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A brief history of Lithuanian migration to the US

A brief history of Lithuanian migration to the US

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.

While 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.

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.

In addition, the Lithuanians in the Russian Empire were often discriminated against and assimilated. The Lithuanian language was banned, Lithuanian youths could be drafted into the army for 12 years, and colonists from Russia were brought to Lithuania in order to faster assimilate the local population. Russians were also given priority when it came to hiring, and most large enterprises did not belong to Lithuanians.

Thus, during that period 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 at home and seek better economic prospects.

Unfortunately, the descendants of the first wave of emigrants (those who left before 1918) are not eligible for Lithuanian citizenship since their ancestors left from the Russian empire and never had Lithuanian citizenship.

The Second Wave – Lithuanian emigration between the First and the Second World Wars

At the time of gaining its independence from the Russian Empire (February 16, 1918), the economy of Lithuania was very weak. This was mainly due to the consequences of the First World War and the destructive activities of both the Russian Empire and Germany.

Therefore even though Lithuania finally gained independence, it was the worsening economy that forced its citizens to emigrate to the 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 a nationalist dictatorship took over the government was an additional factor that forced some people to emigrate. This was especially true for the Litvaks.

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

Almost 30,000 of emigrants 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 emigrated to Canada during the second wave of emigration from Lithuania.

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

The good news is that most of 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 currently-held 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 by the Soviet Union in 1940, followed by the occupation 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. Thousands of Lithuanians were exiled, and many were tortured and brutally murdered.

The occupation by Germany led to the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Lithuanian Jews. While ethnic Lithuanians suffered less from the German occupiers than from the Soviet ones, thousands of them were deported to concentration camps and forced labor in Germany.

Hence, when the Soviets were returning 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 Soviets.

Tens of thousands of Lithuanians were killed during the Soviet occupation. A lot of people were deported. At least 350,000 Lithuanians were deported to Siberia and other harsh regions of the Soviet Union. 200,000 Lithuanian Poles were expelled to Poland, and over 150,000 Lithuanian Germans were expelled or fled 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, Lithuania lost close to a million inhabitants – that’s a third of its population!

During the Soviet occupation the borders of the Soviet Union were closed. As such, there was no mass emigration (but rather mass deportation, especially during the first decade of the occupation).

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 continuing, even though it is gradually slowing down.

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 or to study abroad. However, only a relatively small number went to the US since 1990.

This fourth wave has another feature. This group, who grew up in the Soviet Union and witnessed the collapse of its economy, often did not see the prospects of Lithuania and wanted to leave for a more prosperous country. 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 steadily 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.

Unfortunately, the current legislation does not provide allow for obtaining dual citizenship for emigrants of this wave. Perhaps they will have such an opportunity if the vote in the referendum in 2024 is successful.

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 alone, without relevant experience, can be quite difficult. By contacting us, you entrust your business to professionals – the percentage of successful filing for restoring 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

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!

Why the Lithuanian passport is climbing the new global ranking

Why the Lithuanian passport is climbing the new global ranking

Lithuanian passport issued to Lithuanian citizens by the Republic of Lithuania is the official document that lets you travel to over 128 countries. If you’re a traveler, you want the freedom to globe-trot, and you happen to have Lithuanian descent, you can easily get your Lithuanian passport. Since 2021 has not been kind to travelers, you might be making plans for a brighter future— can getting a Lithuanian passport gives an edge to your travel plans?

Vilnius old town August 2015 9

The world is changing, a pandemic has ravaged the globe, and there have been many restrictions to travel. More and more countries. How can you get a better strategy or be ready to make the best of a constantly changing international scenario?

Whether you’re a full-time digital nomad, a would-be migrant, or just an avid explorer in search of new horizons, if you’ve got the chance to restore your Lithuanian citizenship, you’ve hit the traveler’s jackpot.

Recently updated Passport Index ranks Lithuanian passport as one of the strongest in the world (4th, to be more precise)— but what benefits does it offer you? And can you get one?

