Relocating to Latvia
Foreigners of different ages, genres, professional occupations, social statuses and political views can be granted the rights to reside in Latvia for a definite period of time or permanently while visiting the country and exploring its cultural background, social environment, or simply studying or doing business in the country. Lawful immigration to Latvia is regulated by the Latvian Immigration Law. The immigration formalities can be completed with the help of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
During the 2016, there were 6,581 temporary residence permits registered in the country granted to foreigners from 107 countries. 1,528 of the registered foreigners came from European Union (EU) and Eurozone member states. There were 1,239 permanent residence permits registered during the same time period, granted to foreigners from 30 countries. By the end of the 2016, the total number of foreigners who ever received a temporary residence permit in Latvia was 38,193. The amount of foreigners who ever received a permanent residence permit in the country over the same time period consisted of 52,189 people. Most of the permits were granted to students coming to Latvia for getting an education and job seekers, willing to be employed at the companies situated in the country.
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Advantages of having a residence permit or a second citizenship
Residence permit program as well as a second citizenship allows visa free travel to other European Union and Schengen zone member countries. This means that a person can obtain the right to live in one EU member state and stay in any other for a definite period of time. Foreigners are not obliged to stay in the country permanently. They can travel to other countries, while having registered themselves as residents of another country.
Residence permit holders can have an advantage of country’s political, economical and social state. Moreover, the investments, made for receiving a residence permit, can be further used for commercial purposes – for developing own business. Immigrants will additionally have legal rights to be employed without limitations and receive salaries equal to other citizens’salaries, depending on their sphere of employment.
Residence permit programs in Latvia
Latvia offers two types of residence permit program for those immigrants who are willing to stay in the country longer than 90 days during one half-year time period. Those are temporary and permanent residence permits. Temporary residence permit is active for 5 years. Permanent residence permit should be registered once in 5 years and can be granted after receiving the temporary residence permit. There are four basic requirements which should be fulfilled in order to receive a residence permit. Foreigner should be able to make:
- Company equity capital investment
- That can be done by making a capital investment in order to increase public capital, or establishing a new company (limited liability company or joint-stock company) which capital amounts to 50 000 EUR or 100 000 EUR, depending on the number of employees and the total amount of company’s annual income, as well as investing 10 000 EUR in government budget.
- Real estate purchase
- That can be done by purchasing one real estate property which is worth not less than 250 000 EUR in main Latvian cities such as Riga (Rīga) and Jurmala (Jūrmala), or not more than two real estate properties outside of these cities – in Adazhi (Ādaži), Babite (Babīte), Baldone, Carnikava, Garkalne, Ikshkile (Ikšķile), Kekava (Ķekava), Marupe (Mārupe), Olaine, Ropazhi (Ropaži), Salaspils, Saulkrasti or Stopini (Stopiņi), together costing minimum 250 000 EUR.
- Bank deposit
- That can be done by making a bank deposit not less than 280 000 EUR worth, and signing an agreement with the bank for a period of time not more than 5 years. When first time applying for a temporary residence permit, the additional 25 000 EUR should be paid to the government as well.
Additionally, foreigners also can receive a residence permit in such cases:
- If the person has received a master’s or doctor’s academic degree in one of the Latvian Higher Education Institutions while studying full time and applying for a residence permit not later than during the three months after receiving a diploma. In this case an individual can be granted a residence permit for maximum 6 months period.
- If the person is hired by local Latvian company in order to perform certain job locally. However, in this case special recruitment procedure must be done by the employer prior to hiring the third-country national.
- If the person is planning to carry out business activities, dedicated to innovative product development on Latvian territory. In this case an individual can be granted a residence permit for maximum 3 years period.
- If the person is considered a government bond investor. That can be done by purchasing zero-percent government bonds not less than 250,000 EUR worth.
Latvian statistics shows that most of the investors (about 86% in 2015) in order to meet the necessary requirements have chosen to purchase real estates in such Latvian cities as Riga (Rīga), Jurmala (Jūrmala), Ozolnieki and Cesis (Cēsis).
Double citizenship program in Latvia
Double citizenship program in Latvia is currently unavailable, however, the country is running a residence permit program instead. Dual citizenship with Latvia has been allowed only for citizens of EFTA, EU and NATO member countries, as well as for the citizens of New Zealand, Brazil, Australia and Venezuela.
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