Citizenship
May 17, 2024
Reading Time: 7 min

All ways to become a citizen of Latvia

Foreigners apply for Latvia citizenship through naturalisation after residing in the country for 10 years. They meet residency requirements, demonstrate proficiency in Latvian, and take exams on Latvian history and culture.

We wondered if there is any way to get a second passport in Latvia or other European countries faster. And indeed, there is.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Told how to obtain an EU passport

How to obtain Latvia citizenship

All ways to become a citizen of Latvia

Latvia citizenship overview

The issuance of Latvian citizenship is regulated by the Citizenship Law of 1994. The most common ways of obtaining Latvia citizenship include:

  • descent;

  • naturalisation;

  • marriage.

Individuals who want to apply for Latvia citizenship can be naturalised in 10 years of residing in the country. Living legally in Latvia is possible with a residence permit, receiving through work, study, marriage or investment.

There is no direct way to get a Latvian passport by investment, unlike in Malta, Turkey, and the Caribbean.

However, wealthy foreigners can buy real estate in Latvia and apply for residence permits under a special government program.

During 2015‚ÄĒ2023, 165,019 persons were naturalised in¬†Latvia. As¬†from January 1st, 2023, to¬†December 31st, 2023, the country has received 1,280 applications for the admission of¬†Latvian citizenship by¬†naturalisation.

Statistics on obtaining Latvian citizenship by ethnicity:

  • Russians¬†‚ÄĒ 59,7%;

  • Belarussians¬†‚ÄĒ 11,7%;

  • Ukrainians¬†‚ÄĒ 9,8%

  • Poles¬†‚ÄĒ 3,5%;

  • Lithuanians and Estonians¬†‚ÄĒ 2,4%;

  • Others¬†‚ÄĒ 10,6%.

Latvia citizenship by descent for Children of non-citizens or stateless persons

A child born in Latvia until December 31st, 2019, is recognised as a Latvian citizen if they comply with the following conditions:

  • born in¬†Latvia after August 21st, 1991;

  • has permanent residence in¬†Latvia;

  • has previously been stateless or¬†a¬†non-citizen;

  • their parents are stateless persons or¬†non-citizens all the time;

  • the permanent place of¬†residence of¬†the parent with whom the child lives with has been in¬†Latvia for at¬†least the last five years.

From January 1st, 2020, children born in Latvia receive Latvian citizenship or citizenship of another country if both parents agree on that other citizenship.

Children born in Latvia or abroad after January 1st, 2020, can acquire Latvian citizenship if at the time of their birth:

  • both parents are non-citizens or¬†one of¬†the parents is¬†a¬†non-citizen, but the other is¬†a¬†stateless or¬†unknown person. The child child will obtain Latvian citizenship concurrently with the registration of¬†their birth by¬†the Civil Registry Office;

  • one of¬†the parents is¬†a¬†non-citizen, and the other is¬†a¬†citizen of¬†another country.

The required documents to get citizenship by descent in Latvia are:

  1. Application form.

  2. Passport or identity card of the parents.

  3. Document confirming the permanent residency of the child in Latvia.

  4. Document confirming permanent residence of the parent in Latvia during the last five years.

If one of the parents is a non-citizen, the required documents include a submission form, a parent’s passport or identity card, and a birth certificate.

Children aged 15 to 18 should submit the documents by themselves.

Latvia citizenship by naturalisation

Individuals can apply for Latvian citizenship by naturalisation from the age of 15 if they:

  • live permanently in¬†Latvia for the past 5¬†years and can prove it¬†documentary;

  • know Latvian;

  • know the text of¬†the National Anthem, the basics of¬†the history and culture of¬†Latvia and the basic principles of¬†the Constitution of¬†the Republic of¬†Latvia;

  • have a¬†legal source of¬†income.

For the citizens of the EU, countries of the European Economic Area and Swiss Confederation, it is suitable to have a permanent residence permit of a citizen of the EU for 5 years.

