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 of 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 the 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 renounce your current nationality) you may now apply for a Right to Nationality Certificate. The certificate is issued to members of the 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”.
We help restore the Lithuanian nationality
We help you collect the necessary documents, we search the Lithuanian archives, we draft the Lithuanian nationality application, we keep contact with Lithuanian institutions and more. We take away the hard work associated with getting Lithuanian citizenship.
Even if you have already received a negative answer from the Lithuanian Migration Department regarding your citizenship, or the Migration Department has put your case on hold, there is often still a possibility to reach a positive outcome through a Lithuanian court. Our attorney has experience in such cases and could represent you as well.
Moreover, we also help with acquiring residency permits in Lithuania and the right-to-nationality certificates.
Contact us at email@example.com .
Read our clients’ comments:
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ).
EDIT: 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.
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?
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.
Hi My Dad was born in South Africa, his grandfather was born in Mir in 1892. We were always told we were descendant from Lithuania but it appears that before 1939 Mir belonged to Poland?
Do you mean the town of Mir that is in Belarus today? Yes, it belonged to Poland before World War 2. While some of the areas then controlled by Poland were disputed by Lithuania (that is, Lithuania regarded them to be Polish-occupied areas of Lithuania), Mir was not one of them – Lithuania recognized Mir as part of Poland.
When saying they were from Lithuania, your family perhaps meant a memory of even larger Grand Duchy of Lithuania as it existed until 1795. It also included entire Belarus. You can read more here: http://www.truelithuania.com/topics/history-and-politics-of-lithuania/history-of-lithuania . In the 19th century still, while Grand Duchy of Lithuania was long-abolished, some people still remembered it and considered the land to be Lithuania (occupied by Russia). In 1918, however, as Lithuania became independent, it abandoned any claims to Belarusian and Ukrainian lands, believing that these nations should be independent, and established its power only on the ethnic-Lithuanian-majority area.
At least one my my paternal great grandparents fled lithuania. No family members seem to have held on to any of their records. I’m wondering if anyone there could point me in the right direction to find any of that info at all. What excatly do you need?
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?
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.
Thank you for this information
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.
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.
Curious what your result was, as my family background is almost identical?
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.
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,
This can be searched in Lithuanian archives. We may provide such services.
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.
EDIT: 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.
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.
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?
Yes, you are correct.
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.
I have a few passports of my father’s & grandmother’s
They immigrated to Australia in 1948
I live in Sydney
Who can I contact for further information?
Our attorney Aistė will contact you by e-mail
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
My Grandparents were born in Lithuania and immigratsd to South Africa in 1929.Can i apply for lithuanian citizenship?
If they were Lithuanian citizens – yes, you can apply and you can get a dual citizenship. Otherwise, you may be eligible to a single citizenship if they were Lithuanians.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
EDIT: 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.
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.
Thank you for your response. How would I go about searching lithuanian archives? And how much would this be?
We may offer services of getting information from Lithuanian State Archives. We have sent you our prices by e-mail.
If LIthuania rulled Vilnius between 1939-1940 , would it not be correct to say that everyone who lived in vilnius during 1939-1940 is automatically considered to be a Lithuanian citizen?
Not everybody. For example, those people who moved into Vilnius from the areas outside Vilnius region while Vilnius was under Polish occupation (1920-1939) were considered Polish settlers and thus were not granted citizenship.
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.
What does “actually a Lithuanian” mean? Because of the Lithuanian Press Ban, all documents I have from my ancestors are in Russian and Hebrew script, so I do not know how to prove if my family spoke Lithuanian. However, I can trace my Lithuanian ancestry back at least eight generations; my great-great-great-great-great grandfather was born in Vilnius c. 1840, and my great grandfather left Valkininkai in 1906. My great-great grandmother survived to see Lithuanian independence and died in Valkininkai, meaning she is my only direct ancestor who died a Lithuanian. I have great uncles and cousins who held Lithuanian passports, but were killed in 1941.
Under the current laws, do I have a case for dual citizenship or residency?
I should note that I do not have her citizenship records, but I know my family owned a business, so I am hoping there is a record somewhere.
Being a descendent (grandson) of a Lithuanian alone does not qualify for dual citizenship. Being a descendent (up to great-grandson) of a Lithuanian citizen, however, does.
What “a Lithuanian” means is not well defined but given that citizenship is explained in another clause of a law, “a Lithuanian” means something else. It is decided on a case-by-case basis based on proofs such as knowledge of the Lithuanian language, participation in Lithuanian diaspora activities, being born in Lithuania, etc. (but neither of these proofs is required, although the more such proofs exist, the better). The descendants of a Lithuanian (non-citizen(, however, are only entitled to a single citizenship or a residency.