Why you should get your Lithuanian passport

The Lithuanian passport is powerful, with a score that places it in 4th place in the global rank (tied with other strong passports like Denmark, Iceland, and the UK). With a high mobility score, it gives you the right to travel easily, without frustrating delays, forms, and hefty fees, to up to 128 countries.

This shows growth since the previous year when the Lithuanian passport was in a lower, less mobile ranking position. It is gaining strength over time and becoming even more of a travel asset than before.

The Lithuanian passport ranks higher (and gives you more mobility and ease of travel) than even the US, Canada, Estonia, and South Africa passports.

While the Covid-19 pandemic complicated travel scores because of shutdowns and restrictions, the Lithuanian passport is well-prepared to make the most of the situation and continue growing once the pandemic is over. With this passport, you’ll be able to travel around the world again very soon.

What are the tangible advantages of traveling with a Lithuanian passport? They’re many and very compelling:

  1. The number of countries you can travel to visa-free: 93. This means you don’t need any visa (neither prior nor on arrival) and can access the country without any bureaucratic bothers. This category includes enticing destinations such as Mexico, the UK, Morocco, and the entirety of the European Union.
  2. The number of countries with visa-on-arrival arrangements: 35. When you arrive at these destinations, you’ll be required to go to an immigration desk and get a visa stamp or attachment on your passport. This means less time and headaches than getting a regular visa before traveling.
  3. Simple 90-days, 3-month, and 6- month stays in many countries in the period of half a year or a year. This gives you a lot of flexibility to alter and combine your travel plans as you see best.

Overall, having a Lithuanian passport allows you to explore a simpler travel style with less time devoted to administrative hassles. It also helps you save more money, as regular prior visas tend to be expensive as well as frustrating and time-consuming.

Besides, Lithuania is part of the EU and the Schengen area. This means you are allowed to travel through the countries in this zone with zero restrictions. And in 2021, as new measures limiting the arrival of non-EU nationals come into play, you’ll still be able to move freely within the block.

And this is not just for tourism— as a passport holder and citizen of an EU country, you have the right to live, work, and start a business in other EU nations. You also have the right to family reunion, which means that your spouse can join you wherever you live long-term in the EU.

Requirements to get a Lithuanian passport

Obtaining the Lithuanian passport is based on Lithuanian citizenship restoration. Namely, obtaining the official recognition of your Lithuanian citizenship by descent. It is recognized when you can demonstrate that you are descended from an eligible Lithuanian citizen.

The rules are simple: you can restore your Lithuanian citizenship as long as one of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were Lithuanian citizens. The only limitation: the right to restoration only extends back for these three generations.

The restoration process requires presenting documents that prove this descent, as well as official forms, and going through a legal process.

The summary: If you’re a world-traveler or want to relocate to Europe and you have the chance to have a Lithuanian passport, you should restore your Lithuanian citizenship and get it now. The advantages are many and, the sooner you get your passport, the more movement and relocation freedom you’ll have in the near future.

If you have Lithuanian descent and would like to get your Lithuanian passport, write to us via email at [email protected]. We can assist you in acquiring documents, preparing applications, and translating. We walk you through the restoration process until citizenship is granted. Email us and we will assess your eligibility for Lithuanian citizenship by descent.

The Benefits of Dual Lithuanian Citizenship

The Benefits of Dual Lithuanian Citizenship

Having a Lithuanian dual passport has significant advantages, notably because Lithuania is a part of the European Union. Lithuanian dual citizens have access to a wide array of benefits; like travel, business, work, and more.

People who have Lithuanian descent/ancestry can opt to get a Lithuanian dual passport. Apart from the opportunity to live in a country that is a member of the European Union, there are other benefits that one person can get from getting a Lithuanian dual passport such as the following:

Get accustomed to your heritage and family history

For most people, discovering their roots is still the most important benefit of getting a Lithuanian dual passport.
Lithuania has several cultural influences; from Nordic, Slavic, and German cultures. Its cuisine perfectly complements its cool northern climate and shares a piece of its rich heritage.
Lithuanian dual citizens also has the opportunity to trace their family roots and meet their long lost relatives.

