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Guide to obtain Latvian citizenship: Reinstatement, naturalization and special merits

10 April 2015
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According to the Law on Citizenship, there are three ways how person can become citizen of Republic of Latvia- ancestors of Latvian citizens have a right to reinstate their citizenship, by process of naturalization and for special merits.



Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipReinstatement of Latvian citizenship

According to the Law on Citizenship (hereinafter- the Law), persons who held citizenship of the Republic of Latvia before June 17, 1940 and their decedents. Also persons and their decedents who submit supporting documents of living abroad from 17 June, 1940 till 4 May, 1990, to avoid occupation regime have rights to become citizen of Latvia.



Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipGaining citizenship status by process of naturalization

Person can become citizen of Latvia by process of naturalization. Following criteria have to be met to gain citizen status:

  • Permanent place of residency has been Latvia for at least last 5 years;
  • Knows Latvian language;
  • Knows main rules of the Constitution of Latvia;
  • Knows text of Latvian national anthem, main facts about Latvian history and culture;
  • Have legit source of income;
  • Have declined previous citizenship;
  • Have promised to be loyal to Republic of Latvia;
  • Additional rules to refuse citizenship according to Art. 11 of Citizenship Law are not applicable.


Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipSpecial regulations for children.

There are special regulations for children to obtain citizenship:

  • If person is reinstating citizenship of Latvia, also children of this person till age of 15, can obtain citizenship simultaneously.
  • From age of 15, person has to express will to become citizen by themselves.

Children born after 21 August, 1991 in family of stateless or non-citizen, recognition of citizenship of Latvia, can be recognized as citizen of Latvia according to expressed will of parent if simultaneously fulfils two pre-conditions:

  • Both parents are stateless or non-citizens,
  • Parent permanent place of residence is Latvia, but in case parent arrived after 1 July, 1992 possess permanent residency permit

Child till age of 15, who have not been recognized as a citizen of Latvia according to previously mentioned procedure, can become citizen of Latvia based on application of one parent if following preconditions exist:

  • Child have been stateless or non-citizen all the time,
  • Permanent place of residence is Latvia,
  • Both parents are stateless or non-citizens,
  • Place of residence of parent who submitted application, have been Latvia for at least 5 years.

Child older than 15 can be recognized as citizen of Latvia according to his application if:

  • Both parents are stateless or non-citizens,
  • Permanent place of residence for last 5 years, has been Latvia,
  • Restrictions to gain citizenship is not applicable,
  • Have not been convicted for serious or very serious crime in Latvia or abroad,
  • Acknowledge proficiency of knowledge of Latvian language according to Citizenship Law.


Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipLevel of Latvian required

According to Law on Citizenship person knows Latvian language if is able to:

  • Fully understand day to day and official information,
  • Can freely talk and answer to questions about day to day theme questions,
  • Is able to read and understand any kind of day to day instructions,
  • Can write essay about day to day tasks.


Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipRestrictions to gain citizenship of Latvia

According to Art. 11 of Citizenship Law, person can not be admitted as citizen of Latvia, if one of the following conditions is met:

  • With actions is doing harm to Republic of Latvia and threatens public safety;
  • Have acted against independence of Latvia, democracy or existing power;
  • After 4 May of 1990, stated ideas of totalitarianism or  racial hatred;
  • Is connected with terrorism, ant-governmental or criminal organization or have ties with money laundering.
  • Convicted for serious crime in Latvia or abroad.
  • Worked in Committee for State Security (KGB) of Latvia or any other ex-USSR state.


Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipReceiving citizenship of Latvia for special merits

Persons, who have special merits towards Latvia, can be awarded with citizenship by decision made by parliament. Person has to submit application with his biography and statement, that there are no barriers to receive residency permit. Parliament will make a decision to grant citizenship.



Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipDouble citizenship

Since October 1, 2013 it is possible to have 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, Brazils federative republics or New Zeeland or have received permission from Cabinet of ministers to maintain citizenship of Latvia.
  • Latvian of Liv, whose predecessors in 1881 or later have livid in territory of Latvia,
  • Person who have become citizenship by process of naturalization can not be double citizenship, exception is previously mentioned countries,


Reinstatement of Latvian,Lithuanian, Estonian citizenshipDocuments necessary to apply for citizenship

Documents have to be submitted to Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

  • Application with desire to become citizen of Latvia; 
  • Personal ID; 
  • Birth certificate; 
  • Document stating marital status; 
  • Document proving rights to obtain citizenship (In case of reinstatement of citizenship.) 
  • Acknowledgment that person or predecessor from 17 June, 1904 till 4 May, 1990 left Latvia, escaping from occupation Regime or was deported (in case of reinstatement of citizenship).

State fee for reinstatement of citizenship is 21,34 EUR, for application to naturalization process - 28,46 EUR.

For questions, please, contact Valters Gencs, attorney at law at

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The material contained here is not to be construed as legal advice or opinion.

© Gencs Valters Law Firm, 2016
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