In your case, your Lithuanian citizen ancestor was one generation too far to qualify for citizenship. You would need to prove your grandparent (rather than a great grandparent) was a Lithuanian for single citizenship / residency, but that would mean somebody already born outside Lithuania. If he/she participaited in diaspora activities, spoke Lithuanian, that could be possible (and we have such precedents in our own cases in courts) but otherwise (if the family was mixed, he/she was not brought up as Lithuanian) it would likely not be possible.
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.
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.
No, this is definitely not true and most likely a scam.
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.
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
We have sent the information by e-mail
Please email me info
Costs etc for research and obtaining citizenship
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
Yes, it is possible to restore citizenship. We will send you an offer for our services by e-mail.
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.
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.
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.
I have found proof that my great grandmother with her family applied for and (presumably) got Lithuanian citizenship in 1920. Nevertheless, by 1924 she ended up in Soviet Union where my grandfather was born. I don’t know the circumstances of her move to the USSR, whether it was willingly or not or whether she had to denounce her Lithuanian citizenship or not.
Do you think there is a chance I could still get Lithuanian dual citizenship for myself? I am currently an Israeli citizen.
According to the current laws, those who emigrated to the Soviet Union are not entitled to Lithuanian citizenship. However, that generally applies only to those who left after the occupation of Lithuania (1940).
Therefore, you may still get a Lithuanian dual citizenship.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
Yes, it would be. We may offer such services.
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,
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.
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,
Philadelphia, PA., U.S.A.
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.
How does one go about an archive search?
There are several options.
The first one is contacting the archives directly. You’ll have to tell them *exact* locations and dates and they will look (for a certain fee) if there is such a record at a particular location. Note: you also need to know which archive to contact, as different records are kept in different archives.
However, a usual problem is that a person does not know the correct location, date or even name spelling of his/her ancestor. At the time the majority of pre-modern emigrants emigrated from Lithuania, people were often illiterate and name spellings were changed by migration officials. Moreover, the dates of birth used not to be well known with the same people declaring different birthdates for different documents, etc. In such case, this “simple” search fails.
It is then possible to hire a private researcher who would go to the archive himself/herself. A private researcher typically checks much more records, e.g. the entire locality for a particular year, or several years, or more, or he/she checks multiple localities, depending on the agreement. He also knows which archive to go, which searches may be the most fruitful, he may also advise on the correct version of surname and more. Such services are more expensive, however.
There is also an intermediate possibility where you’d hire an archive researcher who would help you with determinating the correct localities, surnames, dates (as they are knowledgeable in surname prevalence in different areas and such). They would also keep contact with the archives in your name but wouldn’t go there himself/herself. The probability of success, in this case, is better than at the 1st case but lower than at the 2nd case. The same could be said about the costs.
We may provide all the archive researcher services listed here.
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!
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.
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,
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”.
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.
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).
Do you know if one of his childrens names was Adolphe?
Thats my grandfathers name.
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.
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.
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 ?
Yes, you can apply for Lithuanian citizenship. We may offer such services.
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?
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.
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?
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
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.
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!
Thank you for contacting us. We will send you our offer by e-mail.
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,
Generally, you’d need to apply for that to Lithuanian Department of Migration, proving your case.
We will send you our proposal with details.
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?
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.
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).
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.
Thank you for contacting us, we will send you this by e-mail you have provided.
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?
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)
oops. spelled my email incorrectly
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,
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.
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?
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!
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.
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?
Thanks in advance,
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
Dear Douglas Hancock,
We could indeed assist you with your situation in acquiring Lithuanian dual citizenship. We will now send the offer by e-mail.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
The Lithuanian residence permit generally permits to live in the entire European Union. We will contact you by e-mail with information on our servcies.
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.
According to the information you provided, this should be possible indeed.
We have conatcted you with our offer for legal services.
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.
is there any way i can get citizenship in 1 year or less
No, there isn’t one for those who are not descendants of Lithuanians or Lithuanian citizens.
Thanks for your help because a lawyer contact me and inform me that he can in 6 month and i felt he is thief .
do u have any recommendation
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,
If she was never a Lithuanian citizen and neither were her forefathers, the dual citizenship is not possible.
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
the embassy should serve just right.
May I ask when it was that you initially submitted your application to the Migration Department? I am wondering how long the process took for you.
We are South Africans living in Australia now.
Our maternal grandparents were born in Seduva and Pasvitinys in the 1880’s, both emigrating to South Africa before WW1 (1903 and 1913, we think) with our grandmother’s parents but only our grandfather’s father .
