Latvia issued 5,532 first residence permits in 2020

Take note – story published 2 years ago

In 2020, Latvia issued more than 5,500 first residence permits to foreign nationals, with more than half of them going to Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians.

According to Eurostat data released October 2 there were 5,532 first residence permits issued by Latvia last year. Of that total, 1,534 went to Ukrainians, 1,049 to Russians and 481 to Belarusians.

Next came Indian nationals with 434 residence permits and Americans with 119. A residence permit is a document that allows a foreign national to stay in the Republic of Latvia for a specified period of time. Two types of residence permit exist, a temporary residence permit and a permanent residence permit. 

A residence permit is required if a foreign national or a stateless person wishes to reside in the Republic of Latvia for more than 90 days within a 6-month period.

Compared to fellow Baltic states, Lithuania issued 22,511 first residence permits (9,818 to Ukrainians, 7,455 to Belarusians and 1,096 to Russians) while Estonia issued 4,992 first residence permits (1,874 to Ukrainians, 1,195 to Russians and 279 to Belarusians).

All EU member states issued fewer first residence permits in 2020 than in 2019, except Lithuania which issued 5 % more.

Indeed Estonia was the only EU member state to issue fewer first residence permits than Latvia in 2020. Latvia's own total was nearly half the 10,143 first residence permits issued in 2019 according to Eurostat.

However it should be noted that the figures published by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) for 2020 are slightly different to Eurostat's, with 2020's totals given as 5,916 first-time temporary residence permits issued and 595 first-time permanent residency permits.

First residence permits 2015/2020
First residence permits 2015/2020

Poland issued 598,000 of the 2.2 million first residence permits granted in the EU to non-EU citizens (26%). Poland was followed by Germany (313,000 or 14%) and Spain (312,000 or 14%). 

601,200 Ukrainians received first residence permits in the EU countries in 2020, making them the largest citizenship group among all recipients. Poland issued 488,900 of those permits (81%). Citizens of Morocco (123,400 permits, of which 56% were issued in Spain) and India (79,270, of which 14% were issued in Germany) followed. Citizens of these countries accounted for over one-third (36%) of all first residence permits issued in 2020. 

This data can be seen in the unusual data visualisation tool below, ‘First residence permits, 2020’. The visualisation allows you to see the number of permits issued by each EU country, as well as the citizenships of the people who received these permits. 

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