Immigrate to Latvia

New residence permit form in Latvia

From 2nd April 2012, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) of Latvia will issue residence permits in form of a plastic card instead of residence permit stickers.

Until now, the residence permit was inserted into a foreigner’s travel document (passport), but now residence permits will be issued in form of a card and will not be attached to a passport. It means more free space in passports for those who travel often.

The new residence permit will allow confirming person’s identity in electronic environment. For example, it will be possible to sign documents without leaving home by confirming the identity in electronic environment through personal computers.

Steps to acquire residence permit

Procedure for execution of residence permits

Along with introduction of residence permits in the form of a card, also the procedure for execution of residence permits has changed.

Respectively, until 2 April 2012, execution of residence permits could be divided into two stages:

  1. Submission of documents.
  2. Receipt of the decision made.

If an application was approved, then a foreigner could receive a residence permit sticker which was then attached to his or her travel document.

However, starting from 2 April 2012, the procedure for execution of residence permits is divided into three stages:

  1. Submission of documents and preparation of an application for a residence permit. If documents are submitted to the embassy, then an application for execution of a residence permit may be submitted after receiving the OCMA’s decision.
  2. Receipt of the decision made. In case of a positive decision, an application for execution of a residence permit must be submitted (if such application has not been submitted already along with the initial documents).
  3. Obtaining a residence permit.

The greatest changes have been made to the procedure for obtaining a residence permit. Before foreigners had to come to the OCMA twice, but now they will be able to choose whether to come two or three times depending on if the application for execution of a residence permit has been submitted together with other documents or after receipt of the OCMA’s decision. However, irrespective of whether the application for execution of a residence permit is submitted together with other documents, it is recommended to visit their office for detailed information on the decision made, because a situation may arise when the Residence Permit Division decides to extend the period for review of a decision, but the respective foreigner may find out about it only when he or she arrives to receive the residence permit that is not actually issued because of the decision on extension.

Minor changes have also been made to the deadline for submission of documents. Until now, documents for execution of a new residence permit or registration of an existing residence permit had to be submitted within 30, 10 or 5 working days before the expiration date of a residence permit sticker. In future, also the period for execution of a residence permit which is 10 or 2 working days depending on the state fee paid will have to be included in the respective deadline.

The state fee for issuing a residence permit is the following:

The state fee may be paid with a bank card at the OCMA.

To prepare an application, a foreigner must submit the biometric data, i.e., photo and fingerprints. The photo can be made at the OCMA, therefore it is not necessary to bring one.