Help with relocating from the Uk to Riga to live and work

Im a 36 year old working Telesales professional who works from home in Wales. I actually work for an English company and could work from anywhere in the world as long as I have a desk, A Phone, Phone line and Internet. I am a British Citizan who is very interested in moving to Riga to live and work. Before doing this I have some questions and was hoping that I might be able to get some advice from other people who have moved to Riga to live. I was wondering if anybody knows the cost of calls from Latvia to the UK. As my job requires me to make 100s of phone calls per week. I need to know that the rate of calls to the UK is not much higher than calling the UK from the UK. I know when I lived in Australia it was actually cheaper for me to call the UK than it was to make local calls and wondered if this might be similar in Latvia? Does anybody know the main names of Phone companies so that I might be able to enquire about phone call rates please? If I relocated to Latvia Is it a flat 25% tax rate from my monthly pay? Other than that are there any other deductions that would have to be deducted from my monthly pay? Is it possible to access any English speaking television stations in Latvia? I dont mind if I have to pay for satelite, only concerned that I would be able to access. Also could someone please advise the cost of say a 1 bedroom flat in the city centre of Riga. I would be interested in living in an area that is close to Bars, Clubs, Restaurants and Supermarkets. Could anyone please advise of a good area of Riga that offers easy access to all of these? Also if I wanted to learn the local language are there Latvian/English teachers that are easily accesible? All your advice and help will be much appreciated. Thanks Scott


Are you planning to work for the local company or just to live here and work for the British company? If you just live here, then there are no deductions from your salary - all taxes are paid in the UK.

If you plan to work for the local company, then there are two options - register as a local self-employed and pay taxes yourself (bookkeeping is dead easy) or become an employee and get taxes paid by the company you work for. In both cases you pay 25%.

Companies to look at for calling the UK are Bite and Tele2. I personally use Bite and call the UK frequently. They both have options for frequent callers as well as Business support - you can choose whatever suits you.

There are not many options for TV channels, but you can try Baltcom, since smaller companies use their system. I personally know of BBC News, CNN News, Eurosport, Euronews, MTV, Discovery, NatGeo and that's about it. Other British channels are available online.

Apartment and teacher prices can be found on (you can use google translate service, since it's only in RUS and LV) or probably someone will come and help you out here :)

I read that if you want to apply for a residence permit on a 'self-employed basis, that you have to submit a "business plan".  Check with PMLP ( for the details (which aren't that easy to find.)

I am not sure EU citizens even need a residence permit. UK is in the EEA, so you have most priveledges of the locals. I am self-employed, I didn't have to submit any business plans. They (VID - tax agency) just checked my dimplomas - this helps them decide whether you are qualified for what you plan to do.

ahh - good point.  I didn't have that luxury.

Hi Both,

Thanks for responses. If im honest I was planning on working for the British company where i work now, I was just planning on doing my calls from my apartment in Latvia. I did see some where though that if you are in Latvia for say 183 days of a year then I have to get paid in Latvian currency and that my work pay Latvian taxes instead of British. You sound as though you know your stuff though so maybe thats not the case...

Thank you for the names of the phone companies, I plan to send them emails later this evening to try and get some sort of idea of phone call rates etc.

Also thanks for mentioning the English Television Stations. I think its important whilst i'm getting settled. I am also hoping to maybe start learning Latvian and possibly some Russian as well as think it might be quite important if i'm living there.

Thanks for recommending the SS.LV website, I did have a look earlier but must admit I found it a little confusing. I will try and have another look later though.

A few properties say Center - I'm guessing this means they are in the city centre of Riga? And would guess that this means they are close to everything such as Supermarkets, Cafes, Restaurants and Bars etc? Or is there an area of Riga called Center.

I guess I'm trying to find a convenient area so that if I know the cost of say a 1 bedroom apartment, I can then start budgeting and also guess that If im in a central position then wont require a monthly Bus or Train ticket. And will only have to purchase as and when I do some exploring etc.

I have no idea how tax system works for non-Latvians - I'm a Latvian citizen :) you can try (the tax agency) or (the immigration service).

