Latvia pursues visa-free travel to U.S.

Visa-free travel for Latvian citizens to the United States continues to be pursued by government officials. A delegation will travel Oct. 31-Nov. 1 to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. officials over the issue, the Latvian Foreign Ministry announced Oct. 26.

Led by Normans Penke, the ministry’s state secretary, the delegation is expected to meet with officials at the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

While U.S. citizens can enter Latvia without a visa and stay up to 90 days, Latvian citizens must apply for a visa.

In May, U.S. and Latvian officials agreed to a “roadmap” that may lead to the visa requirement being waived. The plan includes a campaign in Latvia to publicize problems that occur when U.S. visas are abused or when a visitor overstays a visa.

In 2004, a total of 10,140 Latvian citizens entered the United States for business, pleasure, study or other reasons, according to the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

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

3 thoughts on “Latvia pursues visa-free travel to U.S.

  1. This article interests me greatly because I am a male american citizen currently engaged to a Latvian lady residing in Riga. We have been together for 6 years and are submitting a Fiance Visa application through DHS. This process takes, according to web-site information, 4 to 5 months. Is anyone aware of the progress of the pursuit addressed in this artricle or maybe knowledge of a realistic time frame for it’s successful completion ? Any information or reports pertaining to my goal here would be appreciated.

  2. In regards to your question, I can give you a general time frame. I have a family member who is currently going through this process but she is already married to an American citizen. You might think this should speed up the whole deal. I understand that it will take around 1-year for all of the details to be worked out. Still seems like a long time under the circumstances!!

    In your case since you are not married it could possibly take at least this long. But, don`t plan a quick wedding, these things take time and I am sure she is worth the wait…

  3. Don’t hold your breath in reference to the visa free travel to the US for Latvians for the moment (a long moment). Any consideration will be based on a formula that looks at the % of abuses and overstays of the total visas issued. I found a web site that showed where Latvia was in reference to the acceptable ratio a while ago. At that time it did not look good. If I find this site again I will post it.
    Its a shame that a small % can spoil it for everyone. Wish you and your Latvian lady the best.

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