Latvia is located in North Eastern Europe, by the Baltic Sea, Latvia has always been a multi-ethnic country, rich in different cultural and education traditions, and sees its role as a bridge between the East and the West.
Riga, Latvia’s capital is set on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava. It’s considered a cultural center and is home to many museums and concert halls. The city is also known for its wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval Old Town. The pedestrian-only Old Town has many shops and restaurants and is home to busy Livu Square, with bars and nightclubs.
In Latvia, there are both state-financed and fee-paying higher educations. Public grants and scholarships are available for top students. Latvia offers two levels of higher education programs – academic and professional (for example translators, bank staff, business lawyers, pilots etc.). University-type higher education institutions offer both academic and professional education, while the “non-university type” institutions provide only professional education. Academic higher education in Latvia follows the Bologna system and is divided into three levels: Bachelor’s studies, Master’s studies, and Doctoral studies. A Bachelor degree takes three or four years, while a Master’s degree will take one or two years. Only graduates holding a Master’s degree or equivalent higher education diploma may take up doctoral studies. These last three to four years, involving advanced studies, examinations and the preparation and defense of a doctoral thesis.
The majority of graduate jobs are likely to be found in Riga, the capital. Employers are looking for workers with flexibility and wide-ranging skill sets so make sure you demonstrate this in your application. International students can work 20 hours per week on part time basis.
Major industries : processed foods, wood products, textiles, processed metals, transit, synthetic fibers, electronics.
Recent growth areas : there is a growing demand in the construction, sales and processing sectors and in medium-skilled occupations.
Industries in decline : there has been a decline in employment in the public services sector and this is forecast to continue.
Shortage occupations : jobs may be found in the following sectors: processing industry; wholesale and retail trade; transport and warehousing; professional, scientific, information and communication services; accommodation and catering.
Major companies : Grindex Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceuticals), Phillip Morris International (tobacco company), KPMG (professional services), Latvenergo (utilities), Lattelecom (IT and telecommunications), Tele2 (telecommunications), AirBaltic (national airline).
Work placements and internships
Universities in Latvia do provide internships for many courses. Course-related placements may be available for undergraduates of science, engineering, technology and applied arts courses with IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience). Placements tend to start in the summer and last from four weeks up to one year. Professional internships in management, technology, education and development are available from 6 weeks to 18 months through AIESEC (Association Internationale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales).
You can search for various placements in Latvia on Europlacement. Many international companies may also offer internships and it’s worth looking at their individual websites.
Students who graduate from Latvian Universities could get a working permit and work in many corporate companies such as banks, hotels, department stores, etc. if they have finished at least their undergraduate studies. Graduates need to have an offer from an employer before they can apply for a permanent work and residence permit. In most cases, the employer applies on the worker’s behalf to get the necessary permits from the government before the worker starts to actually work in that employer’s company. Some universities have special units that help graduates find suitable jobs to stay and work in Latvia, however this is not guaranteed.
1. When can I apply for a visa?
Opening hours of the visa application centre is from 9:00 hrs to 16:00 hrs from Monday to Friday, except public holidays.
2. When can I collect my passport?
0900 hrs – 1630 hrs Monday – Friday
3. What if I do not bring all the documents needed?
Visa applications will only be accepted if all supporting documents as per requirements are produced.
4. I am under 18 years. Does my application require specific documents?
Your legal guardian must grant parental consent with his/her signature on a proper letterhead stating that he/she also bears all responsibility for the applicant. Also required is a copy of the guardian’s passport.
5. Do I have to apply personally at the competent Latvia VFS Application centre or can my application be submitted by a third party?
The visa application must be submitted in person or a family member submitted on behalf of other group members of the same family.
6. Can I sign my own company letter?
No. Your partner or employer must sign the company letter. Letters signed by the applicant will not be accepted.
7. What are the tuition fees at Latvian institutions?
The cost of studies depends on the institution and the programme being followed. The range is from 1000 EUR per year in Teacher training programme (4 years of studies) to 10,000 EUR per year for a Dental Surgeon’s degree (5 years) to 24,000 EUR for Executive Master of Business Administration studies. Detailed information on tuition fees is provided with each study programme description in the studyinlatvia.lv database.
8. Am I able to communicate with people in English?
Yes. English is a language supported by European Union treaty, thus, you will be able to communicate with people in this language.
9. Are any scholarships available?
State Education Development Agency offers scholarships to foreign students and teaching staff for studies, research work and participation in summer schools in Latvia.
10. Can I stay and work in Latvia after completing my studies?
Yes, after completing your degree and finding an employment, your employer will apply for a residence permit for you. For more information about different types of visa, work permit and permanent residence, please visit latvia.embassyhomepage.com