However, as far as we know, our grandfather’s mother never left Lithuania, as the menfolk in S. Africa (grandfather and great-grandfather) didn’t have the money to bring the large family. So, we assume that if she was still alive in 1918, she would’ve become a Lithuanian citizen and died either before or during WW2. Some of that family emigrated to Latvia in the 1920s, we think – perhaps she did too, or remained behind.
Perhaps the emigres to SA (our maternal grandparents and their 3 parents who were in SA) also automatically became Lithuanian citizens, if I understand you correctly.
South African nationality did not exist until 1949, so perhaps they were British Subjects under UK law.
We have records of my grandmother and her parents and siblings passing through the Poor Jews Shelter in London in 1913, but we have no birth certificates and don’t know the name of our great-grandmother.
My understanding is that we could at least apply for the Lithuanian Ancestry certificate, but if it could be established that our great-grandmother was alive and living in Lithuania in 1918, we might qualify for dual nationality also?
Please let me know your various charges to help with searching for records. I have used the Jewish Gen genealogy website, but it is hard to determine the name of my grandfather’s parents, in particular, his mother who may have become a citizen after 1918.
Thank you for this very useful website!
It may be argued so.
However, based on a law, a legal counter-argument may be made that the same person must have had a Lithuanian citizenship and emigrated from Lithuania, therefore if those are two different people. The law has a non-precise meaning here. It is not 100% clear whether, to qualify for a dual citizenship, it is the forefather that had Lithuanian citizenship the one that must have departed Lithuania before 1940 or is it enough that the descendant (i.e. you) departed or was born elsewhere.
While there are no court precedents in such a case, this is subject to interpretation. You may try, however, as there are indeed good chances of success if your great grandmother was a citizen.
My grandfather is from Lithuania originally
he left Lithuania in the years between 1920-1930
unfortunately, i have no documents about him, and only some non-official information(name, brothers and parents name, birth town and street address)
please send to my email more information on how i can start the process to gain Lithuanian password and what services you can offer with detailed costs and fees
thank you very much!
We have sent you information by e-mail.
i did not received your email yet
please verify my email address is the correct one(check currect reply)
I’ve asked our attorney – she has sent you the email now
Dear Mr. Augustinas Žemaitis
We are Syrian.
I have a permanent residence in Lithuania, my wife has a temporary residence in Lithauna.
Will my son, who will be born several months later, get Lithuanian citizenship?
Your answer is appreciated
No, he won’t. Lithuanian citizenship is generally given only to those babies who have at least a single Lithuanian parent.
Good Morning Augustinas,
I will try to expose as briefly as possible my case because it’s very complicated for many reasons. I want to share it with others in the same situation.
My great great grandmother was born in 1876 according to her Užsienio pasas, but the place of birth written in the passport is Sloka, and searching through the internet that is in Latvia??
According to her passport she held Lithuanian nationality and was resident in different countries, basically Spain, Germany and Latvia. The big problem is that she was married three times, first married or engaged with my great great grandfather an Spanish, second and third time with Latvian men.
My great grandfather was born in Spain in 1900, so she should have left first Lithuania around 1898 to Germany and then Spain. She came back to Lithuania around 1910 and then she went to Latvia around 1929 where she married for the third time in 1931. The last Lithuanian passport I have was issued by the Lithuanian Consulate in Riga in 1929 and has residence stamps of Latvia until 1931. According to my grandmother she immigrated later with his third husband when the communist took over Latvia and Lithuania. I don’t know where she died, possibly in America.
1898 – 1910 Spain, Germany
1910 – 1928 Lithuania
1929 – 1931 Latvia
By the way my mother and grandmother are still alive, so I would like to know if there is any possibility for me to apply for a certificate of Lithuanian ancestry or get residence permit, and if my mother being great granddaughter could have the right to apply for citizenship or my grandma.
Please if you could send me information about your services and fees to my email,
Thank you very much.
My great-grandfather was born in Vilnius in 1878 and emigrated to the US in 1900. In 1915 his daughter, my grandmother was born. I have other relatives with a more distant connection (my great-great-grandfather) but my father who carries this heritage is alive and willing to cooperate in the legal process.
What options do I have for obtaining a dual citizenship or certificate of lithuanian descent?
Thanks, looking forward to your reply.
