Foreigners have the opportunity to obtain a residence permit in Latvia through investments in the banking sector, after the purchase of government securities or real estate, as well as when investing in a commercial organization. The amount of required funds varies from 50 000 to 280 000 EUR. The status of a temporary resident under the investment program is completed in 5-30 days and is issued for a period of up to 5 years, with the possibility of extension.
A foreign citizen, holding a residence permit, can apply for permanent residence permit, after fulfilling the requirements of the legislation, and later they can apply for citizenship and Latvian passport. A residence permit in Latvia for investment allows you to use the banking and medical services, as well as invite family. With Latvian residence permit a foreigner can travel visa-free within the European Union and Schengen area.
What a residence permit in Latvia offers
With a residence permit a foreigner can stay in Latvia longer than the visa or visa-free regime allows, as well as obtain a number of opportunities:
- after 5 years one can request permanent resident status, and after the same period — Latvian citizenship;
- visit without entry permits EU countries, as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein for 90 days out of 180 days;
- obtain visas to the USA, Canada, Japan at the embassies of these countries, located in Latvia;
- get a driver’s license;
- purchase and register property and vehicles in their name in the country;
- invite a family to Latvia with the possibility of obtaining a residence permit for relatives.
Requirements for Investing in the residence program
Conditions for participation in the investment program for applicants are stipulated in the Immigration Law.
A person who decides to subsequently stay in Latvia and obtain its passport, it is worth knowing that the state does not recognize dual or second citizenship, so the first status will have to be rejected. To keep the a residence permit a person is allowed to leave the Republic of Latvia for no more than 6 months out of 12.
Requirements to the investor
A foreigner who has decided to invest in the Latvian economy and budget must:
- have a valid international passport;
- prove that there are no problems with the law in the country of residence;
- be an adult citizen of a non-EU country;
- obtain a medical insurance policy and proof of absence of any dangerous diseases;
- have sufficient financial savings for living in Latvia.
More detailed requirements depend on the chosen way of making the investment.
A set of documents
In order to obtain a residence permit, the applicant must submit the following documents to the Latvian Consulate abroad or the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs:
- completed application form;
- copies of all pages of a valid passport with records and stamps (the applicant must independently confirm compliance with the original by writing «True copy», indicate his/her surname, first name, patronymic, date and signature);
- certificate of no criminal record in the country of nationality or residence, if a foreigner stays in the country for more than 12 months;
- 3 × 4 cm photo;
- proof of funds for residence at the rate of at least five hundred Euro per month;
- receipt on payment of the state duty.
Depending on the way in which the investment is made, this list is supplemented.
Investing options in Latvia
There are several ways to invest in the Latvian economy:
- contribute in increasing the authorized capital of the local enterprise;
- purchase real estate (residential, non-residential property, construction objects or other);
- invest money in a Latvian credit institution;
- buy bonds, shares or other securities.
The table below shows the options for investing capital, the minimal amount of the contribution and the term of processing residence permit.
|Minimal amount, €
|Time to obtain a residence permit
|Real estate purchase
|Investing in a Latvian credit institution
|Purchase of securities
The most popular way to obtain an investment residence permit is the purchase of real estate. This trend is due to the stability of prices in the market, the ability to sell the property later, the value of which may increase, or to rent it out, as well as the right to use real estate assets for commercial purposes. This way of obtaining a residence permit is suitable for those foreigners who plan to live in Latvia, as well as make a profit from the rental of objects. If an investor does not want to look for property and engage in a transaction, he can open a deposit in a bank or buy securities. Investing capital in a company is suitable for those who plan to receive passive income as dividends.
«Golden Visa» to Latvia by real estate
«Golden Visa» is one of the variants of the name of the residence permit, which a foreigner receives for investments in the economy of the country, including the purchase of real estate. You have to buy one object; its cadastral value must be EUR 80,000 or more. It is allowed to buy two buildings or land plots with a cadastral value of at least EUR 40,000 each in one of the following cities or districts:
If the cadastral value is less than the required, the market price of one object can be from EUR 250,000 (when buying two — from 125,000 € for each).
Payment is made only by bank transfer, and the Latvian residence permit by purchase of real estate is issued only if the applicant has no debts on payment of property tax. Objects that can be purchased do not include forest land and farmland. The buyer pays tax to the state budget of Latvia as a one-time payment in the amount of 5% of the value.
Mandatory requirement is that real estate in Latvia for a residence permit must be purchased from a legal entity or individual who is a passport holder or a resident of the Republic of Latvia, another EU state, EEA or Switzerland. After the purchase of real estate owner must pay property taxes, as well as keep the object in good condition and do not sell it during the entire period of residence permit.
Financing of the authorized capital of the company
A foreigner can become a member or founder of the company by contributing to its authorized capital from EUR 50,000 and paying the mandatory fee of EUR 10,000. The company must have no more than fifty employees, and annual cash flow must be up to EUR 10 million. At further extension of the status the amount of taxes paid is taken into account – from EUR 40 000 per fiscal year. A company that employs more than 50 people and has an annual cash flow of EUR 10 million or more requires an investment of at least EUR 100,000. The amount of taxes paid in this case, when re-applying for a residence permit must be from EUR 8,300.
Investment in a Latvian credit institution
Residence permit in Latvia can be issued to applicants who have opened a deposit in a local bank in the amount of EUR 280,000 or more. The period of validity of the agreement shall be not less than 5 years. To apply for a residence permit candidate must attach a receipt for a one-time payment to the state budget (25 000 €). The advantage of this option is its simplicity — the applicant does not need to look for real estate or suitable enterprise, it is enough to apply to any financial institution.
Purchase of securities
A foreigner who buys shares, bonds, promissory notes worth € 250,000 or more has the right to apply for a residence permit. One-time contribution to the state budget is EUR 38,000.
