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As an entrepreneur, you do not have to be an EU citizen to set up a business in Latvia. Latvia was recently elected the 14th easiest country in the world for setting up a business. The main reasons for being at the top of the list are supports, incentives, and facilities provided to the entrepreneurs. The start-up visa issued to non-EU entrepreneurs is also among these facilities. Let’s examine the details of the Latvian start-up visa.
General Information for Start-up Visa
It would be better to give general information about this visa before explaining how to get it to set up a business. As is known Latvia is an EU country. Those who are EU citizens can enter and exit this country without a visa. But non-EU citizens must obtain a visa.
A temporary residence permit is granted to start-up founders by Latvia.  This permit is called the start-up visa. A maximum of 5 people from the founders of the start-up can obtain this residence permit, which is valid for 3 years. There are no restrictions for the founders’ families and children.
With the temporary residence permit or start-up visa mentioned here, entrepreneurs can travel within the EU without a visa. This advantage is extremely important. The advantages provided by Latvia to entrepreneurs are not limited to these. It has policies to encourage investment in many areas from government incentives to tax reductions.
How to Get a Latvia Start-up Visa?
After giving details about the initial visa, let’s talk about how this visa is obtained. To emphasize again, the details we will explain here are only valid for entrepreneurs and those who want to set up a business.
There is no residency requirement to establish business or become a partner in a company in Latvia, which is an EU member. However, there are many advantages to residing in Latvia. Therefore, those who want to start a business must obtain a start-up visa (TRP).
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How to Apply?
Although it is not mandatory, the first thing to do is to contact the Magnetic Latvia Startup within the Latvian Investment and Development Agency. This is where they will give you detailed information on whether you are eligible for a start-up visa. Thus, you can ensure that the process is completed much faster.
Application for the start-up visa is made through the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Affairs (OCMA) in Latvia. You can apply by making an appointment at this office. Or you may go to the Latvian Embassy in your country by completing the necessary forms and preparing other documents. You can also make your application here.
After your application, you will receive an e-mail from OCMA. In this e-mail, you will see whether your application has been accepted or not. If your application is accepted, you can go to OCMA and get your TRP residence card from here. 
* TRP is given for a maximum of 3 years if the necessary conditions are met. After this period, you can continue to stay in Latvia with a normal residence permit.
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Things to Know about Latvia Start-up Visa
There are some details regarding the start-up visa issued by Latvia to entrepreneurs. If you do not know these details, your visa could be in danger. These issues are generally as follows:
- You must set up a company within 3 months after your TRP application is accepted. Or, you should be on the board of directors of a company that was founded a year ago at most.
- You must receive investment from qualified investors in the first 12 months. Apart from that, it is also accepted that you receive 30.000 Euros from the VC fund or 15.000 Euros from the accelerator fund. Also, keep in mind that you must constantly submit reports on product creation, production, and development.
- You should not take part in the management of a different company or be included in a different company later on. Please do not forget that all you have to do is to take care of your business.
This is the general information regarding the start-up visa. If you do not fully meet the requirements here, you can also check out the other options offered by Latvia.
Igors Krumins continues his activities as a commercial and international lawyer within the body of “Jurmala Invest”. He has more than 10 years of experience, especially in the investment sector, and has provided consultancy services to numerous companies with his legal expertise. He successfully completed his undergraduate studies at Baltic International Academy and graduate studies at Latvijas Universitate. Apart from his native Latvian language, he can also speak Russian and English fluently.