Export of artworks from Latvia (general overview)

Certain formalities have to be met in order to export cultural objects from Latvia; they have been described in detail in Cabinet of Ministers Regulations No. 846 of 20 December 2016 (the “Regulations”). Some categories of the cultural objects require reception of export license (either for each individual object or one for the whole collection, if the collection fits the requirements according to the Regulations) issued by the State Inspection for Heritage Protection Republic of Latvia [LV: Valsts kultūras pieminekļu aizsardzības inspekcija, www.mantojums.lv] (the “Inspection”).

Art and privately owned antiques can be exported either permanently or temporary, while for the cultural monuments and antiques owned by the Latvian State only temporary export license can be received. Under the Regulations, the cultural objects requiring the license fall into two categories: cultural objects requiring export license irrespective of their state of origin and cultural objects requiring export license if their origins are related to territory of the Latvian State.  While the previous regulations on export of cultural objects distinguished the object categories by their monetary value, the Regulations only distinguish by age and state or origin.

The Inspection refuses issuing a permanent export license and issues license for temporary export, if the cultural object is recognised as a newly discovered cultural monument and shall be included in the list of State protected cultural monuments. The return term for a newly discovered cultural monument cannot exceed six months.

License from the Inspection does not have to be received if:

  • an accredited museum temporary exports its collection or a part of it, in line with the regulations applicable to operation of museums; or
  • a document included in the national documentary heritage is temporary exported based on the regulations applicable to operations of archives.
  • if musical instruments fall into one of the cultural objects` categories that require an export license under the Regulations and are exported temporarily for the use of orchestra or music performers, a documentation confirming the said use and the origin of the musical instrument, and issued by the management of the particular company or performer has to be presented for the customs authority (without any license or certificate issued by the Inspection).

In order to facilitate an easier export of cultural objects that are not a cultural monuments and do not fall into one of the categories specified in Annex 1 of the Regulations, a certificate can be issued by the Inspection. Expiration term for such certificate is 1 year.


According to the Regulations, an export license is required for these cultural objects

(Listed in Annex 1 of the Regulations)


Cultural objects


Cultural objects requiring export license irrespective of their state of origin


Archaeological  antiques dated up to 17th century (including), which are the products of:


1) excavations and finds on land or under water


2) archaeological sites


3) archaeological collections


More than 100 years old fragments of a cultural object, which form an integral part of artistic, historical or religious monuments


Incunabula and manuscripts older than 100 years, including geographical maps and musical scores (individually or in collections)


Archives of various kinds which contain copies more than 100 years old

(regardless of the material)


Books more than 100 years old (singly or in collections)


Means of transport more than 75 years old


Collections  of historical, palaeontological, ethnographic or numismatic



Art and antiques older than 100 years


Cultural objects requiring export license if their origins are related to territory of the Latvian State*


Paintings and drawings executed by hand on any material and in any technique


Original engravings, prints, serigraphs and lithographs as well as  their respective plates and original posters


Original sculptures or statuary (including their copies produced by the same

process as the original)


Photographs, films and negatives thereof




Articles of goldsmiths' or silversmiths' wares




Optical devices and apparatuses, photographic and cinematographic

apparatuses and devices


Musical instruments


Clocks, watches and parts thereof


Articles of wood




Tapestries, carpets, textiles





*50-100 years old cultural objects, which do not belong to their authors and manufacturers; and which are created by persons and manufactures recorded in the Latvian art and culture indicators