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Starting a Business in Latvia: Comprehensive Company Registration Guide

Business Opportunities in Latvia 

One of the best ways to expand one’s business is to take it overseas. Of all foreign locations, Latvia has a business-friendly environment and attracts entrepreneurs and investors from all over the globe to expand their economy. Due to Latvia’s trading with other nations, its GDP grew by 5.6% in 2022. It indicates that setting up a company in Latvia and investing in the Latvian economy can be beneficial.

Although a small country, the location of Latvia at the heart of northern and eastern Europe makes it a hub of entrepreneurs. Its strategic location gives entrepreneurs the advantage of targeting the right customers. Besides the country’s well-developed infrastructure, traveling to and from Latvia is comfortable. It has three marine ports and nearly 80 flights to destinations all over the globe. In addition, its direct railroad to Russia allows easy access to entrepreneurs and investors to Russia. 

One of the greatest advantages of setting up a business in Latvia is its favorable tax regime for startups. Besides, the Free Economic Zone provides real estate tax relief, corporate tax relief, and other tax incentives that can benefit startups. Learning about company incorporation in Latvia is necessary to enjoy all these incentives. Here is a detailed guide on how to start a company in Latvia.  

Benefits of Starting a Business in Latvia 

The advantages of doing business in Latvia are as follows:

Affordable corporate income tax 

The attractive low corporate income tax is one of the primary reasons for company incorporation in Latvia. The jurisdiction levies a 0% tax rate in Latvia on reinvested profits. It implies that you must only pay corporate taxes when a business intends to distribute profits. In that case, the government will charge a 20% corporate income tax on the distributed profit. 

However, the resident companies in Latvia will have to pay a corporate income tax irrespective of their source of income. For non-resident companies, the jurisdiction will charge a corporate income tax only on the income gathered from Latvia. 

Advantages of free trade 

Operating a business in Latvia means you get the advantage of free trade. Besides, Latvia is also a member of the OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the European Union, along with the World Trade Organization. 

All these associations of Latvia make it more susceptible to better trade opportunities. Also, the country gets incentives to promote a better business as well as make it suitable for setting a company in Latvia. 

Logistics and transportation advantage 

The strategic location of Latvia works in favor of developing better trade opportunities. In the middle of the European Union and other eastern countries, Latvia has well-developed transportation and logistics facilities to conduct seamless business between the west and the east. 

The proximity of Latvia with Belarus, Russia, and other Schengen countries has brought a hike in the country’s GDP. Further, the country’s railroad connection to Poland and other Baltic states helps entrepreneurs expand their business and target the Russian and Scandinavian markets. 

Presence of special economic zones 

Latvia offers you free ports and special economic zones to promote your business. As a whole, Latvia consists of three special economic zones, namely, Liepaja SEZ, Latgale SEZ, and Rezekne SEZ, and two free ports, namely, the Ventspils free port and the Roga free port. 

Setting up a company in Latvia, precisely in these zones, gives you an advantage of 35% to 55% tax rebates, depending on the type of business, business stature, and related other factors. 

Advanced technology 

Finally, if you have an idea about a business to do in Latvia, you are sure to get in touch with state-of-art modern information technology. The Latvian government introduced the Baltic Highway in 2012 to provide modern and seamless data transmission throughout Latvia. 

Therefore, startups with a software business or IT business can get ample advantages of doing business in Latvia. Besides, the government follows the General Data Protection Regulation to secure and protect business data from threats. 

Requirements for Starting a Business in Latvia 

These are the requirements to do business in Latvia: 

Work visa and permit

Foreign entrepreneurs willing to start a business in Latvia need proper visa and work permit. These are the visas available in Latvia: 

  • Type A or airport transit visa 
  • Schengen type C or short-term visa 
  • Type D or a long-stay visa 

For foreign entrepreneurs and investors, having a long-stay visa is a must. The tenure of this visa is 90 days. The Office of Citizenship and Registration Affairs issues the residence permit. 

Company name 

For offshore company registration in Latvia, it is necessary to have a proper company name that is in sync with the company operations. Your company name should be in Latin or possess the Latvian alphabet. Your company names should not be similar to those of an existing Latvian enterprise. Also, the company name should not contain any offensive words. 

Taxation  

One of the essential Latvia company incorporation requirements is corporate tax. Every business in Latvia has to pay a corporate income tax of 20%. With an increase in taxable base, the corporate income tax increases to 25%. 

Business capital 

The minimum capital required for Latvia new company incorporation differs from business to business. For limited liability, the minimum share capital is EUR 2820; for joint stock, it is EUR 35,210. On the other hand, a branch office does not require any business capital. But, in the case of a representative office, businesses have to pay a state fee of EUR 29. 

Directors and company secretaries 

The number of directors and secretaries depends on the type of business entity you organize. For setting a company in Latvia, every business, irrespective of its type, requires one director on the board of directors. 

Types of Business Structures in Latvia 

Before doing Latvia business incorporation, looking into the types of business structures workable in Latvia is necessary. 

