The Saeima changes procedure for extending temporary residence permits of Russian and Belarusian citizens

(22.09.2022.)

On Thursday, 22 September, the Saeima supported in the second and final reading urgent amendments to the Immigration Law, changing the procedure of applying for and extending temporary residence permits for Russian and Belarusian citizens.

The amendments no longer allow for an extension of temporary residence permits for Russian and Belarusian citizens who received their residence permit on the basis of investment or the purchase of real estate in Latvia. In addition, Russian citizens will not be eligible for remote work visas. There are also exceptions, namely, temporary residence permits may be issued on the basis of a family reunion, international protection, interests of the state, or humanitarian considerations. The Law provides that the extent of restrictions on Belarusian citizens will be less broad.

Moreover, the permanent residence permits of Russian citizens who were citizens or non‑citizens of Latvia prior to obtaining Russian citizenship, will be valid until 1 September 2023. Afterwards, if they wish to receive a new permanent residence permit, they will have to provide certification of state language proficiency as set out in the law by the end of the respective period.

The amendments were made in response to the war started by Russia in Ukraine, as well as individual and economic sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia and Belarus. Previously, the Saeima had already decided to temporarily suspend the granting of temporary residence permits to citizens of Russia and Belarus. As stated in the explanatory note of the Draft Law, in view of the gravity of the situation and the risks associated with the immigration of Russian and Belarusian citizens to Latvia, extending the previously issued temporary residence permits according to the general procedure is unjustified.

The law will enter into force on the day following its promulgation.

Saeima Press Service

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