Residence permit in Latvia: basic principles of obtaining
The Baltic States continue to be a popular region for Russian-speaking tourists and real estate buyers, where Latvia occupies a special place – less than ten years ago, obtaining a residence permit in this country issued upon purchase of real estate was especially popular, but the situation has undergone some changes.
In 2010, Latvia launched a national program for granting residence permits to foreigners in exchange for investment, when many Russians began to actively buy real estate in this country, receiving a local residence permit, which allows them to easily move around the EU countries, which the country joined in 2004 .
Key program changes
The new rules came into force on September 1, 2014 – a number of changes were primarily affected by the policy, the minimum threshold for the amount of investments was raised. It has increased significantly – from 100,000 lats (approximately 142,300 euros, the cadastral valuation of the property should have exceeded 42,690 euros) to 250,000 euros. At the same time, the cadastral value of the property should be at least 80,000 euros. If this assessment does not reach the required milestone, then the investor must order it from a certified appraiser, who will confirm that the market value of the object exceeds 250,000 euros.
Previously, the amount of investments in the regions of Latvia was needed in a smaller amount than in large cities and the Riga region (LVL 50,000). Now on the periphery, the minimum amount of investment should also be at least 250,000 euros, although in this case you can buy not one, but two real estate with these funds. To obtain a residence permit, the investor must also pay a one-time fee of 5% of the value of the property. This adds to the obligatory costs of the buyer 12,500 euros when buying an apartment for 250,000 euros or 20,000 euros, when the value of the object is 400,000 euros. Upon repeated receipt of a residence permit (a residence permit is issued for 5 years with the possibility of extension), a fixed fee of 5000 euros is charged. These duties were introduced after the launch of the program.
However, the main influence on the decrease in activity of Russians buying real estate in Latvia was not even caused by the increase in investments and duties, but by the fact that the changes were adopted in several stages, first one, then the other, and no one was sure that they would not be accepted something. That is, there was no feeling of certainty that tomorrow it would work the same as it did today. Also, a very negative impact was exerted by rumors that Russia will be included in the list of countries whose citizens will temporarily cease to issue a residence permit. As a result, this did not happen, but many abandoned the idea of buying a home in Latvia precisely for this reason.
Other options for obtaining a residence permit in Latvia
It is also possible to become the owner of a document allowing temporary residence in the country if you invest in the capital of a Latvian company in the amount of 50,000 or 100,000 euros, depending on the size of the company, number of employees and turnover. At the same time, the amount of annual tax that the company pays to the budget should be at least 40,000 or 100,000 euros, which again depends on the size of the company. This is the longest way to obtain a residence permit, because it takes at least a year for the company to pay taxes.
There are also options for a contribution to the bank’s sub-authorized capital in the amount of EUR 280,000 (a fee of 25,000 euros is paid upon initial receipt of a residence permit) and the acquisition of interest-free government bonds in the amount of 250,000 euros (the amount of the fee upon initial receipt of a residence permit in this case will be 38,000 euros). The basis for obtaining a residence permit may be any kind of subordinated obligations with the bank, including securities, shares, etc. This is the fastest way to obtain a residence permit, since it takes one day to complete the contract, and for this there is no need for the investor to be present in Riga in person.
This type of investment gives the right to apply for a residence permit in Latvia for a period of 5 years not only personally to the investor as a contributor, but also to members of his family (spouse and minor children, as well as persons in care). The most important condition is that the contribution must be made by an individual. After 5 years, you can extend the term of the deposit or get your capital back and then choose any other way to obtain a residence permit in Latvia.
The term for consideration of documents is from 1 to 12 months (sometimes more), depending on the person and his history, however, the average review takes 2-3 months. Politically significant persons need to provide a lot of documents and tell the whole story of their activities. If the origin of the funds is all right, then obtaining a residence permit will not be a problem. Demand is growing again every year after a sharp decline due to changing conditions. Now most often families who wish to move to Latvia for permanent residence are applying for a residence permit – in this case, a residence permit is given to a spouse, spouse and children under 18 years of age.