Published: 18.03.2022

Financial services to Ukrainian refugees in Latvia

Latvia strongly condemns Russia’s war in Ukraine. Public and local government authorities of the Republic of Latvia and its residents are prepared to take in Ukrainian people who are fleeing the war these difficult times. This is a summary of most relevant information for Ukrainian citizens in relation to financial services in Latvia.

Will the banks open accounts for Ukrainian citizens – refugees?

In accordance with Section 7 (1), Clause 6 of the Law on Support for Ukrainian Civilians the State of Latvia provides basic accounts for Ukrainian civilians within the meaning of the Law on Payment Services and Electronic Money, regardless of whether the Ukrainian civilian complies with the conditions of Section 97.(2) of the Law on Payment Services and Electronic Money. This means that no documentary proof of refugee status is required when opening a basic account. Only a Ukrainian citizen passport or ID card is required to open a basic account with bank in Latvia.

Latvian credit institutions and financial institutions are prepared to open payment accounts for Ukrainian refugees. More information is available on the statement of Latvia’s Financial Sector Association and on the info page about opening an account for Ukrainian citizens.

To find out more about opening an account and issuing a payment card, please contact the specific bank before visiting it. It should be noted that most banks serve customers in person only upon previous appointment.

May payment cards issued by Ukrainian banks be used in Latvia?

Payment cards of Ukrainian banks in VISA and MasterCard payment network should be used because Ukrainian banks have worked on business continuity issues and leading banks have taken steps to ensure backup solutions.

At the same time, Ukrainian citizens are invited to approach the responsible authorities in Latvia, local government authorities, non-governmental organisations and ask for the necessary assistance. More information on available support in Latvia.

Is it possible to exchange Ukrainian hryvnias to the euro at Latvia's currency exchange offices?

In Latvia, currency exchange services are provided by private companies. Given the uncertainties regarding exchange rate fluctuations caused by Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, exchange of Ukrainian hryvnias to the euro may be cumbersome. A number of currency exchange offices have stated that they provide these services to a limited extent and only to Ukrainian refugees (according to the situation at the beginning of March, it may dynamically develop, therefore please apply to currency exchange offices to specify opportunities to exchange currency):

  • Tavex (Riga, Elizabetes ielā 21A, shopping malls “Akropole”, “Alfa”, “Mols”, “Origo”, “Spice Home”). More information
  • Romkons (Riga, Elizabetes ielā 91/93, Merķeļa ielā 12),
  • Eiro ars (Riga, Marijas ielā 1).

Moreover, please approach the responsible authorities in Latvia, local government authorities, non-governmental organisations and ask for the necessary assistance, possibly it is not necessary to spend all cash stock with you. More information on available support in Latvia.

Economic effects