Category D visa – long-term residence permit with the right to employment in Latvia

A Latvian long-term national visa is issued to foreign nationals arriving for employment purposes. A category D labour visa is issued for a term of no more than 1 year. A long-term visa to the Baltics enables free travel throughout Schengen Area for up to 90 days in the span of a half year. A category D long-term visa does not entail repeated filing; in case of their continued stay in Latvia following the specified period, a foreign national may apply for a residence permit in Latvia with the right to employment. The duration of employment must be no less than 365 days. Please note that a category D visa does not entail the issue of a permanent identity code.

Employment agreement – residence permit in the Republic of Latvia for labour purposes

In accordance with the Republic of Latvia Immigration Law, an employment agreement or contractor’s agreement between a Latvian company and a foreign national entitles them to a temporary residence permit for up to 5 years. A labour RP in Latvia may be filed via the State Employment Agency (NVA) only. Exceptions apply to highly qualified employees (EU Blue Card holders). Please note that, in order to meet the eligibility criteria, the company must be able to provide clear substantiations for employing a foreign national. This includes stating the relevant foreign national’s education, work experience, qualifying skills, and reasons for employment. A foreign national entering into an employment agreement with a Latvian company must receive at least the national average salary (based on the preceding year’ s data) to be eligible.

Obtaining an EU Blue Card for Latvia

An EU Blue Card for Latvia enables the regulated travel of highly qualified foreign nationals into Latvia with the right to employment. A Blue Card in Latvia entitles one to a labour permit and a residence permit according to accelerated procedures and with fewer requirements. The maximum duration for such a residence permit is 5 years. The duration of issue for all countries of origin is the same. In order to obtain a Blue Card for Latvia, one must have received a full higher education matching their expected employment with the host company. An agreement for 40 hours per week, stating the amount and procedure of payment of monthly salary, without a probationary period, is required. An EU Blue Card entitles a foreign national to employment with a Latvian company on the basis of an employment or contractor’s agreement. At the end of the 5-year term of residence in Latvia with the status of an EU Blue Card holder, a foreign national may apply for a permanent residence permit in Latvia. This requires taking a Latvian language exam (A2 level).

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Individual merchant/entrepreneur (individuālais komersants) in Latvia

The status of an individual merchant in Latvia registered in the Commercial Register as a natural person entitles one to a temporary residence permit in Latvia for up to 5 years. A mandatory condition is the statement of a clearly defined phrase “individuālais komersants” (IK for short). Such Commercial Register registration does not require the foreign national to hold statutory capital. However, a business plan must be presented which matches the following criteria:

  • vetted by a certified auditor, clearly indicating duration of activity
  • documentary evidence of access to funding necessary in order to implement the intended activities
  • the applicant for Latvian individual merchant status may not have any tax debt
  • the total amount of tax payments for the preceding year may be no less than EUR 14,230

Please note that the law does not provide a mandatory list of certified auditors; the requirement is for them to hold certificates of practice in Latvia, valid in accordance with the applicable requirements of the Latvian Association of Certified auditors (LZRA). This kind of residence permit is issued for a term of up to 5 years.

Representative of a foreign merchant in Latvia

A representative of a foreign merchant in Latvia is eligible for a temporary residence permit for up to 2 years if the following criteria are met:

  • the foreign merchant has been registered abroad no less than five years prior to the submission of the RP application
  • the foreign merchant employed over 50 staff in the preceding year
  • the company’s annual turnover exceeds EUR 10 million
  • no tax debt; at the end of the period specified herein, a foreign national may not apply for an RP for the next two years
  • a prospective business plan is submitted, including a clearly defined strategy for developing the foreign company in Latvia, geared towards developing manufacturing or services.

A representative of a foreign merchant’s representative office must guarantee access to adequate cost of living in Latvia for the current year.