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Unlikely that referendum on dual citizenship in Lithuania will be successful

Unlikely that referendum on dual citizenship in Lithuania will be successful

Latest poll indicate that, most likely, number of voters voting in favor of changing the Constitution of Lithuania to allow dual and multiple citizenships will not be sufficient.

Currently, there are about 2.5 million Lithuanian citizens that have a right to vote. In order to change the Constitution of Lithuania, more than half of them (i.e. about 1.25 million) have to vote in favor of a new proposal.

Results of a poll ordered by Vilnius Institute for Policy show that even 74% of respondents plan to vote in an upcoming referendum. This turnover would be very high for Lithuania and can be explained that the first round of presidential elections and two referendums are held on the same day.

62.6% of those who plan to vote in an upcoming referendum said that they will vote in favor of dual citizenship, while 37.4% plan to vote against the change of the Constitution.

However, in spite of the majority of voters planning to vote in favor, their number, most likely, will not be sufficient to change the Constitution. Results of the poll indicate that about 1.15 million of the voters will vote in favor of changing the Constitution, however 1.25 million or more votes are needed in order to change it.

The referendum to change the Constitution in order to allow Lithuanian citizens also to be citizens of other countries will be held on May 12th, 2019.

Currently, the Constitution states that Lithuanian citizenship is acquired by birth except in certain cases established by law and that no person may be a citizen of Lithuania and another country or state at the same time, except in special cases. This provision of the Constitution can only be changed by a referendum.

A number of people were able to successfully get dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent, which is considered to be an exception and allowed by the Constitution.

Many Lithuanians who live abroad anticipate this change of the Constitution. Emigration was one of the main reasons why the population in Lithuania decreased from 3.7 million people in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2017. Many Lithuanians living abroad want to keep their Lithuanian citizenship even if they acquire citizenship of another country. However, currently, it is not allowed by the Constitution.

The Constitutional amendment by referendum also would allow finalizing the Law on Citizenship of Lithuania so that it would allow more people of Lithuanian descent restore their dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent.

For legal advice on acquiring Lithuanian citizenship by descent, please visit our Contacts page or send an email to [email protected].

Is it possible to get Lithuanian citizenship as your third or fourth citizenship?

Is it possible to get Lithuanian citizenship as your third or fourth citizenship?

Lithuania accepts multiple citizenship and there is no problem with having simultaneously three or four citizenships and passports.

Back in June, the Lithuanian Parliament amended the Citizenship law allowing descendants of Lithuanian citizens that left before 1940 to get Dual Lithuanian citizenship. The law change increased the number of applicants and people get interested in obtaining dual Lithuanian citizenship. At the same time our team at LithuanianCitizenship.com sometimes gets inquiries from people who want to find out whether they can obtain Lithuanian citizenship if they are already citizens of another two or three countries.

A question from one of our recent clients:

“You mention we are allowed dual citizenship. Since we currently have two citizenships (Colombia – birthplace, and USA – naturalized), would we need to renounce one of them? Does it have to be a specific one?”

Answer: It is not a problem if you already have two citizenships. You can get Lithuanian Citizenship as well without renouncing any of the citizenships that you have.

Lithuanian law views dual and multiple nationals in the same way as those who have only Lithuanian citizenship. If a Lithuanian citizen also has the citizenship of another state, the Lithuanian authorities will consider that person to be a Lithuanian citizen both in Lithuania and abroad. The authorities of other states, however, do not necessarily consider that person to be a Lithuanian citizen, because not all states accept multiple nationality in the same manner as Lithuanian law does.

Some European countries, for example, prohibit their citizens to have two and more citizenships. Among them are Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, Monaco, and some others that do not acknowledge dual citizenship. For example, when acquiring German citizenship, the applicants are required not only to provide an application for renouncing their previous citizenship but to provide a document proving that renunciation has already taken place. When obtaining Danish citizenship, it is also necessary to renounce your native citizenship.

Many other countries (e.g., Canada, The USA, The UK, Brazil, South Africa, Israel, Ireland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Switzerland, and some others) allow their citizens or nationals to have two or more citizenships. Multiple citizenship is a direct and natural consequence of globalization. Relocation of people lead to mixed marriages and one individual can hold two, three, and sometimes even more citizenships and passports.

Having Lithuanian citizenship will provide you with numbers of benefits.  If you have Lithuanian ancestors you might be eligible for dual Lithuanian citizenship. Contact us today to find out more.[:]

Constitutional Court of Lithuania: Reduced chances of successful dual citizenship referendum

Constitutional Court of Lithuania: Reduced chances of successful dual citizenship referendum

The Constitutional Court’s ruling reduced chances of successful dual citizenship referendum in Lithuania

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – February 15, 2019

The Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that a referendum to change an article of Lithuania’s constitution cannot be held on two separate days. This decision reduced the chances of adopting the necessary constitutional amendment to allow Lithuanian dual citizenship for more people.

For the dual citizenship referendum to happen, the greater part of qualified voters, or around 1.3 million individuals, need to cast a vote in support for it.

Most analysts agree that the majority of the voters would vote in favour of allowing dual Lithuanian citizenship for more people. However, the main concern of the proponents of the referendum is that it might be considered invalid, because of an insufficient number of votes. The Seimas tried to increase the chances of a successful referendum by allowing voters to vote on two separate days together with presidential elections in May.

