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The Process of Getting a Latvian Dual Citizenship by Descent

If you’ve been considering restoring your Latvian citizenship, there is no better time to dig out the necessary paperwork and start the process. Citizens of this EU member country experience high growth, development and liberties. If you’re eligible for citizenship, why wouldn’t you want to become a Latvian citizen?

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).


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 a Latvian passport. This guide will walk you through all the most important steps and tips for making permanent ties with Latvia.

What are the conditions to claim Latvian 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.


Who qualifies for Latvian 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 another country. However, if your 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)


Can you have dual citizenship in Latvia?

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.

What are the costs to get Latvian citizenship?

We will charge a fixed fee in matters related to obtaining Latvian citizenship. The amount of the fee will depend on the scope and amount of the work of our lawyers to be performing, the number of family members wishing to apply for Latvian citizenship and other peculiarities of each individual application. Therefore, in order to evaluate our lawyer fees for the application process we will normally perform the initial assessment of your situation.

Other costs related to claiming Latvian citizenship are fees charged by Latvian institutions for the issue of archive statements or copies of documents, notary fees, document legalization/authentication, postal expenses, etc. Said expenses will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case.


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 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 citizenship in Latvia?

If all required documents are submitted, the process usually takes 6-9 months. You need to count 2-4 months to gather all necessary documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc).  Once your application is accepted at the Citizenship Office it takes on average 2-3 months for the Citizenship to review the case and your Latvian passport.

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.

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