RGSL

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1. Study process and diploma

What kind of degree will I obtain upon graduation?

‘Law and Business’ graduates will be awarded a social sciences bachelor degree (LL.B) in law & business.

‘Law and Diplomacy’ graduates will be awarded a social sciences bachelor degree (BA) in law & diplomacy.

All masters programmes graduates will be awarded a social sciences masters degree (LL.M) in law with respective specialization.

Will my bachelor diploma be recognized in other EU countries?

A Latvian diploma is recognized in another EU country if the higher education institution and the study programme are accredited. RGSL and all its study programmes are accredited; therefore, our diplomas are valid in other EU countries.

Will I be able to work as a lawyer in Latvia or another EU country?

According to Latvian law, graduates of all Latvian law schools at first get a bachelor’s degree in social sciences, and a lawyer’s qualification is awarded only after completing a professional master’s programme (such as, for example, RGSL EU and international law two-year professional programme). For those planning to work in private sphere or state institutions, lawyer’s qualification is not a necessity, but the qualification is mandatory in order to work in ‘traditional’ legal professions, such as advocate, judge, notary, public prosecutor.

If your future plans include working abroad in a strictly legal profession, please note that each EU country has its own regulation of the legal profession. Some countries require only a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career in practicing law, while others require a master’s degree.

How is the study process organized for bachelor programme?

RGSL implements the so called ‘module system’ in which the study year is divided into 7 six-week modules. During each module students are following up to 3 courses at the same time (2 mandatory courses and one elective course). Of course, students are free to choose more than one elective course if they wish to do so and their schedule allows it.

Each course lasts six weeks with five class hours per week, to which is added research work on assignments and class preparation.

Classes are conducted five days per week (Monday-Friday). Usually students have 3 lectures per day, and each lecture lasts 2 academic hours (2 x 45 min + intermission between sessions).

2. Tuition fee and financing of studies

What is the tuition fee for undergraduate studies?

The tuition fee for both bachelor programmes is 3,500 EUR per year/ 10,500 EUR per programme.

Can I pay in instalments?

National applicants are usually required to pay the tuition fee twice a year (on August and January).

I have read that tuition fee is 3500 euro per year, do you enhance the price?

No. Upon undertaking studies, each student signs an agreement on studies in which the tuition fee and payment schedule are fixed.  The tuition fee remains constant during the whole period of studies.

How can I finance my studies?

National students

  • Early Admissions Lottery

An Early Admissions Lottery allows this year’s applicants to win one academic year of tuition-free studies – one spot in the Bachelor programmes and one in the Masters programmes. In order to participate, applicants should submit their documents for early admission before 14 March.

  • RGSL Excellence Award for Outstanding Local Applicant

RGSL offers free study places to outstanding local secondary school graduates. The Excellence Award for Outstanding Local Applicant, which covers tuition fees for one semester, has been established to give the most promising students who strive for excellence a chance to choose quality education in their homeland. RGSL will offer one free study place in the Bachelor study programme “Law and Diplomacy” and one in “Law and Business”.

In order to apply for the Excellence Award, future students must submit their application documents and a motivation letter about the opportunity to study at RGSL for free. The RGSL Tuition Fee Waivers Committee will review all applications, taking into consideration the applicant’s academic performance (weighted average grade) and compliance with admission requirements according to the Rules of Admission and Study Agreement. Only residents of Latvia are eligible for the Excellence Award for Outstanding Local Applicant.

  • RGSL Student Excellence Award

To acknowledge achievements of RGSL students, to celebrate academic excellence and to foster motivational atmosphere, RGSL have established RGSL Student Excellence Award. Every year success of RGSL students will be evaluated and award granted to the best students on each bachelor programme. The Award will grant 500 euro tuition fee waiver for the next semester for one outstanding student in the Law and Diplomacy and one – in the Law and Buisness study programme at each study year.

