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 Augustinas Žemaitis and Aistė Žemaitienė, who is an attorney registered in the Lithuanian bar association.

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

Clients’ comments

  • Citizenship Restoration Opinion (Portuguese)

  40 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.

  8. Hi,

    My grandfather is Kipras Petrauskas, the operatic tenor, you may know the statue of him in the park by the opera house in Vilnius. My mother, his oldest daughter was separated from him along with the rest of the family during the final Russian occupation.

    I wish to restore mine and my children’s Lithuanian citizenship and will be visiting family in Vilnius in about two to three weeks time.

    Can you let me know via email if you can assist me in this process and what costs would be involved.

    • Thank you for contacting us! Indeed, Kipras Petrauskas is well known in Lithuania, he also has a museum dedicated to him in Kaunas. We have e-mailed you our offer regarding citizenship restoration process and we hope you will have a nice time in Lithuania.

  9. Hi Augustinas,

    I was born in Vilnius in 1976 and we emigrated from Vilnius in 1983. My Grandfather and Grandmother were born in Lithuania in 1923 but on my Father’s birth certificate their Lithuanian names were changed to Russian versions (Lieb changed to Lev etc). When my father applied for citizenship in 2007 the authorities said there was no proof that Lieb was Lev and denied the application.

    Do you know if this kind of problem would still occur after the 2016 changes?

    • Such evaluation often depends not on some regular practice but rather on a person who evaluates. Often, different employees of the Migration Department may come to different conclusions since it is subjective on when the name is close enough (there are no particular conditions in the citizenship law or any bylaws saying when the name should be considered close enough to consider somebody the same person).

      Therefore, it is wise to apply for a citizenship again, which we may help you with.

      Additionally, if the citizenship is not granted, it is always possible to appeal to a court. The court decisions may change the decision of Migration Department. Moreover, the courts are often deciding more liberally when a person could be considered the same person.

      Even the 2016 citizenship law change itself was achieved indirectly through our court cases: that is, as we had many appeals in courts questioning whether the circumstances of a particular person’s emigration warrant a dual citizenship according to the pre-2016 law, the parliament decided to alter the law and drop the requirement of proving circumstances altogether.

  10. Hello mr augustinas. How are you doing? Hope everything’s going well with you, mr augustinas I’ve sent you two emails about hopefully getting back the Lithuanian passport but you didn’t reply still. I just wondered have you received my emails sir ?

  11. Hi,
    My mother was born in Lithuania in June 1928. Her parents (my grandparents) were born in Lithuania in the early 20th century. My grandfather emigrated to the US in June 1928 and my mother and grandmother emigrated in July 1930. They left fearing persecution . Am I eligible for Lithuanian citizenship without renouncing my U.S. citizenship? Thank-you.

    • Yes, you should be eligible for dual citizenship, unless you would fall into one of the exceptions. The main questions are if the yhad Lithuanian citizenship (given the family history you wrote, that is extremely likely) and when they did naturalize in the USA?

      There is no need to prove now that they left fearing persecution. That requirement was removed from the law. The only thing needed to prove now is that your forefathers (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or just a single one of them) had Lithuanian citizenship until 1940 (depending on year of naturalization, they could have retained Lithuanian citizenship even if naturalized in the USA).

      We may offer archive search and citizenship application services if needed, as well as services in contacting the institutions and collecting the necessary info.

  12. Hello,
    I have read through the entire page to see if this was answered previously, but my case is somewhat different.
    My great-grandparents left Lithuania for the US in 1904, but their parents and family stayed and became Lithuanian citizens in 1918. I have many of their documents, from baptism, marriage as well as their travel documents. My researcher has provided additional family documents.
    I am interested if my case would be appropriate for dual citizenship, if their parents and family that stayed in Lithuania became citizens.

    • According to the laws, the fact that one’s great-great-grandparents were Lithuanian citizens does not directly entitle one to citizenship restoration.

      However, there were clauses in the first interwar Lithuanian citizenship laws that defined who is to be considered a Lithuanian citizen that may have awarded citizenship to your great-grandparents as well. There are few legal precedents that explain these laws so far, however, and the laws were vague as was common in the 1918-1920s era when many new laws had to be written quickly.

