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Everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Latvia

International teachers

Latvia, nestled in the Baltic region of Europe, boasts a rich cultural heritage, with its picturesque landscapes, charming cities, and vibrant arts scene.

Latvian students are often enthusiastic learners, and teaching in local schools allows educators to make a meaningful impact on young minds while fostering cross-cultural exchange and understanding.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Latvia, including visa requirements, cost of living, healthcare, cultural expectations and norms, and expat communities.


 Visa requirements for international teachers in Latvia

Visa requirements for international teachers planning to work in Latvia vary depending on your nationality, length of stay, and employment status. Generally, non-EU/EEA citizens intending to work as teachers in Latvia must obtain a long-term visa and a residence permit for employment purposes.

The process typically begins with securing a job offer from a Latvian educational institution, which serves as the basis for the visa application. Alongside the job offer, you must provide various documents, including a valid passport, passport-sized photos, proof of accommodation, a criminal background check, and evidence of qualifications or teaching credentials. Additionally, you may need to undergo a medical examination and obtain health insurance coverage.

Once in Latvia, you must register with the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) and apply for a residence permit, which allows you to legally reside and work in the country.

EU/EEA citizens have the right to live and work in Latvia without a visa, but they must still register their residence with the OCMA if staying longer than three months.

For detailed information, visit the Latvian government website.


Cost of living for international teachers in Latvia

The cost of living for international teachers in Latvia is generally moderate compared to many Western European countries, making it an attractive destination for educators seeking affordability without sacrificing quality of life.

Housing expenses constitute a significant portion of the budget, with rental prices varying based on location, size, and amenities. Accommodations in urban areas like Riga, the capital city, may be slightly more expensive compared to smaller towns or rural areas, but overall, rental costs remain reasonable.

Utilities such as electricity, water, heating, and internet are typically affordable, although prices may fluctuate seasonally. Groceries and dining out are also reasonably priced, with a variety of options available to suit different budgets and tastes.

Public transportation in Latvia is efficient and cost-effective, providing teachers with easy access to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage, scenic landscapes, and historic sites.

Additionally, healthcare costs in Latvia are generally affordable, especially for those covered by the national health insurance system, although private healthcare options are available for those seeking additional services or amenities.

Cost of living in Riga (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment in city centre – $525 per month
Rent for one-bedroom apartment outside city centre – $350 per month
Loaf of bread – $1.45
Litre of milk – $1.25
12 eggs – $2.80
Takeaway coffee – $3.30
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $65.35
Meal at inexpensive restaurant – $10.90


Healthcare for international teachers in Latvia

Latvia boasts a comprehensive network of public hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities, particularly in urban areas like Riga and major regional centres. International teachers may access healthcare services through the national health insurance system, which provides coverage for essential medical care, including doctor visits, hospitalisation, and prescription medications.

EU/EEA citizens can often access healthcare services using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the Temporary S1 form. For non-EU/EEA citizens, private health insurance may be necessary to cover medical expenses, although some employers offer health insurance as part of their employment package.

Private healthcare options are also available in Latvia, offering shorter wait times and more personalised care, albeit at a higher cost. International teachers should register with a general practitioner (GP) upon arrival in Latvia to access primary care services and referrals to specialists if needed.

Many international schools in Latvia offer health insurance as part of their employment package.


Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Latvia

Latvian society places a strong emphasis on respect, honesty, and punctuality, and teachers are generally expected to demonstrate these qualities in their professional and personal interactions.

Maintaining a professional demeanour, even in casual settings, is highly valued, and teachers should strive to address others with proper titles and use formal language, particularly with older individuals or those in positions of authority. Additionally, punctuality is essential, and teachers are expected to arrive on time for meetings, classes, and social gatherings.

Building strong relationships with students, colleagues, and parents is key to success as an international teacher in Latvia. Latvians value honesty and transparency in communication, and teachers are encouraged to communicate openly and directly with students and parents about academic expectations, progress, and concerns.

Additionally, demonstrating empathy, patience, and understanding towards students from diverse backgrounds can foster a positive and inclusive learning environment.

Religion plays a minor role in Latvian society, with a majority of the population identifying as non-religious or Lutheran Protestant. As such, religious customs and practices are not widely observed in schools, and teachers should refrain from promoting or discussing religious topics in the classroom.


Expat communities for international teachers in Latvia

Expat communities for international teachers in Latvia offer valuable support networks, social connections, and resources to help navigate the challenges of living and working abroad. While Latvia may not have as large or established expatriate communities as some other countries, expat teachers can still find camaraderie and solidarity among fellow educators from diverse backgrounds.

These communities are often centred around international schools and educational institutions in major cities like Riga, where expat teachers may connect through school-sponsored events, social gatherings, and professional development opportunities. Additionally, online forums, social media groups, and expat-focused websites serve as valuable platforms for information-sharing, networking, and seeking advice on various aspects of expatriate life.

Expatriate organisations and clubs may organise cultural events, language exchanges, and recreational activities, providing opportunities for socialising, exploring Latvian culture, and building friendships with both expatriates and locals.

Participating in expat communities not only enhances the social and cultural experience of teaching in Latvia but also provides a support system and sense of belonging amidst the challenges of living abroad.


Schrole international schools in Latvia

Ready to find out what Latvia has to offer you? Explore Schrole international schools in Latvia now:

International School of Latvia

Full access

To career opportunities across the globe

$50 USD per year
Paid membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of 400+ international schools representing 100+ countries.
  • 5,000+ teaching vacancies every recruitment season.
  • Unlimited number of job applications.
  • Custom alerts so you’re the first to hear when your preferred roles are posted.
  • Access to virtual and in-person recruitment events with school leaders and recruiters.

Limited access

To career opportunities across the globe

Free membership
  • Ability to create a unique educator profile that holds your references and important documents, such as teaching qualifications, all in one location.
  • Access to our entire database of schools to discover your next teaching role.
  • Submission of three job applications.

When we had a teacher decide to take another job in mid-July, we were left with few options. Historically, it was a tough position to fill. Within 24 hours of posting the position on Schrole, we were able to offer a contract to a more-qualified educator.

Matthew R Merritt Secondary School Principal
KPIS International School
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KPIS International School