Blog

Litvaks history – Jewish heritage in Lithuania

Litvaks history – Jewish heritage in Lithuania

The Litvaks, or Lithuanian Jews, have descended from the Germanic group of Ashkenazi Jews. During the development of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in the 14th century, they were granted political and economic privileges in order to attract their migration to Lithuania and to develop trade and crafts in large cities. This led to the growth of the Jewish community in Lithuania, which in its heyday accounted for up to 10% of the total population of Lithuania.

The etymology of the word “Litvak”

The Slavic name for the Lithuanian state, Lithuania, is the source of the word “Litvak”. Lithuania in most of the Slavic languages is called Litva and the term Litvak simply evolved to mean Lithuanian Jew. Litvaks were Jews who immigrated to the Belarusian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian parts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

From the initial immigration from different European countries, a large Jewish community with its own customs, traditions and way of life gradually emerged. This community developed distinctive characteristics that are known historically as “Nusakh Liti” (Lithuanian way of life, way, manner). Based on these traits, Jews from Lithuania were referred to be “sheivet litvakes” (from Yiddish: “tribe of Litvaks”).

Common surnames and famous people

A common surname of many Litvak Jews was simply Litvak (or Litvakov). Also, some surnames originated from the names of the cities with large Jewish communities, like: Vilnius – Vilenski, or Kaunas – Kovner. Additionally, some surnames originated from the professions and crafts such as: butcher – Shochet, Glassblower – Glazer.

Bob Dylan is one of the most famous descendants of Litvaks

Among the famous Lithuanian Jews and their descendants are many scientists, writers, artists, political and religious leaders, Nobel Prize winners. Everyone knows the names of Leonard Cohen – singer-songwriter, poet and novelist, born in Canada; Bob Dylan – one of the greatest songwriters of all time, USA born; David Suchet – who plays the role of Hercule Poirot in the popular series based on the works of Agatha Christie, and was born in England.

The resettlement of Litvaks

During the 18th century, a growing number of Jews spread to all territory of Lithuania, where they became a significant force in developing the country’s economy, trade, and crafts, which naturally aided in the expansion and development of both ancient and new cities and towns.

During that period the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius, gradually replaced Brest as the location of the Litvaks’ spiritual center. Vilnius’ Jewish population expanded, together with the number of religious experts living there. Jewish communities were given a considerable degree of political autonomy since achieved similar status to monks, burghers, and peasants in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a whole.

They had legal rights for residing among the Christians in their neighborhood and a separate code of laws “Jewish law” was used as the basis for their own self-government. The Jewish communities were allowed to form a national administration.

Lithuania was completely annexed by the Russian Empire beginning at the end of the 18th century (1792–1795). The loss of Lithuanian independence also adversely affected Litvak communities. The Russian Empire decided to restrict the migration of Jews and their settlements were limited only to the provinces of Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, the so-called “strip of settlement”.

This area, which had a high density of Jewish residents compared to other parts of the Russian empire (and many European countries), was sometimes known as “Yiddishland” (“Land of the Jews”).

Jewish community before WW2

During the WW1 most of the territory of Lithuania was the battlefield between the Russian and German Empires. After Russia excited the war and civil war broke out Vilnius was successively captured by Polish and Soviet-Russian forces numerous times in 1919–1920. Polish and Soviet Russian armies alternately controlled Vilnius on several occasions, while the emerging Lithuanian Republic was also trying to establish control over its historical capital.

However, Lithuania’s success was short-lived and Vilnius was forcibly integrated into Poland in 1922. During this period of fighting between Germany, Russia, Poland and, eventually, Lithuania the Jewish community suffered.

The Lithuanian Jewish community, whose center was in Kaunas, the country’s temporary capital, and its numerous leaders actively participated in the creation, development, and armed defense of the Lithuanian state as well as in diplomatic efforts to have it recognized internationally. Jews made up more than 500 of the volunteers who fought for Lithuania’s freedom during this period.

The Republic of Lithuania’s 1922 Constitution included a clause stating that all people were treated equally in the eyes of the law. According to a separate provision titled “Rights of National Minorities,” minorities were given a certain degree of autonomy in managing matters related to their national culture, education, charity, and mutual aid, to the amount that was permitted by the law. To run their affairs, communities elected their representative bodies.

The so-called “honeymoon period”

The “honeymoon period” is referred to in the historiography of Lithuanian Jews as a short period of 1919–1922. Jews had ¬ministers as well as ¬representatives in Seimas. The Jewish Kahals (Jewish communities) received extensive privileges under the 1920 law to manage religious affairs, charitable work, social assistance, public education, and the preservation of civil status certificates.