      Namely, the laws stated that the following people are to be considered citizens of Lithuania:

      According to the Provisional law on citizenship (1919) the following people became Lithuanian citizens:
      1.Those who live in Lithuania and whose parents and grandparents have always lived in Lithuania.
      2.Children of the people specified in 1, who – even though did not always live in Lithuania – have came back to live there.
      3.People who lived in Lithuania for at least 10 years before 1914 if they had either one of those: a)Personal real estate b)Permanent job
      4.Children of a Lithuanian citizen
      5.Wife or window of a Lithuanian citizen.
      6.Children of an unmarried female Lithuanian Citizen if they are not recognized by a foreigner as his children.
      7.Foreigners who have been naturalized as Lithuanian citizens (naturalization was possible for those who continuously lived in Lithuania for 5 years, has a job that provides him and his family income and has not been sentenced to prison or worse).

      Some other additions to Lithuanian citizens have been made through International agreements and events, e.g. peace treaty with Russia or the joining of Klaipėda Region to Lithuania.

      In your case, it may be argued, that clause (4) should apply to your great-grandparents and, depending on the situation, clause (3).

      Additionally, you may claim Lithuanian citizenship through ancestry claiming that your grandparent was a Lithuanian. This could lead only to a single citizenship or residence permit, however.

  13. Hello,

    I wonder if I can ask for a Lithuanian refund?
    My grandfather Juozas Malisauskas was born in 1913 in Lithuania to Lytaus, and left the country at the age of 14 to live in Brazil in 1927 along with my great-grandparents Petronele Malisauskas and Star Malisauskas.
    I have his documents in Brazil: marriage certificate, Brazilian immigrant work book. But I do not have any data to prove that you are living in Lithuania.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t fully understand what you mean. If by “refund” you mean “restoration of citizenship”, then yes – if your grandfather was a citizen who left to Brazil, you in most cases can restore Lithuanian citizenship. By “you are living in Lithuania” did you mean that “he was living in Lithuania”? If so, such documents may be acquired in Lithuanian archives, if they exist there, and we may offer archive search services.

  14. Hello,

    My grandfather was born in Lithuania in 1909 and emigrated to South Africa in 1928. I have documents showing his loss of Lithuanian citizenship in 1938 on becoming South African. I understand that because this took place before 1940, it is not sufficient to obtain dual citizenship. I have two questions:

    1) Would it be possible to claim dual citizenship through my grandfather’s mother, who remained in Lithuania until her death in 1941?

    2) In your opinion, is the nationalisation law likely to change in future to allow dual citizenship in such cases?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice.

    • The case is in “grey area” for now. It is not yet established by a court precedent whether grandfather’s mother would be enough in such a case (as she did not leave Lithuania herself but her son did). Also, the practice of the meaning of what it meant to no longer be a citizen by 1940 seems to be interpreted differently by the different employees of the Migration Department, with some employees considering only the people who denounced the citizenship themselves (in front of a Lithuanian consul) as having lost it (e.g. ones who denounced citizenship so they would not need to serve in the Lithuanian army).

      In my opinion, the court precedents will further establish the precedents and it will become easier to guess the results of applications in advance in such cases (they will less depend on the particular employee, as each government employee has to follow court precedents but they are not obliged to follow the precedents set by other employees, which are not public). Therefore, you may have chances but they are not 100%.

      The law is rather unlikely to expand the dual citizenship, however, as it is limited by the constitution and the change in that part of the constitution is extremely difficult. There will be a referendum on its expansion this year, however. Yet, Lithuania has some of the tightest referendum laws in the democratic world, making any proposition extremely difficult to pass even if the majority of voters support it.

  15. I study in Lithuania where i got my master degree in Business economics but i left lithuania because of money to follow my education and i ce to Germany to look for job and i make a mistake by sign asylum in Germany and i would like to come back and follow my education and have a job in Lithuania but my visa is finished. In asylum process it is possible to ask a visa in Lithuania ambassy in berlin or in France ??

  16. It is possible to have a lawyer, who can fight for me to come back in Lithuania continue my study in order to no be deported.

  17. I am interested in applying for a Lithuanian passport for my wife and 4 daughters (ages 23, 21, 19, 14). They all have South African passports.

    Background:
    My wife’s grandparents (on her father’s side) was born in Lithuania and moved to South Africa before World War 2. Her grandfather was however naturalized in 1935 – I have been told that there is now a possible problem with this date based on a new law in Lithuania.Is this the case?

