Aug 122016
 

Even though you never had a Lithuanian nationality (citizenship) you may “restore” it if at least a single parent, grandparent or great grandparent had it. In this case, the usual requirements for naturalization (10 years residence in Lithuania, speaking good Lithuanian) will not be applicable.

To restore nationality one has to provide documents proving that his/her forefathers had a Lithuanian nationality and that he/she is their descendant. The forefathers‘ nationality could be proved with a passport, army service documents, state service documents, personal certificate. If there are no such documents you may provide other ones (e.g. ones proving a place of residence). There are possibilities to look for historical and genealogical data in Lithuanian State Archive.

Simplified nationality for Lithuanian diaspora

Even if your forefathers never were Lithuanian nationals or you may not prove it you may still have a route to simplified Lithuanian nationality if you are a Lithuanian. This system works for ethnic Lithuanians from the historical Lithuanian communities that were left outside modern-day Lithuania as well as descendants of pre-1918 migrants (i.e. those who emigrated before modern Lithuania was established). In order to become Lithuanian national this simplified way it is also not necessary to live in Lithuania.

Right to nationality certificates

If you seek to acquire Lithuanian nationality later (because, for example, you are not yet willing to denounce your current nationality) you may now apply for a Right to Nationality Certificate. The certificate is issued to members of Lithuanian diaspora after they prove their right to Lithuanian nationality as specified above. When you‘ll finally decide to become a Lithuanian national you will not need to prove it all again. “Right to Nationality” also gives you a right to easily get a residence permit in Lithuania (despite not being a Lithuanian national).

Technically there are two types of these certificates (one for proving a right to restore nationality and one for certifying Lithuanian descent), but they are nearly identical in their meaning.

Dual nationality in Lithuania

According to a controversial decision by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania dual nationality is only permitted in Lithuania in rare circumstances. Under the 2016 Law on Nationality such “rare circumstances” have been greatly expanded however: they include all the Lithuanian citizens who were expelled from Lithuania or left the country before 1990 03 11 and their descendants (up to great grandchildren), except for those who left willingly to Soviet Union. If you are not among those eligible for dual citizenship then you‘ll have to renounce your current nationality after gaining Lithuanian one.

History of the Nationality Law shows that these norms have been changed especially frequently (e.g. before 2006 Constitutional Court decision special circumstances for dual nationality encompassed everybody who did not repatriate). In the future, the right to dual nationality may thus be further limited. Dual nationality (under normal circumstances) is prohibited by the 1st part of the Constitution which means this could be changed by referendum alone and the Referendum procedure in Lithuania is one of the toughest among democratic countries, largely rendering the referendums on constitutional change impossible to succeed (even if the majority would support wider application of dual nationality). Therefore if one could get a dual nationality under a current law perhaps he/she should hasten to seek it.

Dual nationality is controversial in Lithuania for a couple of reasons. On the one hand, Lithuania seeks to foster a connection with a million-strong Lithuanian diaspora to prevent their complete assimilation and have them as a support for the “dying out and emigrating” Lithuania. On the other hand, there is a fear of a situation such as happened in 2008 Georgia where Russia issued its own nationality to thousands of people from local ethnic minorities and then, due to disagreements with Georgian policy, invaded the country justifying it by the “protection of Russian nationals”.

Augustinas Žemaitis

Lithuanian nationality restoration services

E-mail: augustinas.zemaitis@gmail.com

  174 Responses to “Restoring the Lithuanian nationality”

  1. My great grandfather fled with his father from Lithuania and arrived in the USA on January 5, 1905. During this time, Czar Nicholas II imposed upon the Russian Empire a policy of anti-Semitism, there was not only beatings, killings, and robing of the Jewish people, but there was an outright political war in the area causing suppression and forcing of Russia’s agenda on the people. Due to these circumstances, would I be elegable to apply for Lithuanian citizenship and still retain my US Citizenship as well? Also, how would I be able to prove the horrific time of migration and persecution and why my family migrated besides just citing history books proving the large amount of Jews leaving Lithuania?

    • Hello,

      As per Nationality law and its usual interpretations the exception on dual citizenship applies to the refugees of Soviet Russian and Nazi German occupations and genocides (i.e. those who fled these regimes between 1940 06 15 and 1990 03 11).

      Additionally it applies to all deportees and political prisoners (and their descendents), e.g. those exiled to Siberia.

      However, in reality sometimes the dual citizenship is given also to those who left before 1940 (if they left due to fears related to occupation), but there are no definitive legal precedents.

      Another problem here is that independent Lithuania did not exist between 1795 and 1918, thus Your great grandfather likely had no Lithuanian citizenship if he left in 1905 (unless he received it in 1920s/1930s).

      The latter problem could be circumvented by going the other way – applying for the simplified process for Lithuanian citizenship by claiming Lithuanian heritage. This heritage would still have to be proved by documents, e.g. from archives, and each particular case would then be decided by the Nationality commission – but there would be no need to prove Your forefather having had Lithuanian citizenship. However this process (if there are no exemption situations mentioned above) would require renouncing the current citizenship.

      In case You would like to go one of these ways and need further assistance, You are always welcome to use our law firm as I am a lawyer in Lithuanian Bar Association (my e-mail augustinas.zemaitis@gmail.com ).

      • Hi i am interested in findng out if i am legable for a Lithuania passport through two of my grandparents on both my parents side. How do i get the information both of the my grandparents were born there and are deceased. How do i get their birth certificate? ??

        • If you have no such documents (or other documents that prove the necessary facts), they could be sought for in the Lithuanian archives. We may help with this.

          • Augustinas, You mention above “that independent Lithuania did not exist between 1795 and 1918.” If it didn’t exist. Then what were those people called who lived there? What citizenship did they have?
            Thanks!
            Melanie

          • At that time, Lithuania was ruled by the Russian Empire and the people were Russian citizens.

            However, people would typically associate themselves with the ethnicity they belonged to. In Lithuania, the people who spoke Lithuanian and were Catholic typically considered themselves Lithuanians (despite Lithuania not existing). Some of the Polish-speaking Catholics considered themselves Lithuanian as well, while others considered themselves Polish or even Polish-Lithuanian. Those who spoke Yiddish and believed in Judaism considered themselves to be Jews (by ethnicity, not only by religion). Typically, only those who spoke Russian and were either Russian Orthodoxes or Old Believers would have considered themselves to be Russians.

            At the time, Lithuanian-speakers made up some 75% of the population. Some of the non-speakers also considered themselves Lithuanian. The remainder were either Poles, Germans, Russians, Jews, Latvians, Belarusians, Tatars or Karaims.

            In fact, even today in the region ethnicity is the prime identification rather than nationality. So, for example, a Polish-speaking person from Lithuania is likely to consider himself a Pole (and not a Lithuanian), despite being a Lithuanian citizen and living in Lithuania for generations. The same is true for the Russians, Jews and other minorities as well.

            More information on the ethnicities of Lithuania may be found here: http://www.truelithuania.com/topics/culture-of-lithuania/ethnicities-of-lithuania .

          • “Those who spoke Yiddish and believed in Judaism considered themselves to be Jews (by ethnicity, not only by religion). ”

            With respect, this is not a decent statement. If these people were not Lithuanian, from what land did they claim to belong?

            Furthermore, Yiddish was always a second language in Europe. It is actually a mix of German and Polish slang, it has no ties with any nation or ethnic group.

            The claim that Lithuanian jews were linguistically and ethnically distinct from non jews is also highly problematic, as it implies that the jewish Lithuanians were partly to blame for their annihilation at the hands of nationalists. That could be seen as anti-Semitic (in the extreme).

            We need to be clear about the meaning of words. “Jewish” describes faith, not ethnicity or language. One can be a Lithuanian jew of any race who speaks any kind of language. Nothing about ethnicity or language affect nationality, except in the most horrific and animalistic regimes. If you doubt this, then declare what language or race disqualify an American citizen from being an American. Or a Brit.

            If you consult the most prominent of Lithuanian histories of the nation, written since independence from the USSR in 1991, you will find descriptions of people living in the country during the 20th century divided into “Lithuanians” and “Jews”. Please go and open any one of these books (they are often very good histories, and well written), and see for yourself. I have. It is an undeniable fact that the history of the nation is one where jews were considered as a separate class of human beings to true “Lithuanians”.

            Further, the current culture maintains this interpretation, by habit and not (I believe) because of anti semitism. It has been this way for so long, people talk this way without thinking about the meaning of the words. None of the histories I refer to are anti semitic in tone or spirit. They dehumanise people of jewish faith casually, without meaning to do so.

            To further understand what this means, consider approaching a group of Americans and asking them “How many Americans live in New York, and how many jews also live there?” Every American will understand that you mean Israelis, or otherwise that you are a neo-nazi, muslim extremist, or some other vile group of backwards weirdos who seeks the dehumanisation of US citizens of jewish faith.

            It is almost certainly true that many Lithuanian jews did not wish to be classified as “Lithuanian” between 1918 and 1945. If you look at what was subsequently done to them by the non Jewish nationalists, it is hardly surprising. Now, on the other side of the issue, many Lithuanian jews ended up supporting Soviet Russia and the NKVD, against Lithuanian nationalism. This was doubtless because they felt persecuted and threatened by the German backed nationalists in the interwar period. Note that this group’s descendants are still prohibited from achieving Lithuanian citizenship, under the current law. Anyone who fled to the USSR, even if they were fleeing the holocaust, is not welcome back. This is dark, and if the American allies ever find out about it, it must go extremely badly for Lithuania. I remind everybody, the USA is a significantly jewish nation.

            My point here is that everybody needs to be extremely careful about how we speak of these times, and how those folks classified each other.

            Not being considered “Lithuanian” enough by nationalists, despite being born and raised in the land, is not something any decent person can associate with. There is simply too much horror in the past, too many innocents who were butchered on the alter of ethnic hate inside one country.

            So, let us be clear. The Lithuanians of jewish faith loved the land enough to stay and improve it with their work, to raise their children on this land. If they did not associate with self proclaimed nationalists between 1918 and 1945, it was because that group had a hostile, and ultimately genocidal, policy towards them.

            Lithuania will never be free and decent until we all learn to speak with great care about who belongs to what, and where, and when. the only thing that is truly Lithuanian is the soil, which as the flag shows, has been repeatedly drenched in the blood of those who would claim it exclusively as their own.

          • 1.I am not sure how you come to a conclusion that the fact that Jews are a distinct ethnicity makes them “partly to blame for their annihilation”. There are many ethnicities in Lithuania and Europe, and no ethnicity deserves to suffer genocide.

