Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Latvian Embassy in Moscow has observed increased interest among Russian citizens to leave Russia, reports Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Jānis Beķeris.
He explained that despite amendments to the Immigration Law, which halt the issuance of residence permits to Russian citizens until June 30, 2023, the number of applications for residence permits received and forwarded to the Russian Affairs Office citizenship and migration continues to increase, especially of Russian citizens – repatriated – with the aim of reuniting with family members who are Latvian citizens and beneficiaries of European green cards.
In addition, according to the press secretary of the ministry, interest in acquiring Latvian citizenship has also increased. Following the decision to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens, except in exceptional cases, the number of visa applications has decreased.
The number of consular services provided increased following the closure of the Latvian offices in St. Petersburg and Pskov. Demand is especially high from people who previously received consular services in St. Petersburg, Beķeris said.
He also said there had been a surge of interest from Latvian citizens to return to the country in the weeks since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
At present, the Embassy is currently working with a handful of families who are preparing to move to Latvia.
Beķeris pointed out that there is a high demand among Latvian citizens to acquire personal identification documents from the embassy, but this trend has also been observed in the past, as the conditions for the validity of passports will soon take end for a large number of Latvian citizens.
In the first week after the start of the war, there was interest in travel documents for returning to Latvia. Currently, when receiving consular services at the Embassy, Latvian citizens report that they plan to visit Latvia for the summer, and not for life. There is also an increased interest among foreigners in electronic identity cards in order to be able to receive electronic services remotely, since it is no longer possible to receive a visa and services in Latvia in person.
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Beķeris pointed out that a considerable part of the embassy’s work consists of answering e-mails and phone calls. For example, the embassy responded to 2,000 emails in March and 1,275 in April. Russian residents prefer to use the phone or email to communicate instead of studying the information available on the embassy website and other information sources.
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine.