Latvia Golden Visa: Here is what you need to know
Latvia’s economy suffered a major blow during the economic crisis of 2008. It was one of the worst-hit countries in the world.
So it launched a residence by investment (RBI) program to attract foreign investment and help get its economy back up on its feet, sooner rather than later.
For €250,000 (+5% state fees), it has been successful in getting many non-EEA nationals to sign up. And it turns out that Latvia is not a bad place to invest after all – its economy has experienced rapid growth.
The Latvian residence, amicably called the Latvian Golden Visa, offers the cheapest residency by investment in Europe.
Latvian Residence by Investment
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Latvia before, or if you don’t have a clue as to where it’s located.
Believe it or not Latvia actually has one of the oldest and longest-running RBI programs in Europe that allows you to obtain a Latvian residence permit by investment. It launched back in 2010 when it was in a financially dire situation and needed the foreign investment to get back up on its feet.
Like other similar programs it’s specifically geared toward high net-worth individuals and families, but it offers the cheapest way to obtain residence in Europe.
The Latvia Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Latvian Golden Visa, or Latvian economic residence permit by investment, offers investors residence in exchange for an investment of a set amount.
It used to charge no government fees, but since the popularity of the investor visa scheme or program skyrocketed, the government ‘wised up’ and added extra fees.
Now, Latvia raises between 30 and 40 million euros every year through the For a country of this size, that’s still a considerable sum of money.
All in all, Latvia’s Golden Visa is ideal for those looking to:
Form a company in the EU
Obtain EU residency for the whole family
Obtain EU residency with minimal physical presence
Get visa-free travel to all Schengen states
So, let’s see exactly how you can take advantage of those investment opportunities and obtain residency in this small, yet advantageous, country.
How to Obtain a Latvian Golden Visa
Option 1: Real Estate Investment
The total sum that you must invest is €250,000, plus 5% of the property’s value in government fees. So, at the very least, you’re paying €262,500.
However, you cannot buy just any property in any part of the country.
If you purchase in the capital of Riga or in Latvia’s premier seaside resort Jurmala, which is where you want to be if you’d like to spend some time in the country, you are limited to one property. If you choose to purchase immovable property determined elsewhere, acquired from a legal person registered in Latvia, the minimum investment may be split to pay for two immovable properties.
Immovable property represents a functionally connected immovable property.
The real estate market in Latvia is truly full of great opportunities if you care to look. That also goes for the functionally connected immovable property determined.
Latvia is known for having an insignificant immovable property tax, which can amount to a 1.5%.
And for a sum like a quarter of a million euros, you could get a large, top-notch apartment in the heart of the city center of Riga.
However, keep in mind that properties are not always very liquid, so when it comes time to sell, you could be playing the waiting game.
Option 2: Business Investment
Is your main objective a European residence for yourself and your family? Then there is no cheaper option than investing in Latvian business formation.
Only €50,000 business capital investment is needed to invest in Latvia. You can either open your own company or become a shareholder in an existing Latvian company.
You must maintain your investment for at least five years. There is also a €10,000 government fee to be paid, but the real catch is that the company must pay at least €40,000 annually in tax.
If you do the calculation, then your total investment for the five years is still a minimum of €250,000. (€50,000 initially, plus five years of paying at least €40,000 in tax).
The €50,000 is a valid sum if you invest in a company with a turnover of less than 10 million and with some employees not exceeding 50. If you wish to invest in a company larger than that, you will need to double the investment to €100,000.
Option 3: Purchase Government Bonds
There is also the option to purchase governmental bonds to the tune of €250,000.
The bonds will be non-interest bearing. So there won’t be any surprises at the end of the mandatory five-year investment holding period. You will get back what you paid in if you choose to withdraw the funds.
Plus, there will be a government fee of €38,000 payable to the state budget if you choose this investment option.
Option 4: Make a Bank Deposit
Finally, you can make a deposit of €280,000 at a Latvian bank or such a credit institution to purchase its bonds. You will need to hold this investment for five years.
You will be able to receive any interest that might be applicable, unlike with the government bonds. So, if you trust the financial institutions of Latvia and truly want a set-it-and-forget-it investment, then this could be the right option for you.
Don’t forget that an extra government fee of €25,000 applies if you go this route.
The Step-by-Step Application Guide
One of the great things about Latvia’s residence by investment program is that the process of obtaining residency is uncomplicated.
The entire process takes two to three months, so you could travel freely in Europe in pretty much no time. Your family can also come, including a spouse, dependent children, and parents/parents-in-law.
Before you apply, however, you should determine whether you’re eligible. The requirements are pretty standard and similar to other Golden Visas.
One must have:
Considerable wealth (this RBI program is geared towards high-net-worth individuals)
A good character
A clean criminal record (you will be asked to provide a police clearance from all countries of past residence)
No tax debts anywhere in the world
Good health (you will be asked to provide a medical certificate)
Enough money for oneself (and all family members, if applicable) to maintain your lifestyle in Latvia
Health insurance for the entire family for at least one year
If you’ve determined that you’re eligible to apply, obtaining residence is then a quick process.
A Latvian passport comes with many benefits, such as the ability to live, work, and travel freely across all of Europe.
You must be a tax resident in Latvia for all of those ten years, and five of those years must be as a permanent resident.
To get a Latvian passport, you must have some knowledge of the Latvian language, know the basic historical facts of the country, and be able to recite the national anthem. In other words, you will need to pass the citizenship exam.
If you’ve spent a good portion of your time in the country for an entire decade, this shouldn’t be an issue.
And, it’s handy that Latvia allows dual citizenship. This means that you won’t have to renounce your first citizenship to get a Latvian passport.
So, if you are interested in finding out more about how to make Latvia your next home, as well as other opportunities to develop your business, contact us today! Below this article, you will find a link to set up a consultation with us to discuss your options further.
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