- +Arriving in Latvia
TRAVELLING IN SCHENGEN COUNTRIES
If you have a valid residence permit in Latvia, you are entitled to travel to Schengen countries, but not more than for 90 days in six months, if:
· You have a valid passport – it shall be valid at least 90 days from the day of immigration;
· You can explain the reasons for your travel;
· You have financial resources for residing in another Schengen country and returning to Latvia;
· You are not listed in the list of persons whose entering in the Schengen Area is forbidden.
Before travelling, verify whether the expiration date of your residence permit is not approaching. If you plan to extend the residence permit in Latvia, it shall be done timely – documents shall be submitted not later than 30 days before the expiration date of the temporary residence permit.
INFORMATION ABOUT FINANCIAL RESOURCES
The persons who want to visit or reside together with their family members shall also submit a document that proves the required provision of subsistence. The amount required per month for provision of subsistence is equal to the minimum monthly salary in Latvia – from 2018 this amount is 430 EUR per month.
The fact, that the indicated amount is available for you, can be certified in several ways:
· with documents certifying the amount of salary or income from commercial activity;
· with a bank statement of your bank account, additionally indicating that you are entitled to operate with this account;
· with a bank statement of bank account of another person, indicating that you are entitled to operate with this account;
· with travel receipts,
· with a certificate on the amount of pension.
Your residence expenses may be covered by a legal person registered in Latvia, providing a respective confirmation of such a commitment.
Your residence expenses may be also covered by another person, however, in this case you shall observe a number of preconditions:
· an application on covering of subsistence expenses is required (the application shall be notarially certified or signed in the presence of employees of OCMA or Latvian representation),
· the person who wants to cover subsistence expenses shall submit documents that certify a sufficient amount of financial resources,
· the right to cover subsistence expenses of another person is granted only to citizens of Latvia, non-citizens of Latvia or citizens of any European Union member state, the European Economic Area state, or Swiss Confederation, residing in the Republic of Latvia with a registration certificate or permanent residence certificate, as well as to foreigners who have a valid temporary residence or permanent residence permit in Latvia.
- +Long-term residence in Latvia
The following documents are required for preparation of residence permit request:
· Application form for requesting of residence permit,
· Document that certifies the required provision of subsistence (certification is valid for 3 months after issuance thereof),
· Document concerning the planned place of residence (for example, a rental agreement),
· Certificate on the payment of state fee,
· Document that certifies the marriage, and copies of documents certifying the kinship,
· Consent of the other parent concerning emigration of the child to Latvia (the consent shall be notarially certified or signed in the presence of the responsible official). If the parent who travels with the child exercises guardianship of the child on daily basis, the court decision that determines such rights shall be presented.
If you come from a country Latvia does not have visa-free regime with, you shall additionally submit a reference on criminal records (from the country of your citizenship or residence, if you have resided in the country of your residence for more than 12 months). The homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contains information on residents of which countries are allowed to arrive in Latvia without visas.
The documents for requesting of residence permit can be submitted in Latvian, English, French, Russian and German. The documents issued abroad shall be legalized.
One of the preconditions is receipt of summons from a relative in Latvia (Latvian citizen, non-citizen or a person who has received a permanent residence permit). In the case of summoning the spouse, the summoning person shall be exempted from payment of state fee for the summons. If a family wants to join a person who resides in Latvia on the basis of temporary residence permit and has himself or herself received a summons, for example, from the employer or education institution, also the summons for family members shall be executed by the employer or education institution.
WHERE TO SUBMIT DOCUMENTS?
You, as well as your spouse and persons under your guardianship are entitled to submit documents for requesting a temporary residence permit in the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, if you:
· reside in Latvia with a valid residence permit;
· lawfully reside in Latvia and have received a residence permit of permanent resident of the European Union in any other member state of the European Union;
· are a family member of receiver of the European Union permanent resident status (and the family is established before the residence permit was requested);
· come from a state Latvia has visa-free regime with;
· have obtained a currently valid residence permit, issued in another country of Schengen Agreement;
· reside in Latvia with a valid visa and have received a work permit in Latvia, or you are a highly qualified employee, who requests the blue card of the European Union.
