RIGA, October 1 (Itar-Tass) - The law On Citizenship that came into force in Latvia on Tuesday enables Latvian citizens to obtain citizenship of a number of other countries, except Russia. The law does not envisage automatic granting of citizenship to non-citizens’ children and also toughens conditions for naturalization.
Latvian citizens can obtain citizenship of countries that are members of the European Union, European Free Trade Association and NATO, as well as of Australia, New Zealand and Brazil and also countries with which Latvia has dual citizenship agreements. Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and also Israel are not on the list of countries for dual citizenship.
The Law on Citizenship also toughens conditions for naturalization (getting Latvian citizenship after passing an examination for the knowledge of the Latvian language and of Latvia’s history). People older than 45 will have to prove they have been permanently residing in Latvia for the past five years.
At the same time, the procedure of granting Latvian citizenship to non-citizens’ children is simplified. All it takes is the expression of such a wish by one of the parents. Such children can be registered as Latvian citizenship at the same time as their birth certificate is drawn.
In May 2013 Latvia’s Saeima (parliament) passed by the majority vote in the final, third reading the amendments to the law On Citizenship that were suggested by ex-Latvian president Valdis Zatlers in 2011. The biggest opposition association Centre of Accord representing the interests of Russian-speaking residents of Latvia declared against the amendments. The association stated that by such amendments Latvia discriminates its citizens.