By Moustafa Daly
After Ireland shut down its investor residency program, and Portugal seemingly en route to end its own golden visa, investors are increasingly seeking other golden visa programs in the EU that give them unrestricted access to the Schengen Area. This has led to a reported spike in applications to both Greece and Spain’s golden visa programs – and also causing a surge in applications to a golden visa program of a lesser-known EU destination; Latvia.
Launched in 2010, Latvia’s golden visa program initially had a real estate route that was later suspended in 2022 after the breakout of the war in Ukraine. Currently, there are three routes to a Latvian residency by investment; a €60,000 investment into a Latvian equity capital (including €10,000 contribution to the state budget); a €250,000 purchase of interest-free bonds; or a €305,000 investment into a Latvian bank (including €25,000 to the state budget).
These options make Latvia’s golden visa program one of the last remaining such programs with passive investment routes, which is what most investors favor as per application figures from other EU states.
The Latvian program is emerging as a potentially favorable golden visa program for investors seeking to gain access to Latvia and EU areas with the least amount of investment.
“The Latvian program is well established; it is just underreported and underrated. Obviously the lower investment threshold is a key point,” says Philippe May, CEO of EC Holdings, to Uglobal.
What are the advantages of Latvia’s golden visa program?
Unlike Ireland, whose program was terminated in February, Latvia is part of the Schengen Area, adding to the attractiveness of its golden visa program.
“Residency [in Latvia] gives investors more options and mobility,” adds May.
Another advantage offered by this program is the lack of residency requirements; giving investors hassle-free access to the EU with no need to uproot their lives elsewhere.
Thus far, according to May, the program has been attractive to wealthy individuals and investors from Asia, but that may soon change as interest from other parts of the world is potentially picking up in the wake of the potential termination of Portugal’s golden visa program - which has been the most favored program in the continent in its 11-year run.
In order to obtain permanent residency in the country, however, golden visa holders would have to take up full residence inside Latvia for a period of five years – setting them on the path for permanent residency. After a decade of continuous residence in Latvia, which investors must be able to demonstrate in an official capacity, golden visa holders can obtain a Latvian citizenship.
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