Work and travel in Latvia: International Experience Canada

Fun facts about Latvia

  • The design of Latvia’s flag has been in use since 1280, making it one of the world’s oldest.
  • Latvian tailor Jacob W. Davis (Jākobs Jufess), along with Levi Strauss, patented the first blue jeans in 1873. Davis also started his family in Canada.
  • In terms of internet speed, Latvia is consistently ranked in the top ten countries in the world.

What Latvia offers

Latvia is one of Europe’s greenest countries with around 54 percent of Latvia being forest. Latvia has approximately 12,000 rivers and 3,000 small lakes. The coastal lines extend 498 kilometres along the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Rīga. Latvia has three large harbours, Rīga, Ventspils and Liepāja. These harbours and Riga International Airport make Latvia a regional transportation hub with efficient high quality transport services.

At the Venta Rapids in Kuldīga you can take in Europe’s widest waterfall, stretching up to 270 metres. In spring, you can see fish jumping up the rapids as they head for spawning sites. Bungee jump 43 metres from a gondola overlooking the beautiful valley in the Gauja National Park near Sigulda or fly like a bird in the powerful air stream generated by the Aerodium wind tunnel.

Immerse yourself in Latvian tradition by taking a hike to look for wild mushrooms or take part in traditional song and dance. Latvian culture has over 1.2 million folk songs with some dating back over a thousand years giving you a glimpse of past Latvian life and tradition. If you are a fan of contemporary art, visit the culture centre located in the Arsenal building of the Daugavpils Fortress where you can see the work of world-renowned painter Mark Rothko. Riga, Latvia’s capital, is home to over 800 beautiful architectural Art Nouveau buildings, many created by genius Mikhail Eisenstein.

Given the size of its forests, it’s no surprise that the lumber industry is the nation’s main exporter of products with plywood leading the way. Latvia also produces a diverse range of pharmaceuticals and chemical goods making it global leaders in these industries.

Who can apply?

To work in Latvia through the Youth Exchange Programme, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen
  • be 18-35 years old (inclusive)
  • live in Canada when applying, and
  • have a Canadian passport that’s valid for at least 3 months more than the length of your stay
    • for example, if you’re staying in Latvia for 6 months, your passport must be valid for at least 9 months

Other requirements may apply. Check Latvia’s website for more details.

What type of work visa do I need?

You need to apply for a residency permit and specify that you are applying under the Agreement Concerning Exchanges of Young Citizens.

The residency permit has three categories:

Category a

Young Canadians, including post-secondary graduates who want to get additional training in Latvia through a pre-arranged contract of employment (job offer) to support their career development.

Category b

Registered post-secondary students who want to complete part of their academic curriculum in Latvia through a pre-arranged contract of employment or internship offer. This can include arranged agreements between post-secondary institutions.

Category c (Working Holiday)

Young Canadians who want to travel to Latvia and work temporarily to help fund their trip.

Do I need a formal job or internship offer?

Yes, you need a job offer (Pre-arranged contract of employment) or a formal internship offer if you apply to:

  • Category a
  • Catgory b

No, you don’t need one if you apply to category c.

How long can I stay and work?

You can stay and work in Latvia for up to 12 months.

You can participate in Latvia’s Youth Exchange Programme two times. Your second participation must be in a different category and there must be a break between the two participations.

How do I apply?

You can apply in person or by mail to the Embassy of Latvia in Ottawa.

Plan your trip

The best way to make sure your trip is the experience of a lifetime is to plan. Review our travel checklist to find out what you should know or do before travelling to, and working in a foreign country.

More resources

Need more help planning? Contact a recognized organization.

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