Immigration. Travel. Living.

Immigration guides: Latvia

Flag of Latvia

Latvian legislation (Law of 31.10.2003 “On Immigration”) clearly defines the legitimate ways of how to move to live in Latvia (for example, family reunification, marriage).

The standard immigration process includes several stages. For one reason or another, the applicant must prepare the relevant documents and officially apply to the migration authorities of the country where the move is planned. After a positive decision, upon arrival in the country, the immigrant must obtain a residence permit.

As a rule, a temporary residence permit is initially issued (from one to five years). Sometimes immigrants, following local laws, can immediately receive a permanent residence permit or citizenship upon arrival.

In most cases, persons with a temporary residence permit status are entitled to apply for a permanent residence permit (permanent residence) only if the necessary conditions are met. Permanent residence status provides an immigrant with almost all the rights that citizens of the country enjoy (except for service in government agencies, the police). Acquiring citizenship completes the immigration process.

Level and quality of life in Latvia

When deciding for themselves whether or not to move to Latvia, many pay attention to factors such as the size of wages, the affordability of housing, the price level, and the crime situation.

Latvia, as a member of the EU, is confidently moving towards improving the living standards and well-being of its citizens. According to the results of 2021, the London analytical center Legatum Institute ranked Latvia 40th in the ranking of the world’s most favorable countries for a living.

In the days of the USSR, Latvia was in the eyes of the Soviet people abroad. Today, the standard of living in the republic as a whole is inferior to that of other EU members. This factor stimulates the outflow of able-bodied Latvian citizens abroad.

According to the Central Statistical Office of Latvia, the average gross salary at the beginning of 2021 was 1004 euros. After taxes (net) – 742 euros. But small (by European standards) salaries are compensated by affordable prices for goods and high-quality products.

Traditionally, the strengths of life in the country are a favorable environmental situation, free medicine, low criminality, the opportunity to get a European education.

Life in Latvia is very different depending on the region. Higher level and quality of life in big cities and on the Riga seaside, lower – in small towns and rural areas (Latgale).

aerial view of city buildings during daytime

Methods of immigration to Latvia


  • Family reunification 

Relatives up to the third generation, relatives of a citizen of Latvia, as well as a resident of a country with the status of “non-citizen of Latvia” (persons who moved to the republic from 1940 to 1989) and a foreigner with permanent residence status – spouses, children, retired parents can use it.

  • Starting your own business

For businessmen, it is possible to establish a new or purchase a ready-made business (for an amount of 150 thousand euros) or invest 35 thousand euros in an operating company, subject to payments to the budget of taxes for 40 thousand euros annually.

  • Marriage with a resident of Latvia 

According to the reviews of immigrants, the marriage must be registered in Latvia – this will simplify the process of obtaining a residence permit.

  • Purchase of real estate

Since 2021, the conditions have become more stringent – a foreigner must buy real estate for 250 thousand euros (in Riga, large cities, and on the Riga seaside – 1 object, in other regions of the country – 2 objects), with mandatory payment of a one-time fee in budget 5% of the purchase price.

  • Investment

This method involves placing an amount of 280 thousand euros in the bank of the country for five years and paying 25 thousand euros to the Latvian budget.

  • Employment

The outflow of the able-bodied population opens up good prospects for employment. There is a demand in the republic not only for IT specialists, but also for doctors, engineers, builders, and drivers. The employer takes over the issuance of a work permit and the call.

  • Repatriation program

In September 1995, the Latvian Seimas adopted the Law “On Repatriation”, according to which the state provides all possible assistance and guarantees to persons of Latvian and Livonian origin in returning to their historical homeland. This program covers persons of Latvian nationality and their descendants, regardless of generation.

For direct descendants of Latvians who have suffered from the occupation power, repatriation can be replaced by the granting of citizenship. Since the beginning of the program, more than 6 thousand people have already used it.

  • Obtaining education at an accredited educational institution

There are more than 59 educational institutions in Latvia, including the University of Latvia and the Technical University in Riga. Education is paid: for example, a year of study costs 1.5-4 thousand euros (engineer), 2-6 thousand (manager), 8-15 thousand (medic).

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