Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Lithuanian nationality law operates on the jus sanguinus principle, whereby persons who have a claim to Lithuanian dual citizenship, either through parents, grandparents, great-grandparents may claim Lithuanian citizenship. Lithuanian dual citizenship may also be granted by naturalization. Naturalization requires a residency period, an examination in the Lithuanian language, examination results demonstrating familiarity with the Lithuanian Constitution, a demonstrated means of support, and an oath of loyalty. A right of return clause was included in the 1991 constitution for persons who left Lithuania after its occupation by the Soviet Union in 1940 and their descendants. Lithuanian citizens are also citizens of the European Union and thus enjoy rights of free movement and have the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.
In November 2006, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania ruled that the Law on Citizenship (wording of 17 September 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was "controversial, inconsistent and confusing". At issue was the possession of dual citizenship; the provision extended the right of citizenship, and hence the right to vote, to members of the post-Soviet Lithuanian diaspora, which was concentrated in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina, and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The most notable member of this diaspora was Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who had become a United States citizen; he formally renounced US citizenship before taking the oath of office allowing him to continue became a president.. However, if your ancestor was held dual Lithuanian citizenship before 1940 and emigrated to US after Ww2 this requirement doesn`t apply and you might be allowed to receive Lithuania dual citizenship
If you are considering trying to obtain Lithuanian citizenship, you are not alone. Many people want to have dual citizenship in Lithuania, but they are not entirely certain is is allowed to obtain citizenship. Most people question if it will actually be possible to have citizenship in Lithuania while still keeping their current citizenship and passport in the USA. Often, the answer is YES (especially in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia), but it is important to have an understanding of the rules and how they apply, as well as what you will need to do in order to get dual citizenship.
Many countries today, such as the United States and Lithuania, allow for dual citizenship. USA currently does not have a maximum number of citizenships that are person might hold, as long as the other countries where they are citizens also allow it.
For people living in the US who want to connect with their roots, citizenship in both countries is possible. In order to be eligible for Lithuanian dual citizenship, (citizenship in Lithuania, and the U. S), one must prove they have the right documents How is this done? It is necessary to perform genealogical research into your ancestors to know if you have Lithuanian relatives. If you had an aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent who held Lithuanian citizenship you may be able to qualify for citizenship. There are some things you will need to know for your research such as:
1. When your ancestor was born, when they came to America, and whether or not they had gone through the process of nationalization. If they were nationalized and how they were naturalized, this can affect whether you qualify and the steps that follow.
2. You will need to know whether your ancestor was naturalized before the birth of their child that would be your closest relative linking you to Lithuania through your family. Naturalization (if they were or not) needs to be confirmed in order to determine if you qualify for Lithuanian citizenship based on Lithuanian law.
Naturalization is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country
If your ancestor did not go through naturalization, it can be even more difficult to prove non-naturalization. There might not be any records at all to confirm their status as an immigrant. The laws on citizenship are very complicated and confusing.
In order to be naturalized, a person would have to declare their intention to be naturalized, followed by a petition to be naturalized. The petitioner would then take an oath of allegiance to the United States. You may be able to find the date of naturalization on the back of the petition form.
It may be difficult to prove your lineage and you will need all the documentation you can find. You will need to look in many different places such as family records, census records, birth certificates, draft cards, naturalization papers, ship manifests, and more.
Getting Documentation For Your Application Can Be Difficult
Searching for and obtaining documents in Lithuania that are relevant to your application may be difficult. Unless you speak fluent Lithuanian, you may not be able to fully communicate what you are looking for to those working records in Lithuania. Also, the records would be in Lithuanian, and you may not be able to read or understand them unless you had a translator.
If your ancestor doesn’t have such document as a birth certificate (people born before a certain year wouldn’t have one), then an alternate document such as a baptism record may be acceptable.
The biggest problem in locating documentation of ancestry documents for Lithuanian citizenship is that there is no centralized record system. Records are kept in different provinces for the people living in that area. It can take a lot of time and energy to find personal records.
Searching the documents
To begin the search for documentation, you will need to search through all of your family documents and records of birth, marriage, death certificates, military records, and any records that may contain information that can prove Lithuanian heritage. Don’t forget to check the U.S. census records as well. These records can provide valuable information including an individual's country of origin, the year they were born, their citizenship status, their address, and their marital status.
Another suggestion may be to hire a lawyer to help you. Having lawyers who can help with the process of finding records in Lithuania and other locations can be very helpful. They may be able to find records in places that you wouldn’t think to look.
Getting Help from the Professionals
It can be very difficult to find all of this information on your own, there are many sites to check and sources to investigate. Applying for Lithuanian dual citizenship is not easy and will require a lot of work on your part. However, to make the process quicker and easier, contact one of our Lithuanian citizenship professionals who will be able to take care of the entire process for you from start to finish.