Immigration to Latvia

About Latvia
Latvia is a north European country that lies in Baltic region; it shares its borders with Estonia in north, Lithuania in south and in east Russia and Belarus in east and the Baltic Sea to the west. The population of is around 2.1 mill and area 64589 square miles. The national capital is Riga which is the largest in the Baltic States housing more than 30 percent of population of the country. It is an important seaport and also a major industrial, commercial, cultural and financial center. It also has region’s largest international airport.

The national currency is Lats and One (1) Latvian Lats is normally approximately Two (2) USD. The language of the country is Latvian and majority of population has been historically practicing protestant Christianity except for Latgale region which has a majority of Roman Catholic followers. The majority ethnic group of the country is primarily Latvians who count around 62% of the total population followed by Russians whose number represent around 27% of population, other small ethnic groups are constituted by Belarusians, Ukrainians, Polish and Lithuanians etc.

The climate is humid with mild summers and moderate winters that is primarily influenced by temperate maritime weather. Summers last from month of June to August with temperatures staying on an average of 15 to 16 degrees Celsius and warmest month being July, while winters can be experienced though sometimes harsh in months of December to February with the temperatures ranging around -4.5 centigrade. The coldest month can be January.

The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. It has been recognized as a sovereign state since 1920 despite occupations and rule by erstwhile USSR (1940-1941, 1945-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941- 1945). This Baltic state finally declared the restoration of its de facto independence on August 21, 1991 that was in almost in tandem with collapse of Soviet Union . Independence from the communist rule ushered Latvia into a new era of economic liberalization. Past the collapse of USSR, the swing of the country’s majority went into leanings on more liberal western hemisphere of nations and Latvia formally joined the World Trade Organization in 1999. This country became an active member of NATO on March 29 2004. Latvia also became member of European Union on May 1 2004.

Besides all these premium organizations this former Warsaw pact member (Warsaw pact member was ex-USSR) is also a full time member of many international organizations prominent being United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE, IMF, Schengen Area, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Nordic Investment Bank.

On the economic front the country’s policy has taken a complete U-Turn from the state owned enterprise to up to a 100 percent private participation. Privatization of complete set -up including 98 percent of medium and small sized corporations baring some critical and sensitive large establishments has been achieved. This change over has brought rich returns for the private sector as well as overall performance of the economy in achieving a more efficient and productive economic performance. Private sector today amounts to 70 percent of national GDP. Parts of Latvia’s infrastructure have been brought from deep obsolescence 20 years ago to being among the best today (Latvia has the sixth fastest internet in the world). Since year 2000 this Baltic state has been the fastest growing EU economies and is driven by consumption. In 2008 - 10 global slowdown hit this Baltic state and it was one of the EU nations where the impact was quite widespread, but walk has been quite rapid and since 2011 a fair level of stabilization has been achieved on the economic front with a shift to export-oriented development of industry. The GDP growth was 5, 5% in 2011 and 6, 8% in first quarter 2012 which is the fastest growth among the Baltic States (in Lithuania and Estonia – 3, 9%). Latvia is at the 21st place in "Ease of Doing Business" rank in the world (Estonia – at 24th, Lithuania – at 27th).

The Latvian government aims to integrate the country’s local currency within the European Union’s premise and convert the system into EURO by the year 2014. This is expected to drive in richer results in economic perspective as the country is part of single market bloc.

Latvia Temporary Resident Permit – An overview
The Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (LTRP) is a basically a type of certificate that offers an overseas personnel the right to stay inside the nation in question for a fixed duration. Residence permit from the 2 April 2012 will be issued in an identity card format, so before obtaining a residence permit the biometric data (fingerprints (from six years of age) and a digital facial image) should be submitted.

The permit offers the visitor the right to spend an unlimited period of time inside the country Unlike many other Schengen states, Latvia does not require persons granted a residence permit to stay in Latvia permanently. It also helps one make unrestricted and free (without visa) border movements and to stay in any Schengen zone country up to 90 days out of six months.

