the border crossing point, but in places where customs control is not intended to be carried out – to the official of the State Border Guard.

      In situations when the State Border Guard official at the road border crossing point, at which the customs control is not intended to be carried out, finds out that an individual is obliged to make the payment required by the provisions determined in the legislation regarding certain excise products, pursuant to Cabinet Regulation No.1 “Procedure how particular excise goods carried in individual’s luggage are checked at the road border crossing point” of 3 January 2012, the official of the State Border Guard makes a decision refusing the person to enter Latvia with excise goods that are not exempted from duties and provides this information to the nearest border crossing point where the customs control is performed.   

      Importing fuel, cigarettes or alcohol in Latvia more frequently than once in seven days or excessing the determined quantities of these goods, they shall be declared and the respective taxes – excise tax, value added tax and customs duty shall be paid.

  • What should you do if you want to import greater amount of excise goods for personal use?
    • If larger quantities of goods than the aforementioned are imported, the goods should be declared upon border crossing and customs tax, value added tax, as well as excise duty for excise goods should be paid.

      Section 23, Part 2, of the law “On Excise Tax” states that importer pays the calculated tax on excise goods that are applied for the customs procedure – release into free circulation – to the state budget before applying for customs procedure at customs office. Natural person when importing excise goods in personal luggage that exceeds the amount or value stated in Article 21 of the above mentioned law, pays the tax before the release of excise goods into free circulation.

      If the actual value of personal luggage does not exceed EUR 700, you are eligible to apply the unified customs tax rate in the amount of 2.5% of customs value of goods. If the value of importable goods exceeds the aforementioned amount, customs tax on imports depends not only on the value of goods, but also on the type of goods. Taxes are collected based on the rate for particular goods.

      Unified rate is not applied to tobacco, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, as well as in cases, when you yourself have asked to apply the particular customs tax to the goods prior to application of unified rate.

  • Movement of food products for personal consumption  
    • In order to protect persons and animals from dangerous infectious diseases in the European Union, including Latvia, there are strict rules concerning import of food products into the territory of the European Union. When arriving from a country which is not an EU member state, food products in your personal baggage and for your personal consumption will be subject to strict veterinary control at the place of border crossing regarding harmlessness of such products.

      It is prohibited to import


      It is prohibited to import into the territory of the European Union in the personal baggage for private consumption:

      • meat and meat products (bacon, fresh or cured meat, incl. Poultry meat, animal fat, sausages, canned meat, pastry stuffed with meat or containing meat, pasta, gravy, soups etc.);
      • milk and dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cream, cottage cheese, kefir, cheese, butter, condensed milk, ice-cream etc.);
      • pet food containing meat or milk (pet food, chewable toys for dogs, wholemeal flour mixtures).


      Food products which are prohibited to import into the European Union for private consumption are also prohibited to be sent by post.

      Exception: when importing the afore mentioned products from the Faeroe Islands, Greenland or Iceland the limit for one person which does not exceed 10 kg shall be observed.


      It is allowed to import


      It is allowed to import into the European Union from the third countries without veterinary border control and observing the quantities allowed for one person for private consumption:

      1. Up to 2 kg (from the Faeroe Islands, Greenland or Iceland – up to 10 kg) the following animal origin products: 

      • honey, eggs, live oysters, live shell-fishes, and snails, royal jelly, bee-glue;
      • dry milk for babies, baby food, special food for medical purposes, as well as pet food in patented packaging indicating the producer's information regarding special use.
         

      2. Up to 20 kg of fishery products (from the Faeroe Islands and Iceland - without quantity restrictions. Exception which applies to any country – sturgeon roe – up to 125 g per package with special label):

      • fresh (obligatory condition – gutted, also those which are imported undivided), dried, treated with hear, salted, smokedor canned fish;
      • some crustaceans, for instance, shrimps, lobsters.
         

      3. Up to 10 kg of other food products, for instance:

      • bread, cakes, biscuits, products from chocolate and pastry (including sweets), which do not contain meat or which are not stuffed with meat products;
      • pasta products and noodles which are not mixed or stuffed with meat products;
      • soups and spices in packaging, meat extracts and meat concentrates;
      • olives stuffed with fish;
      • food supplements in packages;
      • any other food products not containing fresh or cured meat or dairy products and contain less than 50% of cured egg or fishery products.


      Quantity restrictions are not established for import or posting of animal origin products for private consumption from the following countries : Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland.


      (!) Important

      If the afore mentioned requirements are not observed and an attempt to import the prohibited animal origin food products is detected, or if the quantities exceed the allowed weight restrictions at the point of the Latvian border crossing, such products shall be confiscated by the customs officials and shall be destroyed. Violations of the rules concerning import of animal origin food products shall result in calling to administrative justice, but n case of a repeated violation – penalty.

