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Citizenship issues
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Citizenship issues

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Citizenship in Lithuania may be granted under the simplified procedure, applying naturalisation conditions, and it may be returned or restored. The most important issues to the Lithuanians residing abroad are issues relating to their children’s citizenship, acquiring citizenship on the basis of marriage with a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania and double citizenship. Those who are returning to Lithuania can be not only citizens of the Republic of Lithuania but also aliens of Lithuanian descent. They can acquire citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania under the simplified procedure, and those people who were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940 or their children and grandchildren retain the right to restoring citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania. Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania may be returned to the people who had citizenship and are not among them who have retained the right to restoring citizenship.

  • Most often citizenship is acquired by birth. This principle is established in the Law on Citizenship as follows:
    • A child, both of whose parents at the moment of his or her birth were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania regardless of whether he or she was born on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, or beyond its borders.
    • A child at least one of whose parents was a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania but died before the child was born, shall be a citizen the Republic of Lithuania regardless of whether he or she was born on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, or beyond its borders.
    • A child, whose parents are people without citizenship and permanent residents in Lithuania, shall acquire citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania regardless of whether he or she was born on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, or beyond its borders, unless he/she acquired citizenship of another state by birth.
    • A child one of whose parents at the moment of his or her birth was a person without citizenship and permanent resident in Lithuania, and the other parent is unknown, is a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania regardless of whether he or she was born on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, or beyond its borders, unless he/she acquired citizenship of another state by birth.

When a child is born it is necessary to notify the civil registry office of his or her birth. Local civil registry centres of the countries perform this functions in foreign counties, and upon submitting a certificate of birth issued by them to a diplomatic mission of the Republic of Lithuania, the fact of the child’s birth is registered.

  • A person, who has contracted marriage with a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, and has maintained his/her marital status during the last 7 years while permanently residing with a spouse legally in the Republic of Lithuania, citizenship can be granted if he/she:
    • at the time of submitting an application to be granted citizenship and taking the decision on granting citizenship has the right to permanent residence in the Republic of Lithuania;
    • has passed the examination in the Lithuanian language;
    • has passed the examination in the fundamentals of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • is a person without citizenship, or is a citizen of a state under the laws of which he or she loses citizenship of said state upon acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania , or if the person notifies in writing of his or her decision to refuse citizenship of another state upon being granted citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • there are no circumstances specified in Article 22 of the Law on Citizenship (the main circumstances are committing or taking part in criminal activities).
  • A person who had lived in the Republic of Lithuania longer than for one year in marriage with a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who later died, can be granted citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania if he or she meets the below specified conditions:
    • For the last 5 years has had a permanent place of residence in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • at the time of submitting an application to be granted citizenship and taking the decision on granting citizenship has the right of permanent residence in the Republic of Lithuania; ;
    • has passed the examination in the Lithuanian language;
    • has passed the examination in the fundamentals of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • is a person without citizenship, or is a citizen of a state under the laws of which he or she loses citizenship of said state upon acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania , or if the person notifies in writing of his or her decision to refuse citizenship of another state upon being granted citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania;
    • there are no circumstances specified in Article 22 of the Law on Citizenship (the main circumstances are committing or taking part in criminal activities).

People of Lithuanian descent who have never had citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania shall have the right to acquire citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania under the simplified procedure regardless of what state –the Republic of Lithuania or another state – they are permanent residents. Upon acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania they must renounce citizenship of another state. The requirement to have lived in Lithuania for a certain time period, to pass the examination in the Lithuanian language and the fundamentals of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania is not applicable to them. Lithuanian descent is proved by submitting documents, which specify that the person’s parents or grandparents or one of the parents or grandparents are or were Lithuanians, as well as the person’s written application thereby he or she is declaring that he or she considers himself/herself to be a Lithuanian.

People who possessed citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania prior to June 15, 1940 and their children and grandchildren who had not acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania prior to coming into effect of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship (2002) shall have the open-ended right to restore citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania regardless of what state –the Republic of Lithuania or another state – they are permanent residents. The person can prove the fact that they have the right to restore citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania by submitting documents certifying possessing of citizenship prior to June 15, 1940 and leaving Lithuania prior to March 11, 1990. With certain exceptions (see below) a person who wants to restore citizen of the Republic of Lithuania shall have to renounce citizenship of another state.

If a person is not sure yet whether he or she wants to make use of his or her right to restore citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania or to acquire it under the simplified procedure, he or she may apply to a territorial police office, and if he or she resides abroad – to a diplomatic mission of the Republic of Lithuania to issue him/her a certificate attesting to his Lithuanian descent or the right to restore citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania. Possessing such certificates will facilitate the process of restoring and granting citizenship. Besides, people of Lithuanian descent and people who have the right to restore citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and the documents certifying are issued temporary or permanent residence permits in Lithuania easier.

Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania is returned to a person who has lost citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania irrespective of the time period he or she possessed it. Unlike the case of restoring citizenship, possession of citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania in the past, in case of its returning is not related to 15 June 1940. Citizenship is returned only once, at the request of the person who has lost it. If citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania possessed was granted exceptionally, it cannot be returned.

Lithuania is among many countries of the world, which allow to have double citizenship very rarely, in exceptional cases. Usually these are highly exceptional situations or situations when a person possessing double citizenship is a child or a youth who was born abroad or in a mixed family.

The amendment to the Law on Citizenship came into effect as of 28 November 2015 and allows people who have acquired citizenship of Lithuania and another country by birth, to have two citizenships. Such people, upon reaching the age of 21 will not need to choose a passport of which country to keep because the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship provides them with the possibility to possess two citizenships.

A citizen of the Republic of Lithuania can be a citizen of another state too if he satisfies one of the following conditions:

  • acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and another country by birth;
  • is a person who was deported from the occupied Lithuania prior to 11 March 1990 and has acquired citizenship of another state;
  • is a person who left Lithuania prior to 11 March 1990 and has acquired citizenship of another state;
  • is a child or grandchild of the person specified in Points 2 or 3;
  • when contracting marriage with a citizen of another state acquired citizenship of that state by the fact itself (ipso facto);
  • is a person under 21 if he or she was adopted by the citizens (a citizen) of the Republic of Lithuania before he or she became 18 years old and on that account acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania according to part 1 of Article 17 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship;
  • is a person who is 21 years old if he is a person, a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania  who was adopted before he became 18 by the citizens (citizen) of another state and because of this he or she acquired citizenship of another state;
  • acquired citizen of the Republic of Lithuania exceptionally being a citizen of another state;
  • acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania having the status of a refugee in the Republic of Lithuania.

People residing in the Republic of Lithuania submit applications for citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania through the territorial police office according to their place of residence in Lithuania.

People residing abroad submit such applications through diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Republic of Lithuania or through the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.

People residing abroad can appeal to the Migration Department by registered mail. If a person submits an application to grant him or her citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and the documents attached to it by registered mail or through a courier, his or her signature on the application for citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania must be certified by a notary.

Issues concerning granting of citizenship must be considered within no longer than six months from the day of receipt of the documents. A fee (41-53 Euros) is taken for considering the application. Each person who has submitted an application to grant him or her citizenship shall be informed in person about the decision to grant or not to grant him or her citizenship. Decrees of the President on granting of citizenship are available on this Internet website.

More information about citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania 


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