            2.I think you misunderstand the meaning of the word “ethnicity”. “American” is not an ethnicity, it is a nationality or a citizenship. Of course, somebody can be both American and a Jew, or both American and ethnic Lithuanian. The notion that every person also belongs to some particular ethnicity (in addition to his/her nationality) is an Old World notion that doesn’t exist in the New World. In fact, in the New World, it would often be impossible to define a person’s ethnicity, as many people have different origins. Therefore, in the New World, the classification according to nationality alone prevailed, with possibly “ancestry” also specified (“ancestry” meaning, actually, more a location of person’s origin than an ethnicity; that’s probably why you ask “If these people were not Lithuanian, from what land did they claim to belong”. However, this is a moot question as “ethnicity” is not the same as “ancestry”). Another classification common in the USA is “race”, which is also absent in Lithuanian censae, just like ancestry. Some of the only people that surely have ethnicity in the USA in a European/Asian/African sense are usually either first generation (sometimes also the second generation) immigrants or the Native Americans (their “tribes” or “nations” are ethnicities by the European/Asian/African sense).

            In Europe, however, the same ethnic groups, without any kind of conquest-induced-decline suffered by the Native Americans, live in the same areas for thousands of years. Moreover, the citizenship (nationality) in Eastern Europe is, unfortunately, not some constant thing. If a person lived in the 20th century Vilnius, for example, he could have been “made” a Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, Soviet and maybe German citizen (national), depending on who had the upper political hand in that era (see the history of Vilnius here: http://www.truelithuania.com/history-of-vilnius-634 ). This is in stark contrast to the USA, where the nationality remained constant throughout ~250 years (no parts of the continental USA were occupied or annexed by foreign powers for extremely long). That’s perhaps another reason why in America people did not cling so much on the ethnicity designation as they did in Eastern Europe. After all, in the Eastern Europe the ethnicity remained unchanged while the nationality changed many times throughout the lifetime, often forcibly (while in the USA one could easily be born and die with the same nationality, and that could be the same nationality one’s parents and grandparents always held).

            Ethnicity is a difficult term to define and it depends a lot on self-identification, but that self-identification is typically determined by a collection of the traits such as native language, religion, ancestry, and race. However, the exact identificators depend on location: e.g. Germans are considered (consider themselves to be) a single ethnicity despite some of them hailing from Catholic and some from Protestant families, while Serbians/Croatians are considered different ethnicities just because of different Christian denominations, despite speaking the same language.

            In any case, the popularity of self-identification by ethnicity is universal in the Eastern Europe. And local Jews self-identifies so as well, and always did. This is especially important today, when, after Soviet atheism, merely 25-33% of Lithuania’s Jews are actually professing Jewish faith – some are Roman Catholics, the majority are atheists. Yet they still consider themselves Jews-by-ethnicity, even though, likely, many Jewish-Americans would not consider them Jews at all. “Ethnic Jewish” communities and organizations currently overwhelm the “Religious Jewish” communities and organizations in Lithuania in importance.

            You may read this article from a website co-authored by a Jewish-American with Eastern European origins “Why Russian Jews are not Russian” to see how the Eastern European Jews themselves see this issue: http://www.geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/why-russian-jews-are-not-russian

            I guess one thing that makes Americans misunderstand this issue is perhaps that the word “Lithuanian” may be used in the English language as both the ethnicity designation and the nationality designation. However, these are two distinct meanings. “Lithuanian” as a nationality designation came into use just in 1918 when Lithuania became independent (and it covered all the ethnic minorities, just like “American”). As an ethnicity designator, it was used long before that.

            When all the ethnicities of Lithuania lived under the Russian Empire, there was no sense that every person who lives in Vilnius is a Lithuanian (in any sense), nor there could have been (it was unknown at the time if Lithuania would become free and whether it would include Vilnius). There lived Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Jews, Belarusians… They had not only different languages or faiths, but also different goals, different nationalisms (with e.g. Lithuanians seeking to establish Lithuania, Russians seeking to continue the Russian presence, Poles seeking to incorporate Vilnius into Poland, Jews often more interested in the Zionist cause in Palestine, etc.)

            Lithuanian censae ask for “ethnicity” (they don’t ask for “ancestry” or “race”, however) and all the statistics are derived from such self-identification (so it is not something imposed on anybody). Ethnicity may be even written in a Lithuanian passport if a person requires so, and such requests happen because people are proud of their ethnicity and want it written next to their nationality. In the Lithuanian passports, unlike in English language, the word for “Lithuanian” is different when used for nationality and when used for ethnicity; in the nationality section it is written as “Lietuvos” (literally “of Lithuania”), while in the ethnicity section as “lietuvis” (literally “Lithuanian”). While “lietuvis” is also sometimes used today in common speech for a Lithuanian-by-citizenship (likely due to the influence of English language), “Lietuvos pilietis” is a fully correct term.

            3.In general, Jews first arrived into Lithuania in the Medieval era, when they were invited by Lithuanian leaders. At that time, Lithuania was tolerant to other faiths and ethnicities and the leaders saw foreigners as beneficial for various causes (e.g. the advancement of the economy). On the other hand, many other European locations were not tolerant to the Jews. The Lithuanian Jewry also grew significantly during the 19th century when Russian Empire decreed the Russian-held Lithuania as one of the few locations in the Empire where Jews could freely settle. Like every ethnicity, Jews have unique origins (but it is not merely the origins that define ethnicity).

            4.I don’t know in what books do you find the information that Lithuania’s population was ever divided into “Lithuanians” and “Jews”. Lithuania’s population was always multiethnic, having many ethnic minorities, Jews being just one of them. Other minorities existing at least since the 15th century are Germans, Poles, Belarusians, Latvians, Tatars, Karaims, Gypsies. See this article: http://www.truelithuania.com/topics/culture-of-lithuania/ethnicities-of-lithuania

            Lithuanians are the indigenous ethnicity of the area (akin to the Native Americans in the USA), living there for some 4500 years, whereas the Lithuania’s traditional ethnic minorities mostly date to the Medieval era.

            5.In the post-WW1 Eastern Europe, when all the countries became independent, many people felt the need to move to the country where their ethnicity (i.e. their language, religion) prevails. This was often not related to discrimination, but rather to convenience or to romantic ideals. In this fashion, many Lithuanians-by-ethnicity immigrated to Lithuania ~1920 from Latvia, Russia, Poland and other countries. Likewise, many Jews migrated to Palestine to create their own homeland, many Lithuania’s Poles left to Poland, many Russians left to Russia, etc. There was also a trend of emigration to some “third countries”, especially in America. This trend existed both among ethnic Lithuanians and ethnic minorities, but it was stronger among the ethnic minorities as they, in a sense, had less to lose (they were moving from the area where their culture was in a minority to another such area, rather than from an area where they were a majority to an area where they were a minority). So, in general, there was typically less attachment to the land by the ethnic minorities, although, of course, many ethnic minority people stayed in their place regardless of changing political boundaries.

            However, the establishment of so many new countries after World War 1 in the Eastern Europe came out of a desire to have a country where your own ethnicity would form a majority. It would be impossible to discriminate it (as happened with Lithuanians in the 19th century when the Lithuanian language was banned by the ruling Russian Empire and the Catholic faith persecuted). You could also speak in your own language with the official institutions, have your own cultural traditions enjoying a government support, etc. It was such sentiment that led to the establishment of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Czechoslovakia (and attempted establishment of many more countries) in the 19th century or the early 20th century. It was such sentiment that led to the migration of “titular ethnicity” minorities from elsewhere to “their own” new countries, which they felt a psychological connection to (because of the language and culture prevailing there), despite often never having visited that area before (this was similar to the Jewish aliyah to Palestine).

            By the way, Yiddish has always been considered a Jewish language; it developed among Jews and nearly all its native speakers were Jews. Before the establishment of Israel, Hebrew was not spoken as a native language, but, however, Jews had numerous distinct languages or dialects they spoke, depending on location (including Yiddish, Ladino, etc.). There was even an attempt by communists to create a Yiddish-speaking Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Soviet Union (it still exists in Russia, albeit Jews are now a minority there).

            6.Your attempt to draw a connection between ethnic Lithuanians and nationalists has no basis. Ethnicity is not anyhow related to a political opinion, it is rather a universal designation. Even those who opposed a Lithuanian state, for example, typically considered themselves to be ethnic Lithuanians if their parents were Lithuanians. Likewise, Jewish Zionists, non-Zionist religious Jews, and Jewish communists all considered themselves to be ethnic Jews. You could consider ethnicity to be more like race in the USA. Ethnicity is more complex than race, but still, political opinions do not change one’s ethnicity just like a White American’s support for certain Black politicians does not makes him Black. Nor is a Black person, who doesn’t support such politicians, “no longer Black”.

            7.The Soviet Union is responsible for more deaths in the Lithuanian lands, and for more deaths globally than the Nazi Germany (in Holodomor alone, for example, over 7 million Ukrainians were killed). The Soviet Union has conducted genocides of some 20 ethnicities, with some ethnicities losing 50%+ of their populations. Of course, Nazi Germany did indeed kill much more Jews than did the Soviet Union. However, that does not anyhow exonerate the totalitarian Soviet regime from its own crimes, neither does it exonerate the collaborators with such regime (unless you’d believe that a Jewish life is more important than a non-Jewish life). Most people in Lithuania did not support any of the two totalitarian regimes, some quietly, others opposed them through secretive action (e.g. publishing anti-Soviet or anti-Nazi press, or hiding potential targets of the genocide, e.g. Jews from the Holocaust), and yet others with arms. Quite many people worked against both occupations in one way or another, significant numbers were persecuted by both occupational regimes. So, it was not like opposing one of the regimes would have “forced” a person to collaborate with the other in its crimes. The collaborators of whichever occupational regime are thus considered traitors by Lithuania. Those who collaborated with the Nazi Germany also are unable to restore Lithuanian citizenship, by the way.

  2. Hi. I was born in Lithuania at 1981. My parents decided to move to Israel at 1992 and to give up Lithuanian citizenship.
    However, now as an adult I decided that I don’t want to brake a connection with a place that was a home to my family for many generations. I do know that there is a law that allows descendant of people who had Lithuanian citizenship in the period between 2 world wars, to restore the citizenship. Both my grand parents (from father side ) and my grandfather (from mother side ) are falling into this category.
    What is the procedure to restore the citizenship. And do I fall into category of dual nationality?
    Thank you

    • There are two options, available depending on circumstances:

      1.Restoration of (grandfathers’) citizenship.
      2.Return of your own citizenship. This is the correct way if you had Lithuanian citizenship yourself (which is possible, as you have left after independence).

      Dual nationality is not applicable in this case. It is only applicable to those who left fleeing the occupation, whereas you have left after independence.

      To apply for citizenship it will be necessary to pay a fee, draft an application (in Lithuanian language) and send a list of documents.

      Our legal office provides such services.

