12.07.2022 - Economy

Digital nomad visa enters into force

On 29 June, amendments to the Immigration Law enter into force, allowing third-country nationals to obtain the so-called Digital Nomad visa.

This visa will be available to persons who are employed by an employer registered abroad or who are self-employed persons registered abroad and perform their work remotely, e.g., consultancy, translation services, information technology services, etc.

Welcoming the Return of Highly Qualified Professionals

Digital nomad visas will be available to highly qualified professionals, who will need to prove at least six months’ employment with an employer registered abroad or registration as a self-employed person abroad, and a monthly salary of at least 2.5 times the average salary in Latvia to obtain a visa.

The digital nomad visa will be issued for one year, with the right to apply for an extension for another year. After the two-year period, the person will not be entitled to apply for a new digital nomad visa for six months. This means that the person will have to apply for another visa or residence permit, such as employment with an employer registered in Latvia, setting up a company, or registering as self-employed in Latvia. Alternatively, you will have to leave.

The new regulation will allow Latvian citizens living in third countries with their civil partner or same-sex spouse to return to Latvia with their partner or spouse if they are employed in a profession that allows for remote working. Until now, this has not been possible, as the Immigration Law does not provide for the possibility for civil partners or same-sex spouses of Latvian citizens to obtain a residence permit in Latvia for the purpose of family reunification. However, it should be mentioned that there is no provision for granting residence rights to family members of a digital nomad visa holder, such as a spouse and minor children. If a person wishes to move to Latvia with his/her family, a residence permit would be the appropriate solution.

Latvia is the third EU country to decide to start issuing Digital Nomad visas. Croatia and Estonia already issue these visas and other EU countries are also considering granting residence rights to highly skilled digital nomads.

Further Changes and Clarifications to Follow

The Digital Nomad visa will only entitle the holder to stay in Latvia, but not to work for an employer registered in Latvia or to receive social assistance. As mentioned in the annotation of the draft law, the beneficiary of the visa will not be socially insured in Latvia.

It is planned that by 1 September 2022 the Cabinet of Ministers will submit to the Saeima amendments to the Law on Taxes and Fees and the Law on Personal Income Tax, which will provide for a reduced personal income tax rate for one year for a foreigner who will obtain a Digital Nomad visa and transfer his/her tax payments to Latvia. This is expected to result in more favorable tax treatment for persons who choose to become tax residents of Latvia.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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