Exciting News for Latvians Around the World!

Exciting news from the Latvian Saeima (Parliament) today: They have passed the new law on dual citizenship.

The passing of this law opens up a number of doors that had been closed in 1995, or hadn’t been open at all. World War 2-era exiles and their descendants can apply for dual citizenship again. Dual citizenship is also available to people with citizenship in the European Union (EU), European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). There are also provisions for citizens of Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.

Another option that I found interesting is the one that allows any ethnic Latvian or Livonian – seemingly without impediment to place of birth or how long ago their ancestors left Latvia – to gain Latvian citizenship providing that they can prove that their ancestors used to live in Latvian territory and that they can speak the Latvian language. Now, if someone’s ancestors left Latvia a long time ago, they are fairly unlikely to speak Latvian, but on the off-chance they do, or if they learn, they will also have the options for citizenship that larger migration waves like the World War 2 exiles do. I’m not certain if there is a language requirement from any other group besides this “ethnic Latvian or Livonian” group, but I will read the full law when it is ready and be able to let you know at that point.

The law comes into affect on October 1, 2013. Listening to the video that they posted, it might be that you would need to physically go to Latvia to organize the paperwork, but that doesn’t appear certain yet. I will keep you posted there as well.

Are you intending on taking advantage of this new opportunity? Do you have the documents you need? Do you need help in finding out where the documents you need are? Let me know and I can help you!

2 comments on this post.
  1. Jeffrey Berry:

    This is very exciting indeed!

    I was also unable to tell from the exact wording of various newspaper articles whether or not the descendants of World War II-era exiles would be a distinct category from “any ethnic Latvian or Livonian” and thus whether learning the language would be necessary to apply for citizenship for these descendants. It was also unclear what level of language fluency would be required! Any updates on this front would be greatly appreciated! :)

  2. Eve:

    Ditto Jeffrey’s comment. I’m curious because I’m a descendant of Estonians who moved to Latvia (and then become refugees in ’44). So while I’m ethnically Estonian, my father was born in Latvia, and I believe that my grandparents naturalized in Latvia (probably making me ineligible for Estonian citizenship). I also speak some Latvian. Antra, could you provide some detail on what documents would be needed (if you can tell so far)?

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