  3. Thank you for this information

  4. Hello Augustinas. I have recently applied for the “certificate of Lithuanian descent” through the migration office and I am the great grandson of a Lithuanian who left in 1910 from a traditional village in the north of Lithuania near Panevezys. I gave them birth records from the state historical archives and records from America stating birth place as Lithuania etc. you state in this that descendants of pre 1918 migrants have a chance to get Lithuanian citizenship and presumably the certificate of Lithuanian descent but do you know of anyone who has been granted these lately by the Nationality Commission? I’m very nervous about getting a response although I may have to wait 6 months.

    Wes

    • Yes. For example here is a President’s decree of 2015 03 09 that grants Lithuanian citizenship on this basis to 17 people (i.e. on the basis that they are descendents of ethnic Lithuanians – although they never held Lithuanian citizenship nor did their forefathers held a Lithuanian citizenship). Of course, every situation is different and evaluated separately.

    • Hi Wes,

      Curious what your result was, as my family background is almost identical?

      Thanks!

      • Hey Aaron,

        Sorry for not replying sooner but I haven’t checked out this site in a while. My application was ultimately successful and I was granted a certificate of Lithuanian descent which I can use to get a residence permit (either temporary or permanent EU wide) and theoretically to become a citizen but that would require renouncing current citizenship. But a permanent EU residency achieved many of the same benefits. The only thing is you’ll need a lot of documents, but in my case (which they informed me was precedent-setting) I paved the way for use of the historical state archives along with birth records and immigration forms to the U.S. which all had to be apostilled and translated. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

        • Hi – do you happen to know how the permanent EU residency would apply to spouse/dependent children in this case? I am also looking into a certificate of descent, my great grandfather left about the same time as yours I believe.

    • Hi Wes

      My situation sounds very similar to yours. My great grandfather was from Vilnius I think because he stated this in the English census in 1911. Do you have any advice on how to go about obtaining proof? I should like to have the right of citizenship too.

      Thank you in advance,

  5. Dear Augustinas, my wife’s great-grandparents left Lithuania to Brazil in 1925. I am already in possession of the LCVA copy of their documents. As per a simple reading of immigration law I understand that my wife (Brazilian born) should have right of restoration of citizenship and keeping dual citizenship, considering her great grandparents left Lithuania prior to 1940. But in an answer by email, Lithuanian consul to Brazil said the understanding of the special administrative court is to consider Lithuanians who left prior to 1940 to be for economic motivation, which make dual citizenship not possible. Considering your experience, is there any chance to fight on administrative or judicial sphere to overcome this understanding?

    • The translation of related excerpt of the article 7 of the current Lithuanian Law on Citizenship is:

      “The citizen of Republic of Lithuania may be also a citizen of another state if he matches one of these conditions: (…) 2)He is a person expelled from the occupied Republic of Lithuania before 1990 03 11 who has acquired another state citizenship 3)He is a person who had retreated from Lithuania before 1990 03 11 who has acquired another state citizenship 4)He is a descendent of people mentioned in clauses 2 and 3 of this article”.

      Even though the 3rd clause does not explicitly mentions occupation, it has indeed been interpreted by the Chief Administrative Court of Lithuania to cover only the cases of those who fled Lithuania because of occupations/genocides.

      *One reason for this is the prior explanation of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania which said that, because the Constitution bans dual citizenship “save for particular cases” that means such particular cases should be rare and well-founded.
      *Another reason is the context (immediately after clause 2 that mentions those forcibly expelled by occupational regimes, making it seem that the lawmaker wanted to cover those who fled the occupational regimes in clause 3).
      *3rd reason is the word “pasitraukė” (“fled” / “retreated”) which is not commonly used for economic emigrants.

      Chief Administrative Court of Lithuania is the highest instance in administrative cases, so while there are always theoretical chances to seek reinterpretation, they are slim.

      So your wife may be able to get Lithuanian citizenship, but not dual citizenship.

      • Dear Augustinas, thanks for your quick answer. I have seen the past weeks news about seimas submitting a referendum on dual citizenship, considering my wife’s situation, what’s your opinion, should she wait the referendum or make her application right now? Things could get strict to claim citizenship?

        • The citizenship law of Lithuania has been changing much over the decade. While people/parliament typically preferred more liberal access to citizenship for ethnic Lithuanians and their descendents (including dual citizenship) and such laws were drafted, Constitutional Court would usually restrict this, forcing to ammend the laws.

          To curtail the Constitutional Court abilities it is suggested to change Article 12 of the constitution. However, a referendum is required for that and Lithuania has one of the tightest referendum regimes in the democratic world (which makes successful referendum close to impossible, unless the government finds some loopholes of dubious constitutionality to simplify the procedure for a particular government-sponsored referendum, as was the case with European Union membership referendum).

          In the case of dual citizenship for example, 50% of all adult Lithuanians would have to vote in favor. In Lithuania 52% is considered a good turnout (because many have emigrated or abstain from politics) – which would mean some 96% of all participating voters would have to vote in favor. And in case turnout would be under 50% (which is also not rare for Lithuanian elections) it would become even theoretically impossible, even if 100% ballots would be in favor.

          Of course, in theory the parliament may propose some loopholes to simplify the particular referendum.

          One solution may be applying for the Document proving the right to restore citizenship (rather than for citizenship itself). Such document may be easily “converted” to citizenship anytime, and only then would the foreign citizenship needed to be renounced. If the law would change however, it may be not required to renounce foreign citizenship.

          In case any legal services would be needed, our attorney may help.

          • Dear Augustinas,

            I heard that the Seimas recently approved a change to the law, replacing the word “fled” for “left”. Would this right now allow my wife to to restore citizenship without have to renounce brazilian one?

            Tks

          • Yes, you are correct.

  6. Dear Augustinas, My parents were both born in Lithuania while I was born in Uzbekistan on the 24 June 1945. I know that we went back to look for survivors of both my parents but on my father’s side none survived while my mother was more fortunate. After the war we were in a displacement camp where my brother was born in Gotting, Germany. We left there in 1950 for South Africa where my father had 2 sisters who came before the war with another brother. We were not allowed to stay as immigration had closed and we were put on a train for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). My father had changed his surname but on investigation I have his birth name, have accessed their (and other siblings) marriage records. I do not have a birth certificate nor any for my deceased parents. I do however have their last will and death notice confirming that I and my brother are their children. I have 2 first cousins – one living in Kaunas and the other in Klapeida. I do wish to obtain dual citizenship. In view of the above and the fact that I do not have a birth certificate nor actual place in Uzbekistan of my birth is it still possible to get dual citizenship. I look forward to your response. Thank you.

    • The key points you’d need to prove for citizenship restoration with dual citizenship:
      a)That your parent(s) were Lithuanian citizens.
      b)That your parent(s) moved out of Lithuania because of the occupational regimes (reasons such as “deported by Soviet regime” or “fled to avoid the Nazi German regime” are ok, but if they left in 1920s or 1930s for reasons unrelated with occupation of Lithuania dual citizenship won’t be possible – although in some cases even those who left earlier are granted dual citizenship if they left due to fear of occupation-related persecution)

      What you cannot prove by your own documents may be proved through archive searches or court action, although there are never 100% guarantees that what you need will be found or recognized.

      Our legal office provides services in representation in Lithuanian archives and courts.

  7. Thank you for your reply.
    a) My mother was born in Zarasi and was one of 7 childen
    My father place of birth is shown as Zapyskis (on the marriage records) but I know that they lived in Zagare & he was one of the youngest in a family of 13 children. In view of this they must have been Lithuanian citizens.
    I have no knowledge when they fled Lithuania for Germany but it must have been directly after the war & the displacement camp.
    We had made an approach earlier this year to an Attorney in Vilnius to assist us but the communication has been rather scarce from them. We will be in Vilnius on the 31st of this month.
    What are your contact details should be decide to contact you. Thank you for your promptness.
    Kind regards, Debbie Epstein

    • What is important is when your parents left Lithuania the first time, which must have been before 1945 as you were then born in Uzbekistan. There are 3 possibilities:
      1.If your parents left before or soon after Lithuanian independence (1918) it is possible they have not received citizenship.
      2.If your parents left at e.g. 1935 it would not be considered leaving due to occupation (although this may have exceptions and sometimes dual citizenship is granted to those who left before occupation due to various fears).
      3.If your parents left in 1940-1945 then you should be eligible for dual citizenship.

      My contact is augustinas.zemaitis@gmail.com , our telephone +370 675 09985.

      NOTE: With the law change in 2016, this comment is no longer up-to-date as it is no longe rnecessary to proof the departure due to occupation.

  8. Dear Augustinas, my only concern with my citizenship application is if Lithuanian migration dept. Would recognize my evidence for my grandfather’s Lithuanian citizenship. I have letter from Lithuanian archives stating my there is a record of his Baptism in Lithuania, I also have original documents from DP camp in Germany stating his Lithuanian citizenship and place of Birth, I also have letter and records from International Tracing Service of records in there archives supporting stating my Grandfathers Citizenship. Is there any precedence of Migration department accepting evidence like this as proof of Lithuanian citizenship?

    • You should try applying. In case they would refuse, there will be another way of establishing the fact that your granfather was a Lithuanian citizen through a Lithuanian court decision, which would be binding (court generally needs less evidence and these are likely to be enough even if they would not be enough to the department before court decition). We can provide services in both application and court case, if needed. In general, every case is unique – unless some particular key documents are present (e.g. Lithuanian passport of the deceased ex-citizen) there is a varying availability of various documents of different eras proving citizenship. Migration department does not publish entire list of all acceptible documents (it likely has no such list), only a few of the common ones (such as the aforementioned passports). It is therefore the best to try applying with what you have.

  9. Hi
    I am a Lithuanian citizen. I acquired the passport via my great grandmother.
    My children born in South Africa would like to apply to become citizens.
    I am informed that you can only aquire citizenship up to 3 generations.
    Is there any way i can get them accepted as citizens

    • Hi. Your children should be able to aquire Lithuanian citizenship. If you need legal services in drafting the application and collecting necessary documents – we can provide such services.

  10. I have all the forms.
    Would you do the submission and motivation.
    What concerns me is that it appears all over internet that the 3rd generation is last to acquire passports and that it cannot go further down the line.
    When i tried for my children 10 years ago it was declined on that basis.
    What are your fees.
    Do you do the translation officialy or do i use my translator?

    • There are multiple ways to achieve citizenship and exact terms on who is eligible depends on that; as per current law, there are possibilities to get citizenship for later generations as well.

      Yes, we may do the submission.

      It is better to use translators from Lithuania (if your translator is from Lithuania working here officially as a translator, then its ok to use yours, otherwise we can use the ones we usually work with).

      Our attorney will contact you by e-mail with fees.