Dual citizenship would be difficult to achieve, as your great-grandfather emigrated 18 years before the Lithuanian independence. If it is possible to prove that your grandmother was a Lithuanian, however, then you could get a certificate of Lithuanian descent. “Lithuanian” is an ethnicity rather than a citizenship, although it is not well-defined in the law what is the precise meaning of a “Lithuanian” and this will likely be set by legal precedents eventually. But, it could be assumed this means at least the ethnic Lithuanians. Your father may also get a certificate if his grandfather was a Lithuanian. We may send you an offer of our services in acquiring such documents.
If A great grand parent was born in Lithuania about 1848 and died in 1920. Would I qualify for a passport. Even though my Grandparents left in 1895. My Father was born in South Africa in 1906.
Dual citizenship is only available to descendants of citizens, and the citizenship was only instated after Lithuania’s independence in 1918. Single citizenship is available to those whose grandparent was a Lithuanian.
But his great grandparent lived in Lithuania until 1920 (when he died in Lithuania in 1920), even though his grandparents left Lithuania in 1895. So couldn’t he get Lithuanian citizenship (and have dual citizenship) thru his great grandparent who died in Lithuania in 1920, rather than thru his grandparents who left in 1895?
Like many things in these parts of Lithuanian law, this has no clear precedents in favor or against at the courts of law.
The lack of precedents is generally because, unlike in the case of the US citizenship, the numbers applying for Lithuanian citizenship are relatively low. This means that it is not very likely that many people with exactly similar circumstances would apply. What is even more important is that the decisions of Migration Department are non-public and are not precedent-setting, meaning that different employees are essentially permitted to arrive at different conclusions even in the same situation (and so it is somewhat a matter of luck). What matters is a court precedent but only a minority of the cases go to the court (as, if the Migration Department decision is positive, no case is needed, while if it is negative, many applicants decide not to pursue it anymore and do not go to court, thus ending up not setting a precedent).
Currently, however, we have a case in the court with very similar circumstances. So, a precedent may already be set in several months. We will contact you if the precedent will be in favor.
My wife left Lithuania in 1992 and we married in the US and she became a citizen. Can she restore her Lithuanian citizenship? Both my parents fled Lithuania during WW2 and I was born in the US. I can “restore” my citizenhip, but can she?
She can have her citizenship returned. However, she’d have to renounce her current (US) citizenship.
Thank you. In what fashion would she need to renounce her US citizenship?
She should terminate it and give the proofs to Lithuanian authorities that she is no longer a citizen of USA or will lose citizenship after becoming a citizen in Lithuania. Renunciation of the US citizenship is done according to the US procedure.
it is my curiosity that we talk about a Belarusian citizen living in Grodno.
What should be demonstrated in order to apply for Lithuanian citizenship, also losing Belarus.
I write here because I did not understand. 1) because there is USSR middle and I did not understand what agreements they did and whether they excluded other ex-Soviet nations 2) time windows.
Looking at a bit of history, I saw that grodno between 1918-1919 was part of Lithuania and invaded by the Poles in 1920.
Then maybe it would be a case that a Lithuanian man of times had gone to sleep for some reason, tied to Nazis, etc.
(Which is so much the same because I seem to have realized that Belarus is only one citizen but do not go to look at whether a Belarusian has another passport, in essence for the Belarusian government it is only Belarusian citizens but I read around that there are people with UK and Belarusian passports …).
A Belarusian person could not apply for Lithuanian citizenship just because he/she lives in Grodno which was once a part of Lithuania.
In order to apply for citizenship, one should demonstrate that either:
a)He/she is a Lithuanian (i.e. belongs to the Lithuanian minority of Belarus).
b)His/her ancestor(s) (up to great-grandparents) had a Lithuanian citizenship.
I have been looking into the possibility of dual-citizenshship through my grandmother. I have a received a copy of her (Jewish) birth record from the the Lithuanian Archives (LVIA) but noticed that there is no explicit mention of citizenship.
The document (written in Lithuanian & Hebrew) shows that she was born in Kaunas in 1925. Would her birth at this time/place automatically mean that she was a citizen of Lithuania or will I need to track down other proof?
Lithuania does not practice the so-called “ius soli” principle of granting citizenship (like many American countries do). This means a birth in Lithuania does not automatically grant citizenship in most cases. Instead, people are required to have Lithuanian citizen parents. However, that said, nearly all of the people who were born in 1925 Kaunas had Lithuanian citizen parents. As Lithuanian citizenship was first issued in the late 1910s, the people who lived in Lithuania at the time received that citizenship rather automatically. So, while there is a theoretical possibility that your grandmother’s parents, for example, moved into Lithuania in 1923 and then gave birth (in which case your grandmother wouldn’t have become a citizen), this is rather unlikely. Still, it is the best to also find the passports (of your great-grandparents) in the Lithuanian archives or a proof that such passports existed, with which we can help.
