Travelling outside the European Union

 Published: 03.06.2021. 12.33


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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 following 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.

      Prohibited goods


      It is prohibited to import the following products of plant and animal origin in the territory of the European Union in the personal baggage for private consumption or use:

      • 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);
      • potatoes;
      • all dried beans originating in Nigeria.


      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 or Greenland the limit for one person which does not exceed 10 kg shall be observed.


      Goods admissible without restrictions


      The following products can be imported without restrictions from the third countries in the Member States of the European Union when carried in the personal baggage for private consumption or use:

      food products of non-animal origin; for example, bread, cakes, cookies, candy, chocolate, pasta and similar products; certain fresh fruit: bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians.   


      Restricted goods


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

      1. Up to 2 kg (from the Faeroe Islands, Greenland – 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. Provided that you have a phytosanitary certificate issued in the third country – up to 2 kg of fresh fruit products (fruit, vegetables, nuts in shell).

      If the total weight of the fresh fruit, vegetables and berries exceeds 2 kg, then the products shall be presented for controls to the Food and Veterinary Service. 

      3. Up to 20 kg of fishery products (from the Faeroe Islands and Greenland- 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.
         

      4.Up to 30 kg of other food products of non-animal origin listed in Annexes I and II of Regulation No 2019/1793 (the list is updated every six months).

      Please also consult the information material prepared by the Food and Veterinary Service.


      Quantity restrictions are not established for import or posting of animal origin products for private consumption from the following countries : Andorra, Iceland, 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?
    • Pursuant to Paragraph 13 of Section 29 of the Customs Law, for bringing the goods subject to customs clearance into the customs territory of the Republic of Latvia from a third country or taking them out from the customs territory of the Republic of Latvia to a third country without presenting these goods to the customs authorities [...] or in any other illegal manner, a warning or a fine of up to four hundred units of fine (i.e. up to 2000 euros) shall be imposed on a natural person.

  • Which legislative acts define restrictions for movement of goods?  
  • Declaring cash  
    • 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.
      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.
      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 natural person with EUR 10 000 travels by car from Russia to Belarus through Latvia and Lithuania. In this case, the natural person must submit a cash declaration when entering Latvia and also when exiting Lithuania because they cross the external border of the territory of the European Union twice;
      • 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.


      ¹ 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


      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:

      • declarant;
      • 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 20 per cent of the amount to be declared shall be imposed.
      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.  

  • Recovery of value added tax on tax-free receipts
    • Upon export of goods acquired inland from the territory of the European Union, a natural person from a third country or a third territory  who is not a taxable person within the territory of the European Union may receive a refund of the value added tax provided that:

      • a receipt of a special type (tax-free receipt) has been issued for the purchase in the trading venue;
      • the goods are brought out of the European Union not later than by the last day of the third month after the month indicated in the tax-free receipt and the goods:

       - correspond to the description of the goods as indicated in the receipt;
       - are not used;
       - have been packed in special packaging (for goods purchased in the Republic of Latvia),

      • at the time of export the tax-free receipt is presented for approval to a customs official in the border crossing point by the same natural person whose data have been indicated in the receipt;
      • customs official confirms that the goods have been exported by stamping the tax-free receipt with the customs stamp.  
         

      Once the export from the territory of the European Union of the goods purchased in the territory of the Republic of Latvia has been approved by the customs, the tax is refunded to the person by an economic operator registered in the Republic of Latvia that has been authorised by the State Revenue Service to make tax refunds.Norvēģija, Islande, Šveice un Lihtenšteina);


      Receiving an approval from the customs  


      Upon exiting the European Union, a natural person seeking to receive tax refund shall approach a customs official in the border crossing site where customs controls are provided, and present the tax-free receipt along with:

      • identity document;
      • the goods listed in the tax-free receipt.

      The customs official will check whether:

      • the goods are being brought out by the same natural person whose data have been indicated in the receipt;
      • the goods to be brought out correspond to the information indicated in the receipt;  
      • the goods are not used;
      • the period for export complies with the requirements of the legislation.

         

      If all conditions are met, the customs official will confirm that the goods are brought out by stamping the tax-free receipt with the customs stamp.