Limited liability 

  • Must have a minimum share capital of EUR 2820
  • Both cash and property capital contribution accepted 
  • Considered a legal entity 
  • Must have at least one founder 
  • Must have at least one board of directors
  • The founder and director can be residents or foreigners. 

Joint stock company 

  • Treated as a legal entity 
  • The company held liable for obligations. 
  • Must have at least one founder 
  • Must have a minimum share capital of EUR 35,210
  • Capital contribution only in the form of cash 
  • Must have at least one board of director 

Branch office 

  • Either an independent unit or a part of a foreign undertaking 
  • Exercises complete liability and obligations 

Representative office 

  • Cannot conduct business 
  • Aims to promote organizations 
  • Does not function as an independent legal entity 
  • Pays a state fee of EUR 29 

Company Registration Process 

The steps to incorporate a company in Latvia are given below: 

Step 1: Preparing registration documents 

  • Now that you have chosen the type of business entity that suits your business operation, it is time to prepare the necessary documents. 
  • You have to submit these documents to the Latvian Enterprise Register. 
  • Make sure to sign each document individually or in front of a notary. 

Step 2: Paying capital share 

  • The kind of business entity you choose will determine the minimum share capital you have to pay to the Latvian Enterprise Register. 
  • You can submit the share capital fully while submitting the documents or in installments. In case of installments, pay 50% before submitting documents and the remaining within one year of company registration.  

Step 3: Submitting documents for registration 

  • The Latvian Enterprise Register will take some time to verify the documents and proceed with the company registration process. 
  • The whole process of company registration in Latvia will take around one week. 

Step 4: Tax identification number 

  • On registering, the Latvian Enterprise Register will provide a tax identification number (TIN). 
  • Keep the number safe to open a company bank account. 

Step 4: Opening bank account 

  • After Latvia company incorporation, you have to open a bank account in the name of your company in Latvia. 
  • Make sure to provide a valid company address to create the bank account. 
  • Utilize the tax identification number for company authentication. 

Step 5: VAT registration 

  • Finally, provide the necessary information to the Latvian State Revenue Service. 
  • Get a VAT registration number from Latvian State Revenue Service.  

How Much Does It Cost to Incorporate a Company in Latvia? 

The cost of incorporating a company in Latvia depends on the type of business entity you choose. However, the approximate cost for a startup would be around EUR 3000. 

Are Foreigners in Latvia On Certain Passes Allowed to Start a Business in Latvia?

Yes, foreigners in Latvia can set up an offshore company in Latvia, provided they have the necessary work visa. To start a business in Latvia, these are the work visas you should choose from: 

Type A or airport transit visa

For setting a company in Latvia, foreign nationals need this visa to cross the airport transit zone while traveling to another location.  

Schengen type C or a short-term visa 

Also known as the unified visa, it allows foreigners to stay within a Schengen area. 

Type D or a long-stay visa 

Business owners and investors willing to stay in Latvia for over three months should get this Type D visa. To extend this visa, you must apply before its tenure (6 months) ends. With this visa, entrepreneurs get access to travel to countries within the Schengen area. 

The Office of Citizenship and Magistration Affairs handles visa work in Latvia. The Type D visa is the most suitable for all foreign investors and entrepreneurs. The documents required to get a Type D visa in Latvia are as follows: 

  • A valid passport with three months validity and two blank pages at the end 
  • A filled-up visa application form 
  • A colored passport-size photograph 
  • A copy of flight tickets 
  • A travel medical insurance proof 
  • A visa fee payment proof 

To get a work permit to start a business in Latvia, these are the essential documents: 

  • A valid passport 
  • Documents of Latvian accommodation 
  • Proof of employer’s qualifications 
  • An employer’s letter 
  • A copy of the residence permit of the applicant 

Government Assistance for Foreign-owned Businesses 

The government provides some beneficial grants for starting a business in Latvia. The Social Entrepreneurship Program offered by the Ministry of Welfare in Latvia aims to provide grants for promoting and developing startups. 

Further, the Enterprise Europe Network offers support to small-sized and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, every startup can access venture capital funds at any stage of its business development. Furthermore, the equity-free government support of Latvia with a range of programs like Eureka, Horizon 2020, Eurostars, etc., make it easier to start a business in Latvia. 

How Multiplier Can Help? 

Setting a company in Latvia can help you grow your business and take it overseas. However, following all the rules and regulations to set up a business in a particular country is mandatory. To help you in this regard, Multiplier is by your side.  

With Multiplier, you can hire talents from over 150 economies without the requirement to set up a company. From tracking employee reimbursement to getting on-ground support, you get everything under one platform. The process of hiring followed by us needs to be completed and strategic. Contact Multiplier today if you want to start a business in Latvia.  

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to start a business in Latvia, the OMCA or Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs is responsible for providing residence permits.

After filling out the visa application form and attaching the required documents, submit it to the Latvian embassy.

To start a business in Latvia, you can get the Latvian work permit and visa within a month if you promptly submit the necessary documents.

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