The required documents to obtain Latvia citizenship by naturalisation are the following:

  1. Application for naturalisation.

  2. Passport or identity card.

  3. Documents confirming the residence in¬†Latvia during the last five years¬†‚ÄĒ for example, statements from employers on¬†employment or¬†education institutions.

  4. Statement from the place of work, pensioner’s certificate, statement from the State Social Insurance Agency regarding receipt of the benefits, or statement from the bank about sufficient account balance.

  5. 1 photograph 3 × 4 cm.

  6. Paid state fee of¬†‚ā¨28.46.

  7. Clean criminal record.

Latvia citizenship by marriage

Obtaining Latvian citizenship through marriage follows a naturalisation process. After marriage, foreign spouses apply for a residence permit in Latvia. Then, after 5 years, they apply for permanent residency and can claim citizenship after another 5 years.

Marriages in Latvia are only permitted between a couple of the opposite sex. Both persons must be over 18.

A marriage in Latvia may be registered by:

  • an¬†official of¬†the registry office on¬†the premises of¬†the registry office;

  • a¬†priest in¬†the church of¬†the confession to¬†which at¬†least one of¬†the spouses belongs.

The couple has to submit an application, which they both have signed and present their passports or personal ID cards to a registry office or the priest.

How to obtain citizenship by investment in Latvia

Latvia does not have a specific citizenship by investment program, such as some other countries in Europe, America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

However, individuals can obtain a Latvian residence permit by investment and later apply for permanent status and a passport.

Investors can choose between several financial options:

  • real estate purchase¬†‚ÄĒ ‚ā¨250,000+;

  • capital deposit in¬†a¬†Latvian bank¬†‚ÄĒ ‚ā¨280,000+;

  • government bonds purchase¬†‚ÄĒ ‚ā¨250,000+;

  • investment in¬†a¬†Latvian company¬†‚ÄĒ ‚ā¨50,000+.

Applicants for a residence permit by investment do not need to take an exam on their knowledge of the Latvian language or permanently live in the country. These conditions will need to be met if the investor wants to obtain permanent residence or Latvian citizenship.

To qualify for a permanent residence permit, the applicant must have resided in the country for four years out of the five-year period and should have successfully passed the basic Latvian language test at the A2 level. The applicant must also have a proven knowledge of the general history of Latvia and the national anthem.

How to obtain a residence permit in Europe?

Practical Guide

How to obtain a residence permit in Europe?

Step-by-step process to obtain Latvia citizenship by investment

To obtain a Latvian passport, investors must first live in the country for five years as a residence permit holder and then another five years as a permanent resident. Applications for citizenship can be submitted after ten years of residing in the country.

1

2 weeks

Choose an eligible investment option

The Latvia investment program offers several investment options, including real estate or government bond purchases and business investment.

2

2 weeks

Meet the eligibility criteria

In addition to making the investment, applicants must meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for Latvia’s residency program. These criteria may include:

  • having a¬†clean criminal record;

  • possessing valid health insurance;

  • demonstrating sufficient financial means to¬†support themselves and their dependents during their stay in¬†Latvia;

  • meeting any specific requirements related to¬†the chosen investment option.

3

1 month

Submit the application

Once you have chosen your investment option and ensured that you meet the eligibility criteria, you can submit your application for the Residence Permit for Investment program.

The application process typically involves completing the necessary forms, providing documentation to support your investment, and paying any required fees.

4

30 days

Wait for approval

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for it to be processed and reviewed by the relevant authorities. This process normally takes 30 days.

5

2 weeks

Receive a residence permit

If your application is approved, you will receive a temporary residence permit that allows you to live and work in Latvia for five years. The residence permit can be renewed as long as you continue to meet the program’s requirements.

6

5 years

Maintain residency

To maintain your residency status in Latvia, you must comply with the program’s requirements, such as maintaining your investment, staying in Latvia for a minimum amount of time each year, and renewing your residence permit as required.

7

5 years after getting a residence permit

Apply for a permanent residence permit

The investor will need to comply with the condition of continuous residence in the country: they cannot be absent for more than six consecutive months or a total of more than 12 months in the five years preceding their application.

