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LEGAL ACTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA
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Text consolidated by Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre) with amending laws of:

27 November 1997 [shall come into force from 30 December 1997];
21 October 1998 [shall come into force from 18 November 1998];
11 March 1999 [shall come into force from 13 April 1999];
24 October 2002 [shall come into force from 20 November 2002];
3 February 2005 [shall come into force from 1 March 2005];
19 January 2006 [shall come into force from 16 February 2006];
3 May 2007 [shall come into force from 7 June 2007];
11 December 2008 [shall come into force from 1 July 2009];
12 September 2013 [shall come into force from 1 January 2014];
16 June 2016 [shall come into force from 1 August 2016].

If a whole or part of a section has been amended, the date of the amending law appears in square brackets at the end of the section. If a whole section, paragraph or clause has been deleted, the date of the deletion appears in square brackets beside the deleted section, paragraph or clause.

The Saeima1 has adopted and
the President has proclaimed the following law:

Repatriation Law

Latvia is the only ethnic territory in the world inhabited by Latvians and Liivs. Due to their advantageous geographical location Latvians and Liivs have always been subject to the attacks and assimilation tendencies of other peoples. The gravest genocide was during the period of communist terror by the USSR when hundreds of thousands of innocent people were deported to various death camps. After the Second World War many Latvians and Liivs went into exile to the West. All this has led to a situation where Latvians may become a minority in their own homeland, but the Liivs have already become a minority.

Now when independent Latvia has been restored, the Republic of Latvia supports the reunion of the Latvian people and invites Latvians and Liivs who have a sense of belonging to Latvia to return to their ethnic homeland.

[24 October 2002]

Chapter I
General Provisions

Section 1. Purpose of the Law

The purpose of this Law is:

1) to create basic conditions and guarantees so that persons of Latvian or Liiv origin may take up permanent residence in Latvia;

2) to promote the voluntary repatriation of other ethnicities to their ethnic homeland; and

3) to specify the functions of State and local government institutions in relation to repatriation and emigration.

[11 March 1999]

Section 2. Repatriate

A repatriate is a person who is a Latvian citizen or one of whose relatives in the direct ascending line is a Latvian or a Liiv and who voluntarily takes up permanent residence in the Republic of Latvia.

[24 October 2002; 16 June 2016]

Section 3. Family Members of Repatriates

The following family members of a repatriate have the right to enter the Republic of Latvia:

1) the spouse of the repatriate if the marriage has been entered into before requesting the status of a repatriate;

2) the child of the repatriate or his or her spouse's child or their common child;

3) a person under the guardianship or trusteeship of the repatriate or his or her spouse;

4) a parent of the repatriate or of his or her spouse who has reached the retirement age specified in the laws and regulations of Latvia or is a dependent of the repatriate and who has had a common household with the repatriate in the previous home country for at least a year before requesting the status of a repatriate.

[16 June 2016]

Section 4. International Agreements

If an intergovernmental agreement on repatriation approved by the Saeima contains provisions differing from the provisions of this Law and other laws and regulations, the provisions of the intergovernmental agreement shall apply.

[3 February 2005]

Chapter II
Functions of State and Local Government Institutions

Section 5. Competence of the Cabinet in the Field of Repatriation

The Cabinet shall:

1) propose to enter into international agreements regarding repatriation issues and develop drafts of such agreements;

2) develop draft laws and other regulatory enactments related to repatriation;

3) co-ordinate the activities of State and local government institutions;

4) [3 February 2005];

5) determine the procedures for the granting and calculation of benefits to be issued to repatriates;

6) develop a repatriation programme;

7) [19 January 2006];

8) approve the provisions on providing material assistance to repatriates.

[27 November 1997; 11 March 1999; 24 October 2002; 3 February 2005; 19 January 2006]

Section 6. Functions of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Repatriation and Emigration Issues

(1) The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (hereinafter - Office) shall:

1) perform the registration of repatriates;

2) inform repatriates regarding documents, which are necessary to obtain repatriate status, and the procedures for the submission thereof;

3) inform repatriates regarding their social rights and guarantees;

4) examine repatriation documents and take a decision to grant the status of a repatriate and a family member of a repatriate or to refuse to grant a person the status of a repatriate and a family member of a repatriate, issue a document certifying the status of a repatriate and a family member of a repatriate;

5) take a decision regarding the loss of repatriate status in the cases provided for in this Law;

6) take a decision regarding the issue of a residence permit to a repatriate who is not a Latvian citizen, and his or her family members, as well as decisions regarding the cancellation of such permits;

7) conduct measures associated with the integration of the repatriate; and

8) conduct the registration and control of those persons who wish to emigrate from Latvia and who emigrate from Latvia, as well as on the basis of information provided by competent institutions, take a decision regarding whether there are no obstacles to the person emigrating from the State.

