Latvian dual citizenship is based primarily upon the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood).
Since Latvia is a part of the European Union, a Latvian citizen can travel and reside freely in any of the member states that are a part of the EU.
Latvia allows dual citizenship under very limited circumstances. Those Latvian citizens and their direct descendants who escaped the USSR and German occupation regimes between June 17, 1940 and May 4, 1990 as refugees or who were deported, and during that time naturalized in another country (e.g. the USA, the UK, Australia), retained the right to register as Latvian citizens provided that they registered by July 1, 1995.
If you’ve been living in Latvia or are moving to Latvia for work, to start a business, or just to enjoy all the country has to offer, it’s important to understand what processes you must go through in order to obtain Latvian passport. This guide will walk you through all the most important steps and tips for making permanent ties with Latvia.
What’s the difference between citizenship and permanent residence?
Many expats living in Latvia don’t have citizenship, but instead hold either a temporary permit or a long-term EU Resident Permit. Both permits act as permanent residence in Latvia, and holders enjoy all of the same rights within the country that native Latvians do, with two notable exceptions.
These differences are rather superficial, especially since holders of a Long-Term EU Resident Permit may live, travel and work freely within the EU without needing an EU passport. However, citizenship does give expats more control of their own futures in their right to vote, and it also ensures the continuity of your life in Latvia
What about Latvian dual citizenship?
Since October 1, 2013 it is possible to apply for a double citizenship, if certain conditions are met:
Double citizenship is possible for persons who have acquired citizenship of other state, that is part of European Union, European Free Trade Association, NATO or Australia, US, the UK, Canada, the Brazil Federative Republic or New Zealand or have received permission from Cabinet of Ministers to maintain citizenship of Latvia.
Person who have become citizenship by process of naturalization cannot be double citizenship, exception is previously mentioned countries.
It’s important for any Latvian citizenship applicant, to understand whether their country of origin allows and recognizes dual citizenship and second passport, to ensure they’ll not be required to forfeit that citizenship when they apply for one in Latvia.
Ways how to apply for Latvian dual citizenship?
In order to request Latvian citizenship first you need to select one of the categories, which justifies your eligibility for citizenship because different rules apply for each category.
If you were born to at least one parent who was a Latvia citizen at the time of your birth, you’re eligible to be recognized as a Latvia citizen yourself and you are eligible for Latvian passport. This is called “right of blood.” This is the easiest way to apply for Latvian passport.
If you weren’t born to a Latvia parent, however, there are still many ways to apply for citizenship in Latvia, as follows.
Claiming Latvian dual citizenship as Latvian exile
A Latvian exile is a person who meets all the following requirements: was a citizen of Latvia on June 17, 1940 (or is a descendant of Latvia citizen);fled from Latvia the USSR or German occupation regime or was deported during the period from June 17, 1940 to May 4, 1990;was not been able to return to Latvia as a permanent resident until May 4, 1990.
Claiming Latvian dual citizenship as Latvians or Livs
Latvians and Livs are persons who meet all the following requirements: have an ancestor which in 1881 or later until June 17, 1940 lived in the territory of Latvia (territory as at 17 June 1940); belong to the constituent nation (Latvians) or autochthon population (Livs);If your grandparent had forfeited their Latvian citizenship at the time of your birth, but has since had it restored and both you and your parent are living in Latvia, you’re eligible to claim your own Latvia dual citizenship. On the contrary to the Latvian exile category, under this category you are required to take the language exam.
Claiming Latvian dual citizenship as Descendant of a Latvian citizen
You can claim Latvian citizenship, if you or your ancestor:
was a Latvian citizen on 17 June 1940 (regardless of when you or your ancestor left Latvia). It means that even if your parent or grandparent left Latvia before 17 June 1940 (e.g. 1930), you are still eligible apply for Latvian citizenship since your parent or grandparent held Latvian citizenship on 17 June 1940, even if he/she was living in other country. However, if you parent or grandparent died before 17 June 1940 or renounced Latvian citizenship then you don`t have the rights to claim Latvian citizenship.
Additional requirements for Latvian citizenship by descent:
The applicant must be born to a Latvian citizen parent or to a parent who has the right to Latvian citizenship “jure sanguinis.
Your Latvian ancestor did not renounce Latvian dual citizenship prior to June 17, 1940.
Children born before October 1, 2014 are not eligible to apply for Latvian dual citizenship.
Spouses are not entitled to claim Latvian dual citizenship (unless their own Latvian ancestry does exist)
Does Latvia allow dual citizenship with the USA, the UK , Australia or Canada?
Latvian allows dual citizenship with US, the UK, Australia including the EU countries and the person who wants to apply or the citizenship from the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and most of Europe (with some exceptions) don’t need to worry about renouncing their home citizenship.
How can I start the application process?
If you wish to benefit from Latvian citizenship by descent or through the exile category and get a secondary Latvian passport, you’ll need to gather a few documents to prove it. Be prepared to dig deep but don’t worry–if needed, you can use our lawyer and we can dive into the Latvian archives for you or point you in the right direction. There are several documents that can prove the Latvian citizenship of your ancestor(s) and you will need at least one of them to start with your application. These documents may be found in your own family archives or in the archives in Latvia. The next step in the application process for your Latvian passport consists of collecting documents proving kinship. These documents recreate your family ties with at least one Latvian ancestor.
The principal documents to be submitted for a reinstatement of Latvian dual citizenship:
1. The application completed in Latvian;
2. The passport;
3. The confirmation statement (For exiles and Latvian descendants)
3. The documents certifying that the person was a citizen of Latvia prior to 17 June 1940 or is a descendant of a person who was a citizen of Latvia prior to 17 June 1940;
4. The evidences of the circumstances proving the person to be eligible for dual citizenship;
5. The documents certifying the family connections (the exile's passport or birth certificate);
6. A document evidencing the change of name or surname where such personal data have been changed.
How Long Does it Take to Get Latvian Dual Citizenship?
It can take 2-4 months to gather all required documents and for you citizenship application. It is suggested that as soon as you know that you are eligible (i.e. have met the naturalization requirement and located the main documents of your ancestor) that you book your appointment at the Migration Office. Once your application is accepted at the Migration Office it takes on average 3 months for your information to be registered in Latvia after which you are eligible to apply for your Latvian passport. Considering these factors, the entire process may take 4-6 months.
How can Baltic Migration help me?
We offer a free and confidential eligibility assessment. If you are eligible, we can provide you with a no-obligation quote. Should you decide to proceed your citizenship application with us, we 'provide you with linguistic, administrative and legal support and navigate through regulations on your behalf. Our lawyers have more 10 years experience in dealing with Latvian citizenship cases.
To find out more about citizenship in Latvia, please contact us at email@example.com
Application could be submitted only together with all supporting documents;
All foreign documents (except passports) must be translated into Latvian. Translation should be official.
All foreign documents (for example birth certificates, marriage certificates; except the passports from US, the UK, Canada, Australia) must be validated by Apostille or legalized.
Enclosed documents shall be originals or copies validated by a public notary. All the notary certified copies (except those issued in the Republic of Latvia) should be additionally certified with Apostille.