  11. Hello Augustinas,

    I’m an American who grew up in a Polish-Lithuanian household and have recently moved to Europe. While my dad was born in the US, my grandfather was born in Lithuania and left before 1900 to flee Russian conscription. Am I eligible to claim Lithuanian citizenship?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    Janina

    • Hello,

      Indeed you should be able to claim Lithuanian citizenship through the simplified process, because as I understand it your grandfather was a Lithuanian (even though he wasn’t a Lithuanian citizenship as Republic of Lithuania did not yet exist).

      If you need legal services in collecting the necessary documents and drafting the application, we may provide them.

      Regards,
      Augustinas Žemaitis.

  12. Augustinas,

    My name is Jason . I am 20 years old with extensive international travel experience .I am interested in pursuing dual citizenship in Lithuania. My great great grandparents are from Lithuania . It is possible that my great grandparents were citizens of Lithuania as well. There birth place could be Lithuania too. I have names and date of birth ranges . I have a question . Would a great great grandparents meet the requirements? I look forward to the response .
    Regards ,
    Jason Womack

    • Dear Jason,

      Lithuanian dual citizenship is typically only possible for those people whose forefathers have left because of Soviet or Nazi persecutions in Lithuania. If your forefatehrs do not qualify this requirement,it may still be possible to gain Lithuanian citizenship, but then you’d have to renounce current nationality.

      Your great grandparent (rather than great great grandparent) should have had citizenship to use the restoration process. However, even if he/she didn’t have citizenhip, there is still a way to gain Lithuanian citizenship through simplified process (rather than through restoration), which is a very similar and equally easy way.

  13. Hi Augustinas,
    I am currently living in london and exploring the possibility of obtaining citizenship. I have recently tried to explore polish citizenship through my grandfather although this is proving to be difficult. My grandma is a holocaust survivor and was I believe born in Vilnius although I don’t have any relevant documents. I know they have a katubah(jewish marriage certificate) although no formal marriage certificate as they got married in an Austrian refugee camp and we don’t have her birth certificate or anything like that. If you could advise whether this would be possible and how long it usually takes that would be greatly apreciated.

    • It would be the best to prove they had Lithuanian citizenship and go through “citizenship restoration”. However, they may as well never “de jure” had Lithuanian citizenship even if they lived in Vilnius as Vilnius was under Polish occupation during 1920-1939 and Lithuania only briefly ruled it in 1939-1940 (after which it was occupied as a whole by Soviet Union), although legally Lithuania always considered Vilnius to be its capital. Taht said, it is possible to argue that they were regarded as citizens by interwar Lithuania (and there are court precedents supporting such interpretation).

      In case proving citizenship is impossible, it may be enough to prove just their connection to Lithuania (and attempt “simplified process”), but this way the good results are less likely if the connection with Lithuanian nation is not strong (depending on family history).

      In any case, further research on your family at Lithuanian archives would be needed, which we could provide.

  14. Hi There.

    My grand father was born around 1898 in a small town called Poppelan… I think.
    He moved to SA in early 1900’s. He married and lived here passing away in 1977 or so
    I am a South African resident and would like to know if it would be possible to get a Lithuanian passport.
    Unfortunately as with most people when they fled during world war 1 they left everything behind. He couldn’t even remember his birth date…

    • You could go through the simplified procedure of Lithuanain citizenship acquisition which is available to grandsons and granddaughters. However, to have your application approved, you’d still have to prove that your grandfather was actually a Lithuanian. Lithuanian archive searches are possible to get a direct proof (we offer such services) – however, in order to do such a search, some information must be known, as otherwise it would be unclear what to search (preferably at least approximate birth date, birth place and name / surname, although in some cases it is possible to replace some of this by some other data, if known).

      So, it depends on what maximum information and evidence you currently have and what additionally may be acquired through archives.

      It may be possible to do an application without direct evidence (and try to establish the fact taht your grandfather was a Lithuanian through a court), however, this way is longer and the chances of success would be lower.

      Note: town “Poppelan” does not exist in Lithuania, but this may be an older alternative name of some town in some language – if so, people doing archive search could know that.

  15. Hello dear: I am a Syrian Dentist .. and I want to migrate, live and work in Lithuania .. Do you there is a way to get a permanent residence for me and my family

    • There are various ways to get a Lithuanian residence permit. People of Lithuanian descent may get it easily. However, if I understand correctly you don’t have Lithuanian roots. For non-Lithuanians a possible way to get a residence permit is to find a job in Lithuania (before migrating), in which case the employer could help with the permit.

      However, in general, for non-Lithuanians it is harder to get a residence permit in Lithuania than in some other countries (e.g. not every job will qualify to get permit). Therefore, if you seek just to migrate somewhere out of Syria and you don’t have any connections to Lithuania, it would be easier to try in other countries.

  16. Dear SIR,,

    Hope you are fine and in good health. Sorry- to disturb you, but kindly reply on below and that will be highly appreciated.

    1. Some lawyers from Vilnius, Lithuania are sending several e- mails and offering us Lithuanian citizen/passport within 3 months at a 35000-EURO, Also saying that we can hold our Native citizens/passport mean dual citizens no problem for foreigners. Is it true? can you please kindly give us a response please. Thanks in advance.

  17. My mother and her ancestors are from vilnus, they were in the ghetto where most of them died.
    of course my mother survived and now she is dead as well.
    is there any way i can procure Lithuanian citizenship based on this?

    • If your ancestors were Lithuanian citizens and you can prove it, then you could definitely get citizenship. If your mother fled Lithuania because of the occupation (e.g. during 1943) then you could get dual citizenship (i.e. retain your current citizenship and get a Lithuanian one). If your mother left Lithuania after the persecutions ended (e.g. in 1991) then you could only get Lithuanian citizenship by renouncing your current citizenship.

      If your ancestors lived in Lithuania but were not Lithuanian citizens it may still be possible to get citizenship through simplified procedure, but there is few legal precedents on the issue in such cases, so it is difficult to be 100% sure, a lot depends on your forefathers’ connection to Lithuania.

      We offer legal services in searching documents to prove your ancestry, the citizenship of your foerfathers and also we may draft the necessary applications.

  18. i am very interested in proceeding please tell me what the costs would be and what i would need to do
    my mother left at the handsof the nazis

  19. Hi Augustine’s
    I had lived in Lithuania marriage visa for 7 years . After that I got Lithuania citizenship and now after 10 years marriage if it’s happend divorce can be some problem for my citizenship
    Thanks

    • And which reasons Lithuania government can take back citizenship?

      • Normally citizenship is not taken away, however, there are various circumstances where it can be taken away. For example, if one is to become a citizen of another country; if one joins a foreign army; if one’s marriage was not true (i.e. it was formed just to get citizenship or right of abode in Lithuania).

  20. Dear Augustinas

    I have proof of my great grandfather’s Lithuanian citizenship (for those who are looking for this, the Lithuanian State archives are very efficient). However, despite having done a lot of research on this, 2 things concern me:
    1. I have no official name change document (from Zilbersteinas to Silberstein), but can prove the links between my great grandfather and myself and have an affidavit stamped by a South African magistrate.
    2. My great grandfather left in 1938 which I think must mean they were under threat, but I have no documents stating that they were. I have gathered some historical data of attacks on Jews andI know that in March 1938, Lithuania was forced into diplomatic ties with Poland. I can only imagine they were scared. My great grandparents arrived in South africa July 1938. My grandfather had left for South Africa in 1925 (no Lithuanian records exist for him) but it doesn’t seem that my great grandparents had any intention of leaving if they waited 13 years. There is no doubt they were wise to leave when they did. I have heard that many South African Jews have had their applications rejected because they can’t prove that their ancestors fled but now there is talk of the Lithuanian government re-looking at this.
    Can you comment? I was going to email your office, but I thought it might be useful for people if I put this online.

    Thanks
    Isa Jacobson

    • 1.Migration institutions decide on what documents are enough for this on case-by-case basis, as each case is different. Unfavorable decitions may be appealed to court. As the surnames are quite similar (in fact, Silberstein is more or less a anglicized version of Zilbersteinas), it is usually easier to proof.

      2.It may be possible to prove that they left due to fear of threat. We have such cases in courts. Furthermore, the government is planning to remove some of these restrictions soon, so it would not be even required to prove the threat for dual citizenship.

  21. To who ever it might correspond,

    My grandmother was born and raised in Lithuania and left prior to 1940.

    My brother successfully obtained his Lithuanian passport 5 years ago, unfortunatley since 2010 both, Uruguaian and Argentinian embassies closed, therefore losing the archives.

    Nevertheless, we do have a Consulate here in Montevideo, however I am asked a birth certificate and another document proving my grandmother natural nationality.

    Since the documents my brother collected were lost in the closing of the embassies;

    I was writing with the purpose to ask who or which organisation shoud I contact to ask for the aforementioned documents.

    With any further, thank you very much.

    Greetings from Uruguay.

  22. Hi I’m from Australia and my grandparents migrated here during world war 2 and I was wondering if it is possible for me to apply for in any way a Lithuanian passport as there doesn’t seem to be much information on the matter here in Australia or anywhere I can go for answers. Much appreciation

  23. On July 2016 the Lithuanian Nationality Law has been changed.

    Dual citizenship is now available to every descendent of a Lithuanian citizen who has left before 1990 03 11, regardless of the reasons of such emigration (previously only descendents of those who left due to persecutions were eligible for dual citizenship).

    One exception: it is still not available to people who have willingly emigrated to the Soviet Union.

    • Hello Augustinas,

      I am an American Citizen and all four of my grandparents were from Lithuania. My ancestry is 100% Lithuanian. I have all four of their birth certificates (on my last visit to Vilnius I paid to have them researched). What is the process for me to get dual citizenship? I also have the ellis island records of when my fathers father originally entered the USA in the late 1800’s.

      • Hello,

        It should be easy in your case to get a single citizenship (renouncing the current citizenship), a residence permit or a certificate of Lithuanian descent. This would require to file the necessary proofs, together with a Lithuanian language application, to the respective authorities (mostly the Migration Department). Our legal office may help with those issues.

        With dual citizenship however, it is somewhat more complex. Dual citizenship is only available to those whose forefathers were Lithuanian citizens. Lithuania became independent in 1918 and therefore its citizenship became available only then. If all of your grandparents emigrated in the late 1800s, they are unlikely to have held Lithuanian citizenship. Still, given the ambiguity of Lithuanian citizenship laws in 1920s, it may be argued that actually many emigrants automatically became citizens and thus their descendents should be regarded as descendents of Lithuanian citizens. So far, such interpretation has not been tested in Lithuanian courts which are the only institution to provide binding decisions of interpreting laws, so it is possible to try. We may help with that as well and evaluate the probability of success based on documents you have and exact dates of migration for each of your grandparents.