Hello Augustinas, sorry if my english isn’t good. Relatives told me that my great grandmother was from Lithuania, but I am not sure at all, because I have no proofs. Where can I write to get any documents, like a birth certificate or something. Do I have to pay?
She was born in 1889 under the russian empire. I know her name and the name of their parents.
The searches are done in the Lithuanian archives. You may go there yourself, you may inquire officially if you know the dates and locations, or you may hire somebody who would do a wider search. If you go there yourself and read the documents, it is free (but time-consuming, as, for example, if you want to read some documents, they won’t be readily available: you’d have to order them one day and then come to read the other day; also, the documents may be written in a multitude of languages). In all the other cases you have to pay. In general, for birth records, approximate locations are still needed as they are organized by location. For rare surnames, however, it may be possible for a specialist to guess a possible location based on the surname. We offer heritage search services in the Lithuanian archives if needed.
I have done quite a bit of research into the Lithuanian Nationality by Descent procedure, and I would love to clear up a point. My great-grandparents left Lithuania between 1910 and 1918 so I don’t believe that I’m eligible for dual nationality. My family has the paperwork/birth certificates going back to Lithuania so I can prove the connection– I would just need to get them certified/translated etc.
I however, am interested in temporary or permanent residence so I can live and work freely in Vilnius or the EU. Do you know if I might be eligible for the Certificate of Lithuanian Descent? I noticed on the Lithuanian Migration website, it only mentioned details going to the grandparents leaving Lithuania, not great-grandparents.
I appreciate all your help!
Happy New Year
According to the law, the certificate of Lithuanian descent (or a singular Lithuanian nationality based on Lithuanian descent) could be given to a person who considers himself Lithuanian and whose at least one grandparent was a Lithuanian. What does “a Lithuanian” means in this context is, however, not clear, as the word may mean multiple things. There are no court precedents so far, therefore, the Migration Department may decide on its discretion ion each case. It, therefore, depends on the employees as well. I have seen that in similar situations. Having a grandparent born in the territory of modern-day-Lithuania, according to law, is not necessary (being Lithuanian is not the same as being born in Lithuania and Lithuanian-Americans may be Lithuanians as well), and I know of situations when a person was recognized a Lithuanian by the authorities despite not having a Lithuanian-born grandparent. Still, at other times/other employees may insist on getting a prove the birth of the grandparent in Lithuania. As long as nobody appeals any negative decision to the court and a precedent is set, the practice will not be consistent. What further complicates teh situation is that the postive/negative decision reasoning is not public, so every attorney knows only the situations of his own clients and not the wider situation.
What could “a Lithuanian” mean in the final court explanation? It may sometimes mean “a Lithuanian citizen”, but clearly not in this case as there is another clause for the descendants of Lithuanian citizens. Most often the word is used to signify ethnic Lithuanians ( http://www.truelithuania.com/lithuanians-136 ). However, the Constitutional court has already struck down one ethnicity-based provision from the Lithuanian Law on Citizenship – therefore, it could be expected that courts would tie the meaning of “Lithuanian” to some collection of features, such as speaking Lithuanian, being within the Lithuanian diaspora, participating in Lithuanian cultural activities. In that case, even if the grandparent would have been born in the USA, for example, if he/she went to a Lithuanian church, attended a Lithuanian school and/or sung at a Lithuanian choir in America, and/or used to protest against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, etc., then perhaps he would be considered a Lithuanian, whereas if the family would be completely assimilated and would not have taught the grandparent anything Lithuanian the same person, perhaps, would be not recognized Lithuanian. It may also depend on whether both or just one of grandparents’ parents immigrated from Lithuania, how many years (generations) the family lived in Lithuania and so on. Until there is such precedent, it is possible just to theorise but not completely answer what the court would decide.
However, I would be extremely surprised if the court would decide that “if grandparent was born in Lithuania then he was a Lithuanian”, as the word “Lithuanian” is never used in Lithuanian language to mean “somebody born in Lithuania”; unlike in the USA, no one is granted citizenship just because he is born in Lithuania either; it depends on descent.
In any case, should you apply, it is the best to collect as many evidences of Lithuanity of your grandparent as possible to use as the proof. As it is based on discrtion, it is always possible that the application would be rescinded, in which case you may appeal the decision to a court.
Also, depending on what you’d want to do in Lithuania, there may be alternative ways to get the residence permit which may be more clear (especially if the claim of Lithuanian-ness of your grandparent would preliminarily seem weak).
We may offer services in all these cases, ranging from archive search to legal services in Lithuanain nationality or residence permit acquisition.