Steps of applying for a residence permit
The process of obtaining a residence permit is the same regardless of the way of acquiring the status and consists of several steps:
- Selecting a location to apply. It can be a consulate in the country of the applicant’s regular residence or a regional branch of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. In the territory of the republic the request can be sent by mail.
- Collecting the documents. To get a residence permit for the purchase of real estate in addition to the basic package applicant prepares a document on non-cash payment of the transaction, the absence of debt for the payment of fees (if the period of ownership of the property is more than 12 months on the date of application), certified expert opinion on the valuation of the purchase.
- Application submission and waiting for the case to be processed. A foreigner makes an appointment in person at the regional branch of the Office of Migration and Citizenship Affairs or books an appointment online. The method of making an appointment at a particular consulate must be specified individually. Candidate also has to submit biometric data, take photo on the spot and pay state duty. The cost of usual procedure in Latvia is EUR 150, accelerated procedure takes 10 days and costs EUR 300, 5-day processing costs EUR 450. Consulate fee for 30-day processing is EUR 260, for 10 days — EUR 450, for 5 days — EUR 560.
- Getting a plastic card with a residence permit number. You have to pay the state duty for issuance of the document according to the treasury details: EUR 15 for 10 working days, EUR 30 for two days. The card must be picked up personally in the branch of the Office of Migration and Citizenship Affairs or in the authorized state body of the Republic of Latvia abroad.
When applying for the status because of investments in credit institutions, the applicant additionally needs to provide a confirmation from the bank about the financial obligations with a term of at least five years. When purchasing securities and making investments in a business, the applicant must attach evidence of the transactions.
Renewal of Latvian residence permit
If necessary, you can extend the residence permit. The validity period of the residence permit is indicated on the plastic card. When resubmitting the application, you must take into account the time limit for its consideration (up to 40 days). The immigrant needs to fill out an application form, prepare the required documents and provide arguments for the need to extend the residence permit. Also, a person can request a permanent residence permit after the expiration of temporary resident status, if it was issued for 5 years.
Other ways to become a resident of Latvia
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Latvia by reuniting with relatives, due to employment, scientific, religious activities or participation in research, conducting business or studies. The citizens of third countries, who have lived as temporary residents for at least five years, have the right to apply for permanent residence permit.
People who are family members of a Latvian citizen, non-citizen or permanent resident of Latvia, namely spouses, children under 18 years old, parents and other close relatives can apply for a residence permit. When applying for the documents, it is necessary to confirm the family relationship and prove the reason for the relocation.
An employee or researcher has the right to become a temporary resident of Latvia for the term of the employment contract. The employer summons and registers the foreigner at the territorial department of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. The candidate submits an application, as well as the required documents, including an employment contract and proof of a monthly income of 1,227€ or more.
The students of accredited educational institutions of Latvia receive residence permits for a specified period of study. The university confirms the invitation to study at the territorial department of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. A foreigner submits an application for residence permit, provides documentation of the reason for the relocation and the proof of monthly income in the amount of 500€ or more.
Members of relevant religious organizations receive a residence permit for one year in order to carry out religious activities. The applicant provides a recommendation from the host organization, a copy of the certificate of ordination, as well as proof of funds for living in Latvia at the rate of at least 500€ per month.
In addition to general documents, the candidate provides a bank statement or other proof that they have funds to sustain their living expenses (from 2,554€).
A residence permit for investment has the following advantages over other immigration procedures:
- the document can be issued for 5 years at once;
- there is no need to look for a job or go to college, for example, it is enough to open a deposit at any bank;
- the investment can be returned after the registration of permanent residence permit, and purchased real estate can be sold at a profit;
- it is possible to receive a passive income as dividends or from the rental of real estate.
Comparison with investment programs of other countries
In addition to Latvia, the Golden Visa program is valid in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Malta, as well as Andorra and Switzerland, which are not members of the EU. The ways of obtaining a residence permit or permanent residence permit for investment differ in terms of investment amounts, status validity periods, and conditions.
In Latvia, compared to the above-mentioned countries, there are more flexible requirements for investors. The amount of investment in real estate is EUR 50,000, while in Portugal — 280,000, in Greece — 250,000. In addition to real estate in the Republic of Latvia you can buy securities and open deposits in credit institutions for 280 000 € and more. In Portugal, for example, the minimum amount of investment in the banking system is EUR 1 500 000. Registration of residence permit in Latvia takes 5-30 days, while in Switzerland or Portugal — up to 6 months.
Latvian citizenship through investments
It is impossible to obtain the citizenship of Latvia through investments, but obtaining residence permit for investments in the country’s economy can be the first step in the naturalization process and serve as a basis for requesting permanent residence. After residence with a permanent residence permit, a foreigner may apply for a passport of a citizen of the republic if the following conditions are met:
- residence in Latvia during the last five years;
- staying out of the republic for no more than 365 days during the entire 5-year period;
- permanent residence in the country during the last year before applying for citizenship.
The candidate must prove their knowledge of Latvian language, constitution, history, culture and state symbols of the country. Renunciation of previous citizenship is required. Also, the applicant must confirm a legal source of income and take an oath of allegiance.
Documents for Latvian citizenship and passport are submitted to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. There is a state fee of 28,46 € for the procedure. The naturalization process takes up to one year.
Residence permit issued in any EU country, including Latvia, gives its owner the opportunity to travel to Europe without restrictions, obtain visas to the United States of America, Japan, Canada under simplified programs, use social benefits for education and medicine, purchase real estate. Subsequently, a foreigner has the right to apply for permanent residence permit and citizenship. Contacting migration specialists will help to move to Latvia competently and in the shortest possible time. Lawyers will advise how to shorten the process of obtaining European citizenship and accompany at every stage of legalization.