• Foreigner’s eID card – convenient and effective tool for development of digital environment

Foreigner’s eID card – convenient and effective tool for development of digital environment

15 October 2021

Promoting the development of the business environment, on June 17th , 2021, Parliament of Latvia adopted amendments to the Personal Identification Law that were made in order to eliminate the difficulties repeatedly found in practice for foreigners to obtain a Latvian e-signature, thus allowing them to take advantage of the benefits of eID cards.

On October 12th, 2021 the Cabinet of Ministers approved amendments to the regulation on the State fee regarding issue of personal identity documents, as well as to the regulation regarding personal identity documents, thus by opening the curtain for foreigners who have not been issued a residence permit in Latvia, to obtain a foreigner's identity card, called also a foreigner's eID card, which will serve as an electronic identification toll of the foreigner. The above-mentioned amendments to the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers came into force on October 16th, which means that after this date the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs is entitled to start the process of issuing foreigner’s eID cards.

What are the benefits from foreigner’s identity card?

Benefits from obtaining a foreigner’s identity card are invaluable, allowing to operate in digital environment at it’s fullest. It must be noticed that the function of signing documents with a safe electronical signature that is integrated in foreigner’s eID card replaces the signing of documents within the presence of a sworn notary who identifies the person at the time he or she is signing the document. Therefore, the possibility for the foreigner to sign documents electronically by using eID card, will further reduce the administrative burden by saving both time and finance and allow to run the business and conclude transactions remotely.

It should be noted that there are still some cases when it is obliged to go to the sworn notary, for example when it is necessary to sign a request of confirmation to the land register or issue a power of attorney in the form of a notarial deed. It is important to note here that sworn notaries offer the possibility to perform these activities in the mode of video conference if a person can authorize himself to the portal by using an eID card.

No less important is the fact that foreigner’s eID card will open wide opportunities to use e-services and e-address, making communication process with the public authorities even more efficient. In addition, foreigner’s will be able to use the eID card to prove their identity within the territory of Latvia.

How it is possible to receive a foreigner’s identity card?

The procedure by which foreigner’s eID card can be received is relatively simple:

  1. schedule a visit to receive the service in one of the customer service department of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Latvia (most convenient way to apply to a specific time is by using the online registration form on OCMA web page);
  2. arrive to the chosen department at the appointed time, taking your identity document with you;
  3. at the customer service department perform the necessary activities for the preparation of an eID card, including make a payment of the state fee for the preparation of an eID card (80.00 EUR);
  4. eID card will be prepared within two working days.

Alternatively, the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers provide the possibility to arrange the preparation of foreigner’s eID card also while abroad, in the diplomatic and consular representative offices of the Republic of Latvia, however, in such cases it must be taken into account that additional payments for the receipt of consular services must be paid.

What must be taken into account?

Although a foreigner’s eID card will significantly facilitate the daily business operations of foreigners in Latvia, allowing foreigners to access a wide range of e-services provided by state institutions of Latvia, as well as providing invaluable support for saving time and resources related to signing documents in electronical form, it must be taken into account that a foreigner's identity card will not be used as a travel document when going abroad. 

It is also important to note that the right to receive an eID card belongs to a foreigner who corresponds to the categories indicated in the Law on the Register of Natural Persons, about which we already informed on June 30, 2021 here.

BDO Law, providing a wide range of legal services, is ready to help with assistance and support to clients in case of any uncertainties related to obtaining a foreigner’s eID card.