Jewish organizations were very successful in accommodating thousands of Jews who had fled Soviet Russia during the period of the civil war there. Lithuanian Jews helped many to settle and find work, and to establish a vast network of educational, medical, charitable, social-assistance, and cultural institutions.

Unfortunately, the influence of Lithuanian liberal-democratic political forces was waning while right-wing parties were growing stronger like in most other European countries. The state’s recognition of Jewish national autonomy, which included all of its organs, was progressively reduced until it was abolished.

This also impacted how Jews were portrayed in Seimas and the usage of Yiddish in government institutions. The Minister for Jewish Affairs left the government in 1924. The Jewish National Council’s operations were outlawed. The Jewish communal Kahals were disbanded in March 1926. The rabbis were given control over civil registration duties.

Some numbers

  • In 1923, a population census was conducted in Lithuania, according to which 2.03 million people lived in the country. Of these, 154 thousand people were Jews. Litvaks lived in almost every town and many larger villages.
  • By 1939, the number of Jews in Lithuania had reached its peak of 210,000 due to immigration and the natural growth of the population.
  • From 91% to 95% of the Jews remaining at that time in the country (about 195 000 people) were killed during the Second World War. This figure is the highest Jewish loss of any nation during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, some Lithuanians influenced by Nazi propaganda also participated in these events. While at the same time some others were risking their lives by hiding and saving the victims.
  • Less than 25,000 Lithuanian Jews, were counted in the Soviet census of 1959 after the Shoah. The amount had decreased to 6,000 or less by 1993 mostly due to emigration to the USA and Israel. The community decreased further and as of 2011 had only about 3050 people.

Where do Litvaks live now?

The majority of Litvaks immigrated to the US, but 15,000 did so once gold and diamonds were discovered in South Africa. Although they were frequently listed as “miners” upon admission, they were mostly traders in items needed by miners.

Up to 75,000 Lithuanian Jews now live in South Africa. South African Litvaks are migrating into the primarily Anglophone countries.

There were 576 South African-born Jews living in Australia according to the Australian census of 2001; during the next five years, that number had increased by 2% yearly and reached 637. After 2006 immigration to Australia from South Africa increased significantly and according to the 2016 Australian census 12,092 persons identified as South African Jews.

Now the descendants of the emigrated Litvaks can get dual European citizenship

Many Litvaks living abroad have a right to restore the citizenship of their ancestors. In accordance with the Lithuanian Citizenship Law, the descendants of Lithuanian citizens before June 15, 1940, and who left the country before March 11, 1990, can acquire second citizenship without renouncing the main citizenship in their country of residence. This opens up a number of prospects and benefits for the holder of an EU passport.

Single Lithuanian citizenship is available to those whose ancestors left to the USSR unless they were deported (in which case they also can have dual citizenship).

If your family history allows you to apply for the status of a Lithuanian citizen, send an application and our managers and lawyers will explain to you in detail the process of obtaining second European citizenship.

A brief history of Lithuanian Americans

A brief history of Lithuanian Americans

Four waves of emigration from Lithuania have resulted in a rather impressive community of Lithuanian-Americans, whose size, according to some estimates, may be up to 1 million people.

It should be noted that in the historiography of Lithuania, only three major waves of emigration are considered. The division into four or five waves needs to be looked into in greater detail.

While the descendants of Lithuanian emigrants lead lives as full-fledged Americans, Brazilians, Australians, etc, their Lithuanian roots now allow many of them to obtain dual citizenship. In this way, not only do they get the additional benefits of an EU passport holder, but also maintain the connection with their historical roots – for themselves and future generations.

The First wave of emigration from Lithuania to the USA

The period between 1865 and 1915 marked the beginning of the first wave of migration. At the time, the Russian Empire, which had discriminating policies, was economically backward, and purposefully left Lithuania undeveloped, reigned over Lithuania.

The Lithuanian population in the Russian Empire succumbed to discrimination. The Lithuanian language was banned, Lithuanian youths could be taken into the army for 12 years, and people of Russian nationality were brought to Lithuania’s territory to change the population’s composition. Russians were also given priority when it came to hiring, and most large enterprises also did not belong to Lithuanians.

Thus, Lithuanians emigrated in significant numbers; some 700 000 left, and the majority went to the United States where American Lithuanians would work in the industries and mines to avoid discrimination and seek economic prospects.