        If at least a single grandparent was a Lithuanian Citizen (especially e.g. if he/she emigrated after ~1918), then the prospects to get dual (rather than single) citizenship would become much clearer.

  24. Hello Augustinas,

    My great-grandmother left Gargždų in 1921 with her mother and brothers to come to America. I have a copy of her mother’s passport that lists her name when they first travelled to America. I also have records of their arrival in America as well as their ship records. I do not have a copy of my great-grandmother’s birth certificate but believe they should be available upon a search in Lithuania. I saw your recent message on the change of nationality law and was wondering if you believe I may be eligible to apply for Lithuanian citizenship restoration while still maintaining my current citizenship.

    Thanks in advance.

    • It depends on whether your great grandmother held Lithuanian citizenship. If so, then you are eligible for dual citizenship. We can offer archive search services on the proof of citizenship as well as application services. In case no enough documents would be found, it may still be possible to proove such facts via court of law.

  25. Who exactly acquired Lithuanian citizenship in 1918? There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of clarity on this. Is it possible a pre-1918 Lithuanian emigre may have obtained citizenship through some mechanism, such as registration at a Lithuanian embassy or consulate abroad? If not, what would the citizenship status of such a person have been post-1918? Stateless? Would Lithuania really have rendered its diaspora stateless in such a way? Would such a person have had any claim to Lithuanian citizenship in the period 1918-1940, such as during a brief return visit to Lithuania?

    • Yes, it is possible.

      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).

      In 1920 the law has been ammended to provide a possibility to naturalize people who did not live 5 years in Lithuania “in exceptional cases” (there have been such cases).

      In 1922 a new ammendment required people who would be Lithuanian citizens according to this law but live elsewhere to register within 6 months at Lithuanian embassies or consulates. If in the particular country there were no embassies or consulates, the time was extended to 6 months after embassy or consulate is established.

      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.

  26. Hi Augustinas,

    I’ve just learned that I’m eligible for dual citizenship and was wondering if you know how long it typically takes to receive dual citizen status/a Lithuanian passport?

    Thanks kindly,

    Jessica

    • The time varies. It depends on how many documents you already have and how many would need to be searched in archives. If the case is straightforward, you just wirte an application and provide the necessary documents, it may take under a year, although it is not possible to tell the exact time in advanc. If there would be need to search for more documents and information, then time for that should be added before the actual application. In case the situation is doubtful (i.e. not everything that needs to be proven was proven) and a court case would be necessary, it would add time afterwards. In these cases, the time required may double or triple, depending on situation.

  27. Please can you advise on my situation.

    Partly as a result of the UK ‘Brexit’ referendum I have become more interested in exploring my family roots in Lithuania.

    My paternal grandparents were residents in Grodno/Hrodno until some point in the mid/late 1890’s when they travelled across Europe fInally settling in London with their two eldest children and where the remaimnder of their family (including my father) was born.

    There is very little by way of formal documentation surrounding my grandparents origins beyond a family tree (professionally sourced) evidencing familial residence in Grodno from the late eighteenth century onwards through to exiting Grodno just prior to the end of the nineteenth century.

    Please can you advise:

    a) whether this potentially is sufficient to assert an ancestral link to Lthuania (I recognize Grodno is now in Belarus but was within Lithuanian provincial borders at the point my ancestral family resided there)?

    b) whether – assuming such ancestral residence can be more formally evidenced (presumably from census materials held in state archives) – this gives rise to any claims to citizendship through a grandparent connection

    and

    c) whether any such citizenship arising might be available on a dual basis in future where lithuanuian citizenship would enable retention of all EU national rights (frree movement etc) within the EU?

    Finally are there significant costs to progressing a submission for citizenship in which dual citizenship status might be available?

    With Thanks

    S.

    • a)The meaning of “Lithuanian” is not well established by legal precedents. As such, it is not possible to 100% answer how such “borderline” cases would be evaluated. Location of the forefathers is just one piece of the puzzle: the questions may be whether they were Lithuanians, spoke Lithuanian, were part of Lithuanian culture, etc. All that is evaluated on case-by-case basis. As the time passes, more and more binding legal precedents are set up in Lithuanian courts regarding citizenship cases, but not in this field so far.

      b)If it would be considered that your grandparent was a Lithuanian, citizenship would be possible.

      c)Dual citizenship is even harder to achieve in such case – it would be easier if you’d renounce British citizenship. Dual citizenship is easy to apply only for those whose forefathers were Lithuanian citizens rather than just Lithuanians. There may be some possibilities, but there are also no legal precedents. However, as Lithuania is currently in the European Union, Lithuanian citizens have all the duties and rights of EU citizens.

  28. Hi there

    I hope you can help me.

    My grandfather left Lithuania in 1948 to come to Australia due to the aftermath of the war.

    Would it be possible for me as his granddaughter to obtain a Lithuanian passport ?

    Any advice would be really helpful.

    Thank you

    Jasmine

  29. Hello Augustinas,
    I have been advised by the Lithuanian Embassy in Canada that I am eligible to apply for dual citizenship.
    Both my grandparents immigrated to Canada in 1926/27.
    I have, from the Lithuanian archives, proof of birth for both of them and proof of marriage. I also have their Lithuanian passports and copies of their entries into Canada.
    My father was born in Canada and I have a copy of his birth certificate and I have a copy of my birth certificate.
    Based on this information do you think that I will need any further documents?
    Also, is it possible to have the Canadian birth certificates translated to Lithuanian in Canada? How particular are they about getting documents translated?
    Also based on this information how long can I expect this process to take?

    Since I have not yet had the application translated to English, I am unaware of what it says. Are the document requirements listed on the application?

    Any further information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you kindly,
    Janice

    • Yes, you may send us the documents. In case he left in 1926, he likely had a Lithuanian citizenship and then you would be eligible to citizenship restoration with dual citizenship available.

      As for translations, it is better to do them in Lithuania as some officials may prefer that. However, it is not specified in any laws so if you already have translations done in Canada you may use them and they are likely to work as well.

      Document requirements ar enot listed on application but in law and bylaws. Some of the things may be proved by various documents rather than a single particular one.

      According to law the process should be completed in 6 months. However, in reality it takes a longer time. It may also take a year or more.

  30. Hi Augustinas,

    Thank you in advance for any information you can give me. I am a U.S. citizen and my grandparents came to the U.S.A. around 1900 from Vidziai, Lithuania. I’ve traced them through the 1885 Vidziai Zarasai Kaunas Box Taxpayers listing. Although at that time, it was Russia, they were Lithuanian.

    Is it possible for me to have dual citizenship- Lithuanian and U.S.A?

    Thank you very much,

    Stephen Stoltz
    Philadelphia, PA., U.S.A.
    email: steve.stoltz@earthlink.net

    • The citizenship acquisition in interwar period was a rather long process that was not completed instantly in 1918. It continued for more years: constitution and laws changed over that time as well as the borders of Lithuania. For instance, after Lithuania acquired Klaipëda region in 1923, the locals there could have chosen either German or Lithuanian citizenship.

      Yes, there were ways to get Lithuanian citizenship for those not living in Lithuania, and there are such cases. However, back in those days attempts to get Lithuanian citizenship for those who lived outside Lithuania were likely less popular, as there were less incentives for that: people would often stay in the same country for decades, so (for example) a person who moved to live in USA would often seek US citizenship instead of Lithuanian. Issues related to different taxation, different visa regimes also were much less important back then.

      The best/only way to ascertain if a particular person held a Lithuanian citizenship is however an archive search.

  31. Hi Augustinas,

    Thank you for being so helpful. My great grandparents were from Kaunas, and moved to the United States pre-1900. My grandfather is still alive.

    1) Is dual citizenship possible?
    2) What options are possible without renouncing my current citizenship?

    Thank you for your time!
    -Matthew

    • Hello,

      1.It is unlikely, even if not definitively so. Dual citizenship is possible only for descendents of Lithuanian citizens. It would be needed to prove that your (great) grandparents became citizens (see replies above).

      2.It is easier to get a certificate proving a Lithuanian ancestry, which could be converted into citizenship if you would so choose. Additionally, Lithuanian descent allows an easy way to get a living permit in Lithuania, without the requirements that otherwise exist.

  32. Dear Augustinas

    Thank you for the information you have provided on this website. I’m wondering if you can help me.

    My grandmother was born in Klykoliai in Lithuania in 1901. My great-grandfather came to South Africa in about 1910. His wife and six children, including my grandmother who was the youngest child, remained in Lithuania. We think the plan was that they would join him at a later stage.

    Unfortunately my great-grandfather passed away in May 1911. A few days before he passed away he received his naturalisation certificate in South Africa. The naturalisation certificate has the names of his children but states that they were not residing in South Africa at the time.

    My grandmother and her mother only came to South Africa in the 1920s although we’re not sure about the exact date. They went back before returning to South Africa again later in the 1920s.

    We have an official Lithuanian document dated 1923 with my grandmother’s name and photograph entitled Svetimsalio Liudymas. Do you know about these certificates? It appears to state that she was born in Lithuania and was residing there in 1923.

    My sister and I are wondering if we would be eligible for dual citizenship based on the information we’ve provided above.

    Thank you in advance,

    Carol

    • In order to get dual citizenship you’d have to prove that one of your forefathers was a citizen of Lithuania. It is possible, though not very likely. It may be possible to argue that your grandmother received citizenship before 1920 (perhaps automatically) and therefore had it at one time. However, “svetimšalio liudijimas” means (more or less) “foreigner ID”.

      • Hi Augustinas

        Thank you for your reply. Can you tell me how we could go about proving this if we do want to try, and what it would cost?

        I hope you don’t mind if I send a copy of the document I referred to to your email address (I wasn’t able to attach a copy here). I understand you said it won’t help us obtain Lithuanian citizenship but I would be interested to know more about the document if you’re able to tell me.

        Regards

        Carol

        • The document you have sent is a “foreigner’s ID”. It is essentially similar to modern day visa, allowing the person, an English Citizen (i.e. British Empire) to live in Lithuania for 6 months. It dates to 1923. Most of the text on the document are various characteristics of the person, e.g. height, hair color, ethnicity and faith (Jewish).

  33. I am an American National and I know I am of Lithuanian descent; my Great-Grandfather and Great Grandmother’s last names were Kalinauskas. However, according to records in US immigration they left Lithuania in 1913, five years before Lithuanian Independence.

    My Grandmother, their daughter, was full blooded Lithuanian (and very proudly so until the day she died). However, she is listed in the census documents as being born in the USA, in 1925. I doubt that any of them returned to Lithuania to obtain citizenship (though I suppose it is theoretically possible). Am I correct in supposing that under the new Lithuanian law I cannot obtain dual citizenship in Lithuania (unless they had returned to Lithuania at some point and obtained citizenship after 1918) because they emigrated five years before independence from Russia?