[24 October 2002; 16 June 2016]

Section 7. Repatriation Fund

[3 February 2005]

Section 8. Duties of Local Governments in Resolving Repatriation Issues

(1) Local governments shall become involved in the resolution of issues associated with the integration of repatriates in their administrative territory, as well as on the basis of a request from the Office provide information regarding the possibilities of providing repatriates with living space belonging to the local government.

(2) Local governments, in accordance with the Law on State and Local Government Assistance in Resolving Housing Issues, shall provide assistance to repatriates in resolving housing issues.

(3) Local governments according to the procedures specified by law may grant repatriates parcels of land for use for the building of houses if in the administrative territory of the local government there are free parcels of land.

[24 October 2002]

Chapter III
Repatriation Procedures

Section 9. Submission of Documents to Acquire Repatriate Status

(1) A person wishing to obtain the status of a repatriate shall present a personal identity document and submit:

1) an application for granting the status of a repatriate;

2) if the person is not a citizen of Latvia, a document certifying his or her Latvian or Liiv origin.

(2) A foreigner who wishes to obtain the status of a family member of a repatriate shall present a personal identification document and submit:

1) an application for granting the status of a family member of a repatriate;

2) a document certifying marriage or kinship;

3) a document certifying guardianship or trusteeship in the case referred to in Section 3, Clause 3 of this Law;

4) a document certifying the existence of a joint household in the case referred to in Section 3, Clause 4 of this Law.

(3) If a family member of a repatriate wishes to enter the Republic of Latvia concurrently with the repatriate or within two years from the day when the decision to grant the status of a repatriate enters into effect, the repatriate shall submit a document certifying that before requesting the status of a repatriate he or she has lived and resided abroad for at least five years.

(4) A person shall submit the documents referred to in Paragraph one, two or three of this Section to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Latvia in foreign states, which shall send these documents to the Office, or personally to the Office if such person is legally resident in the Republic of Latvia.

(5) The documents to be submitted (certificates, attestations, copies of documents) shall be valid for six months from the day of their issue. In submitting copies of documents, the originals must be presented.

(6) Documents issued in foreign states may be in English, French, Russian or German. Documents written in other languages and copies thereof shall be submitted together with a notarially certified translation of the relevant document text into Latvian, English, French, Russian or German.

(7) Documents issued in foreign states shall be legalised unless international agreements binding to Latvia do not provide for other procedures.

[24 October 2002; 3 February 2005; 3 May 2007; 16 June 2016]

Section 9.1 Taking of a Decision

(1) The decision to grant the status of a repatriate or a family member of a repatriate shall be taken:

1) for a Latvian citizen - within a month from receipt of the application;

2) for a foreigner - concurrently with the decision to grant a permanent residence card or a permanent residence permit in accordance with the laws and regulations laying down the procedures for requesting a permanent residence card or a permanent residence permit.

(2) The decision to grant the status of a repatriate and the decision to issue a permanent residence card or a permanent residence permit shall be in effect for six months after it has been taken. The Office may extend the validity of the effect of the decision for a period of up to nine months if the repatriate can prove that it is not possible to immigrate within a period of six months due to a justifiable reason.

(3) [16 June 2016]

[24 October 2002; 16 June 2016]

Section 9.2 Issuance of a Residence Permit

(1) A foreigner - a family member of a repatriate has the right to enter the Republic of Latvia in accordance with the provisions of this Law, if he or she travels concurrently with the repatriate or within two years from the date of entry into effect of the decision to grant the status of a repatriate and if the repatriate has lived and resided abroad at least for five years before requesting the status of a repatriate.

(2) A foreigner upon submitting the documents referred to in Section 9, Paragraph one or two of this Law shall concurrently submit also the documents necessary for requesting a permanent residence permit or a permanent residence card in accordance with the requirements of the Immigration Law.

(3) A family member of a repatriate who does not exercise the right to enter the Republic of Latvia in accordance with the procedures laid down in Paragraph one of this Section has the right to request the residence permit in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Immigration Law.