Unfortunately, the descendants of the first wave of emigrants (before 1918) have no chance of obtaining Lithuanian citizenship as deemed by the legislation in force as of 2022.

The Second Wave – Lithuanian emigration between the first and second world wars

By the time of gaining its independence from the Russian Empire (February 16, 1918), the economic condition of Lithuania was in decline. This was mainly due to the consequences of the First World War and the destructive activities of the Russian Empire.

And even though Lithuania finally gained independence, it was the worsening economic factors that pushed its citizens to move to a country where they could earn money for their families.

In addition, a new phenomenon arose that helped drive the second wave of emigration as Lithuanians were provided with full support for the emigration process and actively advertised new opportunities in the new country.

The change of government in 1926, when right-wing forces came to power was also another factor that influenced the formation of the second wave of emigration. This was especially felt by the Litvaks.

As a result, after a slight slowdown after independence, emigration again became a mass phenomenon. During the second wave, about 100,000 citizens left Lithuania.

Almost 30,000 of them went to the US. More than 40,000 people emigrated to South America – mainly to Brazil, but also to places like Argentina and Uruguay. And up to 10,000 people emigrated to Canada during the second wave of emigration from Lithuania.

By 1930, mass emigration from Lithuania to the countries of America had stopped as a result of the Great Depression of 1929 in the USA.

The good news is that almost all the descendants of the second wave of Lithuanian emigrants have the opportunity to restore their Lithuanian citizenship and pass it on to their children. At the same time, they do not have to renounce their existing citizenship. This is truly a great opportunity that is not to be missed!

The Exiles – The Third Wave of emigration

The beginning of the Second World War for Lithuania was marked by a short-term occupation of the Soviet Union in 1940, then by Germany, and then again by the Soviet Union in 1944.

Although the first occupation by the Soviet Union was short-lived, it was very brutal. Hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians were expelled, and many were brutally killed. The Russian occupiers were distinguished by extreme cruelty as they committed terrible tortures.

The occupation by Germany led also led to the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Lithuanian Jews. While the local population of Lithuanian nationality suffered less from the German occupiers than from the Soviet ones, thousands of them were deported to concentration camps.

Hence, when the Soviet Union made its return to Lithuania in 1944, the Lithuanians knew what to expect. And those who could, left the country. Up to 100,000 Lithuanians left their homeland to escape the Soviet’s foreign rule.

Tens of thousands of Lithuanians were killed during the Soviet occupation. A lot of people were sent exiled. At least 350,000 Lithuanians were deported to Siberia and other troubled regions of the Soviet Union. 200,000 Lithuanian Poles were expelled to Poland, and over 150,000 Lithuanian Germans were expelled to Germany. Some of these exiles subsequently made their way to the United States.

In total, during the period from the beginning of the Soviet occupation until the death of Stalin, after which a certain thaw came, the population of Lithuania lost up to a million people – that’s a third of its population! For comparison, during the years of German occupation, losses only amounted to 250,000 people, mostly Lithuanian Jews.

The borders of the Soviet Union were closed. As such, there was no mass emigration but rather there was mass deportation – both within the Soviets and beyond.

The descendants of the generation of exiles, in most cases, also have the opportunity to regain their Lithuanian citizenship, retain their connection with their roots, and pass it on to their children.

The Fourth Wave of emigration

The Fourth or Modern wave started approximately in the 1990s and is still ongoing, gradually fading away.

This wave is considered to be the largest wave of Lithuanian emigration. As European Union membership allowed free emigration to Western Europe. Almost a million Lithuanians left their homeland looking for a job, but only a relatively small number went to the US.

This fourth wave has another feature. This group, who grew up in the Soviet Union, witnessed the decline of the economy and degradation, often do not see the prospects of Lithuania and wanted to break free from it. Even now in the comments on social networks you can see their opinion that Lithuania is a country without a future.

However, as Lithuania develops and becomes an advanced economy (and Lithuania is currently ranked 11th in the ease of doing business ranking), the flow of emigration from the country is declining.

In 2019, the number of immigrants exceeded the number of emigrants. At the same time, one can note not only the influx of foreigners into the country but also the increase in the number of Lithuanians returning to their homeland.

The current legislation does not provide for the possibility of obtaining dual citizenship for emigrants of this wave. But some of the new immigrants are assisted by their relatives 1-2 generations back, that left before 1940.

lithuanians in america

Facebook’s community for sharing the common experience

Probably, nobody knows exactly how many Lithuanians live in the USA. The largest Lithuanian community in the United States, with a population of up to 1 million, is surely comprised of the four waves of emigration from Lithuania.

