Uniform or Schengen visa
Uniform or Schengen visa is a visa that gives a foreigner the right to stay in Latvia and in other Schengen member states – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Estonia, Island, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, Spain, Hungary, Germany and Sweden - for a period indicated in visa sticker (a visa that is territorially valid in the entire territory of the Schengen Agreement member states). Uniform visa has three categories – A, B and C – depending on the purpose of the entry:
A category - Airport transit visa
According to the Common Consular Instructions, Annex 3, it is an airport transit visa allowing to stay in an international transit zone that is required for citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka or foreigners holding travel documents issued by the aforementioned countries who are between the flights or need to change an airplane from one international flight to another and therefore traverse the international transit areas without entering the territory of the respective state. However, there are several exceptions when an airport transit visa for the citizens of these countries is not needed (the Common Consular Instructions, Annex 3). About specific cases, please, consult the consular officer of the relevant representation. The requirement for this category of visa is an exception to the common right to visa-free transit through the transit areas of international airports.
B category – Transit visa
Uniform visa may be issued for transit through Schengen member states from one of the third countries to another. It is a transit visa that gives the right to cross the territories of Schengen member states once, twice or several times. The maximum time allowed to a foreigner to stay in a Schengen member state during one transit is 5 days.
C category - Short-term visa
A uniform visa can be issued for a short-term visit to a Schengen member state. It is a short-term visa which, depending upon the purpose of the visit, can be issued for one, two or multiple entries. The entry means that the border is crossed between a Schengen and a non-Schengen state. A foreigner holding a C category visa may stay ina Schengen state up to 90 days in a half-year period, as of the first crossing of the border between a Schengen member state and a non-Schengen state and, provided that he/she complies with the purpose of entry indicated in the application for the visa, can enter and stay in the entire Schengen area.
B or C category visa with a limiter territorial validity
If a foreigner needs to enter a Schengen member state but there are circumstances forbidding him or her to have a uniform visa valid in all Schengen member states, he or she may be granted a visa with a limited territorial validity. It means that visa is not valid for entering all Schengen member states, but only those indicated on the visa sticker. If it is said on the visa sticker that visa is valid only for Latvia, a foreigner is barred from entering other Schengen member states.
Visas with limited territorial validity may be issued for transit or a short-term visit to a Schengen member state not exceeding 90 days in a half-year period.
Under the RL Immigration Law in the border checkpoints specified by the Cabinet of Ministers B and C category visas and B and C category visas with a limited territorial validity can be issued in the following cases:
- to foreign seamen who in accordance with international law cross the border of the Republic of Latvia and stay in the Republic of Latvia;
- by a single individual permission of the Head of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Matters, the Head of the State Border Guards,the Director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or his authorised officers in the events conforming to international laws, in the state interests of Latvia or due to force majeure or humane reasons.
D category - LONG-TERM VISA
Visa is granted for stays exceeding 3 months in a half-year period and is valid for staying throghout the period indicated in the visa only in the territory of the Schengen member state that has issued the visa. Schengen member states issue long-term visas in accordance with their national laws and regulations.
This visa is also valid to cross other Schengen member states in transit once only – in order to reach the territory of the state that has issued the visa, provided that the holder of the long-term visa complies with the entry regulations referred to in Article 5 of Schengen Borders Code.
More information: http://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/
Information on the procedure of crossing the border of the Republic of Latvia is available on the website of the State Border Guards www.rs.gov.lv, or by calling T: 67075616.