More than 60 members of the Seimas enlisted the bill, which proposes to hold a referendum regarding the following provision of the Constitution:
“Acquisition of the Republic of Lithuania’s citizenship transpires by birth and other legal means and procedures set by the constitutional law. The constitutional law also establishes the legal means and procedures for revoking the Republic of Lithuania’s citizenship.”
By doing so, the restriction on holding dual citizenship would be removed from the Constitution.
The explicit terms for acquiring and revoking dual citizenship, as well as the procedure and other matters, will be defined by the constitutional law.
During the 2019 presidential elections, a referendum was already held to broaden the options for having dual citizenship. However, the turnout was not sufficient in order to pass the change to the constitution even though a majority of voters were in favor of the change. An amendment to the Constitution with regards to citizenship is considered ratified if it was approved by more than half of the eligible voters who are registered in the voter list.
Why is this important to Lithuanians?
Those who emigrated after the reinstatement of sovereignty on March 11, 1990, at present, with some exemptions, are prohibited from having dual citizenship. The Constitutional Court has ruled that dual citizenship can be granted to those who left after 1990 only if the Constitution is amended by referendum.
Lithuania has a difficult history of emigration, and the wave of emigrants from the country after the restoration of its independence was the largest. This is due to the fact that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian economy was in an extremely disastrous state. Many people, after half a century of hardship under the blurring of Lithuanian identity by the Soviet Union occupation of Russia and the complete collapse of the economy after independence, were forced to leave the country in search of work and better quality of life with normal pay.
Most of them went to European countries – Germany, the UK and others. After working in the country for several years, many of them remained in it and naturalized, receiving citizenship in a new country. And now most of these Lithuanians do not have the opportunity to restore their citizenship.
If this time the Lithuanians successfully amend the Constitution, it will enable hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians to restore their Lithuanian citizenship, remaining a citizen of their new homeland. In particular, this will enable their children not to break the connection with the homeland of their ancestors.
We help many people to restore their Lithuanian citizenship (usually dual), but currently, due to legal limitations, we cannot offer this opportunity to those that left after 1990 or their children.