    I don’t have the grandfather’s Lithuanian documents but I have his original South African naturalization certificate showing his place of birth. I also have the grandmothers original Lithuania passport but the names in the passport are different as she change her name when she arrived in South Africa. I also have my wife’s father’s South African birth certificate which shows his parents were born in Lithuania. Can any of these documents be used to get dual citizenship for my family.

    Please can you give me a full breakdown of what your typical fee for this service is.

    • We will send you our offer by e-mail.

      Indeed, according to the current interpretation (2019 April) the person should have been a citizen of Lithuania until 1940 (the occupation of Lithuania). Naturalization in countries other than those of the American continent often led to a loss of Lithuanian citizenship. That said, according to the current practice, it is often so that only the cases where there is direct evidence of a person renouncing citizenship (e.g. claiming that he is not a citizen when drafted to the Lithuanian military) is treated as proof enough to show that the person has lost citizenship.

      That said, you would need documents beyond naturalization certificate to prove that your wife’s grandparents were citizens. A Lithuanian archive search would be needed for Lithuanian documents. Should nothing turn up, a court case to establish the fact of the wife’s grandparents’ citizenship would be needed.

  18. Hi,

    Please can you help with legal service for rental of Apartment in Vilnius?

    Thanls

  19. Dear Mr. Zemaitis,
    I am in the U.S. and am writing on behalf of my son. He would like to establish citizenship or Permanent Residency in Lithuania. His great-grandfather Morris (Jewish) was born near Vilna, where his father was a physician. Morris emigrated to the U.S. in 1905 to avoid conscription in the Russian army. He lived the rest of his life in the U.S. and became a dentist.

    I have copies of two family memoirs which mention that Morris lived near Vilna. I am a researcher by profession and can do research that might be necessary in the U.S. if that would be desirable.

    My son, Zachary, teaches English as a Second Language and has a U.S. university diploma and CELTA certificate. He has an American passport. He currently lives and works in Western Asia. He would ultimately like Lithuanian citizenship but wants to also keep his American citizenship. Possibly, a certificate of Lithuanian descent would allow him and his wife to obtain Permanent Residency and, later, citizenship.

    While Zachary is intent on living in Lithuania, I am writing on his behalf because I have more time and money than he does.

    Can you help with this?

    Thank you in advance. And, also, thank you for the wonderful work that you are doing to preserve Lithuanian heritage sites in the U.S.

    Warm regards,
    Alexandra

    • We may be able to help with this; however, as Morris emigrated in 1905, the situation is rather difficult as it was still more than a decade before independence and the time Lithuanian citizenship was instated. For Zachary to become a dual Lithuanian citizen, Morris should have been a Lithuanian citizen and while this is possible (either he applied for citizenship or, as this was rather unlikely back then, he was automatically considered a citizen because of real estate ownership or job prior to emigration), far from everybody who left in 1905 became considered a Lithuanian citizen or there is remaining data in the archive to prove it. We will contact you with an offer, first just for archive search – even if there would turn out that there is not enough data to prove what is necessary in the archives, you could still learn some more about the family history.

  20. Dear Mr. Zemaitis,

    I have written earlier about obtaining a Lithuanian Certificate of Descent because my grandmother and both great-grandparents were from the Kovno area, before they emigrated to the USA in 1900.

    However, I have since learned my great-grandfather, Antanas, did not naturalize in the USA and he never become an American citizen, he remained an alien. After Lithuania became independent in 1918, what was my great-grandfather? The place he was born in (Kovno, Lithuania, Russia) had become another country. Obviously he was not an American citizen. He considered himself a Lithuanian, but that may not be the law. Was he a stateless person? He died in the USA in 1937.

    Thank you for your time.

    • He may have been automatically considered a Lithuanian citizen if he had real estate or job before emigrating, although this is a grey area still (with no legally-binding precedents). Otherwise, he was likely stateless. In those times, citizenship was arguably less important than it is now; that is, people did not travel, they did not need passports often and so on. Once somebody emigrated to America, he often did not plan to return and did not care whether he retained any citizenship. Only those who returned actually took action to confirm/return the citizenship.

      That said, certificate of descent has nothing to do with citizenship but rather being Lithuanian, which is something else than citizenship albeit vaguely defined in law and evaluated on case-by-case basis.

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