USA Transit Visa Guide for Latvian Travelers

Embarking on a journey that takes you through the United States, even if just in transit, encompasses more than just booking a flight; it requires a bit of planning, especially when it comes to the necessary travel documentation. For Latvian citizens, who share in the experiences of a diverse culture and rich history, visiting or transiting through the US can be an exciting prospect. The lush landscapes, towering skylines, and melting pot of cultures in America often make for a memorable venture. But before you can enjoy a layover tour of New York City or a quick visit to the landmarks of Los Angeles, it’s essential to address the legalities of your transit visa requirements.

Travelers from Latvia intending to pass through the United States en route to another destination need to be acquainted with the ESTA – the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. By understanding and obtaining an ESTA, you can ensure a smooth journey with no unnecessary interruptions. So, let’s delve into the specifics of acquiring this travel authorization and facilitate your hassle-free transit through the US.

Do Latvian Citizens Need a Transit Visa for the USA?

Latvia is one of the countries part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which means that Latvian citizens are eligible to apply for an ESTA. Since a traditional visa is not required for short visits or transits under 90 days, the ESTA serves as the necessary authorization for Latvians traveling through, or to, the United States. This includes instances where the US is simply a transit point en route to another international destination.

It is vital to note that the ESTA is not a visa, but a travel authorization which, once obtained, will be linked electronically to your passport. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and enables officials to pre-screen travelers before they embark on their journey.

How to Obtain a Transit ESTA as a Latvian Citizen

Acquiring an ESTA for transit purposes involves the following steps:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types: PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, & Credit Card.
  3. Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization and that’s it, you’re ready to go!

If you are in need of your ESTA more swiftly due to imminent travel plans, we also provide expedited processing options. Simply select your preferred add-on at checkout to ensure you get your travel authorization in time for your transit through the US.

When Should Latvian Citizens Apply for an ESTA?

Although the processing of an ESTA application can be fast, it is recommended to apply at least 72 hours before your intended travel date. This window provides enough time for the processing and alleviates the stress of last-minute complications. Should there be any issues with your initial application, this timeframe allows for corrections or inquiries to be made.

Duration and Validity of a Transit ESTA for Latvians

A successfully issued ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Within this period, you can use your ESTA for multiple entries into the United States, whether for transit, tourism, or business, provided that each stay does not exceed 90 days.

Keep in mind, if your passport is renewed or changed for any reason, you will need to apply for a new ESTA, as it is linked to the particular passport used during the application process.

Conditions and Limitations

While an ESTA simplifies the process of transiting through the United States for Latvian citizens, there are certain conditions and limitations to be aware of:

  • The ESTA cannot be extended; each stay must be within the 90-day limit.
  • You must possess an e-passport that has a digital chip containing biometric information.
  • The ESTA is for transit, tourist or business purposes only. Employment or long-term studies are not permitted.

For a comprehensive list of VWP countries, including Latvia, please refer to our guide on VWP countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use an ESTA to enter the USA by land from Canada or Mexico?
Yes, an ESTA is acceptable for entries into the US via air, sea, or land.

2. What if I’m transiting through the US to another country?
You will still require an ESTA in this case—at the point of initial boarding, the authorities will need to verify your ESTA approval.

3. How do I know if my ESTA is still valid?
You can check your ESTA status on the website where you applied. If you are unsure or need assistance, we are here to help.

4. Does the ESTA guarantee entry into the United States?
An approved ESTA allows you to board a carrier bound for the US. However, the final admission is granted by Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry.


For Latvian nationals transiting through the United States, acquiring an ESTA is a straightforward process that ensures legal compliance with U.S. entry requirements. By taking care of this essential step, you can focus on the more exciting aspects of your travels. Prepare ahead and travel with ease, enjoying the knowledge that your transit through the US will be as smooth as possible.

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