There is the Facebook group “USA Lithuanians” where Lithuanian Americans can share their family stories and archived family photos. One can learn more about the home country’s past and exchange information with nearby descent. So many people will be able to see the history of their family. Additionally, through the group, one can also find friends and like-minded people, organize a joint celebration of national holidays.

The renewal of Lithuanian passport in the USA

The renewal of a Lithuanian passport in the USA is firstly a question of freedom of choice. The underlying motivation for renewing a passport is not for traveling but first and foremost – for an opportunity to reconnect with the homeland of ancestors. The opportunity to pass on European citizenship to one’s children also plays a big part in making this choice. The second motivation is to live and work in Europe. The Lithuanian passport provides visa-free access to 185 countries. Thus, the renewal of it has a great number of advantages.

Each interested person is able to renew the Lithuanian passport in the USA. For the renewal or issuance of a dual Lithuanian passport, each applicant must collect the required package of documents and translate them into Lithuanian. If any documents are missing, they must be searched in the archives.

Going through the whole process on your own, without having the relevant experience, can be quite difficult. By contacting us, you entrust your business to professionals – the percentage of successful filing for the restoration of Lithuanian citizenship with us is more than 99%. After studying your dossier and collecting a package of documents, we can guarantee you the successful completion of the procedure.

We thank Ari Kleit for providing the photo of his father and grandfather

Should you consider immigration to Lithuania?

Should you consider immigration to Lithuania?

Are you looking for the perfect place to plan your future? If you want pristine nature, a strong economy, and endless opportunities, you should consider immigration to Lithuania.

Lithuania is a small Baltic country with a lot to offer. Thanks to its EU membership and bright outlook, it has become a popular destination for young professionals, entrepreneurs, and families.

Nowadays, many countries have lost their identity and sense of community in search of financial success. Balanced living, dreaming, and raising a family are becoming harder.

Living in Lithuania is different. Despite a thriving, business-friendly economy, this country is deeply rooted in its rich history and provides real opportunities to those who choose it as their home.

Immigration to Lithuania brings you and your loved ones many benefits. Continue reading to find out how you can make them yours.

Presenting Lithuania: the gem of the Baltic

The Republic of Lithuania, the southernmost of the three Baltic States, is a land of ancient forests (covering about one-third of the country), picturesque lakes, and rolling hills. Above all, it is a land of proud, hospitable people.

Lithuania has a promising economy and excellent standards of living. The country is also very affordable, with a significantly lower cost of living than other EU countries. It is a great place to live and work and an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads and expats.

The country has a storied history (with archaeological finds dating back to Prehistoric times) and folk traditions that are very much alive. Lithuania’s cultural scene is thriving, with many festivals throughout the year.

5 Reasons to consider immigration to Lithuania

If you are looking for a country to call home, Lithuania is definitely worth a top spot. Here are five eye-opening reasons why you should consider moving to Lithuania.

1. Lithuania is part of the European Union

untitled design 1

Because Lithuania has been a member of the EU since 2004, moving there gives you all the benefits of living in this politically and economically stable region.

As a legal resident or citizen of Lithuania, you will have the right to work, study, and travel within the block with minimal hassle. You also will have access to free, world-class healthcare and social security.

If you plan to work or start your own business, being part of the EU is an advantage. You get a large consumer market with no customs and a business-friendly tax system.

2. Lithuania gives you high standards of living

Lithuania consistently rates high in quality of life. The Baltic country boasts access to nature, low pollution levels, excellent healthcare, and a high standard of living— all at a lower cost than other Western European countries.

With a solid social security system, low unemployment, and a bright future, Lithuania ranks high in both the Human Development Index and Happiness Index. Safety and a stable foundation for your future make Lithuania a great place to live.

3. The Lithuanian economy is booming

untitled design 2

Lithuania’s economy is solid, with a promising outlook and many benefits for citizens and residents. Lithuania’s GDP and average salaries are steadily growing while unemployment levels decrease. It is easy to find a job that allows you to thrive.

The country also provides incentives and supportive tax rates for companies— especially startups. Doing business in Lithuania is easier than in many other affluent countries such as Australia, Germany, the UAE, Canada, and Japan. Starting your own company or investing in Lithuania is sure to bring you benefits.

4. Lithuania’s education is an excellent foundation for your future

Education in Lithuania is compulsory and free until the secondary level. Later, Lithuanian universities provide excellent courses to Lithuanian and EU citizens (free) and non-EU citizens (at a very moderate cost).

