While small in size, the country of Latvia offers tremendous opportunities for foreign investors seeking to obtain a second international residence or citizenship. Still a relatively hidden gem and largely overlooked as an investment opportunity, Latvia is located in Northern Europe and bordered by Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, and Sweden. The nation is a member of the European Union and the United Nations and is ranked as a high income country by international ratings systems.
Because the level of foreign investment in Latvia is still relatively low in comparison to other EU-member nations, the country has taken great steps to attract more investors to the nation.
The first step in obtaining citizenship in Latvia is to obtain a temporary resident permit. Foreign investors may obtain these residence permits by investing in qualifying Latvian credit institutions or by investing a Latvian enterprise’s equity capital. To invest in a credit institution, the foreign national must invest a minimum of 286,000 Euros, and the length of the transaction must be at least five years without the possibility of earlier termination. To invest in an enterprise’s equity capital, the foreign national must invest a minimum of 36,000 Euros and must pay a minimum of 28,600 Euros in the next year.
The investor submits an application for a temporary permit to the Latvian immigration authorities. The application explains which investment option the foreign national chose and contains proof that the required investment amount has been committed to the credit institution or enterprise.
After the foreign investor is approved for a temporary resident permit, the investor has the right to reside in Latvia for the duration of the permit (five years), obtain permits for the investor’s spouse and children, and freely travel and cross the borders of EU member states.
The second step in obtaining Latvian citizenship is for the foreign investor to become a permanent resident of the nation. The investor can apply for permanent residence five years after becoming a temporary resident. The application must contain proof that the investor has not violated the civil, criminal, or immigration laws of Latvia, and that the investor continues to develop and manage the investment in the credit institution or enterprise.
Finally, once the foreign investor has been a permanent Latvian resident for five years, the investor can apply for Latvian citizenship through a legal process called naturalization. The naturalization application is much more involved than both the temporary and permanent resident applications.