  • Other RGSL Tuition Fee Waivers

To support students from various social groups, to support loyalty of students, graduates and RGSL employees and promote applications from prospective students, RGSL offers additional Fee Waivers for RGSL employees, children of RGSL employees, siblings of students of the RGSL, orphans, persons with 1st or 2nd degree of disability, graduates of RGSL bachelor programmes and graduates of SSE Riga. Learn more about the tution fee waivers at RGSL in the Riga Graduate Schoolof Law Regulation on Tuition Fee Waivers.

  • Other available sources 

National students can apply for state guaranteed loans and commercial loans. Detailed information on the student loans (in Latvian) can be found here: http://www.rgsl.edu.lv/en/apply-to-rgsl/practicalities/student-loans/.

National students can also apply for the Vitolu Fund scholarship (http://www.vitolufonds.lv), Engures, Jelgavas, Salaspils, Saldus scholarships for local residents (apply in September at LU Fonds www.fonds.lv) and students’ corporations scholarships for their members (beginning with 2nd study year; apply at respective corporation).

International students

Every year RGSL offers several tuition fee waivers that cover the tuition fee for the first year of studies. RGSL offer one free study place in each Bachelor programme – “Law and Diplomacy” and “Law and Business”, and one spot in the Masters programmes – “Law and Finance”, “Legal Linguistics” and “International and European Law” (and its sub-programmes).

International students can also apply for the Latvian Government Scholarship (http://www.viaa.gov.lv/eng/international_cooperation/scholarships_gov/latvian_scholarships/) and foreign governments’ grants for studying abroad.

3. Applying for studies

How can I apply for studies?

In order to apply for studies, all applicants must complete the online application form and attach the required documents as .pdf or .jpg files (motivation letter can be attached as a word document). The online application form can be found here: http://apply.rgsl.edu.lv/.

What documents are required to apply for bachelor studies?

  1. Completed RGSL online application form
  2. Copy of diploma and diploma transcript (if the diploma has been obtained outside Latvia, an English translation must also be submitted)
  3. Passport copy
  4. Motivation letter, which may also refer to relevant professional experience (max 2 000 characters)
  5. Document confirming the payment of processing fee (if applicable)

What criteria do you use for admitting applicants?

Applicants for bachelor programmes are admitted in an order of priority based on points awarded for

  • overall grade average on the final or latest grade transcript (priority to applicants with A and B levels according to ECTS (Latvian grade 10, 9 and 8)) – maximum 60 points
  • grade in English (priority to applicants with ECTS levels A and B (Latvian grade 10, 9 and 8) in English) – maximum 30 points
  • additional points may be awarded for academic and scientific achievements, active participation in youth organisations, and other relevant activities – maximum 10 points.

My overall grade average /English grade is lower than ECTS grade C (Latvian grade 7). Is it possible to apply for studies?

At RGSL the study process takes place exclusively in English, therefore, the English proficiency requirement cannot be waived. If your grade in English is lower than ECTS grade C, English proficiency can be confirmed by alternative documentation, e.g., IELTS or TOEFL result.

If your overall grade average is a slightly lower than ECTS level C, you can still apply for studies, but please note that you will be admitted to the remaining free study places.

Do I have to pay the processing fee?

The processing fee does not apply to national applicants and applicants from European Union, European Economic Area and Swiss Confederation.

If the processing fee requirement applies to you, please note that a document confirming the payment must be attached to the application form; otherwise, your application will be left unprocessed.

Is it possible to waive the processing fee payment?

No, since it covers school’s expenses for processing applicants.

Should I send any documents by mail or submit them personally?

No, that’s not necessary.  RGSL requires the original documents to be shown only at the signing of the study agreement in Riga.

Do you demand a letter of recommendation from undergraduate students?

No. A letter of recommendation is not mandatory. Of course, if you can submit a letter of recommendation, it will only assist your application, especially, if you are

applying for a tuition fee waiver.

Are there any specific demands for the form and content of the motivation letter?

No. The only mandatory thing is to describe the motivation for studying at RGSL; the rest is up to each individual. Feel free to add personal experience, achievements or anything else that you feel is relevant to your motivation to study at RGSL. However, please note that if you wish us to award you extra points for scientific achievements or participation in youth organizations, accomplishments mentioned in your motivation letter must be supported by documental proof (e.g., reference letters, certificates of award, and diplomas of participation).

