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LEGAL ACTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA
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The Saeima1 has adopted and
the President has proclaimed the following Law:

Law on Consular Assistance and Consular Services

Chapter I
General Provisions

Section 1.

The purpose of the Law is to provide the persons who are outside Latvia with consular assistance, and ensure the availability of the services provided by Latvian institutions and resulting from international commitments of Latvia and laws and regulations of Latvia in diplomatic and consular representations of Latvia abroad (hereinafter - the representation).

Section 2.

(1) This Law shall apply to the following:

1) the citizens and non-citizens of Latvia;

2) the persons who have been recognised as stateless persons in Latvia (hereinafter - the stateless persons);

3) the persons to whom the status of a refugee or alternative status in Latvia has been granted (hereinafter - the third-country nationals);

4) the citizens of another European Union Member State if the country of which they are citizens does not have a diplomatic or consular representation or honorary consulate providing consular assistance in the relevant country outside the European Union (hereinafter - the citizens of a Member State);

5) the family members of citizens and non-citizens of Latvia, stateless persons, third-country nationals and citizens of Members States who travel together with the relevant persons (hereinafter - the family members).

(2) The term "nationals" used in this Law shall be understood to include all legal subjects referred to in Paragraph one of this Section.

(3) Foreigners not referred to in Paragraph one of this Section are entitled to the consular assistance and consular services the provision of which is an obligation of Latvia in accordance with its laws and regulations and international commitments.

Section 3.

(1) Consular assistance and consular services shall constitute consular functions, and they shall be performed in accordance with the Vienna Convention of 24 April 1963 on Consular Relations.

(2) Consular functions shall be performed by civil servants and employees of the diplomatic and consular service authorised thereto (hereinafter - the consular officer), as well as honorary consuls of Latvia authorised thereto (hereinafter - the honorary consul).

(3) The Minister for Foreign Affairs shall authorise the persons referred to in Paragraph two of this Section to perform consular functions, determine the scope of the functions to be performed, as well as a consular district, and withdraw authorisation to perform consular functions.

Section 4.

(1) State fee shall be collected for the performance of consular functions in the cases laid down in laws and regulations. Consular remuneration may be collected for the performance of the consular functions which are not subject to the State fee.

(2) The consular remuneration shall be credited into the basic budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a remuneration for paid services and used for development of the diplomatic and consular service of Latvia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs may leave the consular remuneration or part thereof collected by an honorary consul at his or her disposal as remuneration for operating expenditure of the honorary consul.

(3) The Cabinet shall determine the objects and amount of the consular remuneration, as well as the procedures for paying the State fee and consular remuneration, reliefs and exemptions, payment currency, collection terms and procedures for converting amount of the payment into a foreign currency.

Section 5.

(1) A consular district of the representation shall be determined under an agreement with the relevant foreign country in accordance with the Vienna Convention of 24 April 1963 on Consular Relations.

(2) A consular district of the consular officer shall be determined according to his or her consular functions to be performed. A consular district of the consular officer abroad and of the honorary consul shall be determined according to the consular district of the representation.

Chapter II
Consular Assistance

Section 6.

Consular assistance shall be provided to a national who has found himself or herself in an emergency situation abroad, if he or she has an urgent need for support and has no possibility to receive other assistance. The following cases abroad shall be considered emergency situations, in particular:

1) a person has been detained or arrested;

2) a person has been a victim of a criminal offence;

3) a person is seriously ill or has suffered an accident;

4) a person has died (support is provided to his or her relatives);

5) a person requires relief and repatriation, in particular in the case of an armed conflict, a disaster or a threat of disaster, if the life, health or safety of the person is endangered;

6) out-of-family care or adoption is established or intended to be established for a minor;

7) it is necessary for a person to receive an emergency travel document.

Section 7.

If the consular assistance is required for citizens or non-citizens of Latvia, stateless persons, third-country nationals or family members thereof who are in the territory which does not belong to a consular district of any representation, the consular assistance shall be provided by the consular officers of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the representations of European Union Member States in location of the relevant person.

Section 8.

(1) The consular officer and the honorary consul shall begin to provide consular assistance upon the receipt of a request from a national or information that the national has found himself or herself in a situation where consular assistance is required.

(2) For the purpose of verifying the identity and status of a national, he or she shall present a valid personal identification or travel document, or the consular officer or the honorary consul shall identify and verify the status the national by using the available information systems or contacting public institutions of the country of which the person is national.

(3) Provision of consular assistance shall be suspended if a national clearly refuses it or is no longer in a situation where consular assistance is required.

Section 9.

(1) Consular assistance shall be direct and individual.