In other words, the offered LTRP is meant for applicants who are interested in having an immigration status that lets them do a business in Latvia as also offer all travel related benefits in the Schengen Zone. Latvia TRP options are unique in that one even gets the permit by making passive investments in Real Estate or subordinate capital/financial instruments of a Latvia based financial institution.

So one may take Latvia TRP for doing serious business across the whole of Schengen and the EU Zone, or simply for the purpose of having a visa that will provide him travel convenience, without strict requirements, in terms of physical residency in Latvia. The LTRP application process is smooth with the processing time being just 30 days or even less–from the date the application is duly filled and submitted with all the completed formalities.

If one considers an opportunity to move to another EU country in future, a TRP obtained in Latvia and residing there will be treated as a plus when applying for a status of permanent resident or citizen there.

Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)– options
There are 3 options available for making an application for Latvia TRP:

  • Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (Latvia TRP) - Investing in Equity Option ( *This option is ideal for applicants who are interested in running an active business enterprise running out of Latvia.)
  • Latvia Temporary Resident (Latvia TRP) by investing in Real Estate ( *This option is ideal for applicants who are interested in having a temporary resident permit and all related benefits through passive investment in Real Estate in Latvia.)
  • Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (Latvia TRP) through investments in Subordinate Capital ( *This option is ideal for applicants who are interested in having a temporary resident permit and all related benefits through passive investment in financial instruments in Latvia.)
Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (Latvia TRP) - Investing in Equity Option
Investments of at least 25 000 Lats (Euro 36 000 or NRS 40 lakhs) should be made into equity of a limited liability company (LLC) or a joint stock company (JSC). In this case the TRP can be requested once your investment is acknowledges in the commercial scroll.
If investments are made in establishing a new concern i.e. a registered company in Latvia, then the initial funding
  1. The TRP application can be filed and approved with minimum equity contribution of LVL 25,000 (Euro 36 000). 
  2. The TRP is issued for 5 years with extension required at the end of one year. 
  3. IF you increase the investment in equity is increased to LVL 100,000 (Euro 143,000) before the expiry of one year, then extension will be provided without any additional conditions. 
  4. If by the end of one year, the initial funds are LVL 25000 and less than LVL 100000, then an annual report depicting employment of over 50 employees or annual turnover or company’s balance over LVL 7 million must be furnished 
  5. If unable to meet the employment or turnover requirements as mentioned in (4) above, then the applicant can get an extention by paying and submitting an evidence of annual tax payment of atleast LVL 20000. 
  6. Those investing LVL 100,000 at the intial stage do not need to pay any tax (mentioned in 5 above) or show any employement or turnover requirements (mentioned in 4 above) for the purpose of extention of visa at the end of every each of the 5 years for which TRP is valid. They just need to make a brief visit, around 6 weeks (between 30 and 90 days prior to expiry) prior to expiry and file for validation of status. 
  7. TRP obtained through this passage enables an individual to be in Latvia for 5 years along with his family. It is mandatory for investor to maintain level of his investment for the requisite period. 
For the purpose of clarity the cut-off date of investment has been presumed at later than July 1, 2010. The effects must be transferred directly to the company’s account from investor’s account through wired clearing. Upon clearance of TRP you are indicated of the time period and the date of supplying information on correpsonding tax payments in amount of atleast LVL 20000.

You can use this option by investment in a new entity or by investment in equity (at least LVL 25 000) of already operating company.

Latvia Temporary Resident (Latvia TRP) by investing in Real Estate
If you have obtained
  • One or more immovable properties in Riga, Riga planning region or any other republic city amounting to at least LVL 100000 (Euro 143000) or 
  • One or more than one immovable properties in regions other than Riga, Riga planning area or other republic cities for an amount of at least LVL 50000 (Euro 72000), you can file for TRP once the effects have been transferred in the deal and the ownership rights have been entered in the Land Book. 
The property deal to be effected must be post July 1 2010.The funds must be transferred from your bank account to the seller’s account (usually through an escrow account). There should not be any tax debt on property in Latvia. It is advisable not to mortgage the property in order to enter a real estate deal. You must furnish proofs of real estate tax payments

It takes around 10 days to prepare necessary documentation for executing the purchase and registration deal and endorsement into the land book. State authorities charge a fee of 2 % on the value of registration.