Do you organize entrance exams?

No. Applicants are admitted based on their overall grade average and grade in English.

My diploma is issued in Latvian. Do I have to submit an English translation?

No. Only diplomas that are issued outside of Latvia need to be translated into English.

What do you need my photograph for?

If you are admitted to RGSL, the photograph will be used for your student ID card.

4. Admission procedure

Why do you have two admission deadlines? What is the difference between them?

RGSL usually conducts the admission in two phases: early admission and regular admission.

The early admission gives candidates a possibility to get admitted early or to reserve a study place. If you have already graduated from secondary school, you can get admitted to your chosen study programme in April and sign the study agreement shortly after that. Whereas, if you are on your last year of secondary education, you can reserve a study place for yourself. Of course, you still have to send us your secondary school diploma and exam results in order to finalize your admission, but the exam results won’t affect your study place.

This year, the application deadline for early admission is 14 March 2017.

The regular admission deadline is 6 July 2017 (secondary school diplomas and exam results can be added to already pending applications till 11 July 2016).  Regular admission is based on candidates’ final grades and exam results, therefore, the admission results will be announced by 10 July 2017.

What is the procedure for foreign students?

According to Latvian law, foreign diplomas are subject to the academic recognition procedure, carried out by the Latvian Academic Information Centre (an independent state institution). Higher education establishments can officially admit foreign student only when the academic recognition procedure is complete. Therefore, grade transcripts and copies of diplomas that applicants send us we forward to the Academic Information Centre and await their decision (usually takes 2-4 weeks). After that RGSL Admissions Committee promptly makes a decision on admission. The admissions officer will contact each applicant as soon as the decision is made.

How can I know if my secondary education diploma will be recognized by the Latvian Academic Information Centre?

The Academic Information Centre manages a vast database of education systems and institutions of world countries. The centre verifies if the submitted diploma/certificate confirms finished completed secondary education and is issued by a competent authority.  If these criteria are fulfilled, the diploma is officially recognized. In the majority of cases there are no problems with the recognition of applicants’ education documents.

When can I sign my study agreement?

RGSL will inform you of date and time when the signing of study agreements will take place.

In case of international students, we initially send them a scanned copy of the study agreement, signed by RGSL representative, and ask students to print the signature page, sign it and send it back to us. The original study agreement is signed when the student arrives in Riga.

I have been pre-selected for studies. What conditions do I have to fulfil to be admitted to my chosen programme?

If you have been pre-selected for studies, RGSL guarantees you a study place. In order to finalise your admission, you only have to send us your diploma, diploma supplement and centralised exam certificate. As soon as RGSL receives these documents, you will be officially admitted to the programme.

I haven’t been pre-selected for studies. Can I still apply for the next admission round?

Yes. If you aren’t pre-selected for studies, RGSL will send you information on what criteria you have to fulfil to apply for the next admission round.

5. International students – immigration requirements

We advise students to explore the homepages of the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/) and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en) for detailed information on immigration matters. The information provided below is of general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances. We suggest students to consult a Latvian diplomatic mission for detailed information pertaining to their particular cases.

What are the legal requirements for studying in Latvia?

In order to study in Latvia, all international students must obtain a temporary residence permit. Detailed information on temporary residence permits can be found at the homepage of the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs: http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/residence-permits/

Where and when can I apply for the temporary residence permit?

  1. If you are a citizen of a country that has a visa-free regime with Latvia, you can enter Latvia without a visa and apply for the temporary residence permit at the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga. The list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Latvia can be found here:http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/sakums/pakalpojumi/iecelosana-lv/uzturesanas-atlaujas/uzturesanas-atlaujas.html
  2. If you are a citizen of a country that doesn’t have a visa-free regime with Latvia, you must obtain the temporary residence permit before arriving in Latvia by applying via a Latvian diplomatic mission.

I don’t need a visa to enter Latvia. What is the procedure for obtaining the temporary residence permit?

You can enter Latvia and reside here without a visa for up to 90 days. During this time you can apply for the temporary residence permit at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga.

