Residence permit in Latvia, visas and citizenship
Residence permit in Latvia. How to obtain Latvian citizenship Golden Visa in exchange for property investment or purchase.
The presence of foreign citizens in Latvia is regulated by the Immigration Law (Imigrācijas likums).
Latvia is a member of the Schengen Area: certain nationalities must have an A, B, C, or D visa to enter the country.
For more information, check out our Schengen Visa article.
How to obtain a Latvian residence permit
Since 2010, Latvia has been issuing residency to foreign nationals in exchange for investment in the country's economy. Latvian residency is especially attractive by providing visa-free access to Schengen member states and facilitating visa application to other developed countries. The most popular way to obtain an investment-based residence permit is through a property purchase.
The residence permit entitles to stay in Latvia for five years and can be renewed.
According to the Immigration Law, foreign nationals can apply for a Latvian residence permit when investing a certain amount in different types of assets:
The capital of an enterprise with at least 50 employees and an annual turnover of at least €10M.
|250,000||Real estate whose assessed value must be of €80,000 at least|
|50,000||The capital of an enterprise with at least 50 employees and an annual turnover of at least €10M|
|100,000||The capital of an enterprise with at least 50 employees and an annual turnover of at least €10M|
|280,000||Subordinated liabilities with a bank for five years|
A residence permit can be obtained by purchasing two properties for €250,000 in total. That means an investor who wants to become a Latvian can buy two flats at €125,000 each to obtain a Golden Visa. However, this applies only to purchases outside Riga, Jūrmala, Ādaži, Babīte, Baldone, Garkalne, Ikšķile, Ķekava, Mārupe, Olaine, Ropaži, Salaspils, Saulkrasti, Stopiņi Municipality and Carnikava.
Residency is guaranteed only to those buying buildings or developed land. Vacant land plots are not suitable for this purpose. At the same time, the property's assessed value must be of €80,000 at least. If two properties are bought outside the cities or territories mentioned above, the cadastral value of each of them must be of €40,000 at least.
To obtain a residence permit, the investor must pay a non-recurring charge at 5% of the property value. In addition, a stamp duty between €142.29 and €426.86 depending on urgency must be paid for document review, as well as a consular fee (€70).
The residence permit needs to be renewed every five years, upon the second extension (i.e., 10 years after the obtainment of the first visa) €5,000 must be paid. Foreign nationals can lose residency if their debts exceed €150.
Investors pay a $10,000 fee upon the purchase of a property.
Both the investors themselves and their spouses, minor children and dependants are eligible for residency.
The residence permit takes from 1 to 3 months to be issued. Property purchase and registration takes about six weeks.
When applying for residency, the following documents must be submitted to the Embassy of Latvia in the applicant's home country or the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga:
— application, certified in the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga;
— passport and passport copy;
— the applicant questionnaire (can be obtained at a consulate);
— police clearance, issued and certified by the applicant's home country competent authority;
— proof of financial solvency (minimum income per person is €370 per month);
— proof of the purchased property market value amounting to €250,000 at least and the cadastral one — to €80,000 at least;
— property tax clearance certificate if the applicant has been owning the property for more than a year;
— proof of residence in Latvia (purchase or rental agreement, etc.);
— other proofs of the purpose of stay in Latvia.
A Latvian residence permit enables to:
— enter and leave the country freely, work and study in Latvia;
— use Latvian healthcare and public services;
— issue visa invitations to relatives and others;
— travel freely across the Schengen area;
— apply for visas to other countries including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US;
— buy automobiles registered in Latvia and use in the other countries of the EU without paying customs duties;
— obtain a driving licence valid across the EU.
However, the Latvian residence permit per se does not entitle to work in the other countries of the Schengen Area.
Other grounds for obtaining residence:
— family reunification (children, parents and spouses of Latvian nationals and non-nationals as well as Latvian permanent residence holders);
— employment (self-employment, contractual employment, scientific cooperation, etc.);
— studies at an accredited higher education institution or under an accredited programme, internship or training at an accredited educational institution;
— acquisition of the secondary education programme in Latvian;
— treatment at an inpatient facility;
— religious activity;
— the past status of a Latvian national or non-national;
— EU Blue Card ownership.
After five years of living in Latvia, the residence permit can be renewed or permanent residence can be applied for. One of the pre-requisites for obtaining permanent residency is at least a basic knowledge of Latvian.
How to obtain Latvian nationality
The acquisition of Latvian nationality is regulated by the Citizenship Law.
Latvian citizenship can be obtained by the children and spouses of Latvian nationals as well as naturalised foreign citizens.
Latvian citizenship by naturalisation can be awarded to those individuals who:
— have achieved the age of 15;
— have lived in Latvia for five years at least;
— have knowledge of the Latvian language, the basic principles of the Constitution of Latvia, the national history, culture and the text of the national anthem;
— have a legal source of income;
— have submitted a statement of the resignation of their previous nationality and received a permission for expatriation from the previous country of nationality.
Children below 15 years of age permanently residing in Latvia can be naturalised along with their parents.
Latvia does not recognise dual nationality.