If you are a long-term resident or a citizen of Lithuania, it is easier to access excellent educational institutions in other EU countries. Often, you can study there for free or at reduced rates.

Studying in the EU gives you many advantages: it gives you a cutting-edge education, makes you attractive to employers, and provides immediate job opportunities. And if you decide to start a family, your children will also enjoy all these benefits.

5. Lithuanian culture and history are thriving

Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuanians have been working to preserve the nation’s unique culture and traditions. From traditional folk music and dance to delicious Lithuanian cuisine, there is much to enjoy about Lithuanian culture.

The Lithuanian community is also very close-knit, with people helping their neighbors in times of need. If you become a Lithuanian resident or citizen, you will enjoy and keep alive all of these longstanding aspects of Lithuanian culture.

Who can begin immigration to Lithuania?

Because Lithuania is a member of the European Union, EU citizens have the right to live and work in the country. Non-EU citizens can also obtain a residence permit for Lithuania, but the process is more complicated.

Non-EU nationals need a residence permit to move to Lithuania: an official document that verifies your reasons for being in the country and allows you to stay for a time (initially 2 years or less).

You will need to prove you have the means to sustain yourself and a valid reason to be in Lithuania. For example, a proven study track, a job contract, or marriage to a Lithuanian citizen. And when your permit expires, you will have to go through the process again.

But if you are eligible for Lithuanian citizenship, you can skip all this trouble and live in Lithuania permanently

Can you obtain Lithuanian citizenship?

To become a Lithuanian citizen and start your immigration to Lithuania with minimal paperwork, you need to meet the eligibility criteria:

  • An ancestor (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent) who was a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania before 1940.
  • Proof that your ancestor left the country before Lithuania’s reassertion of independence in 1990.
  • Proof that they did not become a citizen of another country— or that they did so only after 1940.

If you are ready to start the process of immigration to Lithuania and want to know your best options, write to us. We provide a free assessment to evaluate your eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship and help you make your dreams a reality.

5 ways an EU residence permit benefits your future

5 ways an EU residence permit benefits your future

Moving abroad brings many unknown variables, but this is certain: having an EU residence permit benefits your future.

Do you like to travel but want a long-term solution? Are you looking for a base that helps you achieve your goals? If you are ready to create a rewarding roadmap for your life, career, and travel goals, you should look into an EU residence permit.

Europe is a dream for many travelers, professionals, students, and entrepreneurs. But it is not easily accessible— unless you have a residence permit.

What is an EU residence permit?

A residence permit is an authorization issued by the authorities of a country that allows a person to reside in that country for a specific period.

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership between 28 European countries. These have a shared currency as well as agreements in law, customs, and borders.

When you have a long-term EU residence permit, you have the right to live, travel, study, work, own property, start a business, and retire in any country within the block.

Two types of permits allow you to live in the EU: temporary and long-term. A temporary permit requires you to prove a reason to move to the country (such as a job, an investment, or a study course) and a means of supporting yourself. It lasts 1 to 5 years, after which you need to renew it.

You become eligible for a permanent or long-term residence permit after 3 to 8 years of temporary residence and lasts 10 to 20 years or more. This permit gives you rights almost equal to a citizen and makes it easier to move to other EU countries. In some cases, it might make you eligible for citizenship.

Disclaimer: it is a good idea to check the residence laws of your destination country, as these may vary within the EU.

5 benefits of an EU residence permit for your future

Having a residence permit brings you many tangible benefits and provides more security for your future:

1. An EU residence permit broadens your horizons

Not sure what you want to do quite yet? That is fine: a long-term residence permit gives you the freedom to live and work in any country within the European Union. This allows you to experience different cultures, meet new people, and forge your own path.

As a legal resident of the EU, your options become a lot more open. You can now access exceptional academic institutions, find a fulfilling career— even start a business or family in a safe, stable country.

You get the security of living in a stable and prosperous region. The European Union has a very high standard of living, which gives you the peace of mind to chart your own course.

2. You can study in prestigious universities

A residence permit gives you access to the best universities in Europe. Highly sought-after by students from all over the world, these institutions offer a rich history, academic excellence, and brilliant career prospects. In many cases, they are free for residents.

cambridge 2260269 960 720

Being an EU resident might also provide more financial aid opportunities to make your studies easy and debt-free. Overall, it gives you an edge: a world-class education that is accessible and attractive to employers.

3. You can start a successful business or career

As a European resident, you can get a high-paying job at one of the many industry-leading companies in the Union. In the long term, you can even move to a different EU country to pursue your dream career.

