Lithuanian US Dual Citizenship
Lithuania, being a member state of the European Union, provides multiple benefits for those interested in European citizenship:
- Eligibility to study, work and live anywhere in Europe,
- Own property in any country in the EU,
- There are 150 Visa-free countries for the Lithuanian passport holder.
If you are an American citizen looking for Lithuanian US dual citizenship, here is an in-depth guide on how to get a European passport while remaining a proud citizen of the Land of the Free.
Lithuania’s Dual-Citizenship Law
Lithuania’s Constitutional Court ruled in November of 2006 that the wording used in drafting the Law on Citizenship of 2002 was confusing, inconsistent and controversial. The law originally enacted provisions for acquiring dual citizenship in post-Soviet Lithuania. The Lithuanian diaspora is spread across several countries, including Canada, United States, Argentina and Australia. The Lithuanian citizenship program extended to children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Lithuanians in these countries.
The provisions of the citizenship law were deemed to be discriminatory, as citizenship was to be granted based on the nationality or ethnic origin of the person. Following this, the Lithuanian parliament passed a law granting dual citizenship in some exceptional cases. Most notably, dual citizenship was allowed for individuals who were Lithuanian citizens before 1940 and left the country as a result of Soviet occupations. The children and grandchildren of these individuals also qualify for dual citizenship.
As per the Constitution of Lithuania, citizenship of Lithuania is acquired at birth. No person can be a citizen of another country and of Lithuania at the same time except in some special cases.
Can Americans get Lithuanian citizenship?
Many American citizens have applied and received Lithuanian citizenship. For instance, Valdas Adamkus, the former President of Lithuania between 1998 and 2003 and for a second term between 2004 to 2009, became a United States citizen in his youth, after formally renouncing his Lithuanian citizenship. His family had fled Lithuania in 1944 to avoid Soviet occupation.
Valdas is just on of the notable examples of US citizens who have restored the Lithuanian citizenship that they or their ancestors had to give up, without being forced to revoke their US citizenship/
News regarding US skaters getting Lithuanian citizenship also hit the headlines in the past. A notable example is Isabella Tobias, an American ice skater who obtained Lithuanian citizenship to represent the nation at Sochi Olympics in 2013. However, in 2016, she became an Israeli citizen,due to her Jewish roots. As per the Lithuanian Law on Citizenship, Isabella was stripped of her Lithuanian citizenship, as dual citizenship is only granted in exceptional cases.
How to qualify for Lithuanian citizenship?
If your ancestors (grandparents or great-grandparents) were Lithuanian citizens prior to 1940, you can apply for a Lithuanian passport.
Provisions exist in Lithuanian citizenship law for the restoration of Lithuanian citizenship for individuals of Lithuanian descent, provided their ancestors had Lithuanian citizenship prior to and in 1940. Dual citizenship can also be given to individuals whose ancestors were exiled to Siberia.
In 2016, the Lithuanian parliament liberalized dual citizenship requirements. Most importantly, this amendment removed the requirement of a former Lithuanian citizen to have ‘fled’ the country. The law established the following criteria for getting dual citizenship for an individual who:
- acquired citizenship of another country and Lithuania at birth
- left Lithuania prior to 11th March 1990.
- at least one ancestor (grandparents, parents or great grandparents) was a Lithuanian citizen between 1918 and 1940
- the ancestor left (instead of ‘fled’) Lithuania before March 11, 1990, when Lithuania became independent
- was forcibly deported prior to March 11, 1990 due to social, political and ethnic persecution by Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes.
- Is married to a citizen of another country and acquired citizenship of that country
- is adopted by a Lithuanian citizen before the age of 18.
- has obtained citizenship of Lithuania due to outstanding merits and contribution to Lithuania
Other ways to qualify for a Lithuanian passport
The other pathways include:
- Lithuanian citizenship by naturalization: Individuals who have lived and worked in Lithuania for 10 years and passed tests to prove their knowledge in the Lithuanian language and the constitution can apply for citizenship. However, while it is not easy to get a job in Lithuania for foreign nationals, this route may also require you to give up your American citizenship.
- By making an investment: If you have an entrepreneurial mindset and ways to start a business in Lithuania, you can apply for fast-track visa program. You will need to make an investment of EUR 28000 into a Lithuanian company or buy a shelf company in Lithuania.
Why do you need a Lithuanian citizenship lawyer?
As the constitution of Lithuania specifies, dual citizenship is not a rule but an exception. Applying for Lithuanian US dual citizenship takes time, and involves preparing and submitting multiple documents, translating them into Lithuanian and coordinating with government authorities in Lithuania.
We, at Cohen, Decker, Pex, and Brosh, are committed to making the process of obtaining Lithuanian citizenship for Israeli and American citizens streamlined and hassle-free. Our detailed assessment is designed to assess your eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship by ancestry. From providing a notarized translation of your documents to coordinating with authorities in Lithuania, we provide comprehensive assistance. Our office also specializes in assistance with acquiring an Austrian passport, Greek citizenship, citizenship of Portugal and Bulgarian citizenship as well as other EU countries.