Procedure for obtaining the temporary residence permit is the following:

  1. Student signs the study agreement and pays tuition fee for the first year of studies (exception – students who have received full tuition fee waiver).
  2. After receiving the payment, RGSL submits an invitation for the student at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
  3. The invitation is approved within two working days, and the student can visit the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to submit documents.
  4. At the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs the student personally presents a valid passport and submits the following documents:

·         a definite sample form for a residence permit request (http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/residence-permits/doc1/studies.html)

·         a photograph

·         a document confirming the necessary subsistence (for students, it’s at least 360 EUR per month; 360×12 = 4,320 EUR  for the study year). Such confirmation can be, for example, a document issued by the bank regarding state of student’s bank account

·         a document confirming the envisaged place of residence in the Republic of Latvia and the rights to stay there. Dormitory/landlord provides students with this document

·         a document confirming the state duty payment (71.14 EUR for examination of documents within 30 days,  213,43 EUR – within 10 working days,  355,72 EUR – within 5 working days)

·         an agreement on studies in the Republic of Latvia

·         documents confirming that the student has acquired the necessary education to start the studies

Upon receipt of the temporary residence permit, the student presents:

  • a valid health insurance policy for a year,
  • a health certificate issued by a Latvian health care institution stating that (s)he doesn’t suffer from tuberculosis in active phase.

My country doesn’t have a visa-free regime with Latvia. What is the procedure for obtaining the temporary residence permit?

If you are a citizen of a country which doesn’t have the visa-free regime with Latvia, you must obtain the temporary residence permit before arriving in Latvia.

Procedure for obtaining the temporary residence permit is the following:

  1. Student signs the study agreement and pays tuition fee for the first year of studies (exception – students who have received full tuition fee waiver).
  2. After receiving the payment, RGSL submits an invitation for the student at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
  3. The invitation is approved within two working days, and the student can visit the diplomatic mission of Latvia in his/her country to submit the required documents. If there is no Latvian diplomatic mission in the student’s country of residence, the documents must be submitted at the diplomatic mission of a country which is competent to deal with Latvian consular issues:

http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/service/entry-into-latvia/obtaining-visas/territorial-competence

  1. The student personally presents a valid passport and submits the following documents:
  2. a definite sample form for a residence permit request (http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/residence-permits/doc2/studies2.html)
  3. a photograph;
  4. a document confirming the necessary subsistence (for students, it’s at least  360 EUR per month; 360×12 = 4,320 EUR for the study year). Such confirmation can be, for example, a document issued by the bank regarding state of student’s bank account.
  5. a document confirming the envisaged place of residence in the Republic of Latvia and the rights to stay there; your potential dormitory/landlord should submit this document at the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga
  6. a statement on punishability issued by a competent institution of the citizenship or the host country, if a foreigner has resided in that country longer than 12 months;
  7. a document confirming the state duty payment (71.14 EUR for examination of documents within 30 days,  213.43 EUR – within 10 working days,  355.72 EUR – within 5 working days);
  8. an agreement on studies in the Republic of Latvia; RGSL will submit the agreement, signed by RGSL representative, at the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga.
  9. documents confirming that you have acquired the necessary education to start the studies;

Upon receipt of the temporary residence permit, the student presents:

  • a valid health insurance policy for a year,
  • a health certificate issued by a Latvian healthcare institution stating that you do not suffer from tuberculosis in active phase.

Can I enter Latvia with a short-term visa and apply for the temporary residence permit in Riga?

Unfortunately, no. According to Latvian law, undergraduate students from countries that don’t have a visa-free regime with Latvia must obtain the permit prior to their arrival. Only students from countries that have a visa-free regime with Latvia can apply for the residence permit in Riga.

Can I apply for the temporary residence permit via the embassy of another Schengen country?

No. Embassies of other Schengen countries are not competent to deal with Latvian residence permits.

How can I know which embassy is competent to deal with Latvian consular issues?

