The border controls on persons and vehicles at the EU internal borders, internal ferry and aviation lines have been abolished since 21 December 2007. Nationals of all countries, who have entered legally in Schengen area, move freely across internal borders. People can cross the land border of the Republic of Latvia with the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Lithuania in any location. In turns, persons with mechanical means of transportation can cross the land border of the Republic of Latvia with the state land border of the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Lithuania by roads.

The European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland citizens must have a valid passport or Personal Identity Card, but the third-country citizens – a valid passport with a valid Schengen VISA or a residence permit.

All obstacles that hamper the movement of persons and goods are eliminated.
The border control of all persons and vehicles is performed only at the European Union external borders (with Russia and Belarus, as well as at the airports and ports, except for an internal ferry line and airline). 
For foreigners, who are not citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland, a full control (computerized control of persons and vehicles, using law enforcement data bases, deepened control of documents establishing origin of the person, checking personal and vehicle belongings, testing means, checking terms of   labour and residence permit, as well as control of respective substantiation documents) is performed in all cases at state border crossing points.

The minimal control is usually applied for non-residents of the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland citizens, e.g., the control of personal identity based on provided travel document (photos and personal comparison), quick and simplified control of provided travel document (visual control of validity term and existence of falsification signs), vehicle control is performed in case of necessity.
However, border guards can randomly check the information about the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland citizens and non-residents of Latvia in corresponding data bases of Latvia and Europe to make sure respective persons do not cause real, concrete threat to internal security, public order, international relations of Latvia or do not threaten the public health.

The third-country citizens presenting a valid unified Schengen visa or residence permit, or Switzerland and Liechtenstein residence permit can cross Latvia for transit purposes or enter and stay in the territory of Latvia not longer than three months during half a year. Holders of residence permit of the Republic of Latvia are entitled during its validity to stay in the country and go away to other European Union and Schengen states for a time period not longer than three months during half a year. 

All third-country residents are checked in the Schengen Information System. In case, the system provides the alarm warning, consultations with National Bureau of SIRENES office are performed and
  1. The person searched in other Schengen state or in the Republic of Latvia is arrested and transferred to the State Police;
  2. The entrance in the Republic of Latvia is banned for the foreigner who has been prohibited the entrance in Schengen Area;
  3. Information about the established lost person is provided to the initiator of the search, but protection is provided for persons in danger;
  4. Information about eyewitnesses or persons, who according the notice must arrive at the legal institutions, is given to the respective institution;
  5. Discreet surveillance of persons or vehicles is provided;
  6. Information about subjects, which are being searched to confiscate or use them as evidence in a criminal case, is given to the respective institution.

In exceptional cases due to state interests or human considerations, border guards are authorized to issue Schengen Visa to the third-country nationals on the state border.

The cooperation of law enforcement institutions of neighbouring countries at the inland borders has intensified: the common contact points of State Border Control, State Police and Customs operate on both Latvia - Lithuania and Latvia – Estonia borders which provide cooperativity in the area of information exchange, especially in issues of cross-border combating.

Immigration mobile patrols operate daily at the inner borders who perform randomly immigration control of suspects and vehicles in the territory of the Republic of Latvia after their state border crossing.
To provide combating of organized criminality involved in transportation of illegal immigrants and performing criminal prosecution in a special way, the performance of regular cross-border observance and persecution operations is accomplished.
The border control on the inland border of the European Union can be re-established for a time period with a special decision of the Cabinet of Ministers in cases if serious danger for the public order, public health and inland security has arisen.

Additional information