Latvia joins the eurozone

Latvia adopted the euro at midnight on January 1, 2014, becoming the 18th eurozone member state.

The euro has replaced the Latvia’s currency - the lat, and the official exchange rate is EUR 1 per LVL 0.702804 or 70.3 santims. All money deposited in banks, as well as loans in lats issued to residents and companies have been automatically converted to euros according to the official exchange rate.

In the first two weeks of 2014, both currencies will be circulated; change in almost all cash transactions will be given in euro with the exception of public transport, where passengers who pay for tickets in lats will be issued change in lats also, those who pay for tickets with euros will be issued change in euros. Residents are recommended to use bankcards or give precise cash during this period. The lat will cease to be legal tender on January 15.

Lats will be exchanged for euros free of charge and according to the official rate for six months in commercial banks, and for three months in 302 regional post offices of "Latvijas Pasts" postal company in those areas where banking services are not available to local residents. At the Bank of Latvia, lats will be exchanged for euros in perpetuity.

The same euro bills will be circulated in Latvia as anywhere else in the eurozone, the design of euro bills features bridges, arches, and gateways as symbols of Europe's unity. 

Meanwhile, the coins have a common or "European" side and a national side, which indicates the issuing country.

Latvia's euro cent coins show the small coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia, whereas Latvian euro coins feature a Latvian folk maiden.

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