Two of my great-great-grandparents left Lithuania (Vilkomir, now Ukmergè) in 1895 and 1900 and moved to the US. They were Jewish and I assume they left because of persecution, but I have no proof for that. Would I be able to claim citizenship or Lithuanian descent through my great-grandfather? My great-grandfather was born in the US, but he had two parents born in Lithuania. I have some census cards and draft cards that prove that they were born in Lithuania (they say Russia).
It is no longer necessary to prove persecution in order to get dual citizenship. What needs to be proven for dual citizenship is, however, that one’s forefathers (up to a great-grandparent) had a Lithuanian citizenship until 1940. As Lithuania became independent in 1918, the citizenship was available since then. If a person emigrated long before that, he/she was quite unlikely to have citizenship (although it is theoretically possible that a person received citizenship even if he did not live in Lithuania at the time of independence, or was not born in Lithuania, depending on other circumstances, but it is the most likely for those who left relatively soon before independence).
For recognizing ancestry (which may lead to a single citizenship or a residency permit but not dual citizenship) you’d need to prove that one of the *grandparents* of you was a Lithuanian and you feel so yourself. What precisely is a Lithuanian in this context, and what exactly documents are needed to prove it, however, is not established by a court-level precedent. Clearly, it is not a Lithuanian national, as this “second way” was created precisely for the descendants of Lithuanians who were not nationals. Currently, a lot depends on the employee who evaluates the case.
So, while there is no official list of documents nor precedent-driven criteria, the more documents you’ll have to prove your grandparent’s Lithuanianness (e.g. if he/she spoke Lithuanian, participated in any Lithuanian diaspora organizations, etc.), the better (if there could be any). Still, it is impossible to say for sure what would be accepted, as every situation is unique and it depends on employee (or a precedent-setting court decision should it go there).
My great-grandfather was born 1885 in Nowy Dwor and left what is now Lithuania around 1905. He naturalized as British in 1948. I note that some pre-1918 emigrees might be considered to have had Lithuanian citizenship. Would leaving in 1905 be close enough to 1918 to potentially qualify for that?
Thank you for all the information.
There is no date requirement set in the law. If they met the other criteria (i.e. lived in Lithuania while having real estate or regular job there for 10 years), you may qualify. However, there are few precedents here, so a lot depends on the particular employees who evaluate the cases. One reason for this is that direct proofs of working song long ago are often difficult to find in the archives, so you may need to rely on indirect sources and it is up to the employees if they consider that enough. There may be other reasons. The negative decision, however, could be appealed to a court, or the fact of forefather’s citizenship, alternatively, established through a court which are usually more versed in law.
May I trouble you to explain the documentation needed to establish dual citizenship? I am a bit confused with the recent law changes and believe my circumstances are straight forward. My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. are all from Lithuania. My parents were born there in 1936 and left for the United States long before 1990. Exactly what documents do I need to establish dual citizenship and do they need to be certified by appapostille, translated, etc?
Many thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.
There is no definitive list of documents. You need documents that would prove that
(a)Your ancestors, in this case your parents, were citizens of Lithuania in 1940.
(b)that you are their descendant.
Usually, these are documents such as Lithuanian passports, birth certificates (of you and your ancestors), etc. If you don’t have enough documents, we may help with a search in Lithuanian archives as they have proves that Lithuanian passports were issued in the 1920s or 1930s, for example.
Documents that are not Lithuanian have to be translated (we offer translation services, if needed). Regarding apostille / legalization in depends on the country where these documents were issued and the international treaties that country has signed with Lithuania.
Hello Augustinas, my grand-grandfather was born in a town near Vilnius (my grandmother and her brothers told me) in 1905, but im not sure about the name of the town, because the one on his brazilian foreigner passport states that he was born in poland and identify himself as polish, in a town named something like rudnzinky (dont have the document right now) in 1905, i google it the name of the town and was definetly spelled wrong because it doesnt exist. He came to Brazil around 1929 -30. There is chance to try to obtain citizenship, if he was indeed born in Lituania? Thank you!!
To gain *dual* citizenship, it is not the birthplace that matter but rather if a person had a Lithuanian citizenship. The people of Polish-occupied Vilnius region were generally considered Lithuanian citizens by the Lithuanian state, if they met certain criteria of residence and such. Another question would be if he did not lose the citizenship before 1940. In some years, dual citizenship was banned by interwar Lithuania and if a person adopted Brazilian citizenship in those years then he would have been considered as having lost Lithuanian citizenship. So, it depends on whether he naturalized before 1940 and, if so, when.