(2) The consular officer and the honorary consul shall provide consular assistance and take decisions on the form of protection of legitimate interests of a recipient of the consular assistance within the limits of powers and obligations stipulated in laws and regulations.

(3) Consular assistance shall not include provision of legal assistance. At the request of a recipient of consular assistance the consular officer abroad shall provide information about the providers of legal assistance in the consular district.

(4) Within the framework of consular assistance, the consular officer and the honorary consul shall ensure the protection of legitimate interests and non-discrimination of a recipient of consular assistance in accordance with the procedures laid down in laws and regulations of both Latvia and the country of his or her location, and in accordance with international commitments of Latvia.

(5) The consular officer abroad has the right to participate in proceedings of the relevant foreign country as an observer in exceptional cases with the consent of the relevant foreign court, provided the following:

1) discrimination or possibility thereof is suspected against a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia;

2) it is necessary for the protection of rights of a minor citizen or non-citizen of Latvia and the relevant request from a competent institution of Latvia has been received.

(6) If a minor national abroad has lost his or her guardian or a national under trusteeship abroad has remained without his or her trustee, the consular officer shall immediately inform competent institutions of the need to appoint a guardian or a trustee, as well as follow the activities of foreign institutions for the safeguarding of interests of the minor or person under trusteeship until appointment of the guardian or trustee.

(7) A consular officer shall, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, invite foreign competent institutions to ensure a family environment corresponding to cultural identity of a minor national if out-of-family care or adoption is established or intended to be established for him or her abroad.

Section 10.

(1) Within the framework of consular assistance the consular officer is entitled to receive personal data necessary for the provision of consular assistance from any controller thereof or process them also without consent of a data subject if it is impossible to obtain such consent.

(2) If a data controller receives a justified request from the consular officer to provide personal data necessary for the provision of consular assistance, he or she shall ensure the transfer of the abovementioned data to the consular officer as soon as possible.

Section 11.

(1) Within the framework of consular assistance the consular officer and the honorary consul shall cooperate with Latvian and foreign institutions, diplomatic and consular representations of the European Union Member States, European Union delegations abroad, and the European External Action Service.

(2) When cooperating with diplomatic and consular representations of the European Union Member States within the framework of consular assistance, the consular officer and the honorary consul have the right to provide all information related to the provision of consular assistance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a diplomatic or consular representation of a Member State which provides consular assistance to the citizens or non-citizens of Latvia, stateless persons, third-country nationals or family members thereof. In providing consular assistance to a citizen of a Member State or a family member thereof, the consular officer shall request that the country of which the recipient of consular assistance is a citizen provides all information necessary for the provision of consular assistance, and shall process it.

(3) Within the framework of consular assistance the consular officer and the honorary consul shall closely cooperate with the European Union Member States in the issues as to which Member State provides consular assistance to a national, what kind of consular assistance (including material assistance) is provided, and what the possible costs of consular assistance are.

(4) The procedures by which the consular officer and the honorary consul cooperate with the European Union Member States, European Union delegations abroad and the European External Action Service within the framework of consular assistance shall be laid down by the Cabinet.

Section 12.

(1) In providing consular assistance to a national, he or she may be given material assistance. Monetary funds allocated within the framework of material assistance shall be repaid in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Cabinet.

(2) If a European Union Member State has provided material assistance to a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia, stateless person, third-country national or family member thereof in cooperation with the consular officer or the honorary consul, Latvia shall ensure that the monetary funds allocated within the framework of material assistance are repaid within 12 months from the moment of the receipt of request from the relevant Member State. A person shall have an obligation to repay the allocated monetary funds into the State budget in the amount and under the procedures laid down by the Cabinet after Latvia has repaid them to the European Union Member State.

(3) The Cabinet shall determine the following:

1) the terms, amount of and procedures for the granting of material assistance;

2) the procedures for repaying the monetary funds allocated within the framework of material assistance into the State budget, as well as the persons who have an obligation to repay the relevant monetary funds;

3) the procedures for submitting requests to other European Union Member States for the monetary funds allocated to citizens of such states and their family members within the framework of material assistance, as well as the procedures for receiving repayment;

4) the procedures by which Latvia ensures repayment of the monetary funds allocated within the framework of material assistance to a European Union Member State, including the procedures by which a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia, stateless person, third-country national or family member thereof is informed of the obligation to repay the monetary funds allocated within the framework of material assistance, as well as of the procedures for and amount of the repayment thereof.

Section 13.

(1) If the consular assistance provided by a diplomatic or consular representation of a European Union Member State to a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia, stateless person, or third-country national in the case of detention or arrest has entailed unusually high but necessary and justified transport, accommodation or translation costs to this Member State, Latvia shall ensure repayment of such costs within 12 months from the moment of the receipt of a request from the relevant Member State.

