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12 December
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Amendments to the Law on Immigration of Latvia
On January 1, 2018, the amendments to the Law on Immigration came into effect, which provide the elimination of exceptions for certain categories of foreigners who did not have to pay a state fee for the first time by repeatedly requesting a temporary residence permit.
New changes in the Immigration Law of Latvia
On March 2, 2017 the new amendments to the Immigration Law of Latvia (hereinafter referred to as  - the Law) came into effect, according to which several new grounds for obtaining a temporary residence permit in Latvia (hereinafter referred to  as –TRP), as well as the conditions for obtaining a TRP on the basis of registration of a representative of a foreign merchant.
Член Торгово-промышленной палаты Латвии Latvijas Tirdzniecības un Rūpniecības Kameras biedrs Member of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

About Us

Since its foundation in 1996 the law office “INLAT PLUS” has been one of the most active and leading companies providing legal service in Latvia. The variety of the qualified legal services provided by the company will meet the most demanding requirements of its clients (legal and physical persons).

Contact information

Address of the office:
Brivibas 40-15, LV-1050, Riga, Latvia ip@inlatplus.lv
(+371) 67505970
(+371) 26403577
(+371) 67505978

Citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia

In the practice our lawyers are often faced with questions of obtaining Latvian citizenship. Sometimes people wonder whether they can apply for citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia.
Latvian citizenship. For some, it is something natural and commonplace, given from birth or by right of birth, for others - a coveted status, but difficult to obtain. Citizenship of Latvia as EU member state, gives its owner a lot of advantages: it is the possibility of visa-free travelling in the Schengen countries and the opportunity to live, learn and work in Europe.
Latvia provides the opportunity to obtain citizenship not only by birth, but also for a citizen of any state for special merits in front of our country.
What is citizenship for special merits, and how to get it? Article 13 of the Citizenship Act, which governs the reception of the Latvian citizenship under this basis, is stated quite succinctly:
"A person who has no right to be naturalized in a given procedure prescribed by law, but who has special merits in front of Latvia, may take the citizenship of Latvia according to the Saeima decision, and this person may have a dual citizenship.
To obtain a citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia it is necessary to submit to the Saeima a reasoned application, curriculum vitae, and a message stating that the person is not associated with terrorist organizations, did not carry out activities aimed at undermining the democratic system and the independence of Latvia, and is not associated with the legalization of criminally acquired funds, etc."
We also suggest you to submit additional documents confirming the merits, the desire to associate with Latvia their future life, the recommendations and requests of the various physical and/or legal entities, and organizations.
It sounds simple enough. The advantages of obtaining citizenship under this basis are very significant: the formation of dual citizenship is permitted with any country, it is not required to stay in Latvia for the last 5 years, and the knowledge of the Constitution of Latvia is not checked, as well as its anthem, history and culture. That is, all the initially stated requirements are not obligatory in this case.
However, for the entire period of existence of this provision only about 200 people took the advantage of it, with the vast majority (over 90%) - for the first 3-4 years. Since 2000, only very few people could receive the citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia, and the procedure itself lasted for a year or more.
Our Law Office had to help in obtaining citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia, and this experience has been quite successful. Moreover, in our opinion, "slippage" of the process is associated exactly with proving the existing achievements. It is not enough to be talented, successful, and wealthy. It is not enough to promise to develop some branch in Latvia, or promise to invest funds in the country. The citizenship is not given for the future, but for the existing merits. That is, at the time of submission of application, one must already have the merits. Influential individuals and/or organizations should appreciate one’s merits and give a recommendation to the applicant, and sign the petition for obtaining citizenship.
The Commission on citizenship, migration and social cohesion at the Saeima of Latvia guides the preliminary examination of such applications. At first the Commission examines the application, and if there is no strong opposition, sends a request to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in order to check the information, whether or not the above mentioned restrictions of Article 11 are applied to the applicant, whether or not violations of immigration laws are recorded, etc. If the answer of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs is positive for the applicant, then the question is considered at relevant subcommittees. For example, the issue of granting citizenship to athletes Ruslan Nakonechny and Christian Damian Torres was considered at a meeting of the sports subcommittee. If this stage is successfully passed, and most of the members of the subcommittee have voted "yes", then the next stage - the consideration of the application as such and, decision on the reasonability of its aim is in the hands of the Commission on citizenship, migration and social cohesion, where the question is again decided by a majority of votes. On each of these committee meetings, the subcommittee may invite for a conversation both the applicant and those who petitioned for him. Exactly during these meetings, it is decided on the fate of the application. Much depends on whether the applicant is able to provide members of the subcommittee, commission evidence of his merits, to convince them on the matter in his desire to link his fate with Latvia.
Only in that case, if the applicant has successfully passed the interview and his merits are quite convincing, the Commission on citizenship, migration and social cohesion is preparing a draft of decision on the obtaining of the applicant's citizenship in Latvia, which is transmitted to the Saeima for voting. This is the last, crucial stage, the fate of which depends on the provided documentary evidence of the merits, since the deputies do not have interview with the applicant, and making the decision they are solely guided by the submitted documents.
To sum up, it should be emphasized that the process of obtaining citizenship for special merits in front of Latvia is special. It is fundamentally different from the obtaining of citizenship on other grounds. One must really prove his merits in front of our state, and the merits should be recognized as such by the relevant institutions.
/ Irina Stromberga, Specialist of the law firm INLAT PLUS /