Amendments to the Repatriation Law

21.07.2023 Irina Stromberga, lawyer

On July 8, 2023, the Latvian Saeima adopted a number of amendments to the Repatriation Law and the Immigration Law, which entered into force on July 1, 2023.

The essence of these amendments is that from now on the status of a repatriate gives the right to receive a temporary residence permit in Latvia, and not a permanent one, as it was before. A permanent residence permit will be granted after 5 years of permanent residence in Latvia, if the applicant will learn the Latvian language at least at A2 level. Residence in Latvia is considered permanent if the applicant has not been absent from Latvia for 6 months in a row or more than 1 year in total within 5 years. Accordingly, if this condition is not met, then after 5 years it will be necessary to re-apply for a temporary residence permit for the next five years.

The purpose of these changes is to stop the issuance of a permanent residence permit to those persons who receive the status of a repatriate not to return to Latvia, but only as an instrument move freely within the Schengen area.

In addition, these amendments provide for the complete repeal of the Law on Repatriation from January 1, 2024.

As before, citizens of Russia and Belarus can apply for a residence permit in Latvia if there is evidence that their ancestors and / or they themselves belong to the Latvian ethnic group, with the change that from now on it will be a temporary residence permit for a period of 5 years, not permanent.

Recent News