On the Centre means the centre of Riga, yes :) There are plenty of bars, clubs, cafes and supermarkets, sportclubs and anything you could imagine, accessible by foot. There are also a couple of open markets, where you can buy local and imported fresh vegs and meat. Although almost every area of Riga has supermarkets or large grocery stores, bars, cafes and sportclubs.

Also keep in mind that it's a very small city, you can go from one border to another in just a little less (or a little over) an hour on a public transport. It's even faster by car. So it doesn't really matter, where you live - the centre is easily accessible in 20-30 mins or less almost from every point.

The most "central" and the most expensive area is Old Town, but I really would't recommend it to anyone... It's very busy 24/7, apartments are too small for that price and absolutely not worth it. The only good thing is the view :)

Thanks for the Tax websites info... I will have a good look and perhaps send a few emails. I guess I have to be sure of everything before im able to make the move etc. And of course have to discuss all this kind of stuff with my employers.

Cool I think the Centre of Riga sounds like a good place for me to live. I like being close to everything :)

Although Im British I spent alot of years in Sydney and always lived close to the City Centre. I have never learnt to drive so I like living close to everything. It sounds excellent that everything is so close on Buses/Trains etc though. I'm sure I will want to do some exploring once im settled.

Also sounds good that there are local open Markets, I think they are great for fresh fruit and vegetables. And I know in England their usually quite reasonable for meat as well. And the Markets are quite nice to have a look at especially on a nice summers day.

I will keep in mind your advice regarding Old Town. I will concentrate on Central Riga. Could you advise how far on foot Old Town is from the centre though please. As it might still be a place worth visiting, perhaps just not living there if the places are too small.

Thanks Scott

Old Town is the centre of the Centre :) it's just an area with lots of reconstructed old buildings - 13-14-15th century. It's very small and can be seen in a 20 minute nice, relaxed walk. Very popular with tourists and foreigners, so you have a very good chance of meeting someone from UK or other countries.

The Centre is bigger, but again.. you can walk from one end to another in about 20 minutes fast paced. You can actually look at the map - everything is nicely located, with a shop or a cafe on every corner. There are also a few parks in the centre.

Wow, It sounds amazing and I love a city with character and love the Buildings with history. Having spent many years in Australia, it doesnt really have any old Buildings as the country is only just over 200 years old. I must say Latvia sounds my kind of place, I can see myself sitting in the park on a nice summers day or at least sitting outside one of the many cafes :)
The company where I work told me I could work for them from Australia when i was thinking of returning earlier this year so cant see them minding me living in Latvia, and I might as well take advantage of having a European/British passport. I have always wanted to live in another Country and the research I have done so far - Sounds as though Latvia is the place for me to live. I cant actually make the move until June/July but I guess that will be the best time anyway as it will summer :)
I now have to just do my research about call costs. Bite replied to me but it was confusing as they replied saying calls cost 0.31Ls per minute to the EU, I asked them though how much calls were to the UK from Latvia. I was hoping they would tell me how much call connection cost and then how much per minute. Also didnt manage to find out cost of installation yet either. I also asked if they had unlimited Internet and they said no and the highest they have is 15GB. I have had no response from the other phone company you recommended yet. I did send them a message yesterday though. Hoping that they tell me a good rate on calls as this will make it much easier for me to move.

Scott1975 wrote:

Hi Both,

Thanks for responses. If im honest I was planning on working for the British company where i work now, I was just planning on doing my calls from my apartment in Latvia. I did see some where though that if you are in Latvia for say 183 days of a year then I have to get paid in Latvian currency and that my work pay Latvian taxes instead of British.

Hi. If I recall correctly it is 183 nights spent outside UK. This is convenient for some Monday-Friday commuters throughout the eurozone. Bearing in mind that Latvia has no border controls with other European countries, making cross-border traffic untraceable, I would not worry too much about being asked to justify your residence to the Latvian tax authorities. You could be travelling around Europe for all they care, staying in Vilnius one night, and Tallinn the other. This was the trick that got Boris Becker the tennis player into trouble with the German tax authorities - an overenthusiastic fan kept newspaper articles cataloging his movements, meaning the German tax authorities were able to prove he was effectively still tax resident for some years when he claimed otherwise.

