On 9 April 2022, new amendments to the Latvian Immigration Law entered into force concerning restrictions imposed upon Belarusian and Russian nationals from obtaining a residence permit for the first time in Latvia until 30 of June 2023.
As regards the new restrictions upon Belarusian and Russian nationals, there are various exemption grounds for obtaining a residence permit for the first time in Latvia under certain instances.
Belarusian or Russian nationals who are spouses and direct family members of Latvian and the EU citizens, as well as permanent residence permit holders in Latvia, can apply for a first-time residence permit.
Exemptions to new restrictions are also available in relation to carrying out necessary business operations.
In certain instances, first time residence permits for Belarusian and Russian nationals are available for those employees that are considered as “experts” in their respective field. This exemption is based upon those applicants who qualify for the EU Blue Card residence permit.
Further, those Belarusian and Russian nationals who are candidates for leading positions in Latvian business operations are also covered under the exemptions.
Those businesses that relocate from Belarus or Russia to Latvia and have at least 51% OECD member state capital origin or if the UBO is a national of an OECD member state, also benefit from exemption under the new restrictions.
Other non-business-related exclusions involve applicants who are involved in official scientific projects in Latvia, are refugees, are pension aged parents of Latvian non-citizens (nepilsonis status), as well as some other specific exclusions.