Latvia may suspend the law on repatriation due to the flow of applications from Russia

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Latvia intends to limit the ability of Russian citizens to move to the country for permanent residence. The agency has initiated the suspension of the Repatriation Law, Delfi reports.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia have developed a report that will be submitted to the government for consideration. It says that Russians’ interest in moving to Latvia has grown. Citizens of Russia with their whole families request the status of a repatriate and a permanent residence permit (permit) under the law “On repatriation”, which entered into force in 1995.

According to this law, persons who voluntarily move to Latvia for permanent residence become repatriates. In this case, one of two conditions must be met:

  • they are citizens of Latvia (registered in the Register of Residents as citizens and have received a passport of a citizen of Latvia);
  • one of the relatives in a direct ascending line is a Latvian or Libietis (small Baltic-Finnish people).

The repatriate’s family has the right to move to Latvia together with the repatriate: spouse, children, parents who have reached a certain retirement age established by the regulatory enactments of Latvia or who are dependent on the repatriate, as well as persons under guardianship or guardianship.

In 2022, 81% of those who applied for the status of a repatriate or a family member of a repatriate are Russian citizens, the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs said. The number of applications rose at a time when Russia’s economic and international stability was threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the agency said.

In 2022, Russian citizens filed 430 applications under the law “On repatriation”, 220 Russians received the status of a repatriate or a family member of a repatriate.

The Ministry of the Interior stated that it is not uncommon for applicants, despite having a certain historical connection to Latvia, to be in no other way connected to the country. They have no relatives in Latvia with whom they regularly keep in touch and have never been there, although they have traveled to other European countries.

In addition, after the announcement of mobilization in Russia, questions about the repatriation procedure began to come from people who hope to move to Latvia if they are threatened by the agenda, the Interior Ministry says in the report.

In September, Lithuania, as well as Latvia, Estonia and Poland, banned Russians from entering the country even with valid Schengen visas issued by any of the EU countries. The decision was made shortly before the announcement of mobilization in Russia.


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