Business immigration to Latvia on a start-up visa

Latvia is a country of great opportunities and continuous development, especially in the field of start-ups and new technologies. Having shown rapid progress in recent years and strengthening its economic position, Latvia shows itself as a confident player in the international business arena.

Software development in Latvia has one of the top positions in the computer industry in Eastern Europe, according to Business in Central Europe. By the beginning of 2019, 418 start-ups were registered in the country, and another 100 are at different stages of development. At the same time, their contribution to the Latvian economy is growing. The most popular areas for business immigration on a start-up visa in Latvia are transport, forestry and the pharmaceutical industry.

The share of investments in Latvian start-ups from Asian investors has grown almost 10 times over the past 8 years, and from Russian ones – 4.6 times over the same period. Investments by Asian investors accounted for 2.5% of total foreign direct investment in start-ups of Latvia. Investments from the CIS countries accounted for a significant share of investment capital, while the share of European investments in recent years has declined markedly. Since, according to the new law, preference for opening start[-ups was given to entrepreneurs from the third world countries.

In 2017, the Latvian government adopted the law “On Supporting the Activities of Start-ups”. It provided preferences in the field of taxation (100% exemption), and also introduced a start-up visa in Latvia, which made it easier to obtain a residence permit for business immigrants. The Latvian state financial institution agreed to allocate 15 million euro for business accelerators and incubators, which act as a kind of university for start-ups. Here they help the newcomers with advice, and the already completed businesses –  with money.

As a member of the European Union, Latvia opens the door for entrepreneurs from the CIS and the Middle East to realize business opportunities in the EU without borders and deadlines. This is ensured by the program “Immigration through investments”, thanks to which the country received about 2 billion euros.

Such an indicator pushed the government to strongly support the inflow of foreign capital and encourage investors to issue a residence permit. By sending documents for consideration to issue a start-up visa, you can choose the terms and pay different amounts.

Usually, such a package of documents is considered within a month for 100 euros, but if you want to reduce the period to 10 working days, the amount doubles, to 5 days – it grows 4 times. However, even when you have already paid, the package of documents can be considered longer than agreed.

If a foreigner who is not an EU citizen plans to develop his product in Latvia, he can apply for a start-up visa in Latvia up to 3 years. For such businessmen, a shorter period for consideration of documents for issuing a business visa is provided. The start-up visa was created to develop entrepreneurship in Latvia, as well as to provide entrepreneurs (non-EU citizens) with the opportunity to implement their project in Europe.

Conditions for issuing a start-up visa and obtaining a residence permit:
  • An investment in the business of at least 60,000 euros for all three years.
  • Creation of new jobs (at least 10)
  • The company that submits the project for consideration should be created within three months after the approval of the application.
  • A prepared entrepreneur application for a start-up visa and getting the project start-up status
  • Entrepreneur must meet qualification business management requirements
  • Obtaining a resident card and opening accounts in European banks.
  • Access to a pool of investors and funds.

Immigrants can both invest their capital in an existing company and start their own business. The latter option is more popular and contributes to obtaining permanent residence on fairly favorable terms if the business meets all the requirements.

After living for 5 years in the Republic of Latvia, a temporary residence permit can be replaced with a permanent one. And after 10 years an entrepreneur becomes a full-fledged citizen of the EU through naturalization, which also has many advantages. Moreover, the family members of the businessman also receive a business visa for three, five, ten years, and after that, full citizenship of Latvia.

Thus, we see that Latvia is entering a new level in the business of immigration. Although not as fast as the leading countries, it is confidently heading to the top. As in Canada, upon obtaining a start-up visa, the applicant receives permanent residence, and then Canadian citizenship. However, when applying for a start-up visa in Canada, there is no need to invest personal capital. It is enough to attract state or investor co-financing for your Canadian start-up. At the same time, up to 5 co-owners with families can be issued under one start-up visa.

If you are interested in getting a start-up visa in Latvia, do not miss your chance now.