The possibility of obtaining a residence permit (RP) in Latvia is increasingly attracting non-residents

It's no secret that a residence permit can be obtained in different countries. According to the Migration Department, the largest number of applications for a residence permit was received from the Russians (4385 persons during the period from July 2010 to mid-April 2013). 

«Latvia attracts Russian investors with similar climate, mentality, absence of a language barrier, proximity to Russia, because sometimes to fly to Riga is faster than to go to a country house in the suburbs of Moscow, and if the prices would not change much, ownership of an apartment or a house in Latvia can be an alternative to a country house», informs Ms. Olesya Bogodistaya, Head of the International Brokerage Services of ARCO REAL ESTATE.

A significant part of buyers are interested in a residence permit and a real estate of good quality.

Apartments in most cases are selected in newly erected buildings or in pre-war time houses. An important factor is the location. Demand for buildings constructed during the Soviet period is extremely low among non-residents. Also the costs of land taxes and property maintenance expenses play an important role.

Definitely, the visa filter gives peace to the state, however, one of the aggravating factors is the limited access to the property - on the basis of property ownership in Latvia, a visa is issued only for 180 days in a year (90 +90 days), and people often do not want to depend on these deadlines. According to investors, the entry of Latvia into the euro zone is not a positive factor.

«Buyers also have expressed concerns that a residence permit may be revoked because the Latvian government may at any time unilaterally change the rules of the game, and this aspect is slowing the inflow of investors», says Ms. Olesya Bogodistaya. Some reassurance to those who already own property in Latvia, could give peace of mind to customers. The outflow of young people from Latvia is still large, and the influx of educated people from other countries is positive for the Latvian economy.

The amount of investments made by foreigners in the Latvian economy in order to obtain a residence permit, exceeded 525 million EUR in mid-April 2013, including more than 418 million EUR invested in real estates.

During the period from July 1, 2010 till mid-April 2013, there were submitted in total 2546 applications for a residence permit (127 applications in 2010, 836 applications in 2011, 1225 applications in 2012 and 358 applications / 839 persons in 2013), of which 2038 applications were submitted on the basis of the applicant's real property. As it is known, on the basis of ownership of real property, a residence permit can be obtained by the investor, his/her spouse and their minor children. In total, 6026 persons have submitted application for residence permit (4830 persons - based on the ownership of real property, from whom 2038 persons have the ownership rights to real property and the rest are their family members), and the residence permit was issued to 5543 persons (including 4452 persons – on the basis of the ownership of real estate). 

The total amount of investment in real estates is 294,109,000 LVL (418,480,000 EUR) compared to the total amount of investment, accounting for 369,649,000 LVL (525,953,000 EUR).

In order to obtain a residence permit, the total of LVL 59,818,000 (85,113,000 EUR) has been invested in the subordinated capital of Latvian banks. In addition, the total of LVL 15,721,000 LVL (22,369,000 EUR) has been paid by investors in the share capital of Latvian enterprises. 

Since the beginning of 2013, most popular locations as to obtaining residence permit on the basis of ownership of property in Latvia were Riga (116) and Jurmala (96). Also Mārupe (10), Garkalne Municipality (7) Saulkrasti (7), Cēsis (5), Ozolnieki (5) and other places have been popular.

In the period from 2010 to mid-April 2013 applications for a residence permit in Latvia have been filed by 6026 people from more than 30 countries, among them representatives of such countries as the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nigeria, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iran, Dagestan, the U.S., China, Lebanon, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Iran, Australia, Korea. Applications for residence permit since the beginning of 2013 were submitted by citizens of Russia (624), Uzbekistan (55), China (43), Kazakhstan (33), Ukraine (29), Belarus (20), Kyrgyzstan (11) Azerbaijan (6), Georgia (4), Israel (4) United States (3), India (2), Lebanon (2), Armenia (1), Russia / Chechnya (1) and Iran (1).

From July 1, 2010 a Latvian residence permit for up to 5 years (with an option of prolongation), based on ownership of real estate, can be obtained by purchasing property in Riga or Riga district at a price not lower than LVL 100 000 (EUR 142 888) but in the other largest cities of the country - at a price that is not less than LVL 50 000 (EUR 71 144).

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