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Are you eligible for a Lithuanian Citizenship by descent?

April 18, 2021

Due to amendments to citizenship law of Lithuania that came into force on the 1st of July, 2016 – more people can now get a dual Lithuanian Citizenship again.  Until the recent law change, descendants of Lithuanian citizens that left Lithuania prior to 1940 could only get single Lithuanian citizenship and had to renounce their current one.

In general you are now eligible for Lithuanian citizenship and can keep your existing one, if:

  • at least one of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania (which existed from 1918 to 1940);
  • your ancestor left Lithuania some time before Lithuania restored its independence on March 11, 1990;
  • your ancestor left to any country which was not part of the former Soviet Union (In case your ancestor left to any of the Soviet Union countries, you might still be eligible for single or dual Lithuanian citizenship depending on the time and leaving circumstances).

Except the general rules, there are some other nuances which you should know in order to find out whether you are eligible for Lithuanian citizenship.

For example, one of the cases is related to the borders change issue. If a person can prove that they or their ancestors were born in the territory of present day Lithuania after 1918 then they can get Lithuanian citizenship. In case the place where your ancestors were born is not a part of Lithuania today then you should find other proof that your ancestor was a Lithuanian citizen.

If your ancestor left Lithuania before 1918, then, unfortunately you are not eligible for Lithuanian citizenship. Lithuania restored its independence in 1918 and only persons that lived in Lithuania after this date became Lithuanian citizens.

Lithuanian immigration has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people with Lithuanian ancestry living outside Lithuania. Large waves of Lithuanian migration occurred during the 19th and 20th century, a large portion of whom were Jewish. Communities in the United States make up the largest part of this diaspora, where as many as one million Americans can claim Lithuanian descent and with the largest concentrations of Lithuanian Americans making their homes in the Great Lakes area and the Northeast. Lithuanian communities in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay also grew before and after World War II. Many Lithuanian citizens migrated to Israel, which today has a large Lithuanian/Jewish community.

Because of different time and reasons of immigration, we can say that almost all of Lithuanian Australians can obtain dual citizenship, while we have a mixed picture for Lithuanian Americans, Canadians and Brazilians. Today as many as 70% of South Africa’s Jews trace their descent to Lithuania and most of them can get Lithuanian citizenship.

If you are interested in getting Lithuanian citizenship by descent but still not sure whether you qualify for citizenship, feel free to contact us.

We are ready to guide you through the application process and help you to restore your citizenship rights.

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