[16 June 2016]

Section 10. Restrictions Regarding Acquisition of the Status of a Repatriate

(1) A decision to refuse to grant a person the status of a repatriate shall be taken if the relevant person:

1) has, by unconstitutional methods, acted against the independence of the Republic of Latvia, the democratic parliamentary structure of the State or the existing State power in Latvia, if it has been established by a judgement of a court;

2) has propagated fascist, chauvinist, national-socialist, communist or other totalitarian ideas or incited ethnic or racial hatred or enmity;

3) is an official of the State power, administration or law enforcement authorities of a foreign state;

4) serves in the armed forces, internal military forces, intelligence service, security service or police (militia) of a foreign state;

5) has been an employee, informer, agent or a secret abode keeper of the U.S.S.R. KGB (Committee of State Security), of the intelligence service or the security service, if this fact has been established in accordance with the procedures laid down in law;

6) after 13 January 1991, has worked against the Republic of Latvia in the CPSU (LCP), the International Front of the Working People of the Latvian S.S.R., the United Council of Labour Collectives, the Organisation of War and Labour Veterans, the All-Latvia Salvation of Society Committee or its regional committees;

7) [16 June 2016]

8) has publicly expressed disrespect for the Latvian State or its symbols, publicly praised the Latvian occupation power or the symbols of the occupation power or denied the fact of the occupation of Latvia;

9) has been found guilty, by a judgement of a court, of committing a criminal offence for which the law of the Republic of Latvia provides for a penalty - deprivation of liberty for a period of more than three years;

10) does not comply with the conditions specified in Section 2 or 3 of this Law or has been previously granted the status of a repatriate;

11) has not submitted all necessary documents;

12) has provided false information to request the status of a repatriate;

13) or if any of the provisions referred to in Section 34, Paragraph one of the Immigration Law exists according to which the issue of a permanent residence permit is refused to a foreigner or any of the provisions of Section 2.1, Paragraph two of the Immigration Law exists on the basis of which the issue of a permanent residence card is refused.

(2) [16 June 2016]

[3 February 2005; 3 May 2007; 16 June 2016]

Section 11. Appeal of Decisions by the Office

(1) A person has the right within a period of 30 days after the Office has taken a decision regarding a refusal to grant him or her repatriate status to dispute such decision to the head of the Office. The head of the Office shall examine the submission within a period of 30 days after its submission.

(2) The respective person or his or her authorised person may appeal the decision of the Head of the Office to a court in accordance with the procedures laid down in law within 30 days after it has entered into effect.

(3) Appeal of the decision to a court does not create a right for a person who is not a Latvian citizen to reside in the Republic of Latvia.

[24 October 2002; 3 February 2005]

Section 12. Loss of Repatriate Status

(1) The status of a repatriate shall be cancelled if:

1) the person has provided false information to request the status of a repatriate;

2) the repatriate has moved for permanent residence to another country;

3) the repatriate has been found guilty by a court judgement of committing a serious or especially serious crime;

4) if some of the provisions referred to in Section 36, Paragraph one of the Immigration Law exist according to which the issue of a permanent residence permit is refused to a foreigner or some of the provisions of Section 2.1, Paragraph two exist on the basis of which the permanent residence card is cancelled.

(2) If a person who has obtained the status of a repatriate is deprived of the status granted to him or her, his or her family members shall lose the status of family members of a repatriate. In taking a decision to deprive a person of the status of a repatriate or on the loss of the status of a family member, the residence card or the residence permit issued to these persons shall be concurrently cancelled in accordance with the procedures laid down in the Immigration Law.

[16 June 2016]

Section 13. Inclusion of Data in the Population Register

[24 October 2002]

Chapter IV
Rights of Repatriates

Section 14. Assistance in Solving Social Issues

A repatriate who has left Latvia in the period of up to 4 May 1990 or was born abroad or left Latvia after 4 May 1990 and at the time of departure was a minor has the right to receive assistance in solving social issues in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of this Law.

[24 October 2002; 3 May 2007]

Section 15. Acquisition of Immovable Property and Living Space Rental Rights

[3 February 2005]

Section 16. Social Guarantees to a Repatriate Pensioner

A repatriate has the right to receive a pension in accordance with the Law on State Pensions.

Section 17. Non-application of Customs Duty and Customs Fees to Repatriates

[16 June 2016]

Section 18. Crossing the Border

On the basis of a decision of the Office to grant the status of a repatriate and a permanent residence permit, the diplomatic and consular mission of the Republic of Latvia if foreign states shall issue a visa to the repatriate and his or her family members. These persons shall be exempt from paying the State fee for processing the documents necessary for requesting a visa and services related thereto.

