Conference in Rīga addresses citizenship

A conference about citizenship—part of the Saeima’s ongoing discussion about changes to the Citizenship Law—is scheduled March 2 at the University of Latvia in Rīga.

The title of the conference is “Latvijas pilsonība 21.gadsimtā” (Latvian Citizenship in the 21st Century). A number of experts are expected to participate, including members of the Latvian parliament, legal scholars from the University of Latvia, and representatives of various diaspora organizations, including the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība).

“The Citizenship Law was passed in 1994 and saw its last changes in 1998,” Ingmārs Čaklais, chair of the parliamentary subcommittee charged with reviewing proposed amendments to the law, said in a Saeima press release. “During this time Latvia and the world have changed, and the law no longer mirrors what is happening in society and its values, ignoring changes brought about by joining the European Union and the processes of migration.”

The subcommittee headed by Čaklais is reviewing a bill that would amend the citizenship law. Among changes proposed in the bill are once again giving World War II-era exiles and their descendants the right to become dual citizens of Latvia and their home country. Under current law, Latvia does not allow dual citizenship.

The bill, No. 52/Lp11, is the same as legislation proposed during the 10th Saeima. It was reintroduced by the Legal Affairs Committee on Nov. 3 and passed its first reading on Nov. 10.

Among issues lawmakers have to contend with is whether the amendments should also allow children born of non-citizens of Latvia to automatically become citizens. Under current law, non-citizen parents have to apply for citizenship for their children.

The conference was originally scheduled for January, then moved to Feb. 24, but rescheduled again to March 2.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

11 thoughts on “Conference in Rīga addresses citizenship

  1. After conference hope any issues brought up are addressed and resolved. Lets move forward with bill, No. 52/Lp11. How much more can one talk about this issue?

  2. My grandparents fled Latvia 70 years ago but I still feel like I do not belong where I am. I have been watching this for years hoping that someday I could become a Latvian citizen.

  3. Dzintars and Valdemar .. I agree with you both. But the question arose .. on a thread somewhere .. after all this time, would we go and live there? Nevertheless, I think it would give Latvians in Latvia and abroad, a big morale boost if dual citizenship was granted; we could work as One again from all those physical locations across the globe. But no doubt it would also be the beginning of countless political variations / parties.

  4. Why, after all these years, must I submit a copy of my divorce papers for a name change on my latvian passport. My U.S. passport reflects my name change. Do latvians not recognize a US passport as a legal document?

  5. Simple solution, stop fighting over the citizenship! First, approve dual citizenship for anyone who wants it (there are not that many people), that would be beneficial for Latvia as many of those who would do it come from affluent countries. Second grant the citizenship to all who kept their non-citizen passport 20 years after the fall of the USSR, these people are not going anywhere, they are Latvian people. And finally channel your passion and efforts into the economy and creating the environment where young educated people would want to stay in Latvia.

  6. I did get my dual citizenship and at that time I listed my kids and wife who did not apply at that time now thinking of getting there citizenship but don’t want to lose the one they now.

  7. I recently spoke to a representative at the Latvian embassy in Australia. He told me he thinks a decision will be made after summer. However, it also looks like they will impose a rule saying that only EU citizens can obtain dual citizenship under the changes. This is to stop many Russians from obtaining it, but unfortunately, also restricts people from the US, Australia, Canada, etc. He did say that this was by no means final and might change. I really hope so as I have been wanting my citizenship for many years!

  8. I totally agree with Aleks! I might consider inveting in some Business in Riga or at least some real estate but wont do it being non-citizen as its too risky. And when faces with choice to revoke why would I revoke Canadian citizenship in favor of Latvian – even when i miss my homeland, economy is almost broker beyond repair… Dual citizenship would only bring some needed peace and some investors… Stop hating Russians and blaming us for all Latvian problems. As a forth generation Latvian born Russian- Latvia is my home as much as it is home to other Latvians… Look at Canada- probably one of the most liberal and multicultural counties in the world. And now with one o the strongest banking systems… Rediculous…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *