Grounds for obtaining residence permit in Latvia (Lettland)

In this article you can read a short summary about grounds for obtaining residence permit in Latvia (Lettland).

From this article you can find out answers on following questions:

  • What is a residence permit?
  • In which cases is the residence permit necessary?
  • In which cases do you have a possibility to claim for a temporary residence permit?
  • In which cases are you entitled to require a permanent residence permit?
  • What documents must be submitted to receive residence permits?
  • Where the documentation must be submitted?
  • How long does the review of documents take and what expenses can you expect?
  • Re-registration of residence permits
  • Where is additional information regarding residence permits available?

1.  What is a residence permit?

•A residence permit is a document which entitles a foreign citizen to stay in the Republic of Latvia for a definite period of time (temporary residence permits) or permanently (permanent residence permits).
•Temporary residence permits are issued for a period from 1 to 5 years, whereas permanent residence permits without a period of limitation.
•Residence permits in Latvia are issued by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (hereinafter – OCMA).

2. In which cases is the residence permit necessary?

A residence permit is necessary if you wish to stay in the Repoublic of Latvia longer than 90 days during a half-year from the first day of entry.

3. In which cases do you have a possibility to claim for a temporary residence permit?

A foreigner is entitled to claim for a temporary residence permit:
1) once a calendar year for a period which does not exceed six months if a foreigner is a third-degree relative in a straight line or side line or a third-degree brother-in-law of a Latvian citizen or non-citizen or a foreigner having received a permanent residence permit;
2) for the period not longer than five years if a foreigner is an individual merchant registered in the Commercial Register of the Republic of Latvia;
3) for a term of authorizations but not longer than for five years if a foreigner is a person who is registered in the Commercial Register as a member of a partnership entitled to represent the partnership, member of the Board, member of the Council, procuration holder, administrator, liquidator or a person who is authorized to represent a merchant (foreign merchant) in the activities related to a subsidiary;
4) for a period not longer than one year if a foreigner is a self-employed person;
5) for a period of employment on employment or other contractual basis but not longer than for five years;
6) for a period not longer than four years if a foreigner is a representative of a foreign merchant representative office;
7) for a period which is specified in a scientific cooperation agreement concluded with a scientific institution included in the Register of Scientific Institutions but not longer than five years;
8) for a study period of an educational institution student accredited in the Republic of Latvia or a full time student but not longer than for one year;
9) for a period which is specified in the contract on treatment in a hospital;
10) for a period for which he/she is assigned the alternative status in accordance with the procedure established in the Asylum Law;
11) for a period which is necessary for implementation of such an international agreement or project which is participated by the Republic of Latvia;
12) for a period which is necessary for rendering assistance to state or municipal institutions of the Republic of Latvia but not longer than for one year;
13) for a period which is necessary for performing a religious activity but not longer than for one year;
14) for a period for which guardianship or trusteeship is established over him or for which he is appointed as a guardian or trustee for a Latvian citizen or non-citizen;
15) for a period not longer than three years if a foreigner has joined a cloister registered according to the procedure specified in the normative acts;
16) for a period not longer than a year if residence in the Republic of Latvia is related to student exchange, practice or probation at some of educational institutions of the Republic of Latvia or commercial company registered in the Commercial Register or performing another task;
17) for a period until the day of a court judgement on divorce and stating the place of residence of a child coming into force but not longer than for one year if a marriage is annuled and a child was born during the marriage who is a Latvian citizen or non-citizen;
18) for a period not longer than a year if it is necessary for a pre-trial investigating institutions or court so that a foreigner stayed in the Republic of Latvia until finishing investigation of a criminal case or reviewing by a court;
19) for a period not longer than five years if a foreigner has lost the permanent European Community resident status in the Republic of Latvia by emigrating to another country and claims for a residence permit three years after emigration at the latest;
20) for a period not longer than five years if a foreigner has a valid residence permit of a permanent European Community resident issued in another European Union member state and there is no reason to claim for a temporary residence permit in accordance with any other aforementioned regulation;
21) for a period for which a foreigner is allocated temporary protection in compliance with the Asylum Law.

