Looking to retire in the EU, but not 100% sure where you’d like to settle yet?
The Latvian Retirement Visa could be just the thing for you. Boasting low income requirements and requiring relatively few supporting documents, it is arguable THE easiest EU retirement visa to get…
Let’s get into the details below…
Applying for second residency or citizenship in Europe is generally quite an onerous, time-consuming process.
And based on 14+ years of research and boot-on-the-ground experience, we’d say that this is a design feature, rather than a flaw.
Which, if you think about it, makes a fair amount of sense:
Can you imagine how many millions of people would be moving to Portugal, Italy, Spain and France if getting a residency there were a simple, two-week exercise?
Hence, residency application processes typically serve to deter all but the most committed.
(Digital nomad visas tend to be the exception to this rule, but in most cases, they don’t lead to any kind of permanent or longer-term residency status.)
And whilst Portugal’s Retirement Visa – the so-called D7 Visa – also boasts pretty simple, easy requirements, it has been so popular that processing times have gotten quite lengthy.
But the good news is that you don’t have to apply for the Portuguese Retirement Visa in order to spend substantial amounts of time in Portugal.
What few folks consider is that you can enjoy freedom of movement across all 27 Schengen countries by gaining residency in just one. (Although there are some caveats to this – read more below…)
Residents of, say, Hungary or Czechia can easily spend their summers in France, Greece or Italy.
So if you’re a retiree… and you’re somewhat flexible in terms of where your primary EU base is situated… Then opting for the fastest, simplest and most affordable residency in the EU could make a lot of sense.
Enter the Latvian Retirement Visa…
Latvia is one of the three Baltic states that emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Ensconced between Lithuania and Estonia and bordered by the Baltic Sea, its economy has thrived since the country moved away from its Soviet roots. (It also shares a border with Russia.)
Latvia offers a low cost of living, affordable healthcare, and a highly accessible retirement visa (details below) — all essential ingredients for a happy retirement.
However, it’s important to note that living in Latvia has a significant drawback: a cold climate characterized by cold and gloomy winters.
If your ideal retirement involves nice weather with lots of sunshine, then Latvia may not be your best option. But if you’re not planning on spending all of your time there, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
As a temporary resident of Latvia – which you will be for at least five years – you can generally live in Latvia only.
However, you can travel to other Schengen countries for a maximum of 90 days out of 180 days. This means that after spending 90 days in Spain or Greece, you must return to Latvia – or leave the Schengen Area – for a minimum of 90 days before visiting another Schengen country.
(Of course, the borderless nature of the Schengen Area makes tracking your whereabouts practically impossible, but these are the official requirements.)
But there is no reason why you can’t hold a residency in Latvia, whilst also owning a property in, say, Portugal or Spain – even if that only comes later.
(If you do, however, want to move your primary European foothold from Latvia to another EU country, you will be required to obtain residency there. But with the Latvian Retirement
Visa, it’s easy to get your foot in the door and “try before you buy”, as it were.)
What’s required to obtain the Latvian Retirement Visa?
The country offers an attractive retirement visa with minimal documentary requirements. You don’t even need a police clearance or FBI report, which is unusual in terms of EU residency requirements.
The primary financial condition is receiving a monthly pension of at least €900. (The amount is adjusted annually.) And if you bring dependents, you must add €500 for a spouse and €150 for each minor.
There are two essential conditions, however:
- You need to be at least 65 years old – Latvia’s official retirement age, AND;
- You need to be a citizen of a country that enjoys visa-free access to the Schengen Area (all the Western countries are on the list.)
What you will get is a five-year temporary residence permit, and you must stay in Latvia for at least six months per year to keep it active.
After five years of residency, you can renew your temporary residency for another five years with no additional requirements.
Will I be able to obtain Latvian Permanent Residency?
Yes, this is possible: After five years of temporary residency, you also have the option to apply for the EU’s long-term residency (i.e. Latvia’s permanent residency).
This status will allow you to relocate to another EU country with minimal paperwork required. And to keep it active, you only need to visit any EU country once a year, and Latvia once every five years.
This is the closest you can get to EU citizenship benefits without being a citizen.
But to be eligible for permanent residency, people younger than 65 must pass an A2 proficiency test in the Latvian language – that’s the second level out of six. It’s also important to note that Latvian is distinct from other European languages – and it’s challenging to learn.
Also, to qualify for permanent residency, you must make Latvia your home during your five years of temporary residency. This means that you can’t leave the country for:
- Six straight months, AND;
- A total of ten months during the five years of residency before applying.
Finally, after five more years of permanent residency – so after 10 years of residency, in total – you become eligible for Latvian citizenship and an A-graded passport.
In general, Latvia requires the renunciation of your previous citizenship(s) at this stage. However, this requirement is waived if you are a citizen of the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), New Zealand, Brazil, Australia or a NATO country.
Latvia offers retirees an exciting retirement residency program with straightforward requirements. The country is also affordable, safe, culturally sophisticated, and well developed.
However, be aware of the cold weather and the language requirements if you plan to become a permanent resident or citizen there.
Yours in freedom,
Team Sovereign Man
PS: If you’d like to discover more hidden residency, citizenship and semi-citizenship programs like this across Europe and Latin American, then be sure to join Sovereign Confidential today.
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