If the reason for your residing in Latvia changes, you will need a new residence permit. You will have to leave Latvia and Schengen area countries, and submit documents in Latvian representation outside Schengen area countries, in order to:
· receive a new residence permit in accordance with the new reason for residence,
· receive a new residence permit after expiration of temporary residence permit.
You have an option to request the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to submit the documents in Latvia, submitting an application to the management of OCMA, indicating reasons for such request. The Immigration Law entitles the Head of OCMA to allow submission of documents, required for obtaining a residence permit, to OCMA, if it is in accordance with international laws, the interests of Latvia, or is related to humane considerations (for example, family circumstances).
TERMS AND EXPENSES
The state fee for examination of documents submitted for requesting a temporary residence permit for relatives and parents depends on how soon the examination of documents shall be completed. The particular amount of state fee applies also to family members, if they want to join a person who resides in Latvia on the basis of temporary residence permit:
· within 30 days – 100 EUR;
· within 10 business days – 200 EUR;
· within 5 business days – 400 EUR.
The state fee for examination of documents submitted for requesting a temporary residence permit for a spouse is slightly lower, and also depends on how soon the examination of documents shall be completed:
· within 30 days – 70 EUR;
· within 10 business days – 200 EUR;
· within 5 business days – 400 EUR.
A child up to 16 years of age is exempted from payment of the state fee for examination of documents submitted for requesting a permanent residence permit, unless accelerated examination of documents is required. For a child from 16 to 18 years of age the state fee will have to be paid for examination of documents submitted for requesting a residence permit, and in this case the amount of state fee will depend on how soon the examination of documents shall be completed:
· within 30 days – 50 EUR;
· within 10 business days – 200 EUR.
A decision on granting a temporary residence permit is adopted within 30 days after receipt of all documents, whereas the residence permit is prepared within 10 business days. It has to be taken into consideration, that the decision on granting of residence permit is valid for 3 months – if you do not receive the permit within this period, the documents will have to be submitted repeatedly.
After you immigrate in Latvia, you shall visit OCMA in person to receive a residence permit. When receiving the permit, you will have to present a document that certifies existence of valid health insurance policy, as well as a reference on your health condition, issued by Latvian medical institution (for example, you are not allowed to have tuberculosis in active form). Starting from 2 April 2012, the residence permit is issued in the form of identity card, therefore, before receiving the permit, you will have to:
· give your fingerprints (for persons starting from 6 years of age),
· be ready, that your photo will be taken.
The identity card is prepared within 10 days, and a state fee equal to 15 EUR is charged for the preparation process. In the case, if you want to receive your identity card sooner, it can be prepared within 2 days, however, in this case the amount of state fee is higher – 30 EUR. You will be able to use this identity card in the territory of Latvia as an identity document.
It is important to remember about registration or extension of residence permit – when a person is granted a temporary residence permit, the documents for registration thereof shall be submitted 30-90 days before the expiration date of registration of residence permit. If the term of validity of temporary residence permit is longer than 1 year, the permit shall be registered each year. In order to perform registration, you will have to present the passport and a document that certifies existence of valid health insurance policy.
The decision on registration of residence permit is adopted within 30 days. The state fee charged for registration of residence permit:
· within 30 days – 45 EUR;
· within 10 business days – 90 EUR;
· within 5 business days – 180 EUR.
The state duty payable for consideration of documents submitted by a foreigner and his/her family members for the purpose of registration of a temporary residence permit issued according to the Immigration Law Section 23, Part one, Paragraphs 28, 29 or 30:
within 30 days – EUR 70;
within 10 work days – EUR 140;
within 5 work days – EUR 210.
The state duty payable for the registration of a permanent residence permit:
within 30 days – EUR 35;
within 10 work days – EUR 90;
within 5 work days – EUR 140.
All persons are obliged to inform OCMA in writing within 3 business days about any changes in the data provided for requesting of residence permit. Also in the case, when the passport is changed or extended, OCMA shall be informed – the new passport shall be submitted within 30 business days after the changes have come into effect, and it will serve as a basis for issuance of new residence permit. A state fee equal to 15 EUR shall be paid for receiving a new residence permit.
A child up to 16 years of age shall be exempted from the state fee for changing the residence permit, if the passport is changed or extended (unless it has to be done pursuant to the accelerated procedure). The particular exception shall not apply to those children who are visiting a person who has received a temporary residence permit.
In addition, the state duty must also be paid in the case the residence permit of a child is lost or damaged, or data included on it has changed – a new residence permit will cost EUR 15.
REASONS FOR REJECTION
Granting or registration of residence permit may be rejected on the basis of various reasons, including:
· If the foreigner is employed without a work permit or has been employed without a work permit within the last year;
· If the foreigner submits false information,
· If the foreigner has not the required financial resources for subsistence,
· If the foreigner has concluded marriage of convenience,
· If the foreigner has received citizenship of Latvia;
· If documents for registration of residence permit are not submitted within 6 months from the date determined for registration of permit;
· If the foreigner is found guilty by a court judgement for committing a serious or particularly serious crime in Latvia;
· If it is detected, that while residing in Latvia the foreigner has committed an administrative offence and has not paid the imposed fine within the term stipulated in regulatory enactments (for example, for drunk cycling), a residence permit is issued only after payment of the respective fine, except the case when validity of the administrative act is ceased or a court decision on the payment of fine has not come into effect.
More detailed information on various reasons is available on the homepage of OCMA.
EUROPEAN BLUE CARD HOLDERS
To attract highly qualified foreign employees to the Latvian labour market the European Blue Cards are also issued in Latvia as temporary residence permits. The temporary residence permit is granted for a term that does not exceed 5 years.
To obtain a temporary residence permit as a Blue Card holder:
- you should have high qualification – higher education (studies of at least 3 years in the specialty or industry indicated in the employment contract);
- you have to be employed for an employer – you may only work for the employer who invited you to work in Latvia;
- the amount of wages may not be below the average gross monthly wages of persons employed in the Republic of Latvia during the last year multiplied by 1,5 (based on the latest statistical data published by the Central Statistical Bureau);
- the amount of wages may not be below the average gross monthly wages of persons employed in the Republic of Latvia during the last year multiplied by 1,2 (based on the latest statistical data published by the Central Statistical Bureau), if the residence permit is requested by a foreigner, who wishes to obtain the EU Blue Card and will be employed in his field of expertise (profession), included by the Cabinet of Ministers in the list of professions, in which considerable shortage of employees has been predicted.
After receiving documents necessary for requesting or the registration of the EU Blue Card OCMC reviews them and supplies an answer within 10 work days.
The state duty payable for the consideration of documents submitted for requesting the EU Blue Card:
within 10 work days – EUR 100;
within 5 work days – EUR 200.
In general, you have to comply with the same requirements as the employed – both in relation to documents that have to be submitted and the summons that has to be received. However, obtaining of the Blue Card also grants a number of privileges:
· If the temporary residence permit is requested for a term that does not exceed 1 year, it is granted to the Blue Card holders for a period that is by 3 months longer than the term of the employment contract. This means that Blue Card holders enjoy friendlier provisions in the event of loss of work – if the period without work does not exceed 3 successive months the Blue Card is not annulled and the person may receive the unemployment benefit for a period that does not exceed 3 months.
· The Blue Card holder may work only for the employer who invited him or her to Latvia, while the spouse of the Blue Card holder may work for any employer in Latvia. He or she is not obliged to obtain a separate work permit to do so.
· If the Blue Card holder wishes to obtain the status of the long-term resident of the European Union in Latvia, he or she may be absent from Latvia for considerably longer periods than other persons with temporary residence permits. The Blue Card holder shall not be away from the European Union for more than 12 successive months and the absence shall not exceed in total 18 months within the period of 5 years (to compare – other persons may not be away for more than 6 successive months or not more than 10 months within the period of 5 years). Absence is justified if the person performs business activities in the status of an employee of self-employed, is engaged as a volunteer or studies in his or her country of origin.
