Latvia RBI scheme

Latvia issues 10,000 golden visas every year

Latvia introduced golden visa scheme in 2010 with a limited number of 800 visas each year against buying a property or business investment.

 

Latvia offers foreigners the opportunity of becoming a temporary resident with a path to citizenship and access to the Schengen Area with minimal bureaucratic requirements.  Since 2010, foreign business owners have been able to obtain a residence permit by investing in a Latvian company, purchasing real estate, or depositing funds into a bank account in amounts specified by statute.

 

Latvia currently issues 10,000 golden visas every year and the scheme is contributing  €180 million euros every year according to the newly released Transparency international report published in 2018. According to new EU report, the RBI scheme contributed to 1% of GDP.

 

The Latvian scheme competes with Portugal and Spain for issuing over 10,000 golden visas every year, the report said. Latvia issues five year residence permits to investors and all their family members with free movement in the Schengen area.

 

The Latvian golden visa scheme requires, the minimum investment plus payment of state fees and other legal charges

  • €50,000 to €100,000 Business investment or
  • €250,000 real estate investment or
  • €250,000 in Government bonds
  • €280,000 Bank deposit with financial institution

 

Latvia’s business migration program was introduced in July 2010.  It allows foreigners to obtain temporary residence permits in Latvia if they have made certain equity investments in a Latvian company, made subordinated investments in a Latvian credit institution, or purchased real estate.

 

Amendments to Golden visa scheme

 

In July 2010 and June 2011, new amendments to the Latvian Immigration Law came into effect, expanding the right of foreigners to obtain temporary residence permits for up to five years in exchange for their investment in the development of the Latvian economy

 

When the golden visa scheme started, the acquired property must be no less than LVL 100,000 (approximately US$188,000).  In other parts of the country the total value of purchased real estate must be no less than LVL 50,000 (approximately US$94,000).

 

In September 2014, Immigration Law amendments increased the threshold for obtaining a residence permit and introduced other conditions and costs, if a foreigner’s real estate was registered in the Land Register after September 1, 2014:

  • Minimum transaction value of real estate located anywhere in Latvia must be €250,000.
  • The total cadastral value of the property at the time of acquisition should be at least €80,000.
  • Payment of a state budget contribution worth 5% of the real estate’s transaction value.

 

Interest Free Government Bonds

 

Further Amendments, Latvia Government introduced a new government bond option receive a residence permit in the Republic of Latvia as a person who acquires interest-free government bonds determined for special purpose with the nominal value of 250 000 euro, plus with the state fee of 38,000 euros for first residence permit. The Acquisition of interest-free government bonds can be done after a positive decision has been made on granting a temporary residence permit (further information will be provided in the decision on granting a temporary residence permit). This scheme was similar to Hungary residency bond scheme  which is currently closed.

 

Interest-free bond is a government security intended for a special purpose that has no fixed income, that is redeemed at par value, that cannot be publicly circulated, pledged or traded;

The purpose of interest-free bond issuance is defined by the Section 23rd, 1st Subsection, 31st Clause of the Immigration Law, which stipulates the right of a foreigner to request a temporary residence permit for a period of time not exceeding five years, if he or she purchases interest-free government securities intended for a special purpose with the nominal value EUR 250 000.

In order to receive temporary residence permit in the cases stipulated by the Section 23rd, 1st Subsection, 31st Clause of the Immigration Law the foreigner must submit to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (hereinafter – OCMA) documents defined by the Cabinet Regulations No. 564 „Regulations Regarding Residence Permits”, adopted on 21st June 2010. More detailed information about the procedure of submitting the documents can be found on website of OCMA.

The interest-free bonds are issued and granted to a foreigner only in cases, when he/she has received positive resolution of OCMA regarding the issue of a temporary residence permit and has paid for the interest-free bonds from his/her current account that has been opened in the credit institution or a branch of a foreign credit institution registered in the Republic of Latvia.

 

Golden visa numbers

 

According to the report,  17,342 foreign investors have bought residency through golden visa scheme in Latvia from 2010 to 2017 with over 70% of the investors are Russians.

 

  • Russia – 12,097
  • China – 1,428
  • Ukraine – 1,376
  • Uzbekistan – 723
  • Kazakhstan – 665

 

Golden visas issued from 2010 to 2016

 

As of January 2018 of Migration office statistics,  Foreigners receiving first temporary residence permits, including investor and family members

 

Business Capital Real estate/ Property Bank / Financial institution Government bonds or securities
Russia 198 6945 274 43
Belarus 7 200 14 9
Azerbaijan 3 148 9 1
China 6 898 2 0
Israel 2 50 3 0
Kazakhstan 0 322 18 4
Ukraine 51 645 95 19
Uzbekistan 16 317 33 0

 

 

Citizenship statistics

 

The Naturalization process for foreigners began in Latvia on February 1, 1995.

Since the beginning of naturalization process 146 286 naturalization applications have been received requesting 159 662 persons to be naturalized.  145 941 persons including 14 533 underage children have been granted the citizenship of Latvia by the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers.

 

More than 65% of those naturalized are from Russia, 10% from Belarus and Ukraine.

 

Latvia naturalization
Source: PMLP statistics

 

Latvia allows dual citizenship with certain permitting countries

 

Migration Population

 

In 2017, usually resident population of Latvia declined by 15.7 thousand. Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that at the beginning of 2018 population of Latvia accounted for 1 million 934 thousand, which is 15.7 thousand people fewer than a year ago.  Compared to 1.0 % in 2016, in 2017 population declined by 0.8 %. Urban population reduced by 8.3 thousand people or 0.6 %

 

Latvia population

 

This article has been republished from CIP Journal