Viktoras Pranckietis, the Lithuanian Seimas Speaker says to BNS Lithuania that: “I believe it reduces the chances of that referendum taking place as the requirements are very high”

In his own words, it is essential to encourage voters to come, cast a vote, and to explain why it is important.

“We are now in a situation where we no longer can do anything as we have used our all resources,” said the parliamentary speaker.

Pranckietis trusts that the dual citizenship referendum should happen on May 12, side by side with the first round of casting a ballot in the presidential election.

The Seimas of Lithuania will have to adopt a new resolution regarding the referendum.

Dual citizenship referendum to be held during presidential election in 2019

Dual citizenship referendum to be held during presidential election in 2019

On October 18, the parliament of Lithuania decided to hold a referendum to applicants for dual citizenship could not obtain it anymore due to sudden changes in the interpretation of the constitution and citizenship laws.

This change in the constitution is necessitated by a large number of Lithuanians living abroad. Emigration was one of the main reasons why the population in Lithuania decreased from 3.7 million people in 1990 to 2.8 million in 2017. Many Lithuanians living abroad want to keep their Lithuanian citizenship even if they acquire citizenship of another country because of the benefits they can get from being a citizen of an EU member state. But this is currently not allowed by the constitution.

Amending the constitution would allow finalizing the Law on Citizenship of Lithuania so that it would not contradict the constitution anymore as more people restore their dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent.

For legal advice on acquiring Lithuanian citizenship by descent, please visit our Contacts page or send an email to [email protected].

P.S. Unfortunately, this referendum could not improve the situation – the number of those who took part in the voting turned out to be less than 50%, although their votes were positive. Perhaps a referendum vote in 2024 will provide an opportunity for nearly a million Lithuanians to reconnect with their homeland.

Proposed Amendments submitted to Citizenship Law of Lithuania

Proposed Amendments submitted to Citizenship Law of Lithuania

According to the recent change of interpretation of Lithuanian Citizenship Law in November 2017 (due to a recent court decision that set a precedent and changed how the Migration Department processes the applications), fewer people can get dual Lithuanian citizenship. You can read about the court decision and its ramifications in our earlier article.

However, a proposal has already been submitted in Parliament of Lithuania to change the law, so it is likely that the interpretation of the law will be the same as it was a month ago.

The amendment was prepared by 4 members of parliament including two former Prime ministers A.Kubilius and G.Kirkilas.

The proposed amendment should change the law so that Lithuanian citizenship can be restored to a person whose ancestors had the citizenship at the time when they left the Republic of Lithuania and/or had Lithuanian citizenship at any time before 15th of June, 1940, but not necessarily had it until 1940.

In the amendment document Members of Parliament noted that after the amendment is passed the number of applications can increase significantly, as a result adversely affecting a workload of Migration Department. Based on the experience of www.lithuaniancitizeship.com, currently, processing of many citizenship applications is delayed due to insufficient capacity of Migration Department.

If you have Lithuanian ancestors and wish to get Lithuanian citizenship, please contact us.

Interpretation of Lithuanian Citizenship Law changed – dual citizenship is available for less applicants

Interpretation of Lithuanian Citizenship Law changed – dual citizenship is available for less applicants

According to recent change of interpretation of Lithuanian Citizenship Law (due to a recent court decision that set a precedent and changed how Migration Department processes the applications) less people can get Dual Lithuanian citizenship.

If at least one of applicant’s Lithuanian ancestor (parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents) had Lithuanian citizenship but lost it before 15th of June 1940 – the applicant still has a possibility of obtaining Lithuanian citizenship, but it would be a single one (which means that they would have to give up to their current citizenship in order to obtain Lithuanian citizenship). Usually, it is considered that the person lost Lithuanian citizenship at the moment when they obtained citizenship of another country. Therefore, if applicant’s Lithuanian ancestor obtained citizenship of another country before 15th of June 1940, then they can obtain only Lithuanian single citizenship. If they obtained citizenship of another country after 15th of June 1940, then an applicant should still be eligible for dual citizenship, just as before. Please note that Lithuania reverted to issuing only single citizenships only in November of 2017 and we expect that the law will be changed so that dual citizenship is available instead of single as before.

Probably this change of the interpretation of the law is temporary since it was completely unintended when the parliament was making an amendment to Lithuanian Citizenship Law. The citizenship law was changed more than a year ago specifically to allow dual citizenship to everyone whose ancestors had Lithuanian citizenship, regardless of when they left (as long as it was before 1990 and they did not emigrate to former USSR countries). For applicants from USA, Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa the amendment almost eliminated situations when people were asked to renounce their current citizenship. However, due to not very well formulated wording by Lithuanian Parliament the court decided that the law means that dual citizenship can be obtained if applicant’s ancestor had Lithuanian citizenship on 15th of June, 1940, as apposed to any time before 15th of June, 1940. Therefore, it is quite likely that parliament will decide to make another amendment in order to corrected this situation and allow dual citizenship to most of the applicants just as it was before November, 2017. However, it might take months at best, and a few years in the worst case scenario.

You can get a dual Lithuanian citizenship if at least one of your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were Lithuanian citizens оn 15th of June 1940 and left Lithuania some time before 1990.

If you have Lithuanian ancestors and are thinking to obtain citizenship of this EU country it might be worth doing it earlier, rather than risking to miss this opportunity. There is a tendency for the application processing time to increase and the process to become more difficult and more expensive with time. Lithuanian Citizenship Law changed multiple times during Lithuania’s independence and will change in future, however once the citizenship is granted it cannot be taken away even if the law changes later.