    • You are correct. There may be a possibility to prove that they did autoamtically gain citizenship however (according to the interwar Lithuanian law on citizenship), although so far there have been no binding court precedents on this particular issue (either positive or negative).

      In case your great grandparent would be regarded as having had Lithuanian citizenship, you’d be eligible for dual citizenship. If not, you would still be eligible to Lithuanian citzenship (as your grandparent was a Lithuanian, even if born elsewhere), but not dual citizenship. You would nevertheless be still entitled to easy residence permit in Lithuania and a document proving your Lithuanian ancestry which could be “converted” into citizenship if you’d ever want that.

      • How would we we go about trying to prove that my great-grandparents deserve automatic Lithuanian Citizenship? What is the legal process for doing so? If it is possible I would be interested in legally pursuing this and hiring a Lithuanian Lawyer.

        At the same time that we were trying to have my great-grandparents granted citizenship in the courts, how could I apply for the residence permit in Lithuania. How many years is the residence permit for, or is it permanent residence?

        • 1.We would not get them granted citizenship, but rather try to prove that they had one. The process is typical to citizenship applications and includes Migration Department and if it is not enough (i.e. they disagree with our interpretation) then a court case is needed.
          2.The permit is for 5 years, but it may be extended.

          • Could you I have you look for the birth records of my great grandparents in the Lithuanian Archives? My great grandfather is Peter Kalinauskas and was born in 1889 or 1890, he supposedly emigrated to the USA in 1913. His parents remained in Lithuania and may have been alive after 1918, making them citizens.

            My great grandmother is listed as Helen Kalinauskas, born in 1898 or 1899 in Lithuania. She is also listed as having emigrated in 1913.

            It appears that they may have emigrated with two other Lithuanians, who then lived with them in the United States named Joseph Sugsts, born in 1888 or 1887. and Anna Sugst, born in 1895 or 1894.

            I also have some very limited information for the *possible* names of the parents of my great-grandfather. On his death record they are listed as having been: John Kalinauskas and Domicile Akucevics. These names may not be accurate because they appear as scribbled translations and may have been incorrectly taken.

          • If you can find birth records for either of my great-grandparents, I would also like to pursue the Lithuanian Long Term residency permit as soon as possible while we sort out the possibilities of dual-citizenship. I would love to hire you to do this work.

            Please let me know about contact information and how we may proceed.

            -Elliot

          • Thank you for your interest. I have referred your case to our attorney and she will contact you by e-mail, quoting prices and services we can provide.

  34. Hello, I have a question,
    My grandfather was from lithuania and my dad had a passport from the country too, his passport expired but i have the copies and everything. Can I apply for a citizenship ?

    thank you,

  35. Hello,

    My grandfather and his family left Lithuania in 1905. They came from Jonova and were Jewish. They settled in Canada. We have found my grandfather’s birth record.

    It seems like we would be eligible forLithuanian cititizenship but not for dual citizenship because they left earlier than 1918. Is this correct? Is there any chance that we would be eligible for dual citizenship?

    Thanks

    • Only those whose forefathers were Lithuanian citizens are eligible to dual citizenship, and the citizenship was instated only in 1918. As I have explained in some above comments, however, it may be so that the person who emigrated earlier had still acquired a Lithuanian citizenship or (arguably more likely) was considered by contemporary law to have acquired it. This is an area that lacks either positive or negative court precedents, however.

      Additionally, there are other possibilities even for those whose forefathers had no citizenship, and they include an easy residence permit and a certificate of ancestry that could be converted into citizenship or residence permit later without having to prove the same things again.

  36. Hi Augustinas

    I have all my grandfather’s documents that allow me to apply for reinstatement citizenship however the one thing I am missing is a letter stating he changed his name from “Ruvinas” to “Rudolph” when he came to South Africa. He did this because his Hebrew name was “Reuven” and since he spoke fluent German, he decided to change his name to “Rudolph” to make it easier to pronounce in English. I however cannot prove this.

    When I went to the embassy in Pretoria, they stated I just have to explain the name change however I am unsure if this is correct.

    Do you think I will get rejected based on this?

    Many Thanks

    • Each case is evaluated on case-by-case basis. Migration authorities may decide that the proof of name change is enough, or they may decide otherwise. However, if they would decide otherwise, there would still be possibilities to prove it through courts.

      • Thanks very much for your reply! Also his birthday differs on his lithuanian and south african documents by three days which I assume was a mistake. Would this also be fatal to the application?

        • Like with the names, it is evaluated on case-by-case basis. It is well known that in the past birthdates would often be known only approximately and would often appear differently in various documents. Still, however, different birthdate may make it a little bit harder to prove that he was the same person.

          • Well I do have his original lithuanian passport which shows the exact dates he came to South Africa so I feel it would be extremely unlikely to think it was a different person with the only difference being the day of birth however obviously the migration department may think different as you said it is a case by case basis. Do you think that would be decent evidence to possibly help the application? Thanks for your help in answering these questions. I really appreciate your advice

    • Hi Rael

      Thats funny. My grand dad also changed his name when he immigrated to Germany. My last name is Wirgailis, and my grandfather changed the V in Virgailis into a W. I don’t know why the heck he did that but thats the story. I’m also interested in obtaining the Lithuanian passport (for dual-citizenship), and I’m also curious if this will create trouble.

      Cheers!

  37. Hi Augustinai,

    I’m interested in getting some more info about your services for establishing dual nationality with Lithuania and the USA. I was born in the USA but my grandparents and parents were born in Lithuania.

    My grandparents and parents came to the USA (mom’s family in 1949 and dad’s family in 1950). I’d need some help finding the proper documentation in Lithuania and going through the application process.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Best,

    Linas

  38. Hello,

    I have two or three great-great-grandparents who were Jewish and lived in Lithuania when it was part of the Russian Empire. They came here in the early 1900s. I am hoping this can get me a residence permit, and would like to know what the process would look like.

    Thanks in advance,

    Zebulon

  39. Hello Augustinas, my great-grandmother was lithuanian and went to Brazil in 1927. I don´t have her passport, only the birth certificate from the archives in 2006 and the departure certificate from hamburg port where says that she was lithuanian and the arrival certificate in Brazil telling that she was Lithuanian. It means that I don’t have nothing issued in Lithuania telling that she was lithuanian (only her birth certificate and the genealogical documents of her ancestors – more than 200 years ago – telling about births , marriages and deaths, all in Lithuania. Do you think is there any possibility to get the descent certificate?

    Many thanks,

    Marcelo

    • If by “birth certificate from the archives in 2006” you mean the birth certificate of your great grandmother from the Lithuanian archives, then this indeed could be enough. It may also be possible to search for more documents in Lithuanian archives. We provide this service, as well as certificate application service. Also, if your great grandmother left to Brazil in 1927, she was likely a citizen, so you may get dual citizenship if you so wish.

      • Thank you for your answer Augustinas, I already sent a genelogical tree and all my documents to you by email. Regards.

  40. Hi – my great grandfather was born in Lithuania, and both my brother and I are interested in pursuing certificate of descent and permanent EU residency. I would great grandfather left around 1904. We would also be very interested in dual citizenship, but that does not seem to be an option and our case. We have access to all documentation, but we are wondering about how to get them translated, how to file them, and things of that nature. I’m also wondering if we get the certificate and the permit for permanent residency, does that allow our spouses and dependent children to move with us? And does the permit applied to all of the EU, or just Lithuania yet? Last but not least, we are wondering about your legal costs. Thank you for any information you could provide

    • We may provide the legal services you have mentioned in the application for a residential permit.

      The Lithuanian residential permit allows to freely move around the EU without a visa.

      Every person needs his/her own residence permit. For children it is easy – if you could prove that you are a Lithuanian through ancestry, the same proofs could be used to also claim that your children are Lithuanians through ancestry. For non-Lithuanian spouses, some additional documents would have to be provided, such as the proof of having enough money (or a statement that you will support your spouse financially).

  41. Hello,

    Thank you for hosting such an informative page! I am in the same scenario as many who have written here: family emigrated from Lithuania prior to 1918. I am interested in re-establishing my family’s Lithuanian nationality for the purpose of obtaining either citizenship (though obviously not dual citizenship) or a permanent residency permit at some time in the future. Some records are available to me, such as internal passport records from around the turn of the century, others would need to be recovered from the archives. Please go ahead and send me a description of what is needed and what you would propose.

    Thanks!

  42. Hi Augustinas,

    My mother was born in Holshany, near Vilnius, in 1925.
    My father was born in 1923 in Mirasky? in the state of Baronowitzc? Sorry about my spelling!

    I have their birth certificates in Belarus and polish translations (all old documents)
    I also have their marriage license from 1948. one in Belarus and a translation in polish.

    My mother was a holocaust survivor.
    My parents came to the US in 1961 and I was born here.
    My mother always considered herself to be Lithuanian.
    Could I qualify for Lithuanian citizenship? Or do I need to apply via Poland?

    Thanks!
    Debbie

    • I assume the locations you mention are the ones known today as Baranovichi (Lithuanian: Baranavičiai), Mir (Lithuanian: Myras) and Halshany (Lithuanian: Alšėnai). All three are in Belarus.

      On a positive note, Alšenai was part of Vilnius region. In the interwar period, this area was bitterly disputed by Lithuania and Poland, and while Poland eventually took hold of it (in 1920, after a brief Lithuanian rule), Lithuania officially maintained that the whole Vilnius region was an illegally Polish-occupied part of Lithuania. As such, there is a possibility to claim that your mother should have been considered a Lithuanian citizen. However, understandably, the likelihood of success is lower than if she would have been born in the lands that are still part of Lithuania (Alšėnai was annexed by the Soviet Union after the Molotov-Ribentropp pact and attached to the Belarusian SSR rather than Lithuanian SSR later, meaning that Lithuania did not receive the land after 1990 independence; Nazi Germany, however, regarded Alšėnai as a part of occupied Lithuania rather than a part of occupied Belarus in 1941-1944).

      A more positive note is that the fact of parents’ citizenship only needs to be established in case you want a dual citizenship.

      Single citizenship (renouncing the current nationality) would be easier (only the more vaguely-defined Lithuanian descent has to be proven). Other more likely possibilities are the certificate of Lithuanian descent and residence permit for people of Lithuanian descent. What exactly is Lithuanian descent in this case is undefined by precedent, so it may imply Lithuanian ethnicity, Lithuanian culture , self-definition as a Lithuanian or some combination thereof (however, it does not imply citizenship).

      More about the interwar Lithuania, including the Vilnius dispute, may be read here (an interwar map of Lithuania with Vilnius region is included at the bottom)
      http://www.truelithuania.com/first-independent-republic-of-lithuania-1918-1940-252

  43. oops. spelled my email incorrectly

  44. Hello,

    Thanks to the valuable information collected on this very useful page, I understood that I may be eligible for dual citizenship.