With a residence permit, you can also start your own business. Thanks to a large consumer market, financial incentives, and favorable tax laws, many European countries (such as Lithuania) are the ideal base for your company.

4. An EU residence permit gives you a safety net

In a changing world, it is comforting to know that you are safe. With a long-term residence permit, you can live and work in any country in the EU.

Even if you lose your job, you have the right to social security and unemployment benefits. You also get the right to access the country’s healthcare system just like a citizen. These systems are always excellent and often free.

A permit allows you to live and enjoy the benefits of the European Union without worry. It gives you the safety you need to plan your life or start a family

5. A residence permit allows you to seek citizenship

The European Union offers many advantages to its citizens, including the right to be politically active, live, and work in any member state with minimal paperwork. A European passport grants you consular assistance and visa-free travel all around the world.

If you have had an EU residence permit for a long time, you might also have the right to seek citizenship. As a citizen, you belong to the country without fear of permit revocation, you can travel abroad for a long time, and pass citizenship to your future children.

Save time: EU residence permit or citizenship?

An EU residence allows a non-EU national to live, study, and work in an EU member state. In the long run, you can move to different EU countries.

In contrast, EU citizenship gives you the right to live, study, work, start a business, own property, or retire in any EU member state. As a citizen, you can also vote in European elections.

Many EU countries (such as Portugal, Germany, and Spain) allow you to apply for citizenship after some time as a resident— this is often a 10-year period.

However, there might be an easier path to citizenship for you if you meet only a few essential requirements.

lithuania 4776477 960 720

Are you eligible for Lithuanian citizenship?

Becoming a Lithuanian citizen gives you all the advantages of access, stability, opportunities, and peace of mind— but without the wait and hassle of a residence permit.

To be eligible for Lithuanian citizenship, you need to have:

  • Lithuanian ancestors (parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent).
  • Proof that your ancestor left Lithuania before 1990.
  • Evidence that your ancestor was never naturalized as a citizen of another country. Alternatively, they were naturalized only after 1940.
  • Proof of your family link to this ancestor.

With an EU residence permit or citizenship, living in Europe broadens your horizons and makes your dream life possible. Get a free assessment of your eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship— make your goals a reality today.

Don’t miss this opportunity! You won’t forgive yourself if you do

Don’t miss this opportunity! You won’t forgive yourself if you do

You have probably already looked at the page about the benefits of dual EU citizenship that you can get due to your Lithuanian roots. But now we want to talk about something else.

The main idea that we want to convey to you is why you should start the process of restoring Lithuanian citizenship (dual citizenship) right now. And you should do it not only for yourself – for your children!

Most of the people who contact us say that they want to reconnect with their historical homeland.

Within each of us there is something that we call the soul. And for many of us, the soul has deep wounds that are not forgotten and are not healed by time. They can remind you of themselves at any opportunity – for example, when you saw some reminder of the source of your emotional trauma in the line of news. Or they can remind you of themselves in your last moments – like that most essential thing in life that you never did.

The blood of your ancestors flows into you

Today Lithuania attracts visitors with its calm and prosperous lifestyle in a country with a growing economy, good ecology, and high social development.

But it wasn’t always like that. Many, many years ago, your ancestors left Lithuania in search of a better life for their families, and their future descendants. Or simply from the need to save their lives and members of their families.

They had to rebuild their lives, learn a new and strange language, and grow used to an existence far from their homes. Most Lithuanians who had to flee their country during three waves of emigration suffered and toiled.

lithuanian family

photos courtesy of Beth Malasky (Mikalauskas family)

Perhaps, you might have heard their stories from your grandparents or great-grandparents.

And this was done to give their family and descendants a better, more prosperous life. But the pain of leaving Lithuania always remained buried inside. It was impossible to sever the connection to their true essence— they carried their homeland in their hearts for the rest of their lives.

And now their descendants, although enjoying the freedom found in a new country, bear an open wound that refuses to heal.

That impossible longing you’ve felt for something you can’t quite describe? That’s a piece of Lithuania calling you still, a thin thread of connection calling you back to your true homeland after all this time.

Do you know about the three-generation rule?

You might still be able to regain the Lithuanian citizenship your family had to give up for your sake. Without giving up your existing citizenship, and even without having to actually move. And thus heal your spiritual wound.

But do you know about the rule of three generations?

The three-generation rule means that you can get Lithuanian citizenship if you have an ancestor that had Lithuanian citizenship three generations back. It can be one of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents.

