Latvia: Information on whether the propiska system is still operative and, if so, on how it operates; on whether there are restrictions on the issuance of propiskas to ethnic Russians who have not yet obtained citizenship
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 December 1995|
|Citation / Document Symbol||LVA22413.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Latvia: Information on whether the propiska system is still operative and, if so, on how it operates; on whether there are restrictions on the issuance of propiskas to ethnic Russians who have not yet obtained citizenship, 1 December 1995, LVA22413.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aae81c.html [accessed 4 March 2015]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
In telephone interviews on 8 and 13 December 1995, an official from the Embassy of Latvia in Ottawa provided the following information. The propiska is a seal in the passport that indicates the bearer's place of residence and the propiska system is still in effect in Latvia . This seal is called pieraksts in Latvian and propiska in Russian. The pieraksts is similar, but not identical, to the former Soviet propiska. The pieraksts is diminishing in importance and its possession is not obligatory. Those seeking employment are not required to have a pieraksts; however, they are still utilized, under certain circumstances, to obtain civil marriages and divorces. The pieraksts is not the equivalent of a temporary or permanent residence permit.
Once a Latvian citizen has received an external passport, it is that citizen's responsibility to go to the local authorities to obtain a pieraksts. The Latvian government issues "non-citizen passports" to people who are not Latvian citizens residing in Latvia and who are registered as legal residents with the Citizenship and Immigration Department; they must also possess a personal code. People who possess these passports are issued a pieraksts in the same manner as Latvian citizens. Nationality is not considered when a pieraksts is issued; the potential recipient only needs a residence and legal permission to reside in Latvia.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Embassy of Latvia, Ottawa. 13 December 1995. Telephone interview with official.
_____. 8 December 1995. Telephone interview with official.