8

In 10 years after getting a residence permit

Apply for citizenship

Latvia citizenship is granted if a person:

  • independently lived in¬†Latvia for the past 5¬†years:

  • speaks Latvian;

  • knows the text of¬†the National Anthem, the basics of¬†the history and culture of¬†Latvia and the basic principles of¬†the Constitution of¬†the Republic of¬†Latvia;

  • has a¬†legal source of¬†income.

Latvia citizenship tests

Within two months after submitting the application for naturalisation, the person passes a Latvian language proficiency test and proves knowledge of the basics of the Constitution, the text of the National Anthem, and the basics of Latvian history and culture.

The tests can be taken in Riga, Daugavpils, Liepaja, and Ventspils.

Latvian language proficiency test. The necessary level of language skills:

  • to¬†be¬†able to¬†understand the heard texts on¬†everyday topics;

  • to¬†read and understand texts on¬†various topics;

  • to¬†be¬†able to¬†write simple texts;

  • to¬†talk about everyday topics.

Suppose any of the Latvian language proficiency criteria are not met. In that case, the test may be retaken after a minimum of three months, focusing solely on the skill that was not previously passed. Should the test still not be completed, it can be retaken after a month.

Testing of the other knowledge. In the oral exam, candidates are required to respond to one question regarding the Constitution and another concerning the history and culture of Latvia.

In the written assessment, candidates must complete a test comprising 18 questions: 10 relating to the history and culture of Latvia and 8 concerning the Constitution. Additionally, in both types of tests, individuals are expected to write out or recite the National Anthem.

Latvia dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is allowed by Latvian citizenship law for individuals from some categories of citizens:

  • another EU¬†member state or¬†an¬†EFTA member state;

  • another NATO member state;

  • Australia, Brazil or¬†New Zealand;

  • a¬†country not mentioned above, if¬†due to¬†important national interests, permission from the Government of¬†Latvia is¬†received to¬†retain dual citizenship;

  • a¬†country not mentioned above if¬†it¬†has been acquired automatically, through marriage or¬†as¬†a¬†result of¬†adoption.

Individuals who are Latvian citizens by descent may be allowed to hold dual citizenship in any country.

7 key benefits of acquiring Latvian citizenship

1. EU¬†—Āitizenship. Latvia is¬†a¬†member state of¬†the EU, and Latvian citizens enjoy the rights and privileges of¬†EU¬†citizenship. This includes the ability to¬†live, work, study, and travel freely within the EU¬†and European Economic Area.

2. Global mobility is especially advantageous for business travel, tourism, and family visits. Latvian citizens can travel visa-free or with simplified visa procedures to 169 countries around the world.

3. Social benefits. Latvian citizens are entitled to various social benefits provided by the government, including healthcare, education, and social assistance programs.

4. Employment opportunities. Latvian citizenship allows individuals to work freely in Latvia without a work permit. Additionally, it may enhance employment opportunities within the EU, as some employers may prefer to hire EU citizens.

5. Property ownership. Latvian citizens have the right to¬†own property in¬†Latvia without restrictions. If¬†you invest at¬†least ‚ā¨250,000 in¬†real estate, you can obtain a¬†Latvian residence permit.

6. Cultural identity. For individuals with ties to¬†Latvia, obtaining Latvian citizenship can provide a¬†sense of¬†cultural belonging and identity. Latvia celebrates a¬†variety of¬†festivals and holidays throughout the year, including Midsummer‚Äôs Eve, Christmas, Easter, and Lńęgo, a¬†midsummer festival with roots in¬†pagan traditions. These festivals often involve music, dancing, traditional foods, and community gatherings.

7. Security and stability. Citizenship provides a sense of security and stability, as the laws and institutions of Latvia protect citizens. Latvia has experienced a decrease in crime rates over the past decade. According to statistics from the Latvian Central Statistical Bureau, crime rates have been declining in recent years.

