Legal advice

Under what conditions is the conscription for compulsory military service carried out in Latvia now, and in what cases can a citizen not serve?

17.05.2023 Aleksandrs Koposovs, the member of the board

On April 19, 2023, the State Defence Service Law of Latvia came into force, according to which citizens – men – are subject to compulsory service within 1 year after reaching the age of 18.

A citizen who, after reaching the age of 18, continues to receive education (excluding higher education), is subject to service within one year after graduating from an educational institution. If a citizen, after reaching the age of 18, continues to receive education (excluding higher education) and has not graduated from an educational institution before reaching the age of 24, he is subject to service within one year after reaching the age of 24.

Citizens – men who were born after January 1, 2004 are subject to conscription for the state defence service.

The first call for service is set for July 1, 2023.

This law established the following three types of state defence service:

  1. 11 months in the regular troops of the National Armed Forces or the National Guard of the Republic of Latvia;
  2. five years in the National Guard as a whole, on duty for no less than 21 individual days of training and no more than 7 collective days of training each year;
  3. within 5 years, mastering the reserve officer program provided for students of higher schools and colleges in an educational military institution and part of the National Armed Forces, the total duration of training and performance of official tasks of which is at least 180 days.

The second and third types of service will come into force on January 1, 2024.

In accordance with part 1 of article 8 of the above-mentioned law, the following are not subject to service:

1) a citizen whose state of health does not meet the requirements established by the state protection service;
2) a citizen in whose care the child is, in the event of the death of the other parent of the child or the absence of the other parent of the possibility of exercising guardianship, or the call of the other parent to the state defence service, as well as a citizen who, by decision of the Orphan’s court, is the only guardian or the only educator in the foster family;
3) a citizen who, in accordance with the law or a court ruling, is obliged to take care of his spouse or parents, if he is the sole guardian;
4) a citizen who also has citizenship (nationality) of another state, if he did military service in a foreign state or did civil defence service (alternative service) abroad, except for the case when he applies for the state defence service voluntarily;
5) a graduate of Colonel Oskar Kalpak Professional Secondary School;
6) a citizen who has been continuously in the professional service for at least 11 months;
7) an official person of the institutions of the system of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Latvia and the Department of Places of Detention with a special service degree who has continuously served in the mentioned institutions for at least two years;
8) a citizen serving a sentence for a grave or especially grave crime – regardless of the cancellation or removal of his conviction;
9) the citizen convicted for the crime specified in paragraph 8 is released from punishment, or the criminal proceedings against him/her have been terminated on non-rehabilitation grounds;
10) a citizen, if he is a parent, guardian or adoptive parent of a disabled child.

The call for service is carried out on the basis of the decision of the Ministry of Defence, indicating the place of service and the time of arrival to start the service. A warning or a fine of up to 350 euros is applied to a conscript for not arriving for a check at the place and time indicated by the summons without justifiable reason.

Until 2027, citizens who permanently live abroad and who, in accordance with the procedure established by regulatory enactments, have reported their address of residence to the OCMA, are not involved in the state protection service.

The decision to call for the civil defence service can be appealed to the control commission, and the decision of the commission can be appealed to the administrative court.

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