LithuaniaLaw.com website helps to find answers to the common legal issues faced by foreigners in Lithuania.

Our legal services

LithuaniaLaw.com is owned by Lithuanian lawyers registered in the Lithuanian bar association: Augustinas Žemaitis and Aistė Žemaitienė.

Using our experience with foreigners and foreign companies we aim to provide a quality English-language introduction to Lithuanian laws.

Moreover, we offer our services:
*Private consultations on Lithuanian law.
*Establishing companies in Lithuania.
*Restoring Lithuanian nationality (including archive help).
*Litigation within Lithuania.
*Other legal procedures in Lithuanian institutions.

Contact us:
 
AUGUSTINAS ŽEMAITIS

augustinas.zemaitis@gmail.com
 
AISTĖ ŽEMAITIENĖ

aiste.zemaitiene@gmail.com

  15 Responses to “”

  1. I’m sorry, I thought I was writing in an internal mail system. Can you please answer me privately through my mail and delete this comment?

    thanks a lot,

    Itay

  2. Good Afternoon,

    I am doing an investigation of state immunity and I need some jurisprudence against Rusian Federation. Could you advice me in order to know where I can write to?

    Thank you very much,

    Cecilia.

    • Dear Cecilia,

      Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940-1941 and 1944-1990 and the Soviet Union has perpetrated genocide, war crimes, expulsions on ethnic basis and other practices contravening international law. Russian Federation is the successor state of the Soviet Union.

      So, after Lithuania achieved independence, Lithuanian courts have indeed received claims against the Russian Federation. However Russia invoked state immunity in them which the Lithuanian courts generally upheld (the claims are accepted for litigation, then Russia invokes state immunity and the cases are cancelled).

      In case no. 2-265-109/2008 (appeal no. 2-331/2008) several Lithuanians sought 400 000 EUR compensation from Russia for forced expulsion, illegal arrest, etc. Russia invoked immunity. While the claimants said this is based on „acta jure gestionis“ and the immunity does not applies, the court judged it to be based on „acta jure imperii“ and upheld Russian immunity.

      In case 2-1568-343/2009 (appeal no. 2-1469/2009) another similar claim (based on illegal arrest, imprisonment, forced labour, etc. imposed by Soviet officials) was also ceased as Russia invoked state immunity.

      In general, Lithuania has moved the requests to compensate the damage done by Soviet occupation and genocide to the political international affairs level. Such compensations, if received, would be distributed to the victims. However, Russia refuses to compensate the damages in that way as well.

      The pracitice has been somewhat different in civil cases. In case 3K-3-566/2003 Russia also attempted to invoke state immunity, however as the question was related to lease agreement for premises used by the Russian embassy court deemed it to be based on „acta jure gestionis“ and therefore acceptable for litigation despite the declaration of immunity.

      In case 3K-7-179/2006 Lithuanian courts upheld a decision by London arbitrage that awarded money (unreturned debt and interest) from Kaliningrad Oblast to the claimants (a Cyprus company). However, the defendant was not the Russian Federation itself but rather the government of its administrative unit. Nevertheless, the defendent used some political arguements in the Supreme Court: „The [previous instance] court have not considered if such decision will not damage state interests and Lithuanian-Russian relations“.

  3. Hi, my family was in Lithuania until early 30s they were Jewish. I am a citizen of US but would be interested in getting a Lithuanian citizenship, is that possible?
    leo
    ps feel free to email me

    • Yes, it should be possible, if the necessary things will be proven by documents (e.g. that you descend from this family and this family had citizenship). We will e-mail you with further questions.

  4. Hello –
    My grandfather was born in Lithuania in 1894. I have a handwritten birth certificate dated 1919, written by the pastor of a church in Radviliskis. He left Lithuania in 1914 and became a US citizen in 1926. I am interested in getting Lithuanian citizenship. Is this a possibility? I would welcome an email. Thank you.
    ~Maria

    • Yes, it is possible. However, dual citizenship is not certain, because it is not entirely guaranteed that your grandfather would be considered a Lithuanian citizen as he left in 1914 while Lithuania became independent only in 1918. However, there are legal possibilities to argue that he was a Lithuanian citizen.

      A more certain path to citizenship is the simplified procedure for people of Lithuanian ancestry whose forefathers were never citizens of Lithuania. This path, however, does not offer dual citizenship.

      Moreover, there are other possibilities even if the dual citizenship would be impossible and you would not want to renounce the current citizenship. The possibilities include an easier residence permit for people of Lithuanian ancestry, a certificate of Lithuanian descent which may later be converted into a citizenship, etc.