Citizenship by investment Latvia

In 2024, the new Latvia passport samples will include innovative anti-counterfeiting solutions, such as a holographic strip and visa pages with coloured UV printing

Other countries to get second citizenship by investment

mt-flag Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. Foreigners wishing to get Malta citizenship for exceptional services must fulfil three conditions:

  1. Buy real estate worth ‚ā¨700,000 or¬†more in¬†Malta. In¬†the case of¬†renting, the rental should be¬†at¬†least ‚ā¨16,000 annually. Money cannot be¬†invested in¬†two properties.

  2. Contribute ‚ā¨600,000 or¬†‚ā¨750,000 to¬†the Malta National Development and Social Fund. The lesser sum is¬†a¬†path to¬†residency within 3¬†years, while the larger investment speeds up¬†the process to¬†1¬†year.

  3. Make a¬†charitable donation of¬†‚ā¨10,000 to¬†a¬†Maltese registered philanthropic, cultural, sporting, scientific, animal welfare, or¬†artistic non-governmental organisation.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

kn-flag St Kitts and Nevis citizenship. The investment for a single investor starts at $250,000 for a non-refundable contribution. For those opting to purchase real estate, the minimum investment begins at $400,000.

You can add in your application a spouse, children under 25, and parents of the main applicant or the spouse over 65. Adult family members must financially depend on the main applicant.

The citizenship-obtaining period is 6+ months.

gd-flag Grenada citizenship. The contribution for a single applicant is $150,000, and the real estate can be purchased for a minimum of $220,000.

Your application can include your spouse, children under 30, parents, grandparents, and unmarried siblings over 18, with the condition that adult family members are financially reliant on the main applicant.

The passport-obtaining period is 6+ months.

lc-flag St Lucia citizenship. The contribution for a single applicant is $100,000. An alternative option involves investing in real estate, starting at $200,000. Another refundable investment option is buying government bonds for $300,000.

You can add into your application a spouse, children under 30, parents over 55, and unmarried siblings under 18, provided they have parental consent.

The passport-obtaining period is 4+ months.

ag-flag Antigua and Barbuda citizenship. The contribution for a single applicant is $100,000; the real estate can be purchased for a minimum of $200,000. Families of six or more can make a contribution of $150,000 to the University of the West Indies Fund and get a year of free study for one of the family members.

You can add a spouse, children under 30, parents and grandparents over 55, and unmarried siblings into your application. Financial dependency of adult family members is mandatory.

The passport-obtaining period is¬†3‚ÄĒ6 months.

dm-flag Dominica citizenship. A non-refundable contribution to the state fund starts at $100,000. For those opting for real estate investment, the minimum is set at $200,000.

You can add to your application a spouse, children under 30 and parents over 65 if they are financially dependent on you.

The passport-obtaining period is¬†3‚ÄĒ6 months.

All ways to obtain Latvia citizenship: key takeaways

  1. Latvia offers pathways for individuals seeking to obtain Latvian citizenship, including by descent, naturalisation, marriage, and investment.

  2. The Latvian nationality law underwent significant changes in 2020, granting citizenship to children born in Latvia.

  3. While there is no direct citizenship by investment program in Latvia, investors can obtain residency permits by investing in real estate, government bonds, or businesses.

  4. After residing in Latvia for 5 years, individuals can apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship, subject to meeting specific eligibility criteria and passing relevant tests.

  5. Latvia’s citizenship provides numerous benefits, including EU membership, global mobility, social benefits, and employment opportunities.

  6. Dual citizenship is allowed under certain circumstances. For example, Individuals who are Latvian citizens by descent may be allowed to hold dual citizenship in any country.

  7. Acquiring Latvia citizenship takes a long time. Investors seeking second citizenship can find alternative pathways in Malta and other countries.

Immigrant Invest is¬†a¬†licensed agent for citizenship and residence by¬†investment programs in¬†the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of¬†our global 15-year expertise¬†‚ÄĒ schedule a¬†meeting with our investment programs experts.

Frequently Asked Questions