Latvian Citizenship FAQ
Below we have summarised the frequently asked questions about Latvian citizenship. If you don’t find the answer to your question or would like to inquire about your specific case, please contact us by email or using the contact form below.
I believe I’m eligible for Latvian citizenship by descent. Can my spouse apply too?
Eligible are only direct descendants. Spouses are not automatically eligible for Latvian citizenship unless they are of Latvian descent too. However, spouses of EU citizens may get a temporary or permanent residence in Latvia or, subject to certain conditions, in another EU country, if the EU citizen exercises his/her freedom of movement rights under the EU laws.
My application for Latvian citizenship has been rejected by the Latvian Citizenship Office. What should I do?
It depends on what were the reasons of the rejection. A rejection of the citizenship application can be appealed to the Latvian court. From time to time we have to take the Citizenship Office to the court to argue the cases for our clients where we disagree with the motivation of the Citizenship Office or with their interpretation of the law or of the particular circumstances of the client’s case. Please feel free to contact us for the assessment of your case.
I have received a letter from the Latvian government stating that I have been deprived of my Latvian citizenship. What can I do?
You have the right to appeal against the deprivation of Latvian citizenship, if you disagree with the decision or if you wish to remain a Latvian citizen. It largely depends on what were the grounds to deprive you of Latvian citizenship. A loss of citizenship may be caused by different factors. For example, the Citizenship Office may not have full details about your case or they may be right or wrong in their interpretation of the law. So it may have to be tested in the court. Please feel free to contact us for the assessment of your case.
Can children apply for Latvian citizenship by descent? I’ve read somewhere there is a cut-off date for the youngest generation.
It may depend on what category is used to apply, but generally children (applicants under 18) can obtain dual citizenship regardless of when they were born. Certain conditions apply though. Also it may depend on the country of the child’s current citizenship. The following 3 scenarios explain it best:
- If a child is a citizen of a member state of NATO, EEA, EFTA or of Brazil, New Zealand, Commonwealth of Austalia, the child can obtain dual (multiple) citizenship with Latvia and keep it indefinitely regardless of when the child was born and regardless of the category under which the application is made;
- If a child is a citizen of any country(ies) other than NATO, EEA, EFTA, Brazil, New Zealand or Commonwealth of Austalia, the child can obtain dual (multiple) citizenship with Latvia and keep it indefinitely, if the child was born before 1 October 2014 and qualifies under the “Latvian exile” category;
- If a child was born after 1 October 2014 (in case of the “Latvian exile” category) or applies under any category other than the “Latvian exile”, and is a citizen of any country(ies) other than NATO, EEA, EFTA, Brazil, New Zealand or Commonwealth of Austalia, then the child will be able to obtain dual (multiple) citizenship with Latvia and keep it dual (multiple) up until reaching the age of 25. Upon reaching 25 the child will have to decide either in favor of the Latvian citizenship or that of the other country.
I’m an Israeli citizen. Can I get dual Israeli-Latvian citizenship?
Yes, if your ancestors have held Latvian citizenship on the moment of 17 June 1940 and you or they left Latvia due to German or USSR occupation or were deported at any point of time from 17 June 1940 to 4 May 1990.
Our grandparents were Latvian citizens, but they left Latvia before 17 June 1940. Can we still apply for Latvian passport?
Yes, you may still qualify for Latvian citizenship under the category “Descendant of a Latvian citizen”, but in this case, considering that they left before 17 June 1940, your rights to keep dual (multiple) citizenship will depend on your current citizenship. If you are applying as a citizen of a “permitted country”, you will be able to keep dual (multiple) citizenship with Latvia. A “permitted country” is Brazil, New Zealand, Australia and any member state of NATO, EU or EFTA. For citizens of any other country dual citizenship is allowed if the applicant qualifies under the “Latvian exile” or “Ethnic Latvian” category or if the applicant is a minor.
My grandmother was a Latvian citizen but in 1937 she left to study at a university outside Latvia and could not return because of the war. Do I qualify as a descendant of a Latvian exile considering that she left before 17 June 1940?
We are of the opinion that the definition of a “Latvian exile” shall (subject to certain conditions) also extend to those Latvian citizens who stayed outside Latvia on the moment of 17 June 1940 and were unable to return to Latvia because of the occupation regime. So you might qualify under the “Latvian exile” category. However, a recourse to the Latvian courts may be required. Your eligibility for dual citizenship may also depend on the country of your current citizenship. Please inquire for more information as each case is different.
I’ve read mixed information about dual citizenship in Latvia. Does Latvia allow dual citizenship with Israel?
Subject to certain conditions Latvia does allow dual (multiple) citizenship with any country, including Israel. If the Israeli citizen applies for Latvian citizenship under the “Latvian exile” category because his/her ancestors were Latvian citizens and were forced to leave Latvia sometime between 17 June 1940 – 4 May 1990, then dual citizenship Israeli-Latvian is allowed.
Will I need to take Latvian language test to apply for Latvian citizenship by descent?
No, if you are applying under the “Latvian exile” or “Descendant of a Latvian citizen” category.
My Jewish grandparents were Latvian citizens. I was born in Latvia. Me and other family members left Latvia after 4 May 1990. Can we apply for dual citizenship with Latvia?
If you are a citizen of Brazil, New Zealand, Australia or of any member state of NATO, EU or EFTA and you meet other qualifying requirements (i.e. your ancestors were Latvian citizens on 17 June 1940), then you can apply for dual citizenship even if you or your ancestors left Latvia after 4 May 1990.
If you are a citizen of any other country, then you can still apply for Latvian citizenship, but you will be required to renounce your current citizenship in order to obtain Latvian. However, we are of the opinion that the correct interpretation of the definition of a “Latvian exile” shall (subject to certain conditions) extend also to former Latvian citizens who have left Latvia after 4 May 1990 fleeing the occupation regime. A recourse to the court in this case will be required though. Please inquire by email for more information.
What are the tax implications of becoming a Latvian citizen? Will I be taxed for my income by Latvia?
Latvia does not tax worldwide income of its non-resident citizens.
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