[3 February 2005]

Chapter V
Material Assistance

Section 19. Right to Material Assistance

(1) A repatriate who has left Latvia in the period of up to 4 May 1990 or was born abroad or left Latvia after 4 May 1990 and at the time of departure was a minor has the right to receive material assistance. Those repatriates who in escaping from the terror of the communist and fascist regimes left Latvia as refugees or who have been unjustifiably repressed or deported have a prior right to material assistance.

(2) If a person, due to reasons referred to in Section 12 of this Law, has lost his or her status of a repatriate within five years from the day when the decision was taken to grant the status of a repatriate, he or she shall reimburse the sum received as material assistance.

(3) If a person does not repay the material assistance received, he or she shall lose the right to immigrate to the Republic of Latvia up to the moment when the material assistance received has been fully repaid.

[24 October 2002; 3 February 2005; 3 May 2007]

Section 20. Type and Amount of Material Assistance

(1) A repatriate who in accordance with Section 19 of this Law has the right to receive material assistance, shall be paid:

1) an allowance to cover travel expenses related to moving for permanent residence in Latvia if the repatriate has submitted documents verifying travel expenses not later than one year after the issue thereof. The amount of the allowance per person shall not exceed 711.44 euros;

2) a monthly allowance in the amount of 90 % of the minimum wage if the repatriate has submitted an application to the Office within a year after moving for permanent residence to Latvia and has been registered as an unemployed person with the State Employment Agency. The allowance shall be paid for six consecutive months.

(2) The Office is entitled to provide material assistance to repatriates also in other cases.

(3) The material assistance for repatriates referred to in Paragraphs one and two of this Section, shall be provided by the Office from the funds allocated for this purpose in the State budget for the current year. Benefits shall be paid in the order of the submission of documents.

[11 March 1999; 24 October 2002; 3 February 2005; 12 September 2013]

Chapter VI
Tax Relief to Funds and Public Organisations Promoting Repatriation

[19 January 2006]

Chapter VII
Procedures and Provisions of Emigration

Section 23. Emigrant

An emigrant is a person who emigrates from Latvia for permanent residence abroad.

Section 24. Emigration Procedures

Procedures by which emigration to relevant states takes place shall be provided for by international agreements ratified by the Saeima.

Section 25. Rights of Emigrants

Emigrants and their family members have the right to:

1) export of Latvia the property belonging to them, except for the property the exportation of which from Latvia is prohibited or restricted in accordance with law;

2) sell the immovable property belonging to them or deal with it in another manner, as well as move out the acquired funds in accordance with the procedures set out in law;

3) transfer money deposits and assets paid into Latvian banking institutions to the banking institutions of the state of emigration; and

4) leave in the territory of Latvia the movable and immovable property belonging to them, the deposits and assets paid in the Latvian banking institutions, as well as exercise the rights of administration, use and ordering in respect of them.

Section 26. Right to Property

[3 February 2005]

Section 27. Payment of Compensation to Emigrants

[3 February 2005]

Transitional Provisions

1. [3 February 2005]

2. [3 February 2005]

3. [3 February 2005]

4. [3 February 2005]

5. Applications for the granting of repatriate status, residence permits and receipt of material assistance, as well as applications for the receipt of assistance in resolving social issues, which were submitted up to 1 November 2002 and regarding which a decision has not been taken shall be examined according to the procedures specified in this Law.

[24 October 2002]

6. By 15 April 2005, the Cabinet shall issue the provisions referred to in Section 5, Clause 5 of this Law. By 15 April 2005, Cabinet Regulation No. 344 of 5 October 1999, Procedures for Administering and Using the Repatriation Fund, shall be in force, insofar as it is not in contradiction with this Law.

[3 February 2005]

7. To repatriates who have submitted documents certifying their travel expenses for receiving the allowance referred to in Section 20, Paragraph one, Clause 1 of this Law by 28 February 2005, the allowance shall be paid in accordance with the provisions in force until 28 February 2005.

[3 February 2005]

8. The documents and the application submitted by a repatriate or a family member of a repatriate to the Office or the diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Latvia by 29 July 2016 shall be processed in accordance with the law in force on the day when the application was submitted.

[16 June 2016]

This Law has been adopted by the Saeima on 21 September 1995.

President G. Ulmanis

Rīga, 10 October 1995

 


1 The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia

Translation © 2017 Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre)

 
Document information
Status:
In force
in force
Issuer: Saeima Type: law Adoption: 21.09.1995.Entry into force: 24.10.1995.Theme:  Citizenship, migrationPublication: Latvijas Vēstnesis, 155, 10.10.1995.; Latvijas Republikas Saeimas un Ministru Kabineta Ziņotājs, 22, 23.11.1995.
Language:
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