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Healthcare in Latvia

On this page you will find information on the healthcare access you're entitled to and how to get it whether you're:

  • moving to, or already living in Latvia (including students)
  • visiting Latvia, for example on holiday

Your options for accessing healthcare in Latvia may change if there is a no-deal Brexit. You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances to prepare if you are moving to, visiting or living in Latvia.

Living in Latvia after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Latvia.

If you are a permanent resident in Latvia, you are entitled to access state-funded healthcare under the same conditions as Latvian nationals.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Latvia in place. For example, if you are a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will not be able to use this to access your healthcare as you do now.

The Latvian government has adopted no deal legislation in relation to the rights of UK citizens.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

If you are a UK posted worker, you need to follow any announcements from the Latvian government on the ongoing domestic healthcare reform debate to see whether you will be able to buy into the state system to continue receiving the healthcare you need on the same terms as a Latvian national. If this is not possible, you may need to get private healthcare insurance.

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Latvia and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC. You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge, when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in Latvia before exit day and you:

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

Visiting Latvia after Brexit

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national travelling to Latvia.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need. If you have any pre-existing conditions, talk with your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

This guide will be updated when there is more information on travelling to and living in Latvia.

Healthcare in Latvia until the UK leaves the EU

Finding help in an emergency

If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency in Latvia, call 112. This call is free of charge. 24-hour urgent care is available at all hospitals and some health centres (called Poliklinika).

Visiting Latvia

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you're planning to visit Latvia. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Latvia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Latvia if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Take any documents about your health condition or medication with you.

Your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read our guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Dentists

Dental services are not provided under the Latvian NHS. Ensure you have an adequate health insurance policy to cover you for any dental treatment necessary in Latvia.

Hospitals

You need a GP or specialist referral to be admitted to hospital in non-emergency situations.

Read the information about outpatient services.

Read the information about inpatient services.

Read the information about healthcare in day hospitals.

Prescriptions

Pharmacies in Latvian are called Aptieka. You will be charged for your prescriptions in full unless they are for specific conditions (including diabetes, cancer or mental health problems), in which case you will receive back 50-100% of the fees you paid.

Read the section about medicine to be reimbursed on the Latvian NHS website.

Bringing your own medicines to Latvia

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Visit GOV.UK for more information on travelling with controlled medicines.

Living in Latvia

S1 certificate

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Latvia and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Latvia. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. It is important to have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit. You can find more information under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Working in Latvia

You are entitled to the same healthcare as Latvian nationals if you are a permanent resident in Latvia.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Latvia, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Latvia.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs:

Students in Latvia

If you are a UK resident studying in Latvia, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Latvia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

The Latvian government has adopted no-deal legislation in relation to the rights of UK citizens.

The UK government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read our guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022