    My great grandparents were born in Lithuania’s nowadays territory (she in Kaunas, he in a pretty small town near Vilnius). They came to Buenos Aires in the 20s, as their son, my grandfather, told me.

    Now, when he has passed away recently, I am looking for any documents that can help as proof of the citizenship of my forefathers. While searching, I learned that the Lithuanian embassy in Argentina was closed some years ago. I do not know the reason why (there are many Lithuanian descendents in here), nor do I know where to start the procedures to apply if my case is suitable.

    So my questions are:

    a) Am I eligible at all?
    b) Is the Honorary Consulate the appropriate place to file my case?

    Thank you in advance,

    Ignacio.

    • If one of your great-grandparents were citizens of Lithuania, you are eligible for dual citizenship. This is very likely if they have left in the 1920s, especially late 1920s.

      Still, it is impossible to evaluate 100% whether you are eligible for dual citizenship without seeing the documents as the citizenship of your great-grandparents would have to be proven to the immigration authorities.

      You may contact the honorary consul to ask whether he would help with this (honorary consuls typically provide fewer services than regular consuls, as being an honorary consul is more of a hobby than a job).

      The two alternative ways are to hire someone in Lithuania for drafting the citizenship application there (we provide such services) or going through the general consulate in Sao Paulo.

      In any case, you’ll need documents to prove your case (i.e. that your great-grandparents were citizens of Lithuania), and if you are unable to find them a search in Lithuanian archives may be beneficial.

      By the way, the embassy in Argentina was closed citing the money shortage during the economic downturn.

  45. Hello,

    My great-grandparents left Lithuania and came to the USA in 1906. According to US records, they did not become naturalized and renounce foreign allegiance until 1927. Is it possible to claim that they were Lithuanian citizens even if the Lithuanian National Archives do not have a record of their citizenship? I would like to apply for citizenship through them.

    Also, even though my great-grandparents lived in Vilna, my great-grandmother’s naturalization document says that she was born in Yonarek, Lithuania. I can’t find this city online. Have you heard of it? Or do you know of an alternate spelling?

    Thanks!

    • Hello.

      It is possible to argue as you say, depending on the circumstances, as the interwar Lithuanian laws include quite many groups of people, nor depending on their residence in Lithuania, who were to be considered Lithuanian citizens.

      Additionally, it is possible to seek for Lithuanian citizenship through ancestry (Simplified process), however, then it could only be a single citizenship. However, it is also possible to get a residence permit or a certificate of Lithuanian descent through ancestry, both of which would not require to renounce citizenship nor to prove citizenship of your forefathers (only their ethnicity).

      As for the spelling of the town, there is no such town indeed. As there may have been multiple towns with relatively similar names, it would help to know more about it. Perhaps you know the approximate area of her origins, what was her ethnicity/religion (e.g. Lithuanian Catholic, Lithuanian Lutheran, Polish Catholic, Jewish, etc.).

      • Thank you for your help!

        My great-grandparents were Jewish. Does this help to identify the city name?

        Anyway, I have a couple more questions about applying for citizenship. Do I need to turn in original documents (for example, the original copy of my parents’ birth certificates)? Or can I use photocopies?

        Second, on my great-grandmother’s petition for United States naturalization (in 1927), she lists her current nationality as Lithuanian. Could this document serve as proof that my great-grandmother had Lithuanian citizenship? Or do I need official proof from the Lithuanian government?

        Thanks so much!

        Brian

        • I have now checked the list of turn-of-the-century synagogues but was unable to find a town similar to “Yonarek”, it is likely that the name was altered significantly. If you’d know a more precise location, it would be easier as then it would be possible to also check the less similar-sounding names.

          There are no exact rules on what is a proof and what is not. Instead, in each case the documents are evaluated separately. They are evaluated as a group, that is, if there are several documents and facts, they are evaluated together to see if they, as a group, prove a fact or not. Of course, a US document based on self-declaration is less of a proof than would be an original Lithuanian passport, for example.

          As for the process of the application itself, I can give your contacts to our attorney who specializes in that and may offer you such services.

  46. Hi Augustinas,
    I’m enquiring about Lithuanian citizenship through descent/connection. My grandfather was born in Skidel, Belarus (current country) in 1912, he lived there until he was evacuated by Soviet troops to Ural, Siberia in the 1940’s.
    Through my research of internet databases such as LitvakSig, I have found that most of my grandfather’s family (cousins, uncles and aunties) lived in and around Szchuczyn or Shchuchin, which was part of Vilnius gubernia, but just like Skidel, which may also have been Lithuanian, is now part of Belarus.
    I was born in Moscow in 1980 and my family left the USSR in 1987.
    What, if any, are my prospects of success in attaining Lithuanian citizenship via my grandfather and his family? And what is required for you to assist with this?
    Please advise.
    Thanks in advance,
    Ross

    • Hello,

      Skidlius (Polish: Skidel) and Šukynas/Ščiutinas (Polish: Szchuczyn) were in the interwar Vilnius region (Polish-occupied part of Lithuania). See my comment 2016/12/02 21:43, answer to Debbie Richards for an explanation about the situation and the likelihoods.

      Please note that it is not the gubernia (Russian pre-1915 administrative unit) that matters, but rather the dependency in the interwar period (after 1918). As Lithuania was established, it has set its borders (based on treaties with neighboring states) so that they included nearly all of Kaunas gubernia, a large part of Vilnius gubernia and small parts of Gardinas (Hrodna) and Courland gubernias. It is these parts that were considered part of Lithuania (including Skidlius, Šutinas), but not the rest of the same gubernias.

      We may offer our services.

      • Hi Augustinas,
        Thank you for the response.
        Could you please provide information on what services you may offer and the prospect of success in confirming Lithuanian citizenship?
        Thanks,
        Ross

        • We offer services of document search in the Lithuanian archives (that could prove the facts necessary to be proven) as well as we may do an application for citizenship and represent you in relations with Lithuanian institutions. As an alternative, we may claim the documents proving a right to citizenship (e.g. a certificate of Lithuanian ancestry) or right of abode.

          There are positive court precedents in cases of descendants of people from Vilnius region claiming citizenship. A court precedent is binding to the Migration Department.

          The particular decisions of the Migration Department itself are, however, not fully public (unless disputed in a court), therefore, each attorney may only know decisions in the cases of his/her clients. As such, it is impossible to tell the actual statistics.

  47. Hi Augustinas,
    My grandfather was born in Vilnius in 1911. He lived there until 1939, when he was deported to Siberia. Afterwards, he settled in south-west of Poland. My father and I therefore hold Polish citizenship. I don’t know much about his parents, although I know his father (my great-grandfather) died in Vilnius in 1927, and my great-grandmother died in 1973 in Poland.
    What I’m not certain about is whether my grandfather ever held Lithuanian citizenship although it would make sense for him to hold it. However, in the event that he didn’t – could I still claim my citizenship if it can be proven he (or any of his parents) was eligible to hold Lithuanian citizenship in 1918?

    • Hi Maciej,

      It is possible. In effect, Lithuania considered the people of Vilnius to be its citizens based on various laws of the era (as Vilnius region was considered to be a Lithuanian territory occupied by Poland).

      One exception were people who moved in from elsewhere in Poland during the Polish rule in the interwar period (1920-1939) – however, as your grandfather was born in Vilnius in 1911 this is not the case, as far as I understand.

      What we’d need to prove would not be that he was eligible to citizenship but rather that he was a citizen according to contemporary laws (even if he did not have a passport).

      • Thanks for the reply.
        I have searched through the documents and I discovered that my grandfather was listed as a Polish citizen (and Polish national) after coming back from deportation to Siberia. Is it possible that he was a Lithuanian citizen as well before 1939? Was dual Polish-Lithuanian citizenship even possible back then?

        I have contacted the Central State Archives, but it seems they might not be as helpful as I expected: they require the exact address at the time of the 1942 census. I know his address in Vilnius, but he was in Siberia at the time, so that obviously wouldn’t be useful. I am therefore planning to request the Archives to have a look at his mother (my great-grandmother) instead. I would have requested to look at my great-grandfather, but he died in 1927 and so even if he was a Lithuanian citizen, this would not allow me to obtain a dual citizenship.

        • The thing with Vilnius was that there was a conflict over the region, with two countries considering it theirs. So, both countries essentially considered many of the region’s people their own citizens. That said, in reality, people would typically have just a single passport. As the two countries basically were at war (with an ongoing armistice), holding a passport of the other country, even if theoretically possible, would have been detrimental to one’s prospects.

          We may check the archives ourselves if you are interested in such services.

  48. Hey Augustinas,

    I just discovered this change in the nationality law from last July and I am another one of those whose ancestor left prior to 1918 but didn’t achieve citizenship in the new country until after (in my case 1922). So he became a US citizen in 1922 could we indeed argue that he was a Lithuanian citizen during those few years? By the way I have also already been granted a certificate of Lithuanian descent which is useful but I would maybe be interested in the prospect of dual nationality as I would never renounce my current citizenship. I was just wondering if there have been any developments in this argument recently?

    • It could be argued so, based on the interwar Lithuanian law. However, each case is evaluated individually. Whether your ancestor would have been regarded as a citizen of Lithuania would depend on various facts such as when exactly he left, whether he had a real estate or permanent job in Lithuania before that (or his/her father/mother had this). There may be a need for an archive search for proving such facts.

      • Well in my case he left in 1910, as for the permanent job I can’t say but he was 24 at the time he left and I know he had carpentry experience so it is likely..they were from a pretty small village though so I’m not sure about real estate or anything and I have no information on whether his parents would still been alive in 1918 at this point but it’s quite possible. But maybe some archives could help with this? Would be interesting to know if it would be possible.

  49. My grandfather came from Lithuania to the United States in about 1905. All the United States Census records, all the World War 1 and 2 records, he stated he was Lithuanian. He did not get United States citizenship. Would those records be convincing for the authorities? It has been hard to locate other records.

    • Each case is evaluated separately; there is no precise list of documents that are considered enough, as the documents may widely differ from each other. Furthermore, the employees of the Migration Department have some discretion on the issue. So, you may attempt with the current documents, or you may try to do an archive search in Lithuania for additional documents (the more – the better). We provide this service, as well as the application service.

  50. My great-grandmother was born in Biržai (then Russian Empire) in 1872. Much of her family left because they were Jewish escaping persecution. She moved to Canada in 1895 where she had her family. She died in 1933 in Canada, but I do not know if she ever returned to Lithuania after 1918 independence, or obtained any other official nationality.

    If I had birth and death registrations of my father (Born: USA), grandfather (Born: Canada, Died: USA), and great grandmother (Born: Biržai, Died: Canada) going back to Biržai in 1872, would it be possible to qualify for dual citizenship?