Our Latvian associates can assist you in locating suitable properties, finding tenants, managing property, provide legal support and take care of the property proceeds when you are out of Latvia.

Latvia Temporary Resident Permit (Latvia TRP) through investments in Subordinate Capital
This is the shortest and the quickest way of obtaining Latvian TRP. You just need to make a financial investment in tune of LVL 200000 (Euro 286000) in subordinated capital of a credit institution (debt or debentures) or a term deposit.
  • The deposit term is irrevocable 5 years 
  • Investment carries an annual rate of interest at 4-5 % 
  • Interest on the investment is transferred half yearly 
  • The agreement signed is irrevocable and you do not have privilege of terminating or carry out premature withdrawal of this deposit 
Bank account can be opened with help of valid passport or the national Identity document. Migrants from countries with reciprocal visa agreements must have a passport with entry permission stamping. The institution also requires evidencing the source of funds and record of the nature of transactions.

This is an accelerated mode of attaining Temporary residence permit of republic of Latvia as the whole formality is completed within a couple of days and as the institution issues statement confirming of opening of deposit and completing other necessary formalities, you can immediately apply for TRP for yourself and tour kin.

Benefits of Latvia Temporary Residence Permit (TRP)
Unrestricted movement in Schengen area
Being member of European Union and Schengen treaty Latvia offers an incomparable advantage to the permit holders of enabling them to gain freedom to an unrestricted movement in the EU member countries and staying up to 90 days out of six months there without needing to obtain a visa.

Settlement opportunities to other EU countries
Migrants aspiring to move their set-up to any EU member countries in future will stand a better chance of making it successfully and on priority

Long duration of residence permission to stay in the country
Latvia TRP has a validity of 5 years permitting a stay in the country through the extent of validity of the entry permit.

Multiple entries into this Baltic state
Once you obtain this TRP you are eligible for multiple entries into Latvia (without any limits) and other EU states (up to 90 days within a six month period). The TRP holder can also stay full time in Latvia during the TRP vailidity Period.

No specific residence fulfilment requirements
You do not need to reside in Latvia for a relevant period in the country to retain your TRP status. Extension is granted and can be maintained with least formalities. Extension formalities are very easy and simple to meet for holders who have met the applicable terms and conditions of TRP issuance of one of the three possible options.

Eligibility to file an application for residency
Grant of TRP makes the holder eligible for status and the rights of a resident

Advancing onto the citizenship of Latvia
On successful completion of the TRP and subject to fulfillment of the criteria, the Resident visa holder has an option to permanently make Latvia your home and become citizen of the Latvia

Bring your family along
TRP allows your family to accompany you to this Baltic state and enjoy similar facilities as you while being in the country

Except agricultural and forest land, land in border zone and in reserved beach zone of Baltic Sea
As a TRP holder you have an unrestricted access to business and investment opportunities in Latvia.

we can register a company, to buy a property or to sign a deposit agreement on behalf of an applicant (based on POA) but then he should submit personally his TRP application to our embassy in non-Schengen country (for example in China).

For applicants short of time or not having appropriate visa to visit Latvia or other Schengen countries or Europe or past visit visa refusals, getting Latvian TRP under one of the 3 permitted processes is possible and feasible. One need to and may fly into Latvia only after entire TRP process has been completed.

Geographical location provides opens up more business opportunities
Perfectly positioned between the EU and the CIS, one can NOT ask for a better affordable European location than Latvia. The facet is supreme from the perspective of international trade and warehousing facilities, hence paving way to more business growth opportunities than ever. Geographically well located warehouse synonyms growth for business! Exporters can use this warehouse base to explore and grow business throughout Europe and CIS. Industries related to manufacturing and BPO can make use of affordable human resources to promote their business interests in Europe and CIS countries.

NATO and EU membership
Lithuania is a fully -fledged NATO and EU member with a politically stable ambiance. What that means is no disturbances, just a calm background to have a peaceful life in store for you and your kin! This is very important for long term stability and growth of business.

