European authorities will soon introduce the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver program. This system is planned to enhance the security of the Schengen Area by screening visa-exempt travellers prior to their arrival in the region.
Beginning in 2022, the ETIAS visa waivers will be a requirement for tourists and business travellers from more than 60 eligible countries. All applicants will be screened for any potential security issues before they are granted a visa waiver to visit the region.
ETIAS is not a visa, Canadians will still be able to visit Europe for up to 90 days visa-free.
How can Canadians apply for ETIAS visa waiver to visit Latvia?
There is an online application that Canadians can fill out in order to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver.
Travellers will be required to provide some biographical and passport-related information. As part of the application, visitors to Europe will be asked to answer questions related to their medical, criminal and immigration history.
It is imperative that travellers answer these questions honestly and accurately as possible as they will be checked against international security databases.
Typically, discrepancies found during the processing of the ETIAS visa waiver application can negatively impact the traveller’s chances of obtaining the visa waiver.
Prerequisites to ETIAS application
Before beginning the application process, Canadian travellers must fulfil the basic requirements needed to successfully obtain the ETIAS visa waiver. All travellers to the Schengen Area on an ETIAS visa waiver must have a valid Canadian passport.
They must also have a current email address where the ETIAS visa waiver can be sent once the application has been approved. Since there is a processing fee associated with applying for the ETIAS visa waiver, travellers must also have a valid debit or credit card for making online payments.
Canadians who obtain the ETIAS visa waiver can stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. The waiver itself is valid for up to 3 years or until the traveller’s passport expires.
Travelling to Latvia from Canada with an ETIAS authorisation
The ETIAS visa waiver is linked to the Canadian passport on approval, the travel authorisation is verified by border officials before the traveller enters Latvia.
Visitors with dual nationalities must note that ETIAS visa waivers are attached to particular passports and only those passports used during registration can be accepted when arriving in Latvia.
Latvia: key facts about the country
Latvia is a Baltic country bordering Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus and Russia. It has historically been called the Lettlands and the people were referred to as Letts or Lettish people.
The country’s capital Riga is one of the oldest and the largest. It dates back to the 12th century and as much as a third of the country’s population lives in the capital. It has also been designated a UNESCO world heritage site due to the multitude of Art Nouveau buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Latvia still celebrates its pre-Christian pagan traditions until today complete with jumping over bonfires for Midsummer’s Eve. It also has the world’s widest waterfall called The Ventas Rumba in Kuldiga. There are many beaches and most of the country is covered in dense forestland.
Important travel information for Latvia
- Visitors should consider boiling or filtering tap water before drinking or brushing their teeth. Bottled water can be consumed as well.
- The emergency number for tourists is 112.
- Travellers should be careful when on the road in Latvia as road conditions sometimes poor, tourists should be extra careful even when crossing the road.
Health information for travellers to Latvia
One of the risks associated with travelling is medical emergencies that can occur. Even though most European countries have free or low-cost health care for their own citizens, these privileges are not extending to visitors.
Therefore, travellers should consider investing in a valid travel health insurance policy to account for any unexpected medical emergencies that may arise.
There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis in rural areas, visitors should, therefore, consider getting vaccinated for this and other regular vaccinations before arriving in the country.
Canadian embassy in Latvia
Embassy of Canada in Riga, Latvia
Address: 20/22 Baznicas Street, 6th Floor Riga, LV-1010, Latvia
Phone: (011 371) 6781 3945