(2) If the consular assistance provided in the case of detention or arrest of a citizen of a Member State has entailed unusually high but necessary and justified transport, accommodation or translation costs to the diplomatic and consular service of Latvia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may approach the country of which the relevant person is national requesting repayment of such costs.

(3) The Cabinet shall determine the following:

1) the procedures for repaying expenditure to a European Union Member State related to the provision of consular assistance in the case of detention or arrest of a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia, stateless person, or third country national;

2) the procedures for taking a decision to request that a European Union Member State repays the expenditure related to the provision of consular assistance in the case of detention or arrest of a citizen of a Member State, as well as the procedures for submitting request and receiving repayment.

Section 14.

For the purpose of provision of consular assistance the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall maintain a consular register where citizens and non-citizens of Latvia, stateless persons and third-country nationals include information about their planned short-term stay abroad on a voluntary basis. Amount of information to be included in the consular register and the procedures for including such information, as well as the procedures by which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs uses information contained in the consular register to provide consular assistance shall be laid down by the Cabinet.

Chapter III
Consular Services

Section 15.

(1) Consular services shall constitute services which are provided to ensure that the services rendered by Latvian institutions are available in representations to persons abroad.

(2) Consular services and procedures for providing thereof in accordance with this Law shall be determined in the laws and regulations governing the relevant services. For the purpose of ensuring a common approach to the provision of consular services in representations, institutions of Latvia shall cooperate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Section 16.

Consular services shall be provided to long-term residents of consular districts of representations, unless the laws and regulations governing the relevant services stipulate otherwise. Persons whose permanent residence abroad does not belong to any consular district of representation may receive consular services in any representation, provided that this representation ensures provision of the relevant service.

Section 17.

(1) The consular officers abroad and honorary consuls shall perform individual notarial functions in accordance with the Notariate Law.

(2) The Cabinet shall determine the notarial functions which are performed by consular officers abroad and honorary consuls, the procedures for performing such functions and amount of State fee.

(3) Notarial deeds drawn up by consular officers and honorary consuls shall constitute the same public credibility and have the same legal consequences as they would if such deeds were drawn up by a sworn notary in Latvia.

Transitional Provisions

1. With the coming into force of this Law, the Consular Rules of Procedure (Latvijas Republikas Saeimas un Ministru Kabineta Ziņotājs, 1994, No. 13, 1996, No. 23; 1999, No. 23; 2006, No. 24; 2008, No. 3; Latvijas Vēstnesis, 2013, No. 193) is repealed.

2. The Cabinet shall issue the Cabinet regulations referred to in Section 4, Paragraph three, Section 11, Paragraph four, Section 12, Paragraph three, Section 13, Paragraph three, Section 14, and Section 17, Paragraph two of this Law by 1 December 2018. Until the coming into force of the relevant Cabinet regulations, but not longer than until 30 November 2018 the following Cabinet regulations shall be applicable insofar as they are not in contradiction with this Law:

1) Cabinet Regulation No. 283 of 21 April 2008, Regulations Regarding the Performance of Notarial Functions in Diplomatic and Consular Representations of the Republic of Latvia;

2) Cabinet Regulation No. 322 of 8 May 2012, Procedures for Provision of Material Assistance to Persons who have Found Themselves in an Emergency Situation;

3) Cabinet Regulation No. 1032 of 1 October 2013, Price List of the Paid Consular Services Provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

4) Cabinet Regulation No. 211 of 5 May 2015, Regulations Regarding the Procedures for Including and Using Information in the Consular Register on Planned Short-term Stay Abroad;

5) Cabinet Regulation No. 521 of 9 August 2016, Regulations Regarding Consular Service State Fee for the Carrying out of Notarial Actions Performed by the Consular Officers Abroad.

Informative Reference to European Union Directive

This Law contains legal norms arising from the Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 of 20 April 2015 on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries and repealing Decision 95/553/EC.

The Law shall come into force on the next day following its proclamation.

This Law has been adopted by the Saeima on 3 May 2018.

President R. Vējonis

15 May 2018


1 The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia

Translation © 2018 Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre)

 
Document information
Title: Konsulārās palīdzības un konsulāro pakalpojumu likums Status:
In force
in force
Issuer: Saeima Type: law Adoption: 03.05.2018.Entry into force: 16.05.2018.Theme: Diplomatic and consular relationsPublication: Latvijas Vēstnesis, 94, 15.05.2018. OP number: 2018/94.1
Language:
LVEN
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