Latvia seeks visa-free rule with U.S.

The United States should enact a visa-free policy for citizens of Latvia, or at least decrease the application fee, Latvian Interior Minister Ēriks Jēkabsons told American officials in an April 4 meeting in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. State Department will review its policy, according to a press release posted on the Interior Ministry’s Web site.

Latvian citizens seeking nonimmigrant visas, such as tourists or students, currently pay a nonrefundable processing fee of USD 100, according to the U.S. Embassy in Rīga. In addition, they undergo a visa interview. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens visiting Latvia only have to present their passport and have proof of traveler’s medical insurance.

Latvian citizens seeking to permanently immigrate to the United States pay a USD 335 processing fee and have to travel to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, to apply.

According to 2002 statistics, the latest available, a total of 10,773 nonimmigrants from Latvia were admitted to the United States. Of those, 4,096 were visiting the United States for pleasure.

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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