Latvian parliament has approved amendments to the Immigration Law, which stipulate how foreign investors and their family members can obtain a residence permit in this EU member state. 

The amendments taking effect from 1 September 2014 pertain to the conditions of obtaining a residence permit by those who buy real estate in Latvia or place a subordinated deposit in a Latvian bank.

According to the amendments, the minimum threshold of the real estate value for such transactions is increased to EUR 250 000, with the minimum cadastral value of such property being EUR 80 000. If the cadastral value is below this amount, an evaluation of a certified appraiser is required stating that the market value of the facility is not less than EUR 250 000. Such conditions are applied to real estate acquisition in all regions of Latvia.

According to the amendments, the acquired real estate must be one functionally related and developed facility. The acquisition of a land plot with no buildings on it, agricultural land or forests will not be considered as grounds for obtaining a residence permit in Latvia.

The duty for obtaining a residence permit is determined as 5% of the real estate value.

To obtain a residence permit by placing a subordinated deposit in a Latvian bank, the stipulated amount and the deposit term remain unchanged. However, starting from 1 September an investor who wishes to obtain a residence permit will also have to pay EUR 25 000 to the state budget.

The terms and conditions for obtaining a residence permit in the event of investing into a business remain unchanged – from EUR 35 000 or EUR 150 000, depending on the number of employees and the annual turnover of the company.

Starting from 1 January 2015, investors will be provided an opportunity to obtain a Latvian residence permit by buying interest-free public securities with a nominal value of EUR 250 000, having also paid EUR 25 000 to the state budget.

A residence permit in Latvia allows its holder and his family to reside in the country on a permanent basis (which is not a compulsory condition), as well as to travel in the entire Schengen territory visa-free.