In Latvia, vehicles with Russian license plates will be subject to forced expropriation

The Latvian Parliament adopted significant amendments to traffic laws on Thursday, affecting the movement of vehicles registered in Russia within Latvia. According to the law, as of February 14th next year, it is prohibited for vehicles registered in Russia to stay in Latvia unless they are registered for local use in Latvia.

The purpose of the law is to ensure the safety of Latvia’s territory and strengthen security, especially in light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the law, owners of vehicles registered in Russia must choose between two options: either register the vehicle in Latvia or take it out of the country by February 14th.

The main reason for tightening traffic laws is linked to the aggression against Ukraine, and Latvia’s desire to support Ukraine’s resistance. If a vehicle registered in Russia is found in Latvia illegally and is being used in traffic, forced expropriation will be enforced, and these vehicles are intended to be handed over to Ukraine, thus supporting the fight against the aggressor state.

Restrictions on the movement of vehicles registered in Russia within Latvia have also been imposed. These vehicles are allowed to enter the country only once, and if they are not registered for local use or do not leave Latvia, they will be subject to forced expropriation.

As an additional measure, individuals wishing to enter Latvia with a vehicle must inform the Traffic Safety Directorate through e-services about the vehicle, driver, and the duration of their participation in traffic before entering the country. This notification must take place before the vehicle enters Latvia, and the duration of the vehicle’s participation in traffic in Latvia must not exceed 24 hours.

Against the backdrop of these amendments to traffic laws, the Ministry of Justice emphasized that, in addition to security considerations, Russian vehicles often do not comply with EU technical requirements, which may make them hazardous in traffic. Therefore, the changes are aimed not only at the political situation but also at ensuring traffic safety in Latvia.

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