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Legislation: Restoration of Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania

9 Jul 2016

On 6 July 2016 President of the Republic of Lithuania has signed amendments to the Law on Citizenship adopted by Seimas in the procedure of exceptional urgency. These amendments are aimed at re-establishing the practice that existed until 2011 when without any bureaucratic obstacles Lithuanian citizenship could have been restored after presenting necessary documents to persons who maintained the citizenship before 15 June 1940 and emigrated from Lithuania before 11 March 1990, as well as to descendants of these persons.

The adopted amendments clarify one of the key concepts of the Law on Citizenship and state that “A person who left Lithuania before 11 March 1990 – a person who maintained the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940 and left Lithuania before 11 March 1990 for permanent residence abroad and on 11 March 1990 the place of such person’s permanent residence was outside Lithuania, or descendants of such person. This concept does not include persons who after 15 June 1940 emigrated from Lithuania to the former Soviet Union”.

The law amendments also state that now foreign citizens can also hold citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania if they were “exiled from the occupied Republic of Lithuania before 11 March 1990” or are persons who “left the Republic of Lithuania before 11 March 1990” (see definition above).

The need to specify certain articles of the Law on Citizenship arose from decisions of the Migration Department of Lithuania, which did not grant dual citizenship for persons who maintained the citizenship before 15 June 1940 and emigrated from Lithuania before 11 March 1990, as well as for descendants of these persons. The negative decisions were passed after the Migration Department changed its former practise and began requesting every applicant to prove that he or she left Lithuania before 11 March 1990 due to a personal threat, religious threat or political threat and could not come back to Lithuania afterwards or was reasonably afraid to do so. If no such evidence could be presented emigrants and descendants of emigrants had to renounce their foreign citizenship to restore the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania. Amendments to the Law on Citizenship essentially changed this situation.

If this issue is of interest to you and you have more questions, please contact Professional Association of Advocates “Šulija Partners Law Firm Vilnius” by e-mail at info@SulijaPartners.com or telephone at +370 52 055 116

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