ESTA for Latvian Citizens -

ESTA for Latvian Citizens

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Latvia became members of the Visa Waiver Program in 2008, which enables citizens of Latvia to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) instead of the much more complicated process of applying for a US visa.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • Remains valid for up to 2 years or until the linked passport expires
  • All individuals including children must have their own ESTA
  • The same ESTA can be used for multiple visit to the US
  • Travel authorisation must be obtained when visiting US
  • Limited to 90-day visits in the US
  • Can only be used for tourism, business, medical and transit purposes
Application for Latvian Citizens

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Latvian Citizens

As members of the Visa Waiver Program, citizens of Latvia are able to enjoy the many benefits of applying for an ESTA rather than a US Visa. One of these benefits includes being able to obtain travel authorisation to visit the US very quickly , often within 24 hours of submitting the application. In some cases, the ESTA processing can take longer, therefore it is recommended that applicants leave at least 72 hours in between application and their travel.

As well as the quick processing, another benefit of using an ESTA is that it can be used multiple times for visits to the US. As long as the biometric passport that the ESTA is linked to is still valid, the ESTA will be valid for two years.

The online application form takes around 10 minutes to complete and then the application is submitted electronically, ready to be screened by the US authorities.

How Latvian Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Citizens of Latvia require a biometric passport in order to apply for their ESTA and will also need to have a valid email address and a card that they can make the application fee with. The whole application process is completed digitally, there is no requirement for the applicant to attend an interview at the US embassy. Citizens from countries that are not in the Visa Waiver Program must attend a US Embassy interview to get a Visa if they want to visit the US.

The questions on the application form include name, address, date of birth, medical questions and criminal convictions. They also include details related to travel to certain countries for screening terrorism links.

When the form has been completed, the applicant should check through all of the details they provided to make sure there are no errors. If there is an error on the application this will usually lead to it getting declined.

Passport Requirements for the US ESTA

If an individual wants to travel to the USA using an ESTA, one of the requirements is to have a valid passport from a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program.

Also, the passport must meet certain conditions:

  • An image of the individual should be on their travel document, which must be readable by machines.
  • The passport needs to remain valid for a minimum period of six months from the day of the traveler's proposed visit to America.

How Long Does It Take to Get an ESTA From Latvia?

The US Department of Homeland Security analyzes Latvian nationals' requests once they submit their application forms. The approval process is typically completed in 2 business days, with many ESTAs being granted in hours or less.

However, note that in rare cases it make take up to 72 days to get your travel authorization.

After confirming that the application is in order and that all conditions have been met, an email will be issued to the Latvian applicant confirming that their ESTA has been granted.

How Much in Advance Do You Need to Apply for an ESTA?

Getting your ESTA sorted out timely is highly recommended. Ideally, you should submit your application 72 hours before departure, or as soon as you purchase the plain tickets.

However, if you forgot to do this ahead of your trip, ESTA applications can still be submitted at the airport before boarding your flight. Please keep in mind that this can cause potential problems, as sometimes the approval can take longer than expected.

ESTA Validity: How Long Does This Travel Authorization Last?

The expiration date of ESTA is counted from its issuance, and the period for which it holds value endures for two years.

It is very important to take care of the validity period of your passport because if the passport expires before the ESTA, the ESTA will not be valid anymore.

Under What Circumstances Will Latvian Citizen Need a New ESTA?

There are several circumstances in which a user will need a new ESTA:

  • In the case of gender change;
  • In case of a name change;
  • If the answers to the ESTA eligibility questions have changed;
  • If the passport expires;
  • If the person gets a new passport.

Who Is Not Eligible for ESTA?

Not all travelers are eligible to receive an ESTA. Individuals who have been arrested, convicted of a crime, and suffer from contagious diseases as well as those who were deported from USA cannot utilize the ESTA program. These individuals need to obtain an appropriate visa insted.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

In the event that an ESTA is declined, the applicant may be able to resubmit another application if there were some details that were incorrect on the declined application. If, however, the application was declined because the applicant did not fit the criteria required then the next option is to apply for a US Visa through the US embassy.

US Embassy in Latvia

U.S. Embassy Riga
1 Samnera Velsa St. (former Remtes)
Riga LV-1510

US ESTA vs US Visa: What Is the Difference?

There are significant differences between ESTA and visa. Here are some crucial ones:

  • Obtaining ESTE is much simpler and can be applied for online. The process of obtaining a visa is significantly longer and the individual must go to the US Embassy in their country to apply for it.
  • ESTA costs are lower compared to visa costs.
  • Visa gives much greater privileges to users and guarantees entry into the USA, while approved ESTA does not mean safe entry into the USA.
  • ESTA can be used exclusively for a stay that will not exceed 90 days, while a visa enables a longer stay.

In What Cases Will a Latvian National Need a Visa Instead of an ESTA?

Sometimes, Latvians must use a visa instead of an ESTA. Below is a list of situations when a visa is necessary:

  • When a traveler intends to come to the USA aboard a Visa Waiver Program non-signatory air carrier;
  • If travel wants to visit the USA for more than 90 days at once
  • When an individual doesn't meet the conditions for getting an ESTA
  • If the Latvian citizen is going to the USA for a reason other than short-term touris, transit, business or medial reasons.
Do Latvians Who Are Dual Citizens of the United States or Canada Need an ESTA?

Latvian citizens who possess dual citizenship in either the United States or Canada do not need to apply for an ESTA. They only need to use their Canadian or USA passports when entering America.

Do Latvian Underage Travelers Have to Apply for an ESTA?
  • Each person that travels to the US has to be granted an approved ESTA, no matter if they're a minor or adult.
  • Parents or legal guardians can submit the ESTA application on behalf of their children. Once approved, the ESTA will automatically be linked to the child's passport.
  • Parents can submit the ESTA applications for their children in the same way as for themselves.
  • If parents are traveling with more than one child, they can also complete a group ESTA application to speed up the application process.

NOTE: in addition to ESTA approval, children must also have their own passports, separate from their parents’ documennts.

Benefits of ESTA for Latvian Citizens:
  • Much faster than visa application
  • Costs less than visa application fee
  • Shorter form to complete
  • All processed digitally
  • Use for US visits of up to 90 days
  • Multiple visits to US with same ESTA
Where Can I Learn More About ESTA?

You can get more information before starting your application by visiting the Frequently Asked Questions and ESTA requirements page on our website.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Yes, it is - Latvia became a member of the Visa Waiver Program in 2008, which enables citizens of Latvia to use an ESTA instead of the much more complicated process of applying for a US visa.
The length of stay and purpose of the trip dictate whether an ESTA suffices or a visa is needed. Tourist and business travels as well as transits and trips for medical reasons of up to 90 days only require the ESTA. Other types of travel - that require longer stay or have a different purpose require a correct US visa.
If citizens of Latvia travel to the US with an approved ESTA, they can stay up to 90 days at once. ESTA approval allows multiple entries, but they can’t exceed the 90-day limit. In case they want to stay longer than this period, they must have a visa.
After Latvian nationals comple and submit their application form, the US Department of Homeland Security evaluates their request. Approval is usually fast, and takes up to 2 business days, with many ESTAs granted in less than few hours or even half an hour.
Upon verifying that the application is in order and that the requirements are met, an email will be sent to the Latvian applicant to confirm that their ESTA has been granted.