RIGA - The Citizenship and Migration Affairs Board (PMLP) has sent letters to 3,255 Russian citizens in Latvia informing them that they have to leave the country or apply for a residence permit due to the new requirements of the Immigration Law, Maira Roze, the head of the PMLP, said in an interview with the Latvian public television this morning.
Information was received that 73 persons are abroad, while around 200 others have no declared place of residence, so Roze estimated that they may no longer be living in Latvia.
Roze reminded that the two-year extension for passing the state language test and obtaining a permanent residence permit refers only to those Russian citizens who have already started the application process for a permanent residence permit and have taken but not yet passed the language proficiency test.
"Those who have done nothing have to leave," added Rose.
In December, the PMLP will look at which persons covered by the specific requirements of the law have submitted the necessary documents and which have not. The PMLP will check in state registers whether these persons have left Latvia and, if not, will send information to the State Border Guard, which will have to check whether the persons are still in the country and, if necessary, take further action by issuing a departure order.
The institution has also issued a notice reminding that if Russian citizens subject to the amendments to the Immigration Law have failed the state language test once and have applied for a repeated test by September 1, it is compulsory to take the state language test a second time.
The amendments to the Immigration Law stipulate that: if the second language test is passed successfully, the person has until December 31 this year to submit documents to the PMLP to apply for the status of a permanent resident of the European Union. If the second national language test is also unsuccessful, the person will be able to submit documents to apply for a two-year residence permit in Latvia.
As reported, the Immigration Law provides that permanent residence permits issued to Russian citizens expire in September 2023. In order to live in Latvia, they have to apply for EU permanent resident status, but to obtain it they have to submit to the PMLP proof of A2 level of the national language skills and financial resources.
At the last minute, before the rules came into force, politicians decided to amend the Immigration Law, which gives Russian citizens living in Latvia two more years to pass the Latvian language test in order to continue to reside legally in Latvia.