If you have Lithuanian ancestry, it might be possible for you to obtain a Lithuanian dual passport by descent. People who get LT citizenship are eligible for a plethora of benefits not only in Lithuania but in most parts of the EU as well.
Why Should I Get a Lithuanian Dual Passport?
For sure, having a Lithuanian passport allows you to live in Lithuania, but most people do not know that apart from this, you also get the following benefits:
- Eligibility to live, study, and work in Europe,
- Right to own property anywhere in the EU,
- Visa-free travel to over 150 countries.
To understand better the process of applying for dual Lithuanian citizenship by descent, we broke it down into separate steps for you:
Determining Your Eligibility
Before you apply for Lithuanian citizenship by descent, you have to satisfy the eligibility criteria set by the Citizenship Law of Lithuania. In simple terms you should meet the following criteria:
- Your ancestor has to be a citizen of Lithuania between 1918 and 1940 and
- Your ancestor (or their descendant) should have left Lithuania before 1990.
You can claim Lithuanian citizenship through ancestry three generations back, so if you have at least one Lithuanian great-grandparent, you might be able to restore your Lithuanian citizenship.
If your ancestor still had Lithuanian citizenship during the time of Lithuania’s occupation in 1940 and they emigrated to the western countries (not the USSR), then you should be eligible for dual Lithuanian citizenship.
However, it is always advisable to check with lawyers working in this field, because there are some nuances which might affect the application. For example, the situation is more complicated for applicants with ancestors from Vilnius region, which was under the control of Poland before WW2. On the other hand, it is sometimes possible to get dual Lithuanian citizenship even if applicants are not certain whether ancestor lost Lithuanian citizenship before 1940, in many cases, it is possible to construct an application for dual citizenship when at first it looks like that those applicants are eligible only for a single Lithuanian citizenship.
The Citizenship Law of Lithuania sounds deceptively simple, but the actual application process is also regulated by rules of the Migration Department, precedent forming decisions of the courts and the Constitutional court. In order to accurately assess chances of getting the citizenship, it is always better to get an opinion of a lawyer specialized in this area of law.
Finding the documents that prove Lithuanian citizenship of your ancestor
The next step is finding documents that prove Lithuanian citizenship of your ancestor. The best document for proof of citizenship is Lithuanian passport, however, there are many other documents that might be used for the purpose, such as land ownership documents, certain documents about studies, military service documents, etc. On the other hand, some documents which might look like proof of citizenship, are not. For example, birth certificates issued before 1918 are not considered to be proof of Lithuanian citizenship, even if they were issued in Lithuanian territory because they were not issued by the Republic of Lithuania (which regained its independence from Russia only in 1918).
Collecting additional documents and preparing the applications
After proof of Lithuanian citizenship of your ancestor is found you can proceed to the next step of the application process; collecting other supporting documents and preparing the application itself.
The following documents are some of the documents that you might need to acquire:
- Your birth certificate,
- Your and your parents’ marriage certificate if surnames changed,
- Immigration and naturalization documents,
- Copy of your current passport.
You will also have to fill out the application forms and, possibly, additional explanation documents to speed up the application process. You will also need to certify all the documents, by a notary public and/or apostille.
The exact package of documents needed and how they have to be certified differs depending on the specific situation of the applicant, the country, and types of documents. Devil is in the detail and any error will significantly delay the processing time of the application.
Translation and submitting
After all the documents are collected and certified, they have to be translated to Lithuanian and submitted for the application processing to the Migration Department.
Until about a year ago it was still possible to submit the application by post. However, now it is only possible to do it in person by the applicant or their representative.
The application process at the moment takes about 12-18 months. The largest part of it is just waiting for the application to be processed by Lithuanian authorities. After the decision to grant Lithuanian citizenship is published by the Ministry of Interior of Lithuania, the applicant can get Lithuanian passport in the closes Lithuanian embassy or consulate. The day you will get a Lithuanian passport might change your and your children’s life since you will be not only Lithuanian but also a EU citizen, with many more opportunities.
We at De Civitate offer dual citizenship assistance to people with Lithuanian ancestry. Our clients don’t have to be in Lithuania during the whole process. We’ll 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.