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Saeima passes Citizenship Law amendments

  • 2013-05-10
  • From wire reports

The long road for many in the struggle for recognition, and to receive Latvian citizenship, is finally over. After several hours of floor debate on May 9, in the final reading Saeima passed amendments to the Citizenship Law, part of which deal with the dual citizenship issue, reports LETA.

The amendments will come into force on Oct. 1 this year.

The amendments stipulate that nationals residing abroad, citizens of Latvia who were deported or left Latvia as a result of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany occupations, or those that were deported and up to May 4, 1990 had not returned to Latvia permanently, qualify for and will be able to apply for dual citizenship.

The bill stipulates that Latvian citizenship will be retained for those citizens of Latvia who have received citizenship of another European Union member state, member states of the European Free Trade Association, or NATO. Dual citizenship will also apply to citizens who become citizens in a country with which Latvia has signed an agreement on dual citizenship. More countries have been added in this regard - Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.

Also, Latvian citizenship will be granted to newborns, regardless of where they are born, if one of their parents is a citizen of Latvia. Non-citizens’ children born in Latvia after Aug. 21, 1991 will also be granted Latvian citizenship if they are permanent residents of Latvia and currently have the status of a stateless person or a non-citizen, and if the parents of the child have no objections and confirm that they will help the child learn the Latvian language and honor and respect the Republic of Latvia.

Latvian citizenship will also be retained for every person who becomes a citizen of another country through marriage or adoption. Regarding the native inhabitants of Latvia - the Liivs - citizenship is granted to those who can verify their ancestors’ home base in Latvian territory, and have command of the Latvian language.