Visa-free travel to more than 150 countries

get dual Lithuanian passportLithuanian citizens are able to travel across 150 countries, bypassing stringent visa requirements because it is a member of the European Union. Lithuania’s passport ranks 30th in power rankings with a visa-free score of 150.

Study, Live, and Work in the EU

Apart from travelling to 150 countries without a visa, you may also get the following benefits as a Lithuanian citizen:
• Study in some of the best universities in the world with grant and scholarship opportunities
• Live in any of the 32 countries in EU and EFTA
• Work in these 32 countries from the EU and EFTA
As most non-EU citizens know, getting an employee-sponsored visa for non-EU citizens is very expensive and difficult. Lithuanian dual citizens do not need to undergo the complicated process of getting a work permit or visa, so they are more preferred by employers.

Healthcare benefits

It is not a secret that the European healthcare system is world-class. Lithuanian dual citizens are able to get medical services either for free, or at highly subsidized rates.
Healthcare benefits in Lithuania, just like any other EU country doesn’t discriminate; everyone, rich or poor has access to the sickness and maternity benefits, disability, old-age and survivor’s benefits, benefits payable for accidents at work, occupational illness, death, and more.

Consular Protection

If you are a Lithuanian citizen, you will get consular protection from EU member countries wherever you are. In times of emergency and evacuation is needed, other EU member states can help you evacuate as if you are their own national. EU member consulater authorities can also help Lithuanian passport holders abroad in case of accidents, illness, or legal disputes.

Setup a Company Easily

Are you expanding your business or planning to launch your startup? Lithuanian passport holders can setup and launch businesses in EU countries in just a matter of days. A big benefit of starting your business in the EU is the amount of support you can get from several initiatives; from technical assistance and helping secure funding.
Business owners with Lithuanian dual citizenship can benefit from the single economic EU zone without facing the restrictions applied to non-EU citizens.

Property Ownership in the EU

Lithuanian dual passport holders not only are allowed to live anywhere in the EU. Lithuanian citizens can purchase and own property in EU countries without the need to secure special permits. Owning properties in several European countries not only diversifies your portfolio, but is a really good long-term investment.
We at De Civitate offer a wide array of services that help interested immigrants with Lithuanian heritage obtain citizenship in Lithuania. Our clients get assistance in application, following up, document processing, and more.
You can contact us at [email protected] for more information.

Working in the EU With a Lithuanian Passport

Working in the EU With a Lithuanian Passport

In a research published by Eurostat, Europe’s unemployment rate has significantly lowered from 11.6% in 2015 to 6.4% in 2020, even after the UK left the European Union earlier in the year.

With an EU Lithuanian passport, you are also eligible to live in some non-EU countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland; If you are not aware, these countries are some of the safest countries in the world, ranking among the top 10 safest countries globally according to Forbes.

We’ve discussed several benefits of having a Lithuanian dual passport quite a couple of times in our blog. Besides from reconnecting to your heritage, you are entitled to many more benefits for you and your family.

If you have already traveled to Europe, you would know that most US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand citizens can enter the EU without a visa. However, they cannot live or study in the EU for a short time period by acquiring the necessary permit for the purpose. This is a troublesome process and does not guarantee that you can even reside in the EU for a full year, since most of the time, you can only get a 90-day permit at most every 6 months. If you qualify for EU citizenship, you can travel between the 28-member states freely, with no visas, and remain there with no restrictions

Benefits of EU Passport

Lithuanian passport holders are legally entitled not only to reside but to look for career opportunities in any other EU member country. The alternative, getting an employer-sponsored visa for non-EU citizens is not only time-consuming but also difficult to acquire without providing a foolproof reason to get approved. Because of this, most employers prefer to work with EU citizens as they do not need to deal with complicated permits or visas unless they are forced to.