    • If she was not a citizen of Lithuania (which is likely as she left so long ago) then retaining your current citizenship after acquiring a Lithuanian citizenship would not be possible.

      • Hi Augustinas,
        I am in a similar situation as Josh. My Jewish relatives were born in Lithuania (not sure if it was called that then) around 1850 and left before the 1900s. Would I be eligible to apply for any sort of Lithuania citizenship or Right to Nationality if I do not want to give up my American citizenship?
        Thanks!
        Melanie

        • The dual citizenship would be only possible if your relatives (direct relatives, e.g. great grandfather and not great grandfather’s brother, for example) had a Lithuanian citizenship. However, if they have left before 1900s it is unlikely they ever became Lithuanian citizens (which was only possible after 1918). While it was not a requirement to live in Lithuania in 1918 to become its citizens, the longer before that the people left, the harder it is to prove that he or she could have been considered a citizen, unless there are various particular circumstances.

  51. Hi Augustinas. I want to apply for Lithuanian dual citizenship. My mother (& family) fled Lithuania in 1940 in the face of the German & Russian invasions. I have a letter from Lithuanian State Archive confirming her birth in Lithuania. Letter also has great & great grandparents details

    Can you assist with this and email me your fees?

  52. Hi Augustinas,
    My grandmother was born in Vilnius in 1911. He lived there until 1939, when he was deported to USSR. Afterwards,
    And after same time he married with our grandfather in which she was Tajik and they moved to Tajikistan and got Tajikistan citizenship in USSR.
    Could you please let me know which documents are required to get Lithuanian citizenship for me and my family?

    • You’d need documents that proves your grandmother’s Lithuanian citizenship (due to the reasons mentioned above regarding the situation of Vilnius region, documents that she lived in Vilnius all this time could suffice). Also, you’d need documents proving that she was deported.

  53. Hello,

    Please, let me know if there is a chance for me to get citizenship through simplified procedure with such case. My great grandfather was born in Lithuania, left to Ukraine where my grandmother was born in 1915. Her metric says about her father as Lithuanian peasant from Kibartai. My grandma had his surname up to the II WW, and in 1943-ish was taken in Stalin camps with her surname. In the papers after these camps her nationality appears first time in the documents and it is in one papers Russian and Ukrainian in others.
    I would like to receive the company rates and to proceed with the legal procedure, if you the case is effective.

    • It is possible if your grandmother would be considered a Lithuanian. This is typically evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on various different information. Any proofs that she spoke Lithuanian, or otherwise practiced Lithuanian cultural traits or regarded herself as a Lithuanian, could be favorable. As the evaluation also depends on people who evaluate (and the initial evaluation may be appealed to the court), it may be possible to succeed with less info as well, although this is never guaranteed.

  54. Hello, Augustinas,

    Just a quick question on if I’m able to get DUAL Lithuanian citizenship.

    Im an Australian/Canadian citizen ( i understand ill have to give up at least one) and
    my Grandfather was born in Lithuania, and fled to Australia, around 1948/49 due to WW2.
    We don’t have any of his records, but imagine theses could be found at the Lithuanian Archives. I was just wondering what documents will i need and will they all be able to be found in the archives?

    Also, if I’m able, what are the processing times on getting citizenship/passport.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    • If your grandfather was a Lithuanian citizen (which is extremely likely based on what you have said) you are indeed eligible to get the Lithuanian dual citizenship.

      We would have to prove your grandfather’s citizenship by documents. Such documents are available in the archives for the citizens of Lithuania.

      We may offer legal services and archive search services.

      Theoretically, processing times should be 6 months according to law. However, in reality they can get significantly longer due to understaffing at the Migration Department.

      • Thank you so much for the reply.

        lll be up visiting family this coming summer and start the process.
        I may be in contact as the progression takes place.

        • Hello Augustinas,

          I was wondering what the law is in regarding renouncing one of my other citizenships (Australian/Canadian) before attaining my Lithuanian. Does it need to be renounced before i start the process of Lithuanian citizenship or is it something that can be done after completion ?

          Thank you for your time

          Owen Grey

          • When you apply for Lithuanian citizenship (in case you are not eligible for dual citizenship) you merely promise to renounce your current citizenship. Only after the application is successful you have to actually do that. Basically, you “convert” one citizenship into another without actually being without citizenship or risking to remain without citizenship.

          • Thank you so much for the reply.

          • Thank you for the reply.

  55. Hi Augustinas,
    I contacted the state archives, and they found evidence of my great-grandmother’s Lithuanian citizenship before 1945. I also have documents showing she left Lithuania before 1990. All looks good in terms of getting dual citizenship.
    Two questions:
    1. Do I absolutely need birth certificates for the whole line between her and me? I can easily get death certificates which show parents’ names etc. Would that be sufficient, or should I try to get actual birth certificates for everyone?
    2. Me and my brother are interested in obtaining the citizenship. What if my father gets it instead first? Would that make me and my brother (adults) Lithuanian citizens by birth?

    • 1.According to a court precedent, there could not be a single type of document that is required to prove a fact. That said, the more evidence there is – the better. If you are unable to acquire these documents, you could try without them. Also please note that, depending on the country, duplicate birth certificates often could be issued if the original ones are lost.
      2.Not automatically.

  56. Hello Augustinas,

    My great-grandmother’s family origin was either Braslaw (Breslauja) or Novo-Aleksandrovsk (Zarasai) in the Kaunas gubernia of Russian Empire. The family were Litvak jews and I know they spoke Lithuanian. They later moved to Dvinsk (modern day Daugavpils in Latvia) but I know they never cut ties with their hometown which is evident by the 1897 Census of Dvinsk where the family is listed as ‘registered in Novo-Aleksandrovsk region’.

    Do you think I have any chance of obtaining Lithuanian citizenship and what would my next steps be?

    Thank you

    • The first step would be to collect more information in the archives. If it could be proved that your forefathers had a Lithuanian citizenship (either by actually wilfully obtaining it and having a passport, or by fulfilling certain legal criteria (if they really had continued ties with Zarasai region)). In this case, a dual citizenship could be possible.

      Else, depending on the circumstances, it may be argued that one of your grandparents was a Lithuanian. In that case, however, only a single citizenship would be possible (nor a dual citizenship), or a certificate of Lithuanian descent. Such Lithuanian descent, if proven, gives one a right to live and work in Lithuania even without citizenship.

      • Augustinas, does certificate of Lithuanian descent allow living and working in other EU countries, not just Lithuania? Or it only comes with citizenship? How can I learn more about your services and fees? Thank you

  57. Hello Augustinas,

    My grandmother was Lithuanian . She left Lithuania when she was a girl; her parents were concerned with their lives because of so many wars. It was around 1931. Although she never came back to Lithuania, she never acquired another nationality and stayed as a Lithuanian/foreigner in her new country of residence along all her lifetime.

    I would like to know if it would be possible for me to obtain Lithuanian citizenship and keep double citizenship, once I was born outside Lithuania, in another country.

    Thanks in advance.

    Felipe

  58. dear sir

    i am 50 years Syrian i live in Lebanon and have residency married and have 2 kids .

    i have schengen visa so i can visit your country any time

    i need to gain a nationality ist possible and how much will cost me .

    • Lithuanian nationality can be restored (or acquired through simplified procedure) only for those who are descendents of Lithuanians or citizens of Lithuania.

      There are other ways to receive Lithuanian citizenship for people without Lithuanian ancestry, but they typically restricted. E.g. to become a Lithuanian citizen through naturalization you’d have to live legally in Lithuania for 10 years (i.e. with a residence permit rather than with a Schengen visa), have a legal job in Lithuania and then pass a Lithuanian language exam and a Lithuanian constitution exam.

      • someone inform me to open a company with 28000 euro capital and to have 2 workers then we can submit to court ist true i cant live in Lithuania while i can visit it every 3 moth .

        • If you’d be doing business in Lithuania it may be possible to get a residence permit. Not citizenship, however. In this case, you could receive citizenship only after 10 years of living and doing business in Lithuania, and then only if you’d pass a Lithuanian language exam and Lithuanian constitution exam. You’d also have to renounce your current citizenship.

  59. Thanks for your help because a lawyer contact me and inform me that he can in 6 month and i felt he is thief .

  60. do u have any recommendation

  61. Hello,
    I’m interested in finding out whether or not my wife can become a dual citizen of the US and Lithuania. She was born in march of 1989 in Vilnius, her mother was born in Belarus and her father was born in April of 1957 in Vilnius as well to Ukrainian parents. Her family left Lithuania in December of 1990 to come to the US because of religious persecution. thank you,

  62. Hello Augustinas

    My paternal grandparents were born in Lithuania, and left for South Africa in 1930. I have their joint Lithuanian passports. They were born in Prienai Mariampolis and Postaves Sveneivnai (apologies for the spelling ). I have no birth certificates for them yet. Their son, my father was born in South Africa, and I have his birth certificate. The name evolved from Kleckin to Klatzkin to Klutsky to Kay. There is a paper trail of documents showing the name changes. My father’s UK death certificate gives his name as: Kay ( formerly Klutsky ) listing his parents as Kleckin/as. His UK naturalisation certificate states Kay, and Klatzkin (Klutsky) under names different at birth. Other family paperwork states similar things. (We immigrated to the UK in 1978)

    From what i have read, i think my brother and I could get dual citizenship. Do you think the name change is a spanner in the works? I would be interested in information about your services and charges.
    Thank you!

    • Yes, you should be able to restore citizenship. Name changes are ok if they can be proven with documents. If they cannot be proven with documents, there is still a possibility they can be proven by a court of law (the level of proof required is lower there). They pose a problem only if the change could not be proven in any way. However, as I understand, you have the documents proving the name change, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

      We will send you our offer by e-mail.

      • Hello Augustinas
        Thank you for your reply and the email. Before I can proceed, I have noticed that my grandparent’s joint passport has Uzsienio Pasas on the front. ( foreigner passport?) It gives their places of birth as in Lithuania though. My grandmother’s South African Registration Certificate says that she was Lithuanian, but Russian before that. Could that be because it was not an independent state before 1918?
        Thanks again!

        • Yes, she would have been considered a Russian citizen because Lithuania was not independent before 1918 and under Russian control before 1915.

          “Užsienio pasas” means not “foreigner passport” but rather “foreign passport”. It was one of two types of passports issued by the interwar Lithuania, the other being “Vidaus pasas” (“internal passport”). The “foreign passport” was used for traveling to foreign countries and not everybody had it (only those who wanted to travel or to emigrate).

  63. Hi Augustinas,

    Do you know what happens after you obtain the certificate of reinstatement? I’ve just got mine through today and I’m not sure if I need to go to Lithuania or if I can get my passport from my local embassy. I’m after whichever is quicker!

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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