The difficulty for UK citizens is to become non-resident, which goes beyond the 183 days rule to some percentage over a 3 year period if I recall correctly. So unless you are planning to live outside the UK for a long time, non-residency is not really an option.

Regarding getting cheap telephone calls. It could be worth investigating VOIP (Voice over IP) services, the most popular of which is Skype, although there are also local providers in Latvia (e.g. Tilts Visiem, or There are lots of providers who allow you to route calls through their telephony servers, and a lot depends on what features you want. For example, if you just want to make outbound calls, phoning from your computer, then a Skypelike service would be suitable. If you need to receive incoming calls, say with a UK number while living in Latvia, then you need a private number and call forwarding service.

Probably more information than you needed :)

Cheers, Scott

I totally agree with scott_latvia - we have open borders and nobody will even know, when you've arrived and left. You get out of the country before 183 days are over, travel to Lithuania for a couple of days and come back.

The thing is - you don't get anything from paying your taxes here. Even locals avoid it as much as they can, using any legal opportunity (we don't mention illegal options here). And it's not because we are such smart A's. It's because we hate being lied to, just as any other nation.

Bite doesn't provide internet, try Baltcom or Baltikom - you can get phone (home number), TV and Internet package with a discount. The Internet is unlimited (unless you use it on your mobile), it's just the speed that is limited. But trust me, Internet in Latvia is way better that in the UK - the speed, availablity and price.

The package costs about 11-12Ls/month (it's about 14-15 GBP) + 20Ls (or 25-28 GBP) for installation. If you are just using Interet+TV or Internet+phone, it's going to be cheaper.

Bear in mind that Bite and Tele2 are MOBILE operators, while Baltcom and Baltikom provide home phone numbers. It's cheaper to call from home to home number or from mobile to mobile. You can get both, as many Latvians do :)


Well I must admit you have both given me lots to think about. And Scott I promise there is never too much information when your thinking about living in a foreign Country where the main language isnt English. I know I can say I have lived in different states of Australia, when you think about the sheer size of Australia its almost like living in different countries :) and then  I look at the fact I have also lived in England and Wales. The truth though is that i grew up in all of those Countries so know them all very well. I have always wanted to live somewhere different and Latvia sounds like an amazing place to do that. The weather suits me as well as from the sounds of things the climate is quite nice in the summer and its not too cold in the winters.

The truth is I dont know if I will get the answers to all of my questions before I manage to make the move. I want to thank everybody that has responded so far though as Im already sensing a community amongst this forum and already starting to get the idea that Latvia is a special place.

It sounds as though 183 day rule and 3 year rules are quite complicated so I think I will have to do some more thinking before doing anything silly. I noticed a story on the Internet similar to that of Boris Becker and dont know how I would feel if I had a knock on my door asking me for taxes. I dont mind where I pay my taxes as I think overall I pay about 25% in the Uk anyway, although that includes other contributions which include healthcare etc.

I must admit though I hadnt given any thought to the fact there are so many Countries close that I could just jump on a train or a bus and be in another Country! You have all given me another reason to live in your beautiful Country! :)

I have now had a response from Lattelecom. They didnt answer all my questions but they gave me examples of phone plans they have such as 800 minutes of calls to the UK for 19.90 LVL per month. I'm guessing they will also have plans for people who require more etc. They didnt respond about Internet though. Do either of you think they might offer packages like Baltcom or Baltikom which offer bundles for both phone and internet? I will indeed have to get some sort of plan that maybe offers a mobile phone as well as think its important having the whole bundle...

Scott, I have Skype but i'm not certain what the call quality would be like calling landlines in the UK and due to the nature of my work I will require a perfect sounding phoneline so think I will have to look at a traditional method? I havent thought about having a call forwarding number. That is a very good point though and the fact is I would want to have a number that clients could call so that they would still think I was in the UK.

