How To Apply For Lithuanian Passport
Lithuania is one of the most beautiful countries in the Baltic region of the European Union. If you are interested in how to apply for Lithuanian passport, providing the rich benefits of being a European citizen, read on.
How to qualify for a Lithuanian passport
Two of the common pathways that all European countries offer for citizenship are by birth and naturalization. Being born to a citizen of Lithuania will automatically grant the child Lithuanian citizenship regardless of the place of birth. Naturalization is a process where a foreigner who has lived and worked in Lithuania for ten years can apply for a Lithuanian passport. The individual also has to pass a test designed to assess their knowledge of the Lithuanian language and constitution while also having sufficient income.
Like many other European countries, Lithuania also offers citizenship through investment. An individual entrepreneur has to do the following before they apply for a Lithuanian passport.
- invest 28000 EUR in a Lithuanian company,
- employ at least three Lithuanians and
- run the company for a minimum period of six months.
They can also purchase an existing Lithuanian company instead of starting their own. These routes to Lithuanian citizenship are somewhat expensive and not necessarily feasible for all aspiring applicants.
Lithuanian passport by ancestry
If you are of Lithuanian origin, you can apply for a Lithuanian passport. “Origin” here does not equate to citizenship. Lithuanian origin relates to ethnicity and the national affiliation of individuals to a nation and groups that share common characteristics, including culture, language, religion and so on. While an individual of Lithuanian origin need not be a citizen of Lithuania, an individual of Jewish or Ukrainian origin whose parents or grandparents were of Lithuanian origin, for instance, can be Lithuanian citizens.
Restoration of Lithuanian citizenship is the other route to obtaining a Lithuanian passport by ancestry. The Nazis, along with Lithuanian collaborators, murdered close to 90 percent of the Jewish population that lived in Lithuania before the war. About 208,000 Jews were killed during World War II. According to Lithuanian officials, over 200,000 Jews who have Lithuanian roots are in Israel, while more than 70,000 are in South Africa.
The restoration of Lithuanian citizenship has been progressing at a steady rate since 2016. According to the Lithuanian Migration Department, citizenship of Lithuania was restored to 1,131 people during the first half of 2017. This is an increase as compared to 912 restorations that happened in the second quarter of 2016 and 481 in the first half of 2016.
As per the Migration Department’s director, most people whose Lithuanian citizenship was restored were Litvaks. In 2016, Lithuania changed the Law on Citizenship. This was expected to accelerate and liberalize the process of obtaining Lithuania citizenship for people whose ancestors lived in Lithuania before 1940.
Before the amendment, those who wanted dual citizenship on the grounds of their ancestors being citizens of Lithuania before 1940 and leaving the country before 11-Mar-1990 had to give additional proof of why they had to leave Lithuania. Applicants had to prove there was an actual threat that was faced by their ancestor who left Lithuania prior to March 1990. If they had left in 1940, based on the political and historical context, it was not considered to be due to an actual threat.
This policy, while creating procedural problems for applicants, reduced the chances of getting dual citizenship. The amendment made in 2016 made it easier for people who wanted to retain their current citizenship.
As per this amendment, you will need to only show evidence that one of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents or yourself was a citizen of Lithuania before 15-Jun-1940 and left the country before 11-Mar-1990. The only exception is that if the ancestor left Lithuania before 1940 to settle in Russia. In this case, the applicant will not be eligible for dual citizenship.
What documents do you need to prove Lithuanian ancestry?
If you are concerned about the steps and documents involved in the application for a Lithuanian passport, do not hesitate to contact our law office. As the leading immigration experts in Israel, we have years of experience in assisting hundreds of Jews of Lithuanian ancestry in obtaining Lithuanian citizenship.
Here is a list of documents you will need to prove that your ancestor was a citizen of Lithuania:
- Government-issued Lithuanian passport: issued before 15 June 1940;
- Lithuanian passports issued by consular entities or diplomatic missions of Lithuania post 15 June 1940;
- Documents evidencing military service in Lithuanian Army or civil service involvement
- Certificates of birth or any other valid document that shows Lithuanian citizenship of the ancestor
- Identification documents issued prior to 15 June 1940.
- In case none of the above are available, you will need to produce documents related to studying/learning, residing or working in Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940.
Note that the application made for the restoration of Lithuanian citizenship must be in Lithuanian. Our law office handles the notarized translation into Lithuanian as per the legal norms that make the process of applying for Lithuanian citizenship hassle-free and seamless.