Information on consular territorial competence can be found at this link:

http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/service/entry-into-latvia/obtaining-visas/territorial-competence/

The embassy in charge of Latvian residence permits is the Latvian embassy that is also authorized to issue long-term Latvian visas for citizens of your country.

I’ve contacted embassy/OCMA and they told me that I need an invitation letter before I can submit my documents.

The officials were referring to invitations which are required to initiate the immigration procedure. Persons who are interested in obtaining a Latvian temporary residence permit cannot initiate the immigration procedure on their own accord. At first they must be invited by somebody in Latvia (e.g., a Latvian citizen, a Latvian state institution, a legal entity). In case of students, the invitee is their education establishment. Invitations are necessary both for EU and non-EU students.

As soon as RGSL receives the tuition fee payment according to the study agreement, RGSL representative will visit OCMA and submit an official invitation form, which will state that you have been accepted for studies at RGSL and that RGSL requests OCMA to grant you the temporary residence permit for the duration of your studies. OCMA will approve the invitation within two working days, and after that you will be able to submit the necessary documents for obtaining the temporary residence permit.

In what cases the temporary residence permit can be denied?

The complete list of reasons why the temporary residence permit may be denied can be found here: http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/residence-permits/in-what-cases-is-the-residence-permit-not-issued.html
In short, these are usually cases when the applicant has provided false information, has a criminal record, is “blacklisted” in Latvia or another country, has failed to submit all required documents, or there is something wrong with the submitted documents (e.g., the documents are not legalized, there is no credible proof that the applicant has sufficient means of subsistence, etc.).

If the temporary residence permit is denied, will RGSL refund the tuition fee payment?

Yes, RGSL will fully refund the tuition fee payment. Please note that the processing fee is not refundable, though.

What about the state duty payment that you mentioned?

OCMA charges a fee for the examination of temporary residence applications. The standard fee is 71.14 EUR and the decision on granting the permit is made within 30 days after the submission of documents. However, it is possible to speed up the examination process if the applicant wishes to do so. The fee for the document examination within 10 working days is 213.43 EUR; within 5 working days – 355.72 EUR. If you will submit your documents at OCMA office in Riga, you will be able to pay the fee on the spot. However, if you will submit the documents via a Latvian embassy, the fee will have to be paid via a bank transfer.

Can I work during my studies?

Yes. The temporary residence permit grants you the right to work for 20 hours per month without obtaining a special work permit.

What is document legalisation and does it apply to me?

Documents issued in foreign states must be legalised in order to get recognized by Latvian state institutions, inter alia, the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

Detailed information on document legalisation can be found at the homepage of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/service/consular-services/legalisation/#2

6. Accommodation

Where can I stay during my studies?

RGSL does not have its own dormitory; however, accommodation can be arranged at dormitories of other institutions. Depending on the institution and the number of inhabitants in a room, the costs can vary between approximately 50 EUR and 150 EUR per month.  If you are a national applicant, you will be informed of available dormitories before the start of the study year.

If you are an international applicant, you will receive information on different accommodation possibilities shortly after receiving your admission results.

In many cases international students prefer to rent apartments together in groups of two or three. Rough estimated costing in Riga: housing: 150–350 EUR per month; living expenses: 250 EUR per month as a minimum. RGSL can assist you with more detailed information on housing facilities in Riga and with the names of other admitted students from your country.

A popular option among international students in Latvia is the student hostel „Prima”: http://www.viss.lv/?p=151040, prima@lu.lv, (+371) 67112260, (+371) 67112274 (please note that they usually require a two month deposit). Some of our students this year are happy to stay at the “Jakob Lenz” guest house: http://www.guesthouselenz.lv. You can also check the following links of real estate agencies that have web-pages in English: www.ober-haus.lvwww.balsts.lvwww.dzivoklis.lv,  www.latio.lvwww.arcoreal.lv.

I have relatives who reside in Latvia. Can I stay at their place?

Yes. In case you are planning to stay at your relative’s apartment during the study year, your relative can provide you with a confirmation of the envisaged place of residence. Also, your relative can pledge to provide you with the necessary subsistence by submitting a written statement and proof of sufficient legal income to the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

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