Miss this opportunity and you will lose it forever. Not only for yourself but also for your children!

Do you know what is the worst thing that can happen? If one day your child says to you:

“Well, why didn’t you do this? Why did you cut me from my roots? “

After all the hardships that your ancestors endured, you are allowed to restore the thread of connection with the homeland of your ancestors. And to refuse it, referring to the lack of time or money, is a crime to your children!

Sounds too harsh? But it is true!

Believe me, it was not easy for your ancestors. For many of them it was a matter of survival. They were forced to suffer in many ways, work at low-paid jobs, save on food.

There are things in this life that are worth more than just money.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, if you meet the three-generation rule, then restoring your Lithuanian citizenship is a duty for you. This is the duty not only to yourself, but it is also a duty to your children!

We all strive to make the lives of our children better. Dual Lithuanian citizenship will give your children the opportunity to live, work, study and travel in Europe freely, as its citizen.

But most importantly, it will allow them to have a connection to their roots!

Don’t deprive them of this opportunity!

The Economy of Lithuania: Information for Investors

The Economy of Lithuania: Information for Investors

Investing in Lithuania is getting more attractive by the hour. If you plan to start a business in Lithuania, you are making a savvy, timely decision.

This Baltic country has had one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe for the past few years, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The main reasons for Lithuania’s success are its highly educated workforce, favorable business environment, and strategic location.

Even after the crisis caused by the pandemic, the Lithuanian economy has boomed back and looks promising. Investment or entrepreneurship in Lithuania also provides all the advantages of doing business in the stable EU block.

Continue reading to discover a complete Lithuanian economy overview and the reasons why foreign direct investment in Lithuania is a wise decision.

GDP in Lithuania

The GDP or Gross Domestic Product measures the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given year and bought by users. It is an essential measure of the size and health of that country’s economy.

There are two definitions of GDP – nominal and real. Nominal GDP is the volume of GDP in prices of the period under review. It depends on the market price and can rise even if production remains at the same level (for example, during inflation). Real GDP – reflects the change in production volumes and is calculated in the prices of the previous period.

Lithuania’s Gross Domestic Product has been following a long-term growth trend despite the obstacles presented by the global pandemic.

In 2019, the Lithuanian GDP was 54.7 billion USD, rose to 56.55 billion in 2020, only to grow even more in 2021 and reach a total of 65.5 billion.

The current GDP in Lithuania is expected to grow by 1.9% in 2022.

gdp lithuania

GDP per capita Lithuania

An important indicator of the economic condition of the country is also GDP per capita. This index measures the total Lithuanian GDP and divides it by the country’s population, indicating the standard of living.

The GDP per capita in Lithuania is USD 18072 (measured at the end of 2021), showing growth from the previous total of USD 17213 in 2020.

Another important linked index is the GDP per capita PPP. It evaluates the purchasing power of the GDP per capita in the country and helps compare living standards between nations.

With a USD 38956 in GDP per capita PPP, Lithuania is in 44th place worldwide, more than doubling the international average.

Additionally, according to the Human Development Index, Lithuania is in the very high development category. Placed 34th globally with 0.882 points, the Baltic country has excellent education and healthcare systems, high income per capita, and high life expectancy.

lithuania gdp per capita

Inflation rate in Lithuania

The national inflation rate measures how much prices change over time. It is a crucial metric for investors to observe as it indicates how stable the country is, how much purchasing power the currency has, and how the investments will fare in the long run.

Lithuania’s annual inflation rate in 2021 was 4.68%— lower than the US rate at 4.70%. However, 2022 is a year of a global increase in inflation. This means that Lithuania’s inflation rate is rising on par with the other countries belonging to the EU.

The unemployment rate in Lithuania

The unemployment rate indicates the percentage of unemployed individuals in a country. Keep an eye on it: a high unemployment rate might point to few opportunities for investment while low unemployment shows a thriving economy.

After an all-time low of 5.8% in 2018, Lithuania’s unemployment rate rose slightly, reaching 9.6% in 2021 during the pandemic. Today, it is at a lower 7%.

unemployment rate lithuania

Competitiveness of the Lithuanian economy

The Global Competitiveness Index shows the extent to which a country’s economy can generate goods and services that compete internationally.

The World Economic Forum measures factors such as infrastructure and technology, education, healthcare, the labor market, political stability, ease of doing business, and innovation.

The last global report places Lithuania in 40th place worldwide with a 68.35 competitiveness index. This means Lithuania can produce goods and services at a lower cost than most countries, making it an attractive destination to investors.

