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Aug
24
2017

How to apply for the Latvian startup visa - a guide

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The Latvian startup visa is an initiative by the government of Latvia aimed at bringing in more talented individuals to come and develop their ideas in Latvia.

The visa initiative goes hand in hand with the newly available EUR15 million that the state has made available to startups to develop ideas in accelerators. With a combination of available financing and eased visa requirements, coming to develop your startup in Latvia has never been easier.

Until now, there hasn't been wide-spread information on how to actually apply for the visa. After several calls with the Office of Citizen and Migration Affairs, we've gotten every last detail of what you'll need to successfully apply to bring your startup to Latvia.

*Note: though colloquially we call it a startup visa, technically it is a residence permit. Make sure you have the terminology right when talking to state representatives so that they know, specifically, what you want.

Documents you need to provide:

  • A free-form written description of the product you intend to develop in Latvia
  • Your passport
  • A filled out residence permit application, you can download one here
  • A statement from your bank showing you have at least EUR 4560 worth of funds in your bank account to get you through the first three months, potentially without income
    • The sum of EUR 4560 is made up of 12 months of the minimal living wage, 380 euro per month. The immigration agency wants to be assured that you will have enough funds to support yourself, in case the startup is not profitable immediately.
  • A written statement that after you receive the residence permit and as soon as you become the chairman of your startup (or an employee), you will have a monthly salary of at least EUR 859 per month
  • A document stating where you plan to live while in Latvia for at least the first 6 months - this can be a rental agreement or a letter from the host of the accommodation. (this can be changed afterwards)
  • A passport photo
  • Payment confirmation of the application fee - the price depends on how quickly you need for it to be processed. The standard 30 day processing time costs EUR 99.60, but you can see the full price list here
    • Note: the payment has to be made before handing in your application

If you're from a country that's not on this list, you must also provide a copy of your criminal record clearance.

How to apply:

The application can be submitted either in Latvia at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs or in the Embassy of your country of residence.

 It takes 30 days to process an application, and after a positive response, you can receive the visa within 2-10 days.

Conditions of receiving the startup visa:

If these conditions aren't met, then the visa can be revoked.

  • Individuals who are not citizens of Latvia are invited too apply to work in the founding team or management board in a Latvia-based startup, that isn't older than 1 year
  • Within 3 months of receiving the visa, the individual must start working in a startup
  • Within 6 months of receiving the visa, the startup must raise at least EUR 30,000 from qualifying VCs, and EUR 60,000 within 18 months

A qualifying VC is considered to be a VC that's on the list of qualified VCs here.

Language of documents:

The application that you're asked to fill out can be filled out in 5 languages: Latvian, English, French, German or Russian. 

Other free-form written documents should be translated into Latvian. This is because the state language law stipulates that formal communication (this applies to written documents) in state institutions should happen using only the offical language of the country which, in Latvia, is the Latvian language. 

If you have any trouble preparing your documents or with the application at all, we would be more than thrilled to offer our advice, help, or support in any way. Feel free to contact us at info@labsoflatvia.com

Remember - we want you!