New work group considers dual citizenship proposals

A new Latvian government work group has until Dec. 10 to come up with proposals for granting dual citizenship to children born to citizens living abroad.

The work group is to meet for the first time Sept. 20, the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration announced Sept. 19 in Rīga. The group is an outgrowth of a report submitted last month to the Cabinet of Ministers outlining measures that could be taken to encourage repatriation to Latvia, especially among the thousands of Latvian citizens who in recent years have moved to Ireland, the United Kingdom and other locations.

Granting dual citizenship to children born to Latvian parents abroad was among key points noted in the report.

“I believe that this will foster the maintenance of ties to the homeland, (as well as) stimulate even more active involvement in Latvian current affairs among those living abroad and their return to Latvia,” Oskars Kastēns, the integration minister, said in a press release. “I am convinced the work group will accomplish this task.”

Heading the work group will be Anda Ozola, an adviser to Kastēns. Also serving will be representatives from the Ministry for Children and Family Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Naturalization Board, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

The group will forward its proposals to the Cabinet of Ministers.

One challenge for the work group may be clarifying Latvia’s citizenship law. While the law already grants Latvian citizenship to children born to citizens living abroad, it also prohibits dual citizenship. For Latvian citizens in Ireland, this could be particularly problematic. Under Irish law, anyone born in Ireland before 2005 could be an Irish citizen, according to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. Since Jan. 1, 2005, children born to non-Irish nationals may qualify for Irish citizenship only if at least one of the parents has lived in Ireland for three of the fours before the child was born.

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 “New work group considers dual citizenship proposals

  1. What about people who need dual citizenship from Latvia, but whose parents are not born in Latvia, just their grandparents? I want to know why Latvia doesn’t grant dual citizenship anymore for people like tha.

  2. Dual citizenship could have not been an issue in the pre-war era, but it’s clearly one now, as for many other European nations. It raises concern in Latvia — Latvian minds –but they should look upon Italy, Spain and many other nations (Uruguay where I live, for instance). Dual citizens do not divide their loyalty, they multiply resources and are a source of growing for both countries. This is a fact acknowledged by millions of dual citizens across the Americas.
    The fear that someone threats Latvia’s security by means of dual citizenship comes from an outdated nationalist scenario, and I am sure it will fade as Latvia and the European Union get stronger.
    The very concept of ius sanguinis implies that your descent, defined “by blood”, cannot be denied!
    Are people less Latvian for being born abroad?
    Are people less Latvian for not walking Riga streets every day?
    The answer is obvious…

  3. I hope with all my heart and soul that there will be some window of opportunity for adults whose parents were born in Latvija to become dual citizens. Does anyone know of a glimmer of chance that this might happen? Is there anywhere to turn for an appeal or hearing or petition?

  4. There exists a fair number of Latvians who would like dual citizenship and are willing to make an effort to realize that. The comments from Veronika and Perkonu Spars are great feedback that this is a win-win situation. In nr.39, 6.okt Latvija Amerika newspaper on page 9 is an article continuation “Latvijas valdiba doma par arzemju latviesiem” with a site http:/ I wrote to this site asking for more information and direction regarding acquiring dual citizenship. No answer yet. At any rate, maybe the more inquiries about this matter the better, just to raise awareness that many loyal Latvians wish to become citizens. It can’t hurt. Inta

  5. as long as the colonising invading russians dont get latvian citezenship nothing else matters. Latvia is not a large country that can absorb a large different ethnic influx. Like Israel it must protect its identity or it will become extinct. Its greatest threat is the huge russian bear. NEVER TRUST IT. Just look at its history!!!!! All of true Latvian descent should be granted citizenship if they can prove their trust and “latveitiba”.

  6. My family lived and worked in Latvia from 1795 to 1923. I have birth certificates documenting my grandfather and great-grandfather’s birth in Latvia. However, my father was born in the U.S.A. and so was I. I feel strong roots to Latvia and travel back to my native roots as often as I can. I hope this new discussion will allow individuals like myself dual citizenship.

  7. My mom got Pilsonu Kods for all of us (herself, my brother and sister and I) sometime back in 1991, when Latvija again regained their freedom. She had read that there was a small window of opportunity in which to do so, for either spouses of someone born there or the children of someone born there. We have all received our Latvija passports in addition to our US passports. I’m proud to be a Latvian lady and I am grateful for the opportunity to have the dual citizenship!

  8. I was born in Riga, Latvia and emigrated here with my parents a long time ago. Shortly afterwards we became naturalized U.S. citizens. I would like to receive dual citizenship but was told that I would need to relinquish my U.S. citizenship in order to receive Latvian citizenship. My sons, both of whom were born in the U.S. were able to receive dual citizenship when I found out later there apparently had been this “window of opportunity” to do so. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this “window of opportunity” at that time. I believe that it is totally unfair for me to be denied dual citizenship for a country in which I was born. I am a very nationalistic Latvian who was very active in the local latvian community for more than a decade. Any suggestions in this matter would be appreciated.

  9. I’m an American whose mother was born in Latvia during independence, and who visits regularly. She has citizenship, but we were unaware that I could also acquire it in 1995. I speak the language, and work in a modern technical field that could add a lot to Latvia’s future.

  10. One has to ask … if dual citizenship is good for us Latvians living abroad, then why won’t it be also applicable to the russians in Latvia? Not that I like russians at all. Maybe we are paying the price for this dichotomy. 1995 cut-off?! I only heard about in 2009.

  11. I have a situation where my youngest daughter has dual citizenship because she was born in 1996 and I had citizenship, but my eldest who was borm in 1992 cannot be granted it because I was not a citizen then – How absurd!!! Same family – one without citizenship. About time someone came up with a proposal to deal with this. We are a very latvian family heavily involved in our local overseas latvian community – school, camps, church, guides, festivals – you name it we do it. Frequent visitors to Latvia (3X last 4 years) Why can’t she have citizenship like her sister???

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