At the same time it should be remembered that:
· the Blue Card holder has to inform the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs about loss of work - failure to notify may result in the annulment of the Blue Card;
· if the employment is repeatedly lost within the term of validity of the Blue Card, it is annulled and the right to receive the unemployment benefit is lost.
If you have a valid Blue Card that has been issued in Latvia and you wish to change your employer, both you and your family members are entitled to stay in Latvia until the decision regarding granting or refusal of the residence permit is passed. You and your family enjoy this right also if you hold a valid Blue Card that has been issued in another European Union member state and you have submitted documents for obtaining of the Blue Card in Latvia.
The temporary residence permit issued to Blue Card holders does not visually differ from other temporary residence permits except that the section for notes bears the entry “EU Blue Card”.
The right of being naturalized and obtaining citizenship of Latvia is available for each person, who:
- Is at least 15 years of age,
- Has permanently resided in Latvia for at least 5 years with a permanent residence permit, counting from the day when the residence permit was obtained.
- Has passed naturalization tests on the knowledge of language, constitution, history and anthem,
- Is able to certify own or his or her providers legal sources of income,
- Is ready to renounce citizenship of own country.
Citizenship of Latvia is not granted to persons who:
- are officials of state power, administration or law enforcement institutions of any foreign country,
- have turned against the independence of Latvia, expressed ideas of totalitarianism or encouraged race-hatred and other serious offences, established by a court judgement,
- serve in armed forces, internal military forces, security service or police of any foreign country,
- have been employees, informants or agents of USSR State Security Committee or security service, intelligence or other special services of any other foreign country,
- have criminal record in Latvia or any other country for committing such an offence, which is considered as an offence also in Latvia.
A detailed list of reasons for rejection to grant citizenship of Latvia is available on the homepage of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
In order to become a naturalized citizen, you will have:
- to submit a naturalization application in any territorial division of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, and a document that certifies your or your providers legal sources of income. The sample of naturalization application is available here (WORD document “Naturalization Application Form”).
- to pay a state fee in the amount of 28.46 EUR, which can be paid in any credit institution or with a bank card on site in any division of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
- to pass naturalization exams. Listening, reading and writing skills are examined in the language exam. Examination of constitution, history and anthem knowledge is implemented both in writing and orally. An applicant can take each examination 3 times (taking repeatedly only the part of exam that was not passed in the previous time), then a new application shall be submitted. Latvian language proficiency exam can be taken repeatedly not earlier than after 3 months, whereas the exam on knowledge about the Constitution, national anthem lyrics and history of Latvia – not earlier than after 1 month.
- to sign the loyalty oath to Latvia.
- to submit a declaration on renunciation of the previous citizenship, or a document certifying losing of citizenship, because double citizenship is not allowed in Latvia. The conditions of this paragraph shall be fulfilled, when a person has officially received a confirmation, that there are no other obstacles for acquiring citizenship of Latvia. According to the amendments to the Citizenship Law, adopted in May 2013, double citizenship will be allowed for citizens of countries of the European Union, NATO and European Free Trade Association, for citizens of New Zealand, Brazil and Australia, and citizens of the countries with which Latvia has concluded bilateral agreements on admission of double citizenship.
Also children (also adopted and natural children) up to 15 years of age and permanently residing in Latvia, are allowed to become naturalized citizens together with their parents. In order for children to also obtain citizenship pursuant to this procedure, their parents shall submit the childs birth certificate and photo, if the child has reached 14 years of age.
The Citizenship Law stipulates, that citizenship of Latvia can be obtained within one year through the naturalization process. After issuance of citizenship of Latvia, the previous passport becomes invalid and it cannot be used for crossing the border of Latvia.
You can become acquainted with samples of naturalization exams on information days, organized by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, which are announced on the homepage and in branches of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.
State institutions and non-governmental organizations occasionally organize free courses for acquiring Latvian language, history and constitution, in order to help applicants to prepare for naturalization exams. To obtain information about these opportunities, we recommend to visit homepages of the responsible institutions and non-governmental institutions on regular basis.
Information on the procedures of naturalization, payment of state fee and other issues related to naturalization is available on the homepage of OCMA.
Residence in Latvia