      In order not to commit administrative offences, travellers are asked to leave the prohibited food products in special labelled containers at the customs control point before the customs control.

      Information concerning the rules for import of food products and product groups to which special requirements apply, for instance, food supplements, mineral water, sports food, etc., can be obtained at the home page of the Food and Veterinary Service .

  • SRS reminds
    • If you have no goods to declare or have goods, which do not require payment of taxes, you should cross the border by passing through the Green Channel. The Red Channel is to be used if you have goods to declare in your luggage. Goods exceeding the aforementioned quantities and those not declared upon importation into Latvia from third countries, are considered to be illegal and their possession is an administrative or criminal offence.
  • SRS recommends  
    • If you are not sure whether the goods should be declared, choose Red Channel! Please contact a customs official at Border checkpoints with no customs channels.
  • What penalty can be imposed if these restrictions are violated?
    • Administrative liability

      In accordance with Article 20112 of the Administrative Violations Code of the Republic of Latvia (Smuggling) in the case of the import into the territory of the Republic of Latvia or export from it of goods or other valuables subject to customs clearance, circumventing the customs control or concealing these goods or other valuables from this control, or failing to declare, or utilising fake customs or other documents, or in another illegal way (smuggling) – a fine shall be imposed on natural persons in an amount from EUR 70 up to EUR 700, but for legal persons – from EUR 700 up to EUR 7 100, with the confiscation of the goods or other valuables and the vehicle used for the transfer (transport) thereof or without the confiscation of the vehicle.

  • Which legislative acts define restrictions for movement of goods?  
  • Declaring cash  
    • As of 1 July 2006 when crossing the State border of the Republic of Latvia (both on arrival and departure) in places, which are also external border of the European Union, any natural person must declare cash if it is equivalent to or exceeds 10 000 euro.

      Note that obligation to declare concerns private individuals transporting the cash regardless of the ownership of cash. Cash should not be declared on the State borders of the Republic of Latvia with other member states of the European Union.

      Examples:

      • a natural person with 10 000 euro, who travels from Turkey through Germany to Latvia, submits a declaration in Germany – transit country, because Germany is the first point of entry into the territory of the European Union;
      • a natural person with 10 000 euro travels by car from Russia to Belarussia through Latvia and Lithuania. In this case a natural person has to submit a declaration on entry to Latvia and exitting Lithuania, because he crosses the border of the territory of the European Union two times.


      Cash to be declared shall be translated 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. Information on the published exchange rates of foreign currencies against euro is available here

      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 website of a provider of financial information recognised by the global financial market. It is recommended to use the foreign exchange rates against euro published by XE (available on the website https://www.xe.com/currencytables/).


      What is cash?


      Cash is: Issued paper money and coins, which are valid means of payment.

      Following financial instruments:

      • cheques, bills, payment orders, or any other financial instruments, which are issued on behalf of the holder or allows transfer of ownership rights to the financial instrument by its transfer to another person;
      • blank cheques, bills, payment orders, or any other financial instruments, which when signed entitle the receipt of money without specifying the recipient.

      How to declare?


      The declaration forms are available free of charge from a competent authority at the border crossing point, as well as on SRS homepage in Latvian, Russian or English

      A private individual submits a written declaration of the cash in two copies to the customs official at the border crossing point and specifies the information on the following:

      • declarant;
      • owner of cash (if declarant is transporting cash owned by other person);
      • planned recipient of cash;
      • type and total value of cash;
      • origin of cash;
      • application purpose of cash;
      • route (country of origin, destination country);
      • means of transportation;
      • place of border crossing, and confirmation that information provided in the declaration is true with own signature.

      What is the liability for failing to declare cash?


      The responsibility to declare is violated if the information provided is incorrect or incomplete.

      Non-declaration or false declaration of the set sum of cash upon crossing the State border of the Republic of Latvia is an offence according to Article  19015 of the Latvian Administrative Violations Code, which provides for a fine of 5 percent of the non-declared or incorrectly declared amount of cash.

      According to Article 1952 of the Criminal Law, a failure to declare or false declaration of cash as specified in regulatory enactments is a criminal offence if done with criminally acquired cash or in an organized group - deprivation of liberty for a term not exceeding three years or a short-term deprivation of liberty, or community service, or a fine.


      Legislation


      1. Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community.

      2. Law on Declaration of Cash at the State Border.

      3. Cabinet Regulation No. 414 (19 June 2007) Regulations regarding the Form of Declaration of Cash, the Procedures for Filling in and Submission Thereof and Verification of the Provided Information

      More detailed information you can find on the European Commission website.