      We will send our offers by e-mail.

  5. Hello again Mr. Augustinas, I have one question and I would apreciate if you can help me: My grandmother was born in Latvia in 1915. Their parents were born in Druya (Disna) in 1887 and Bajoriskiu (1888). I have all birth certificates from the three archives: grandmother born 1915 from Latvian archives, great-grandfather born in Druya in 1887 from bielorrusian archives and great-grandmother birth certificate from lithuanian archives. Is my grandmother latvian, lithuanian or bielorussian? (they emigrated to Brazil in 1927) and according with departure and arrival certificates (issued in Germany and Brazil), all of them were lithuanians. We don’t have passports. Do you think that is possible to proof the lithuanian citizenship of my grandmother born in Latvia? Thank you and happy new year!!

    • There are two issues here. The first is the citizenship they held, the second is their ethnicity.

      As for citizenship, they likely held the citizenship of the Russian Empire until the World War 1 (as Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus were all controlled by the Russian Empire at the time). There were few internal migration controls, therefore it was common to move accross Lithuanian/Latvian/Belarusian borders for better economic opportunities. Riga, for example, was a major industrial city of the region, attracting many ethnic Lithuanians and Belarusians as well. In fact, before World War 1 there were more ethnic Lithuanians in Riga than in any city within Lithuania. More info on the Lithuanian community in Latvia: http://global.truelithuania.com/latvia-291/ .

      After World War 1, Lithuania and Latvia became independent and many of such temporary migrants moved back to their homelands. The number of ethnic Lithuanians in Latvia declined from 100 thousand to 30 thousand in 1918-1931, for example. Usually (though not always), people would get citizenship of the country they moved to. Therefore, an ethnic Lithuanian who remained in Latvia after 1918 would have likely adopted Latvian citizenship, while the one who moved to Lithuania would have adopted Lithuanian citizenship. If your forefathers had Lithuanian citizenship, you may restore it as dual citizenship (retaining your current citizenship). Citizenship could be proved by a search in Lithuanian archives for such information (not necessarily the passports, but other informaiton proving citizenship as well).

      As for the ethnicity, it did not depend on citizenship. The ethnicity is sometimes recorded on the documents of the time, it may also be presumed based on names, surnames, religion, etc. If your forefathers were ethnic Lithuanians, you may get the Lithuanian citizenship (as a single citizenship), residence permit or certificate of descent. Lithuanian ethnicity would be easier to prove even without archive search for citizenship information.

      While the arrival/departure certificates typically listed citizenship, they may also have listed ethnicity at times.

      Personally, given the history, I believe your grandmother was an ethnic Lithuanian who lived in Latvia (where her parents likely worked just as many Lithuanians at the time before and during World War 1). It is likely that her family returned to Lithuania ~1918, thus receiving Lithuanian citizenship, before moving on to Brazil. However, that is what I can write from the information you provide and this is not 100% certain.

      The town of Druja actually straddles Belarusian-Latvian border, with Belarusian side known as Druya and Latvian side as Piedruja. Understandably, there was no border before 1918 and thus it didn’t matter much on which side to live, but after 1918 it became important. Druja also had a large ethnic Lithuanian population before World War 1.

  6. Hello Augustinas,

    I can trace back my ancestry to 1700. Which documents would I need to obtain citizenship? Can you assist with tracing birth certificates etc.?

  7. Hi Augustinas,

    Any tips for searching through Lithuanian archives? I am a Litvak and my ancestor came from a shtetl, and I am interested in restoring my citizenship.

    Also, I have documents from the US stating that this ancestor’s citizenship was Lithuanian. Is this sufficient for proof of Lithuanian nationality? I still haven’t found any documents (yet!) in Lithuanian asserting his nationality.

    Thanks
    (that is a real email by the way!)

    • Hello!

      To elaborate, one of the few documents I’m referring to is an original US naturalization certificate which states his former nationality as Lithuanian.

      Do you think this could perhaps be sufficient proof or a good starting point?

      Thanks again

      • It is a good starting point.

        In general, each case is evaluated individually by the Migration Department, as each situation tends to be different (in terms of what exactly proofs are available). In borderline cases, it may even somewhat depend on the employee who evaluates the case.

        That said, if this naturalization certificate is the sole proof of Lithuanian citizenship you have, it is unlikely this would be enough.

        But, knowing the information you have from that document (and any information you heard from your parents/grandparents about the dates, names and locations), you may do an archive search. We may offer you services in that, as well as the application.

        In general, the Lithuanian archives are not scanned nor available online, therefore it is, unfortunately, impossible to view the documents available there via the internet as scans.

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