On Thursday, September 6, after long and heated debates, Saeima deputies supported amendments to the Citizenship Law, which, among other things, put the issue of dual-citizenship in order.
It is expected that, after Saeima’s adoption, the law will become in force on January 1, 2013.
It is stated in the amendments that exiles will retain the right to register as Latvian citizens. This applies to exiles that left or were deported from Latvia during either Soviet or German occupation in the period between June 17, 1940 and May 4, 1990 and did not return to Latvia dues to these reasons until May 4, 1990.
These people, when registering as Latvian citizens, are allowed to have dual-citizenship.
The law will state that dual-citizenship is allowed to be had by people once received citizenship of EU countries, EU Free Trade Association member states or even NATO member states. Dual-citizenship will also be allowed for citizens that received foreign citizenship from a country Latvia has an agreement with regarding recognition of dual-citizenship, explained Citizenship Law Amendment sub-commission Chairman Ingmars Caklais.
It is expected that Latvian citizenship will be allowed to retain for individuals who received citizenship of previously unrecognized countries, given an appropriate confirmation from the Cabinet of Ministers. This also applies to individuals who received citizenship of foreign countries as a result of marriage or adoption.
These amendments also state that a child is recognized as a citizen of the Latvian Republic regardless of the place the child was born, if at least one of his parents is a Latvian citizen on the moment of the child’s birth. Meanwhile, a non-citizen child born in Latvia after August 21, 1991 is recognized as a citizen if his constant residence is Latvia and has not been a citizen to any country or was a non-citizen all this time. It is provided by the amendments that the recognition of a child of non-citizens as a citizen of Latvia, in accordance with the will of both parents, it carried out at the same time as the child’s birth registration. Also, parents will need to confirm that they will help the child learn Latvian language and will teach the child to respect and trust Latvia.
Amendments also provide clarification on terminating and restoring Latvian citizenship, refusal of state citizenship and the order of naturalization. For example language knowledge tests will be made easier for people who received their general education in Latvian language, were taught more than half of education subjects in Latvian or received their general education or professional education in Latvian.
Proposal submission deadline for the third reading is September 20.
AS previously reported, the Saeima Judicial Commission intended to write a letter to Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis so that relevant Cabinet of Ministers regulations, which will regulate the aforementioned procedure, are developed in a timely fashion.