Low cost and ease of doing business
Latvia has amongst lowest cost of doing business in Europe and has an impressive worldwide ranking of 21 in terms of ease of doing business. The country provided nice tax benefits for start-up businesses and within the 4 free economic zones (in Riga, Ventspils, Liepaja and Rezekne). All it needs is a smart businessman in you to take advantage and starting point is making an application for and getting Temporary resident permit (TRP)!

Low cost of living
Latvia has amongst lowest cost of living thus giving you more reasons to make the country your long term home and/or an important base for expanding your long term business expansion goals.

Latvia Key Business Information
  • Corporate income tax – 15% 
  • The government has recently announced that the personal income tax will be decreased from January 1st, 2013 till 24% and gradually till 20 % in 2015. 
  • Last week the government decided to decrease this tax till 21% starting from July 1st, 2012. 
  • Social security tax – 35,09% 
Property prices (Updated July 1st, 2011)
RIGA CITY – Flats COST (€)  YIELD (p.a.)   PRICE/SQ.M. (€) 
50 sq. m.  105,200  433  4.93% 2,104 8.65 
85 sq. m.  189,635 637  4.03% 2,231 7.49
120 sq. m. 318,840 858 3.23% 2,657 7.15
200 sq. m. 542,400 1,538 3.40% 2,712 7.69
45 sq. m. 46,395 226 5.85% 1,031 5.03
70 sq. m. 76,800 378 5.91% 1,024 5.04
120 sq. m. 176,520 589 4.01% 1,471 4.91
Source:  Global Property Guide

Countries which fall in the Schengen Zone
Holder of Latvian temporary residence visa is permitted visa free travel through the Schengen zone countries. They can also live in any Schengen zone country for up to 90 days within six months. The countries which fall in the Schengen Zone are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Validity of Latvian Temporary Residence Permit
Latvian Immigration Department decides about the duration and issuance of the permit. Generally, post approval, the applicant would be given a renewable, multiple entry Latvian Residence Permit for a span of Five years. The holder is however, required to renew the temporary residence permit after every 12 months period and up to five years from first approval. If the applicant wants to renew it, it should be done ten weeks (30 to 90 days before expiry date) before the expiry day, while he or she is still living in the Latvian Republic. The applicant will gain eligibility to apply for the Latvian Permanent Residence Permit after five year stay in the Latvian Republic as a Temporary Residence Permit holder. Our Latvian experts and lawyers can manage the extension process with least inconvenience to our clients.

Guarantee for getting the Temporary Residence Permit
We believe in providing authentic service. Providing guarantee for any permit or visa is not possible for any immigration provider and we are NO exception. We don’t believe in giving false guarantee but can assure of giving an unswerving immigration service along with an updated knowledge on the Latvian Permit. With an updated knowledge, authentic and well-prepared documents and ace advice along with having best of the Latvian lawyers and consultants as associates, SpeedWings’s immigration experts would try their best to reduce any chances of denial. Please have a discussion with one of our senior business counselors to have clear understanding of our commercial terms.

If your application is refused
If somehow the application is rejected, an appeal would be made against the refusal decision and necessary steps would be taken. Our lawyers would leave no stone unturned in convincing the Latvian Immigration Department to issue the Latvian Residence Permit on the basis of your status. If by any chance, the application faced rejection even after making an appeal, the applicant would be given a Refusal letter issued by the Latvian immigration agencies or local Embassy. It will contain the reasons as to why the applicant has NOT been granted the permit. We would require the letter along with the original refusal letter issued by the Latvian Embassy and SpeedWings would refund 50% of all fee paid to us. The service fee would NOT be refunded back without re-applying and submitting the mandatory documents after the refusal. Please have a discussion with one of our senior business counselors to have clear understanding of our commercial terms.

Optional Support Services through our Latvian associates for our Latvia TRP clients
  • Services related to purchase, sale and management of Latvian businesses and properties 
  • Helping in liaison with Latvian government agencies, real estate agencies, service providers including accounting and law firms 
  • Offering marketing strategy on successful entry into Latvian market and helping in preparing a sound business plan 
  • Human resource planning including hiring and training 
  • Learning Latvian language 
  • Planning and managing events in Latvia