Latvia is moving much closer to the launch of digital nomad visas with the support of the government for the regulation of remote work visas. It will enable nationals of third countries to apply for a long-term visa lasting one year in order to remain in Latvia and continue working remotely for an employer registered outside of Latvia or as a self-employed person. The remote work visa is expected to not only encourage the flow of highly-skilled professionals in Latvia and re-emigration of Latvian nationals who are engaged in remote work from third countries, but also to establish advantageous circumstances so that these individuals' spouses can legitimately engage in remote work while employed from Latvia.

Digital Nomad Visa in Latvia

Latvia is moving much closer to the launch of digital nomad visas with the support of the government for the regulation of remote work visas. It will enable nationals of third countries to apply for a long-term visa lasting one year in order to remain in Latvia and continue working remotely for an employer registered outside of Latvia or as a self-employed person. The remote work visa is expected to not only encourage the flow of highly-skilled professionals in Latvia and re-emigration of Latvian nationals who are engaged in remote work from third countries, but also to establish advantageous circumstances so that these individuals' spouses can legitimately engage in remote work while employed from Latvia.

In several European nations, the remote work visa as a law has just lately been introduced. When Estonia first introduced a digital nomadic visa in 2020, other nations both inside and outside the European Union quickly followed. People from third countries who work in the IT sector, in a variety of creative and artistic professions, as well as scientists, academic staff, workers in the healthcare and financial industries, are the ones most likely to use this form of visa. 

Regulatory Aspects of Digital Nomad Visa in Latvia

On June 29, changes to the Immigration Law take effect, allowing people of other countries to apply for the so-called "Digital Nomad" visa in Latvia. 

The Digital Nomad visa simply allows its holder to remain on Latvian territory. It does not provide work with a Latvian-registered employer or access to social assistance. The new law ammendments also state that the visa holder will not have Latvian social insurance.

With the amendments, Article 11 of the Immigration Law was supplemented with the fifth part, which provides for the right of a foreigner to request a long-term visa for one year, if he wants to stay in Latvia, being in an employment relationship with an employer registered in another member state of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), or being A self-employed person registered in an OECD member state.

Who can apply for Digital Nomad Visa in Latvia?

This visa can be obtained by those persons who are employed by an employer registered abroad or who are self-employed persons registered abroad and perform their work duties remotely, for example, provide consultations, translation services, services in the field of information technology, etc.

In general, highly skilled individuals who can demonstrate at least six months of employment with an employer registered overseas or registration as a self-employed person abroad, as well as a monthly remuneration of at least 2.5 times the average wage in Latvia, will be eligible for digital nomad visas.

This also gives an opportunity for bringing your spouse or partner (also same-sex spouse) to Latvia, if the partner or spouse was employed in a profession that allows the possibility of remote work. Currently, it is a big step, because the Immigration Law currently does not provide for the possibility for partners or same-sex spouses to receive a residence permit for the purpose of family reunification.

What is the duration of the visa?

The "Digital Nomad" visa will be issued for one year, with the right to request an extension for another year. After the two-year period, the person will not be eligible to apply for a new Digital Nomad visa in Latvia for six months. This means that the person will have to request another visa or residence permit, for example, employment with an employer registered in Latvia, establishment of a company or registration as a self-employed person in Latvia.

This visa does not give the right to employment in the country in which it is issued, and the person's work duties must be such that they can be performed remotely.

Digital Nomad visa does not preclude the applicant to apply for temporary residence permit (5y) in Latvia.

Taxes

It is still not clear how much the tax will be for persons who are residing in the territory of Latvia under Digital Nomad visa, however, it is clear that the government is trying to implement more favourable tax regime, reducing the existing tax burden for digital nomads.

It is planned that the Cabinet of Ministers will submit amendments to the Law "On Taxes and Fees" and the Law "On Personal Income Tax" to the Saeima by September 1, 2022, which will provide for a reduced personal income tax rate for one year for foreigners who acquire Digital Nomad visa and will transfer their tax payments to Latvia. Therefore, a more favorable tax application is expected for persons who choose to become tax residents of Latvia.

Why Digital Nomad Visa in Latvia is a good option?

The new introduction of Digital Nomad visa in Latvia is a path to attracting highly-skilled employees and boosting the economy.

The new regulatory framework is based on the information that remote work is gaining more and more importance. When choosing a place to work remotely, people often prefer the option of not staying in their country of citizenship/employment, but going to another country, due to various considerations – cleaner environment, good climatic conditions, wide diaspora or circle of friends, developed infrastructure, competitive internet speed.

Certain countries, following these trends, have already provided in their legislation the possibility for citizens of third countries, whose specifics of work allow work to be carried out remotely, to receive a long-term visa for one year, staying in the country where the visa has been issued and maintaining employment relations with an employer registered in a foreign country or continuing to remotely perform the activities of a self-employed person.

The introduction of the regulation has several positive aspects. Citizens of third countries who would request such visas would be highly qualified, as well as specialized in sectors important to Latvia's economy and labor market (for example, information technologies).

By staying in the Republic of Latvia for a longer period of time, which exceeds the three-month period for which one could stay in the country for the purpose of tourism, persons, even if they are not directly employed by Latvian companies, would develop a good understanding of the business environment, it would be necessary to use the services provided by various Latvian companies, thus creating favorable prerequisites for starting a commercial activity in the Republic of Latvia or changing the reason for residence when starting employment with an employer registered in Latvia.

When Can You Apply For the Visa?

Currently, the Digital Nomad visa regulatory framework in Latvia is under development, however, we can expect that in a couple of months, Latvia will follow the steps of other developed European Union members and open its doors to digital nomads.

Contact EU LAW FIRM lawyers in Latvia.

E-mail: info@eulawfirm.eu

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