This charming European country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites – such as the historic center of its capital, Riga – and its varied landscapes, from spectacular coastal views to dense forests.
Latvia manages to catch the eye of history lovers and digital nomads, with it having one of the quickest WiFi speeds in the world and some of the most serine medieval towns, such as Talso and Kandava. When it comes to acquiring citizenship, the country offers various pathways, which we’ll explore in this article.
This article will explore the different ways to acquire Latvian citizenship, as well as arm you with some of the benefits that come with having a Latvian passport.
Latvia is a small but delightful EU member country located in Northeastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea. The country has a mix of influences from the Baltic, Germanic, and Slavic regions. Its capital and largest city is Riga, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If you head to Riga, wander down Albert Street, where you can see some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture.
Aside from this, the Riga Cathedral towers over the city, dating back to 1211, and is just a short walk from the River Daugava. You can meander along the river and check out the city’s old town – as we mentioned already, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is certainly worth visiting.
Although Latvia is small, both in terms of geographical size and population, the country has it all – a scenic coastline, stunning villages bordering green forests, and traditional forests. Should you time your visit right, you can enjoy the Summer Solstice and the Latvian Song and Dance Festival.
How to Get Latvian Citizenship
There are different ways to obtain Latvian citizenship, which we’ll cover in this article. The option that you choose will depend on your personal situation.
The different routes available for obtaining Latvian citizenship are:
- By naturalization
- By descent
- By marriage
- Investment through the country’s Golden Visa program
Note that each pathway to citizenship in Latvia will have its own requirements and criteria.
Latvia Citizenship by Naturalization
Latvia citizenship by naturalization is perfectly possible. You will need to meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 15 years of age
- Have resided permanently in Latvia for at least five years and have a permanent residence permit. The five years count from the day on which you receive your permanent residence permit. Note that having a temporary residence permit does not count, but after five years with a temporary residence permit, you can then apply for a permanent residence permit and five years after this, you can go begin the process of obtaining Latvian citizenship.
- Demonstrate that you can support yourself financially
- Show Latvian language proficiency
- Know the lyrics of the Latvian national anthem
You cannot be admitted for Latvian citizenship through naturalization if the following apply to you:
- You have criminal records (terrorism, anti-state, criminal organization)
- Have failed to fulfill tax obligations or other payments against the state
For further information, you can consult the website of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs Republic of Latvia here.
There are certain exemptions to taking the Latvian citizenship test if, in the five years before you submit your Latvian citizenship application, the following applies to you:
- You have completed basic and/or higher education in the country
- You confirm your knowledge of the Latvian language in primary and secondary school in Latvia
Also, note that persons over the age of 65 will not need to complete the written section of the citizenship test.
The Application Process
1. To secure Latvian citizenship through naturalization, you will need to submit the following documents to OMCA (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs):
- The application for naturalization, which can be found here
- Personal identification document (e.g., passport)
- Document to show proof that you have resided in Latvia for five years (e.g., a statement from an employer, document proving financial activities, etc.)
- Document to show that you have a legal source of maintenance (e.g., a statement from your place of work, a statement from your bank with a positive account balance, etc.)
- Photograph (4×4 cm)
- Document showing payment of the state fee – the state fee is €28.46 and is reduced to €4.27 for pensioners, refugees, etc.
- Legalized criminal record
Make sure that you have all the necessary documents with you to ensure a hassle-free and fast process.
2. After the necessary documents have been submitted, you will need to pass a Latvia citizenship test.
3. Once these exams are passed, if you comply with all provisions under Latvian Citizenship Law, you will need to provide a solemn declaration to the Republic of Latvia.
Latvia Citizenship Test
As we have mentioned, if you are considering acquiring Latvian citizenship, you’ll need to pass a Latvian citizenship test. You will be required to demonstrate your knowledge of the following:
- Latvian language
- The lyrics of the Latvian national anthem
- A basic understanding of Latvia’s history and culture
- A basic understanding of Latvia’s Constitution
Citizenship by naturalization requires reading, writing, and listening, and you must pass all the tests.
You can take the test three times, and if you fail each time, you will need to reapply for the citizenship application.
Latvian Citizenship by Descent
You will be considered a Latvian citizen if you have a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent that is or was a Latvian citizen, and you will be required to provide evidence to prove this.
