Latvian government to discuss visa extensions for Russians, Belarusians

The Latvian government plans to decide on the possible discontinuation of renewals of visas and residence permits for Russian and Belarusian citizens. Parliamentary secretary of the Foreign Ministry Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica told Latvian Radio on August 16 that this would not apply in all cases the same.

Kalniņa-Lukaševica recalled that the Saeima adopted a restriction in April not to issue first-time residence permits to Russian and Belarusian citizens any longer. Kalniņa-Lukaševica said the proposal is now to suspend the renewal of temporary residence permits primarily for the people to whom they have been granted due to investments.

"The renewal of these temporary residence permits should be looked at very strongly. It can only be on a case-by-case basis," Kalniņa-Lukaševica said.

She pointed out that temporary residence permits could continue to be extended to people who are married to Latvian citizens. "If they live here, we are not talking about breaking up families. This is one of the examples to be distinguished from temporary residence permits for persons on investments such as real estate. There it would be clear that they are not renewable," Kalniņa-Lukaševica said.

Currently, there are more than 9,000 residence permits active for Russian citizens in Latvia. Meanwhile, permanent residence permits have been issued to more than 37,000 Russian citizens.

In the opinion of Kalniņa-Lukaševica, a “thorough audit” is needed.

“The free residence of people who support Russian aggression against Ukraine in Latvia, I think, is not acceptable to anyone,” added Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

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