National minorities – Latvian citizens differing from Latvians in terms of language and culture having traditionally lived in Latvia for generations and belonging to the State of Latvia and the Latvian society but simultaneously wishing to preserve and develop their culture and language.
Latvian citizen – a person having Latvian citizenship according to the law. In accordance with Article 64 of the Constitution, the body of Latvian citizens is the collective State legislator consisting of citizens enjoying full rights.
Latvian people – the bearer of the sovereign power of the State of Latvia as prescribed in Article 2 of the Constitution. The “Latvian people” are all the citizens regardless of the nationality and those belonging to the Latvian nation regardless of whether they are citizens or not. All those belonging to the Latvian nation must have the right to the citizenship of their State that, when obtained, gives them the right to participate in the democratic governance process of the State of Latvia.
Immigrants – foreigners living in Latvia with fixed term or permanent residency permits, as well as Latvian non-citizens. Within the meaning of the Lisbon Treaty they are third country nationals. There are three groups of immigrants in Latvia. The largest group are the former citizens of the USSR who arrived to Latvia as a result of the USSR occupation policy and their descendants to whom the so-called ‘Law on Non-citizens’ has granted special privileges in comparison with other immigrant groups (non-citizens do not have to apply for residence or work permits as do new immigrants; non-citizens have the right of naturalisation and to join the body of Latvian citizens thus acquiring all the rights, including the right to vote.) The second immigrant group are long-term or permanent residents with non EU, EEA or Swiss Confederation citizenship (mainly Russian citizens who have renounced their Latvian non-citizen status). The third group: the new immigrants who arrived to Latvia after 1992 from the countries which are not Member States of the European Union (mainly from the former USSR republics).