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|Residence permit through investments
On July 1, 2010, amendments to the Law on Immigration of the Republic of Latvia came into force, which expand the possibilities of obtaining a residence permit in Latvia for foreigners who wish to stay and move freely in the Schengen area.
The uniqueness of these changes lies in the introduction of a new method of obtaining a residence permit – investing in real estate. It has attracted a large number of investors as a foreigner investing in real estate (which can be used for profit) has the opportunity to move freely within the Schengen area provided he or she has a passport and sufficient financial means has. Citizens of the Russian Federation are particularly interested in using this opportunity, since Latvia is nearby and is a tourist destination due to its unique cultural monuments, well-known resorts and international festivals.
What is the advantage of a residence permit?
A residence permit is a document granting a foreign citizen the right to reside temporarily (a temporary residence permit) or permanently (a permanent residence permit) in the Republic of Latvia.
A temporary residence permit gives a foreigner the right to:
residence in the Republic of Latvia for a period not exceeding five years;
to freely cross borders of EU member states and non-EU countries;
to relocate and stay up to 90 days within the territory of other EU countries except the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania;
to obtain a Latvian or EU permanent residence permit after five years;
to obtain a temporary residence permit for the spouse and children.
How do I apply for a residence permit?
A residence permit is required if you intend to stay in the Republic of Latvia or the Schengen Area for more than 90 days within a six-month period.
This document is issued in the form of a visa and is pasted into the passport, indicating the name, surname and identity number of the person.
You can obtain a temporary residence permit from
Investments in real estate after July 1, 2010;
investments in Latvian credit institutions;
Investing in a company's equity.
Conditions for investing in real estate:
the total amount of the transaction (for one or more properties) must be at least 143,000 euros in large cities and at least 72,000 euros in other places;
only material resources may be used for the acquisition of real estate;
a foreigner has and has never had debts from real estate tax payments in Latvia;
the transaction will close after July 1, 2010;
a residence permit is issued after the property has been registered in the land register.
Conditions on investing in Latvian credit institutions:
the amount of financial investments must be at least EUR 286,000;
the term of transaction must be at least five years without the right to terminate it prior to the term of repayment of the deposit. Conditions on investing in the equity capital of an enterprise:
the amount of investment must be at least EUR 36,000;
the amount of taxes payable for the next year must be at least EUR 28,600.
Duration of process
The time for obtaining a residence permit in Latvia includes the period necessary to review the submitted documents which is 5 to 30 days depending on the amount of fee paid. Additional time may be needed for sending documents by mail. If an additional verification by the foreigner is necessary or if a foreigner applies for residence permits for his or her spouse and minor children, the term can be extended for up to 90 days. A foreigner has to come to Latvia to obtain a residence permit no later than three months after being granted the permit.
According to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP), 2495 temporary residence permits were issued in 2010 indicating a high demand for this service. It is also worth mentioning that the amendments to the Immigration Law of 20 January 2011 simplified the bureaucratic component of services making them even more accessible.