Russian citizens will have Latvian residence permits renewed 'on rare occasions'

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The coalition agreed on Tuesday, August 16, that Russian citizens will only be allowed to renew temporary residence permits on rare occasions, Latvian Radio reported.

In the coming weeks, the government is planning to review the principles on the renewal of temporary residence permits issued to Russian citizens in Latvia. The coalition agreed on Tuesday that they would only be renewed on select occasions, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity).

“Today, coalition parties debated the issue. Everyone has very similar thoughts. We are moving towards the fact that temporary residence permits for Russian citizens will not be fundamentally renewed. It will only be possible in very rare, exceptional cases,” Kariņš said.

Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons (Development/For!) listed the exceptional cases: “Students, for learning, reuniting spouses. Some other positions that can be mentioned and, of course, due to humanitarian conditions. These are the cases where we will extend or grant a new residence permit.”

The Interior Minister also suggested that permanent residence permits be issued in Latvia only to persons who have passed the official language examination.

Currently, there are more than 9,000 Russian citizens with temporary residence permits in Latvia. Over 37,000 have permanent residence permits.

Since February 25, or the day following the war launched by Russia in Ukraine, all Latvian diplomatic consular missions have stopped accepting visa applications from Russian citizens. However, although Latvia does not issue visas to Russian residents, they cross the border with visas received in other countries of the European Union.

According to information provided by the Border Guard, more than 10.5 thousand Russian citizens entered Latvia in March. There are cases where border guards may decide not to allow people to be admitted to the country if they consider that this may interfere with public order or national security.

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