If you have Lithuanian ancestry, it might be possible for you to obtain a Lithuanian passport through the exile category. People who get Lithuanian dual citizenship are eligible for a plethora of benefits not only in Lithuania but in most parts of the EU as well.
Why Should I apply for Lithuanian dual citizenship?
For sure, having a Lithuanian passport allows you to live in Lithuania, but most people do not know that apart from this, you also get the following benefits:
Eligibility to work
Eligibility for university level education
Own and reside in property
Live and work in the EU
Lithuanian citizenship by descent or exile. Determining Your Eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship.
Before you apply for Lithuanian citizenship by descent, you have to satisfy the eligibility criteria set by the Citizenship Law of Lithuania.
The following situation will allow you to claim Lithuanian citizenship by descent:
If at least one of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were citizens when the country was the Republic of Lithuania (between 1918 and 1940).
If your ancestor left Lithuania before Lithuanian independence was restored (March 11, 1990).
If you’re not familiar with citizenship by descent programs, it’s pretty straightforward.
Basically, certain countries – largely in Europe – offer the ability to claim citizenship by descent there if you can prove you have ancestors who left that country. Usually, you’re allowed to go back two or even three generations in the family tree. And, in the case of Lithuania, you are typically allowed to go back three generations. That means that if you have a great-grandparent who held Lithuanian citizenship, you should be able to qualify to become Lithuanian yourself. It’s merely a matter of proving the family connection. You’ll need a copy of your own birth certificate, as well as birth certificates all the way up the family tree until you reach the ancestor with Lithuanian ties. You have to prove that you are related to each person in the chain (parent, grandparent, great-grandparents etc.), which includes getting each and every birth certificate and, in some cases, marriage licenses notarized in the country or state (in the US) where the document was issued.
If you don’t have all of the records proving your ties to your Lithuanian exile (parent, grandparent, great-grandparents etc), it is likely you can obtain them through the archives in Vilnius by using our lawyer to help you.
If your ancestor still had Lithuanian citizenship during the time of Lithuania’s occupation in 1940 and they emigrated to the western countries (not the USSR), then you should be eligible for dual Lithuanian citizenship.
Claiming Lithuanian dual citizenship by descent sounds deceptively simple, but the actual application process is also regulated by rules of the Migration Department, precedent forming decisions of the courts and the Constitutional court. In order to accurately assess chances of getting citizenship and your eligibility, it is always better to get an opinion of a lawyer specialized in this area of law.
Finding the documents that prove Lithuanian citizenship of your ancestor
After you’ve established you could be eligible to apply for Lithuanian citizenship by descent, you’ll need to put together the bundle of paperwork
The process of preparation of the documents for dual citizenship in case of reinstatement of citizenship of Lithuania shall be started from collection of the required documents and search for the lacking ones. Such a search is often carried out at archives of Lithuania. The search for documents at Lithuanian archives may continue for from 10 to 60 workdays. After collection of the required documents for the application process, they shall be certified according to the procedure provided in laws and their translation shall be carried out, if the language of the documents is other than Lithuanian. Documents issued in foreign states shall be certified by Apostille or legalized, unless otherwise is provided by international treaties of Lithuania or legal norms of the European Union.
The documents certifying Lithuanian citizenship before 15 June 1940 include:
1. Lithuanian passports (government-issued passports or passports for travelling abroad) issued before 15 June 1940;
2. Lithuanian passports for travelling abroad issued by diplomatic missions or consular institutions of Lithuania after 15 June 1940;
3. Documents attesting military service of the person in Lithuanian Army or his (her) involvement in civil service;
4. Certificates of birth or other documents where Lithuanian citizenship of the person is specified;
5. Identification documents issued in Lithuania before 15 June 1940 or identification documents issued on the base of the documents issued in Lithuania before 15 June 1940.
If the above-listed documents are absent, documents on learning, working or residing in Lithuania documents issued in Lithuania before 15 June 1940 as well as a passport of a foreign state and other documents may be submitted.
How likely is that you will be able to find the documents needed for application process?
We cannot give a 100% guarantee that we will find the documents proving your ancestor's Lithuanian citizenship for the simple reason that some of the archives were lost during the WW2 and after. However, if your ancestors fled during the WW2 so far we were able to find the documents needed for all of our clients, so it is likely we will be successful in your case, as will be able to start application process.. We have extensive experience working with various archives in Lithuania and were able to find some proof of citizenship in the most complicated cases. The likelihood that citizenship documents will be found decreases if your Lithuanian exile left soon after Lithuanian independence. It is still likely we will find the documents from the 30’s, but if your ancestor left in 1919-1920 (just one or two years after independence), then there are very little surviving documents from that time period.
My grandfather was Lithuanian exile Am I eligible to get Lithuanian citizenship?
3 generations: children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, are eligible for Lithuanian dual citizenship if at least one of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents lived and were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania during the period of 2 November 1918 and 15 June 1940. If your ancestor left Lithuania some time before Lithuania restored its independence on March 11, 1990, you can claim Lithuanian passport through ancestry three generations back.
When you receive your dual citizenship, your husband or wife won’t receive Lithuanian citizenship automatically. But, if you relocate to an EU country, your spouse would then be eligible for a work permit and residence so he or she can live together with you. Eventually, your spouse could get a permanent residence permit and even get Lithuanian passport. Lithuanian citizenship rules vary from country to country, but since only one of you is required to have Lithuanian citizenship to live life and work in an EU country, you can both work and live there.
Costs involved with applying for Lithuanian citizenship?
We will charge a fixed fee in matters related to obtaining Lithuanian citizenship. The amount of the fee will depend on the scope and amount of the work of our lawyers to be performing, number of family members wishing to apply for Lithuanian citizenship and other peculiarities of each individual application. Therefore, in order to evaluate our lawyer fees for the application process we will normally perform the initial assessment of your situation.
Other costs related to claiming Lithuanian citizenship are fees charged by Lithuanian institutions for issue of archive statements or copies of documents, notary fees, document legalization/authentication, postal expenses, etc. Said expenses will vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case.
Processing times of Lithuanian citizenship applications
The process consists of two stages:
Preparatory stage normally takes 2-3 months and will be used to retrieve any missing documents from Lithuanian archive institutions, to legalize the documents, and our lawyer will prepare necessary forms and applications, etc.
Application processing stage – statutory term of consideration by the authorities is 4-12 months (depending on the category under which one applies). However, the decision by the authorities is usually taken much faster.
Note: Previous experience shows that in less complicated cases whole procedure may take up to 5-8 months, but will mainly depend on the workload of the Citizenship Office of Lithuania.
How can Baltic Migration help me?
Does your grandfather, grandmother or any other relative left Lithuania during before or after WW2? Claim your Lithuanian citizenship now.
We offer a free and confidential eligibility assessment.
If you are eligible, we can provide you with a no-obligation quote.
We hope this article has provided you with a useful insight into the application process of claiming Lithuanian citizenship.
To find out more about citizenship in Lithuania, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.