Non-dual Lithuanian citizenship is available for those whose ancestors were not citizens too, depending on situation.
Augustinas, greetings. My great grandparents left Lithuania in 1899 to come to the U.S. I have obtained their marriage record from the church in Prienai dated 1899. I also have a birth/baptism record from 1872 from the same church for my great grandfather. I understand from reading above comments that I am not eligible for dual citizenship but may be eligible for residency. What is the cost and procedure for obtaining residency, and once obtained how long is it good for? Thanks
We have sent you our offer by e-mail.
In general, the residence permit is granted for 5 years if eligible on ancestry grounds. However, it can be extended.
Hello- my maternal great grandmother was found in the Prienai church records as well! Born in small town of Dumiskes. Maybe ours were close??
Augustinas, I would like the information on residence permit as well, as our situation is pretty identical.
I have replied under your other post
I am inquiring for my husband whose paternal grandmother was born in Lithuania and lived in Lithuania until she came to the US in 1908 from either Zagare or Yamasig, Lithuania. She was Jewish. She may have had parents who stayed on and became citizens after 1918 but would need to find out. I also need to find out what happened to them, whether or not they survived the war. She married and had children in the US but did not apply for citizenship here until 1942. We have US records (census forms, ship records from the boat she came over on, naturalization application and forms etc., which say Lithuania is the country she emigrated from) My husband is not wanting to give up his citizenship to the US but would like to find out if we could find his great grandparents and whether or not they were citizens in Lithuania or prove eligibility for dual citizenship for him with his grandmothers records too.
We can offer the archive search services to find out more information and then do the application.
In general, the best situation would be if we could prove that your husband’s grandmother automatically received citizenship ~1918, despite not living in Lithuania at the time (because of her parents, life history, etc.). The second best option would be to go through his great-grandparents directly. To tell the possibilities in such case, however, further research is needed into their life histories, which we may offer.
Hello, Augistinas. Both my parents are Lithuanian citizens and left Lithuania after 1990. I know that i can get a Lithuanian citizenship, but would have to revoke by previous citizenship. Would it be possible for me to gain my Lithuanian citizenship and then reinstate my previous citizenship, thus having dual citizenship? Thanks
Legally – no. At the time you would reinstate your previous citizenship, you would lose your Lithuanian citizenship. In theory, there is a possibility that Lithuania would not learn about you reinstating your previous citizenship, but such dual citizenship would be illegal in Lithuania and would lead to cancellation of Lithuanian citizenship at the time it is discovered (and such discovery may come in various ways). Typically, once such returned/restored citizenship is revoked, there is no possibility of getting a Lithuanian citizenship again this way.
What you can do, however:
a)Get a right-to-citizenship/ancestry certificate. This certificate could then be “converted” into a Lithuanian citizenship if you’d feel ready (which may be both due to a possible-yet-not-very-likely dual citizenship law relaxation or because you’d feel you no longer need your current citizenship). Furthermore, it could give you a right of residence in Lithuania with much less bureaucracy.
b)Get a residence permit in Lithuania, which is relatively easily accessible to every Lithuanian, including non-citizens.
c)Get a single citizenship and know that, if you’d ever need it, you could reinstate your previous citizenship (losing Lithuanian citizenship that way), if the law of your current country allows it. So, it is not like the citizenship change is necessarily permanent this way.
I have been told that there was some sort of decree issued on/about Sept. 12, 1933 conferring Lithuanian citizenship to Jews then living in the Republic. Are you aware of such a thing and do you know where I can learn more about this decree– particularly on-line?
I have not seen such a decree. In any case, most Jews who lived in Lithuania already had citizenship of Lithuania long before that. After Lithuania became independent in 1918. it gave citizenship to every inhabitant regardless of ethnicity or religion, including Jews. Those who did not accept Lithuanian citizenship often did so because they were citizens of some other country, and dual citizenship continued to be banned until 1940 (with some exceptions), meaning that those Jews who did not have citizenship by 1933 were mostly not allowed to have citizenship because they chose to be citizens of some other country, and it did not change on 1933. If they wanted to change citizenship into Lithuanian, it was usually possible to them through naturalization (although that required renouncing another citizenship they had).
So it is unlikely such a decree existed. What are your sources?
My great grandparents were Lithuanian (spoke Lithuanian, lived in Kaunas) but left in the early 1900s (before 1918). My father found one of them in the Ellis Island records and they are listed as having Lithuanian nationality. I am interested in dual citizenship and understand that it may or may not be possible to do that since they left before 1918, but that it may be doable if I can prove that they were Lithuanian. Is that correct?
