On Thursday, 15 September, the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to the Law “On the Change of a Given Name, Surname and Nationality Record”, which aim to simplify the procedure for foreigners of Latvian origin registering their nationality.
The amended law now provides those people residing in Latvia who hold a valid residence permit, registration card, or permanent residence permit with an opportunity to change their nationality record to “Latvian” or “Liv” if they can prove their Latvian origin. Until now only Latvian citizens, non-citizens, and individuals who have been granted the status of a stateless person in the Republic of Latvia could update their nationality record.
Foreigners cannot change their nationality record in Latvia; if they come from a country where nationality is not recorded, they do not have the possibility to change their nationality according to the legislation of the relevant state either. The summary of the amendments indicates that, Irrespective of their compliance with other criteria of the Citizenship Law, due to the nationality registry requirement in Latvia, these individuals can obtain Latvian citizenship only after they have lived in Latvia for the required period of time and passed the naturalisation test.
Current provisions of the Law already require individuals wishing to change their nationality record to provide documentary evidence of their Latvian origin and language proficiency.
Today the Saeima rejected the norm included in the draft law in the second reading stipulating that citizens of non-Latvian origin would be allowed to change their nationality to “Latvian”. This provision had been intended for those citizens of Latvia who have lived in Latvia for at least 15 years, are proficient in the official language, and affiliate themselves with Latvian culture.
Saeima Press Service