Latvia plans mobile passport centers this summer in U.S., Canada

As part of an effort to boost participation in the October parliamentary election in Latvia, mobile passport centers this summer will visit Latvian communities in the United States and Canada, the Latvian embassies in both countries have announced.

Specialists from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs are expected to visit Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Cleveland in the U.S. and Toronto, Hamilton, Montréal, Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada. The specialists are planning to visit the U.S. cities in late June and July, and the Canadian cities in July.

In order to vote by mail or in person, Latvian citizens must present a valid Latvian passport.

Latvia’s ambassador to the United States, Andrejs Pildegovičs, speaking May 16 to the Latvian community in Minneapolis, said the mobile passport centers will allow citizens who need new or renewed passports to be prepared for the Saeima election.

Jānis Kukainis, public affairs director for the American Latvian Association, was instrumental in convincing Latvian government officials to put together a plan for the mobile units, Pildegovičs said.

It would be ideal to get at least 40 persons per location using the mobile passport stations, the ambassador told the Minneapolis audience.

To help Latvian officials determine the scope of the mobile passport registry plan, the embassies are asking those who might use the stations to provide the following information by June 15:

  • Name.
  • Personal identification code.
  • Height in centimeters.
  • Whether it is desired to have one’s nationality noted in the passport.
  • If desired, information about minor children, including name, personal ID code or birthdate.
  • If it is desired to have the historical or original form of one’s surname noted in the passport, information about what documents give evidence of the surname.
  • At which mobile passport center the documentation will be submitted.
  • In case of questions, a telephone number or e-mail address.

The information may be sent to the embassy in Washington (Embassy of Latvia, 2306 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008, or via e-mail, or in Ottawa (Embassy of Latvia, 350 Sparks St., Suite 1200, Ottawa, ON K1R 7S8, or via e-mail to

Those who use the mobile passport centers will receive the new biometric passports. Holders of the older open-ended passports will be able to use them to vote in the parliamentary election.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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