Area: 64,589 km²
Residents: 1,934,379 (January 2019)
Population density: 30 E / km²
Form of Government: parliamentary republic
System of Government: parliamentary democracy
Neighboring countries: Estonia, Russia , Belarus, Lithuania
Capital: Riga National
Telephone area code: +371
Time zone: UTC + 2 EET
UTC + 3 EESZ (March – Oct)
In 2020, 140 Germans officially emigrated to Latvia and 99 returned to their homeland. Within the 10 years from 2010 to 2019, 990 Germans officially emigrated to Latvia and 951 moved back to Germany. In 2020 there were officially 475 Germans living in Latvia.
At the beginning of 2019, 62.3% of all residents were Latvians, 24.9% Russian, the remaining 12.7% belonged to other ethnic groups. Economic activities are mainly concentrated in Riga and the Riga region, where around half (52%) of all Latvian residents live. A large part of the residents of the surrounding districts also work in Riga.
Since the EU enlargement came into force on May 1, 2004, this northern European country in the center of the Baltic region has been a member of the European Union. It introduced the euro in 2014. There are still lonely sandy beaches, untouched natural landscapes and a unique fauna with eagles, elks and other rare animals.
The climate is cool and temperate, with winter temperatures below freezing and moderately warm summers between 16 and 17 ° C. The average annual temperature in Riga is 6 ° C. Latvia has around 1,850 hours of sunshine per year (185 hours more than Germany).
General provisions for travel and residence (until the corona pandemic)
A valid identity card or passport is required for entry and stay of a maximum of 90 days. In order to obtain a right of residence beyond the 3 months, the following requirements must be met: You must be an employee or self-employed person in Latvia or have sufficient financial means to live on. To do this, you have to apply for a residence card at the immigration authorities in Latvia. It issues renewable residence permits for an initial period of 5 years.
Children who are under 5 years old have them for 2 years. For this, the passport and the birth certificate must be provided as proof. The fee is 14 € and you get the permit within 10 days. If you pay 28 € you will get it sooner, in 2 days.
According to countryvv, Latvian workers have achieved by far the highest income increases in the EU in recent years. However, the trend has been down somewhat since the economic crisis. In 2019, the average monthly salary before tax was € 1,076 and after tax € 793. The minimum wage is € 2.54 per hour. At the beginning of 2020 the unemployment rate was 6.2%.
A three-tier progressive income tax has been in force in Latvia since 2018. Up to an income of € 20,000, 20% taxes are due, from € 20,001 to € 55,000 it is 23% and for more than € 55,000 it is 31.4%. As of 2020, the maximum non-income tax exemption has been EUR 300 per month. Currently, the contribution rate to the state social security (if the employee is fully insured) is 35.09% of the employee’s income, of which the employer pays 24.09% and the employee 11%.
Many Latvians, often well-qualified, are currently working abroad, which means that there is a shortage of skilled workers on the Latvian labor market. Some job opportunities exist in the construction sector, the IT sector, as well as for engineers and medical professionals. The growth areas include ports, the transit sector, wastewater management, drinking water supply, energy supply and wood processing.
A work permit is not required. You must write the application in the national language Latvian or in English. Pay attention to individuality. To start work in Latvia, you should have at least a basic knowledge of the Latvian language.
Cost of living
Prices have increased significantly in recent years, but are mostly still below the German level. Imported goods such as clothing and shoes cost roughly the same as in Germany. Only drinks are more expensive.
You would need around € 2,430.76 in Riga to maintain the same standard of living that you could have in Berlin with € 3,700.00 (assuming you rent in the cities).
- Consumer prices in Riga are 24.67% lower than in Berlin (excluding rent)
- Consumer prices in Riga are 34.30% lower than in Berlin (including rent)
- Rent prices in Riga are 55.34% lower than in Berlin
- Restaurant prices in Riga are 20.50% lower than in Berlin
- Food prices in Riga are 30.42% lower than in Berlin
- The local purchasing power in Riga is 47.02% lower than in Berlin
Average cost of living in Riga (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)
|Restaurant||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Food, price w. restaurant||8.00||5.00-15.00|
|Middle class, 3 courses for 2 people.||40.00||30.00 – 60.00|
|Local beer, 0.5 l||3.00||1.80-4.00|
|Imported beer, 0.33 l||2.90||1.50-4.50|
|Coca / Pepsi (0.33 l)||1.48||0.80-3.00|
|Water (0.33 l)||1.07||0.50-2.00|
|Food||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Milk (1 L)||0.93||0.79-1.15|
|White bread (500g)||0.87||0.60-1.20|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||1.65||0.90-3.10|
|Local cheese (1kg)||6.99||5.00 – 12.00|
|Chicken breast fillet (1kg)||5.29||3.00 – 6.20|
|Beef (1kg) or other red meat||7.50||5.20-10.00|
|Apples (1kg)||1.04||0.60 – 1.65|
|Bananas (1kg)||1.20||1.00 – 1.50|
|Lettuce (1 head)||1.16||0.60-2.19|
|Water (1.5 l)||0.66||0.49-1.00|
|Bottle of wine (middle class)||7.00||5.00-10.00|
|Local beer (0.5 l)||1.25||1.00 – 1.60|
|Imported beer (0.33 l)||1.44||1.15-2.00|
Average costs for local transport, utilities, clothing, leisure, education of Riga (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)
|Mode of Transport||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Monthly pass||50.00||40.00 – 50.00|
|Taxi base amount||2.05||1.50 – 5.00|
|Taxi 1 km||0.70||0.40 – 1.50|
|Ancillary housing costs||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|for 85 sqm apartment (electricity, water, garbage, etc.||169.25||127.50-280.00|
|1 minute prepaid mobile tariff||0.10||0.02-0.19|
|Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable / ADSL)||15.48||11.00-22.00|
|Clothes, shoes||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||61.71||30.00 – 80.00|
|Summer dress (Zara, H&M,…||35.96||25.00 – 50.00|
|Nike sports shoes, middle class||73.29||50.00-100.00|
|Leather business shoes||97.38||65.00 – 150.00|
|leisure time||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Fitness center, month / adult||39.41||23.00 – 50.00|
|Tennis, 1 hour on weekends||20.02||12.00 – 25.00|
|a movie ticket||7.90||5.00 – 9.00|
|training||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Preschool / Kindergarten, private, whole day, monthly per child||321.72||200.00 – 500.00|
|International primary school per year and child||13,919.91||9,600.00 – 18,000.00|
The health system is tax financed. All residents are entitled to medical care, whereby additional payments are due (e.g. € 4.30 for a specialist visit or up to € 13 for laboratory tests). Adults also have to pay for all dental treatments themselves.
Average rental prices / purchase and salaries of Riga (from 07/2020 – 06/2021)
|Monthly rental price||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in the city center||441.20||350.00 – 600.00|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside the center||299.77||250.00 – 400.00|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in the city center||802.59||600.00 – 1,400.00|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside the center||544.22||400.00-900.00|
|Purchase price of apartments||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Price per square meter for an apartment in the city – purchase||2,056.76||1,700.00 – 2,500.00|
|Price per square meter – apartment outside the center – purchase||1,256.50||1,000.00 – 1,800.00|
|wages||Ø € Price||€ Price from / to|
|Average monthly salary (after taxes)||903.71||–|
Emigration and life in Latvia
This country is for nature lovers who prefer a cooler climate. The labor market has recovered somewhat in recent years after the crisis. Foreign employees and self-employed persons can initially receive residence permits for 5 years, which can be extended. Some advantages of the country: No nuclear power, lots of forest, low cost of living (LHK-I 72.6), low population density.