Immigration process

Draft amendments of the immigration procedure in Latvia

The Cabinet of Ministers on 2 May 2012 revised 3 draft regulations regarding residence permits, the procedure of having a letter of invitation approved and drafting it, and the procedure according to which the citizens of the EU and their family members enter and reside in the Republic of Latvia.

According to these amendments, legal entities inviting officials who are registered in the Commercial Register will have to provide less information in the application for the invitation letter, but those inviters, who will employ natural persons on the basis of an employment agreement, will also have to submit documents acknowledging that such invited foreigners are tax payers. The electronic service “Approval of the invitation for requesting a visa” will not be available until the 2 January 2014. These draft regulations align the regulatory framework with previous amendments. Respectively, since 26 July 2011 in residence permits or visas of officials registered in the Commercial Register (members of the board or council, managing clerks, managers or liquidators) a notation “Business Transactions” (in a residence permit) or “Business” (in a visa) is included, and separate work permits will not issued anymore. Therefore a foreigner must not obtain a separate work permit for each type of business. In future the information on the employment will not be included in the register of work permits, therefore these officials are not required to submit information about the intended number of work hours and they will not have to come to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to receive a work permit as the notation in a visa or a residence permit will verify its existence.

These amendments require each inviter, who invites a natural person to work on the basis of an employment agreement, to submit evidence that the natural person is registered as a tax payer and has no tax debts, except for cases when this information can be obtained from a public information system.

Additionally, information about the education level, country of the origin, length of the stay and the employment rights of the foreigner will be included in the register of residence permits. Thereby, when asking a foreigner repeatedly or registering the residence permit, documents verifying the education level will not have to be submitted again.

When the residence permit is issued as an electronic identity card, it will not be attached to a travel document of the foreigner, respectively instead of issuing it in a form of sticker, it will be issued as a separate document – an identity card. During the next 5 years, when the foreigners will have two types of residence permits – stickers or cards, if the foreigner has a residence permit sticker, he or she must submit the new travel document in order to receive a new permit, but a foreigner, who has an identity card, must only present the new travel document, so that the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs could update the information in the Population Register.

The draft regulation specifies that the application for the letter of invitation can be submitted only by such foreign legal entity, which has registered an authorized person, respectively, a branch or an agency, in the Republic of Latvia. Currently the employment rights are not assigned to family members of foreign investors; however, in the future family members of foreign investors (spouses) will have the right to be employed by any employer. A possibility to receive an identity card is provided for those citizens of the EU, who reside in the Republic of Latvia with a registration certificate. The procedure of having a letter of invitation approved and drafting it, and the Regulations regarding Residence Permits came into effect on 9 May 2012, but the amendments to the Regulations regarding work permits for foreigners will be reviewed in the Meeting of the State Secretaries.