4.  In which cases are you entitled to require a permanent residence permit?

A foreigner shall have the rights to require a permanent residence permit:
1) a minor child of a Latvian citizen or non-citizen or a foreigner having received a permanent residence permit;
2) a spouse of a Latvian citizen or non-citizen or a foreigner having received a permanent residence permit, as well as a minor child of the spouse;
3) parents and their spouses of a Latvian citizen or non-citizen;
4) a foreigner who has obtained a certificate of secondary education in the Republic of Latvia, furthermore, she/he has acquired the secondary education programme in the state language;
5) a foreigner who was a Latvian citizen on June 17, 1940 or whose one of the parents is a Latvian citizen and who makes a permanent move to Latvia in accordance with Section 31 of this law;
6) a foreigner who has permanently stayed in the Republic of Latvia and having a temporary residence permit for at least five years just before the day for submission of an application;
7) a foreigner living in the Republic of Latvia who has been a Latvian citizen or non-citizen before obtaining citizenship of another country;
8) a foreigner who has been granted a refugee status in compliance with the procedure stated in the Asylum Law and his/her family member;
9) a foreigner who has been granted a repatriate status in compliance with the procedure specified in the Repatriation Law and his/her family member who has immigrated pursuant to the procedure established in the Repatriation Law.

5. What documents must be submitted to receive residence permits?

•If you are a citizen of the country with which Latvia has a visa-free regime(a list of the countries is available at http://www.am.gov.lv/lv/KonsularaInformacija/4517/4518/), you must submit the documentation depending on the aim of immigration which you can clarify at http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/residence/documents.html.
•If you are a citizen of another country, you must submit the documentation depending on the aim of immigration which you can clarify at http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/residence/documents_2.html.
•Take into account that you may submit the documentation only in Latvian, English, French, Russian or German.

6. Where the documentation must be submitted?

The documents to receive a residence permit are submitted:
1)      a foreigner who wishes to immigrate to the Republic of Latvia — to a representative office of the Republic of Latvia in the respective foreign country;
2)      the OCMA:
•a foreigner who stays in the Republic of Latvia by using a residence permit;
•a foreigner who stays in the Republic of Latvia legally and who has permanent European Community residence permit issued in another European Union member state;
•a family member of the foreigner for whom a permanent European Community residence permit has been issued in another European Union member state staying in the Republic of Latvia legally if the family has been established in another European Union member state before the foreigner who has been issued a permanent European Community residence permit in another member state has claimed for a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Latvia;
•an inviter of a foreigner (an accredited educational institution) which submits documents for receipt of a residence permit by a foreigner in order to study at an educational institution accredited by the Republic of Latvia. However, this procedure does not refer to the foreigner who is a citizen of the country included in the list specified in the ninth paragraph of Section 4 of the Immigration Law or the foreigner who has been awarded a status of a stateless person, refugee or alternative status or granted temporary protection in a foreign country.

7. How long does the review of documents take and what expenses can you expect?

•Representative offices of the Republic of Latvia usually review the documentation submitted in foreign countries in about a month;
•After receipt of all the documents required to claim for a residence permit OCMA reviews them and gives a reply:

1)      within 30 days regarding a temporary residence permit;

2)      within 90 days regarding a permanent residence permit;
•You may clarify the potential expenses at: http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/pakalpojumi/pricelist/residence_permit_fees.html

8. Re-registration of residence permits

A temporary residence permit the expiry date of which is longer than one year shall be registered annually – you must arrive at the OCMA and submit the required information, whereas a permanent residence permit must be registered at the OCMA once per five years.

9.  Where is additional information regarding residence permits available?

The OCMA home page http://www.pmlp.gov.lv contains exhaustive information not only in Latvian, but also in English and Russian.

Information from National Integration Centre webpage: http://integration.lv/en/residence-permit

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