Wherever in the EU, you are working, you are entitled to healthcare benefits with a Lithuanian dual passport. This is one of the most important things that Lithuanian citizenship can provide, so people of Lithuanian descent try to re-establish their European identity.

If you want to retire and enjoy the fruits of your hard work, Lithuanian citizens also can own properties not only in Lithuania but in any EU country without getting any special permit. Whether if it’s buying land for investment or permanently retiring after decades of hard labor, your Lithuanian dual passport will help you with that.

We at De Civitate offer dual citizenship assistance to people with Lithuanian ancestry. Our clients do not have to be in Lithuania during the whole process. We will handle the application process from document acquisition, translation, application submission, and making follow-ups with the Lithuanian authorities until citizenship is granted.

You can contact us at [email protected] for more information.

Why You Should Study in Lithuania

Why You Should Study in Lithuania

If you are thinking about studying abroad, then studying in the EU should be one of your choices. Aside from getting access to universities with EU standards, there are a variety of benefits to studying at a university in Lithuania. Here are just some of them:

High Educational Standards
Education in the EU is of a high standard. Lithuania is ranked 59th by U.S. News on global higher education rankings. Not only do universities offer European educational standards – Lithuania’s universities and colleges also conform with the Bologna Process of the European Higher Education Area. This means that education received in Lithuania is recognized in other European countries.

Free or low cost of studies
Many study programs in Lithuanian colleges and universities are free, in some cases when they are paid the tuition fees are still much lower than in the US and some EU countries. Tuition fees in Lithuania are about 2000 Euro per year, which is just about 10% of what American students pay for every semester in US colleges. In addition to that Lithuanian or EU citizens have access to study loans and different types of grants for high-performing students.

Exchange Student Program Eligibility
The Erasmus program offers students from Lithuanian universities an opportunity to study abroad in many other European countries through partner institutions. The international experience gained through studying, volunteering or working abroad will give a huge boost to your self-confidence and your CV, helping you to stand out in the job market and succeed in an increasingly competitive international marketplace.

Cheaper Cost of Living
Lithuania’s cost of living is significantly lower than 54% of other countries in the world. Utilities, sports, and even leisure activities are relatively inexpensive, making students’ lives a lot easier for studying Lithuanian citizens. Vilnius for example requires $577.59 for a single person to live comfortably. This is 56.21% lower than New York and 18% lower than the UK, according to a research done by Investopedia.

Explore Lithuania and Europe
Lithuania on its own is a stunning country. But if you have a Lithuanian passport, you only need to pay for your airfare and you are 2 hours away to your next European destination. You may also travel by railroad if you wish, or just drive to the rest of Europe. With an EU passport, you can cross borders of EU countries without even stopping.

A Rich Heritage
The old town of capital Vilnius is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, while the country’s diverse population celebrates many international events and festivities throughout the year — many of which have been influenced by neighboring nations. Lithuanian citizens, especially younger people love attending these activities as a way to relax and ease stress from their daily lives. The biggest one is Capital Days, which is held from September 6-8. Other interesting activities include Culture night, Kaziuko market, and Street Musician’s day.

English Degree Programs
Many institutions in Lithuania offer degree programs in English, so you do not have to worry if you do not speak Lithuanian fluently. Many people in Vilnius, as well as larger cities (especially the younger generation), speak English rather well, so you should not have problems communicating.

If you are looking to study in Lithuania, It would be easier if you have a Lithuanian dual passport.
We at De Civitate offer dual citizenship assistance to people with Lithuanian ancestry. Our clients do not have to be in Lithuania during the whole process. We will handle the application process from document acquisition, translation, application submission, and making follow-ups with the Lithuanian authorities until citizenship is granted.

You can contact us at [email protected] for more information.