You will need to provide the following documents:
- Application form
- Birth certificate
- Identification document (e.g., passport)
- Family documents that provide proof that you have Latvian citizenship (e.g., birth certificates)
Latvia Citizenship by Investment (the Latvian Golden Visa)
If you are looking to invest in the economy in Latvia in return for residency, then the Latvia Golden Visa could be an excellent option for you. While there was speculation about the program ending in 2022, only Russian and Belarussian nationals were banned from participating in the program. For example, now you cannot hold Russian citizenship or Belarussian citizenship and apply for the program.
The Latvia Golden Visa is an attractive way for investors to secure residency in a stunning EU country, with investments starting at just €50,000 (invest in a Latvian business or start a business in Latvia). There are many different investment options to choose from, one of the great advantages of the program. Investment options include real estate, government bonds, making a bank transfer, and investing in a Latvian business. You will need to show that you have the financial means both to make the investment and to sustain yourself in the country.
Note that securing Latvian citizenship by investment is not possible but will grant you residency in the country. After five years, you can apply for permanent residence. After a further five years of holding permanent residency, provided you meet all the requirements, you can then obtain citizenship of Latvia.
Latvia Citizenship by Marriage
To secure Latvian citizenship by marriage, you should:
- Be married to a Latvian citizen for at least ten years
- Submit a marriage certificate as proof of your relationship with a Latvian citizen
- Have residence in Lativa for five consecutive years
You will also need to provide proof of proficiency in the Latvian language.
Does Latvia Allow Dual Citizenship?
According to Citizenship Law, Latvian dual citizenship is allowed with the member states of NATO, the EU, and the Free Trade Association, in addition to Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, or any other country Latvia has an agreement with.
You can find out more here about what countries Latvia has an agreement with.
Latvian Citizenship Benefits
So, now you have a clear understanding of the routes that you can take to secure Latvian citizenship. You’ll be pleased to know that Latvian citizenship comes with an array of benefits and, as a Latvian citizen, you can take advantage of the following:
- Latvian citizens have the right to live, work, and study in any other EU member country
- Visa free travel to 172 countries
- Access to social security services in the country and European healthcare
- Obtain Latvian and EU citizenship for your children
- Ease to do business across the EU
Global Citizen Solutions: Who We Are and How We Can Help You
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right relocation, residency, or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. If you want to apply for a residency by investment (RBI) or citizenship by investment (CBI) program but are still determining which program is for you, we are here to help.
The following article may also be of interest to you:
- The Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship
- Golden Visas Europe – Invest in EU Residency & Citizenship
- US Passport Visa Free Countries
- Everything You Need to Know About the Malta Passport
- Digital Nomad Visa: Countries Offering Visas for Digital Nomads
- Americans Traveling to Europe: A Complete Guide
The Latvian passport is considered the 40th strongest passport in the world, according to our innovative Global Passport Index. You can read more about the passport advantages of Austrian citizens here: Latvia’s country page on our Global Passport Index.
Latvia ranks highly in both the Enhanced Mobility Index and the Quality of Life Index.
Frequently Asked Questions about Latvian Citizenship
How can I get Latvian citizenship?
You can get Latvian citizenship in different ways, such as through naturalization. You will need to be at least 15 years of age, have permanently lived in Latvia for five consecutive years with a legal permanent residence, and pass the required citizenship tests. The five years begin from the day you secure a permanent residence permit in Latvia. After this, you can apply for citizenship in Latvia.
Other ways to gain residency include marriage to a Latvian citizen, through descendants, or through investment (and then securing citizenship through naturalization).
Latvian citizens can enjoy free access to the European Union, plus visa-free travel to 172 countries.
Does Latvia allow dual citizenship?
According to Citizenship Law, dual citizenship is allowed with the member states of NATO, the EU, and the Free Trade Association, plus Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, or any other country with which the Republic of Latvia has a dual citizenship agreement. Having a permanent residence permit in Latvia also gives you many advantages. After five years with permanent residence, you can obtain Latvian citizenship, provided you meet all the criteria.
Who is eligible for a Latvian passport?
There are different ways to obtain a Latvian passport and citizenship in Latvia: Through naturalization, marriage, descendants, and by making an investment and then securing citizenship through naturalization. Latvian citizens have an array of benefits at their fingertips, from free movement across the European Union to visa-free travel to 172 countries.