From the sounds of thing it sounds as though the internet is quite fast over there... If i'm honest I'm unsure how much I actually require. I use a database, and the usual things such as email and thats about it so guess in actual fact I might not require unlimited if there is a high bandwidth to start with...

I am interested to here where you all relocated from and how you found the initial few weeks or months of moving to Latvia. Did any of you already speak any Latvian or Russian?

I did see somewhere that allot of the foods sold in supermarkets there are imported and have English labels on. The rest though seem to have Russian on and the labels on the shelves are in Latvian?

I have already decided that when I make the move initially I will do some private classes to learn some basic Latvian and Russian and then I think I will focus on either Latvian or Russian so hopefully I can eventually learn to have enough for conversation.

I'm guessing that i will have to pay for private health Insurance? Does anybody recommend a particular company and could you please advise how much monthly it might cost me?



There are no good options for healthcare insurance - it's not like in the UK, where your taxes cover pretty much everything. That's the whole point - you just pay the government, not getting anything out of it. Technically, healthcare for locals is free, but in reality you have to either wait MONTHS or pay. There are plenty of private clinics and the prices are not sky high. You can also get a paid healthcare at the national hospitals.

You might want to register with the GP (there is a large healthcare clinic ARS in the centre), but really you can just call any doctor you need (optometrist, denstist or any other, depending on your problem) and make an appointment. Clinics are usually open 8am till 7-8pm every day, most are open on Sat and some even on Sun.

As for the internet - we don't have limited one, it's ALL unlimited :) It's not like you get a package of 500mb/month and that's all you can use. You can usually get either 20 mbit/sec or 100 mbit/sec (that's the speed) - the price is not much different. Most people use 100 mbit/sec both at work and at home. If you are downloading something (and we do A LOT - torrents, movies, music, etc.), the speed is fantastic. Obviously, it supports any normal (and even heavy) inernet activity. Also, there is usually a 24/7 support, every day! You can virtually call your provider any time, if you have a problem, and get help.

Lattelecom is one of the most expensive (and bad) companies. It's the oldest, but they don't really care about their clients that much. My grandma uses Baltcom landline for calling my parents in the UK and it's perfect.

There is no mobile/landline package from the same company - you go to a mobile operator (it's dead easy and takes about 5-10 minutes to get a sim card) and then go to Baltcom, for example, to get your landline. They are not connected, you can change plans/packages as you wish and get the support you need. For example, if you see that you are using less minutes, you can just change your mobile plan or landline/TV/Iternet package to what is more suitable.

As for the food - yes, most of it is imported and you will find labels in English. There are also labels in Russian, but the price tags are in Latvian. But really, milk is milk, cheese is cheese, meat is meat :) You can just try different products and see what you like more. Oh, bear in mind that we keep eggs in the fridge, not on the shelves, like in the UK ))) Just had some problem with the friend, who couldn't find them for a couple of days at the supermarket.

I am Latvian, but lived for many years in Cyprus and the UK. My parents live in Glasgow and I travel around Europe on a regular basis for business.

Thanks for the tips. I will certainly keep looking around re the phone providers. The truth is that I can only sign with the company that actually responds in English :)

Yes I think the Health Insurance thing should be fine, I guess I will have to get some quotes when I get there.

And the food thing, yes I imagine I should be able to tell what most things are, and hopefully should be able to guess the rest. And maybe I will learn the names of foods and drinks in my initial language classes :)


Loving this topic folks.

I'm a Scotsman looking to move to Latvia and all of the information above has been very handy.

Also - it's nice to hear about people from the UK who are keen to move out to Latvia - definitely fills me with enthusiasm about the whole thing.

Hi I am interested in relocating to Latvia. I have a couple of queries could somebody help me. From the Latvian website I got to know that there are 3 options to obtain a temporary residence permit either you invest in shares of a company or buy a property . Please let me know the economic conditions in Latvia? Is it safe to invest in shares or property? Also please recommend a trustworthy consultant.

Thanks n Best regards,

Hi Leena,

Welcome to Expat-Blog :)

Please note that this thread is a bit old

Feel free to start a new topic with all your questions on the Latvia Forum please :)

Thank you

Expat-blog Team