According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Lithuania’s 2017 reforms were beneficial for its competitiveness. The effects encompass more sustainability in public finances and swifter, more inclusive growth.

As an investor, you also need to consider a country’s Sovereign Credit Rating— how worthy of credit and investment a country is. This depends on factors like the government’s and economy’s stability, the nation’s debt burden, and the risk of investing. Lithuania’s credit rating is A (high), with a stable outlook for investment.

Ease of doing business in Lithuania

A country’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report indicates how favorable the overall business environment is to companies, investors, and entrepreneurs.

The factors measured encompass the simplicity of business regulations, permits, and taxation, as well as the protection of property rights.  If a country’s ranking is high, investors can be confident that businesses will operate efficiently.

Lithuania’s ranking makes it 11th in the world with a total score of 81.6, above big players like the UAE, Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

The report identifies specific business advantages in Lithuania— ease of getting electricity for plants in Lithuania and legislation that protects minority investors.

Imports and exports of Lithuania

Exports of goods by Lithuanian companies amount to an annual total of $33.3B in 2020. The main products are refined petroleum, furniture, wheat, rolled tobacco, and laboratory reagents. Lithuanian brands export services for $13.7B. The leading industries are transportation, travel, construction services, and government services.

Lithuania’s annual imports of goods encompass mainly crude petroleum, cars, medicaments, and broadcasting equipment and rise to $31.5B. Service imports for $8.5B include transportation, travel, and construction services. Lithuania’s global ranking as an importer is 61st.

In 2020, Lithuania exported goods and services for a total of $47B, making it the 58th largest exporter in the world. Its ranking is increasing, as are the benefits of being part of the EU and of operating in Lithuanian ports on the Baltic.

The most important trading partners for “made in Lithuania” products are Russia, Latvia, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands. Thanks to a central and coastal location and its membership in the EU block, there are ample opportunities for growth in international trade.

The imports and exports of Lithuania determine that, overall, Lithuania’s trade balance is at a surplus. This means the Lithuanian economy is solid.

The average salary in Lithuania

Average salaries are crucial information for investors because they can predict future demand for a company’s products or services. If average salaries increase, consumer spending will also increase, which can benefit the economy and your business.

Lithuania’s average salary was €1289 in 2019 and, in 2022, it has increased to €1789.9. This steadily rising trend predicts that in Lithuania, average wages will allow consumers to spend more and benefit businesses.

The minimum wage in Lithuania

The minimum wage in a country provides insight into the standard of living and overall prosperity. While higher minimum wages increase your company’s costs, they also mean that consumers have more disposable income to spend on your products.

In the third quarter of 2022, the minimum wage in Lithuania is €4.47 per hour and €730 per month. These numbers have risen significantly from a monthly minimum of €380  in 2018, pointing to the stability and growth of Lithuania’s economic system.

Taxes in Lithuania

Investors and entrepreneurs need to understand the taxation system of a country to make informed decisions. Lithuania’s taxes are famously favorable to business creation.

The relevant taxes in Lithuania include:

  • Corporate income tax: This tax is imposed on the net income of a corporation generated within a fiscal year. It is levied from the worldwide income of Lithuanian companies, permanently established companies, and non-resident companies. The corporate income tax in Lithuania is 15% for most companies, but there are reductions to 5% for agricultural and small companies. During their first fiscal year, startups pay 0% corporate income tax up to €300.000. There are other exemptions for closely held companies.
  • Personal income tax: this is levied on residents and some non-resident investors (only from the sum acquired from doing business in Lithuania). There is a threshold: the minimum non-taxable income is €300. Over time, the personal income tax is on a downward trend.
  • Social insurance contributions: a company must pay a percentage of every employee’s income pre-taxation towards social security. The system mandates a contribution of upwards of 30.7%.
  • Excise duty: certain imports to be sold in Lithuania (such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and energy products) are subject to additional taxation.

The system of taxes in Lithuania is designed to be beneficial to investors and promote development. It is highly stable and provides accessible tax treaties for foreign investors.

Conclusions on the state of the Lithuanian economy

If you want to invest or start a business in Lithuania, this is the time to act. The economy of Lithuania is stable, growing, and welcoming to new Lithuanian companies. The country is also very business-friendly, with a simple and efficient regulatory environment.

Lithuania is a promising destination for entrepreneurs and investors looking for a European base for their business. This Baltic country offers a great location with access to the EU marketplace, a highly skilled workforce, a supportive business environment, and a good investment outlook.