My question is: if I came to Vilnius to look for the records myself, is it possible to do? How long does it take to obtain copies of records?
Dual citizenship is accessible to those whose great-grandparents were Lithuanian *citizens*.
Moreover, single citizenship is accessible to those whose grandparent was a Lithuanian (though not a citizen).
It is possible to look at the records yourself in Vilnius, if the records are sufficiently old (in this case, they would be). You need first to go check the catalogue and select the volumes you’d want to look at. These volumes would be brought to you the next day or the day after that (not the same day, in general). Then you could read. Copies (official) take longer to make, although the exact time depends on the amount you pay (there are different tiers).
However, the records are either Russian or Lithuanian, depending on period. Also, for a non-specialist non-local, it may be difficult to understand what volumes to take (the catalogue is non-English either).
We, therefore, may help with this archive search. We also do ancestry tours if you want which include a visit to the archives. We may be with you at the time you do the search and also offer you suggestions. We may also order the necessary volumes in advance if needed.
Yours is by far the most helpful site regarding obtaining Lithuanian citizenship by the Lithuanian diaspora. Thank you for your service.
My grandmother and grandfather (my mother’s parents) left Lithuania for the US in 1921 or before. In any case they did not receive US citizenship until 1922. What is unclear is whether they left Lithuania before 1918. If they did, but did not receive US citizenship until 1922, would Lithuania have claimed them as citizens after independence for the period between 1918 and 1922 even though they may have already emigrated? Or would they have been considered stateless, or perhaps citizens of the previous occupier, Russia? They were both born and raised in the environs of Vilnius and there is still a branch of the family there. My grandmother may have been Jewish but that is uncertain. My mother has since passed.
If I were to apply to restore my nationality, It seems that whether I would qualify under the dual-citizenship exception, or not, would hinge upon upon their status’ between 1918 and 1922 and how the new Lithuanian government behaved in 1918. That is, upon independence, did it allow only Lithuanians then in residence within the new Lithuania to become citizens? Or did it claim, as citizens, ethnic Lithuanians who hadn’t become citizens of an emigree state but who were also not residing within the confines of the new Lithuania in 1918? If the latter is possible, would it have been automatic, or would my grandparents have had to be somehow “proactive” to claim their citizenship in the new republic during those years? I certainly know that they, nor anyone in their family, ever considered themselves Russian but Lithuanian!
Should the indication be that the desired outcome is likely, my intention would be to move forward with the process.
Thank you again.
At the time of the Lithuanian independence, not only residents became citizens automatically. However, not all emigrants became citizens either. It depended on certain rules, such as the time a person lived in Lithuania, whether his parents and grandparents also lived there, whether he had real estate or a regular job, etc. The citizenship rules were so written that a person who, for example, lived temporarily in Lithuania and then migrated somewhere else would not be considered a citizen, but somebody who lived there for generations could be, even if he/she did not live in Lithuania on 1918.
We’d need to start the process by archive search in Lithuania and see what more info we could get about their emigration, their life in Lithuania, or, the best, Lithuanian passports if they ever had any while in Lithuania (not likely if they left before 1918, obviously).
As for Lithuania/Russia issue, who was the citizen of Lithuania and who was a citizen of Russia was set in the peace treaty between the countries of 1920. According to that peace treaty, those who lived in Lithuania 10 years until 1914 (not 1918) became Lithuanian citizens, as well as those who were registered in Lithuanian municipalities. According to the same treaty, “emigrants who are not naturalized” also became citizens. That treaty was just one of the documents defining citizenship.
It should be noted that the interwar laws were not written as clearly as the laws today. This is especially true for laws of the early state of Lithuania, issued ~1918, when entire citizenship law fitted on a single page. Therefore, a lot depends on precedents, which are limited as Lithuania is a small country. Often, in such cases, there is no exact precedent in Lithuanian courts, making the Migration department able to act at its will (or the will of a particular employee), until somebody will bring the issue to court. This may be good, however (some employees tend to effectively give citizenship very liberally, even in some cases where a court would likely not allow it as these cases seem to be against the law).
If by law/precedent, there is a precedent now (of 2017) that those who lost Lithuanian citizenship before 1940 could not restore it (and as, for the period of 1922, Lithuania did not allow dual citizenship, getting US citizenship would have meant losing the Lithuanian one). Yet again, however, it seems bad for your case “on paper”, but in practice, the checks for losing Lithuanian citizenship seems to be sporadic. Also, as dual citizenship was constitutionally banned exactly on the year 1922 (and remained so until 1928, for the American citizens), it depends on when in 1922 did they get the US citizenship (before or after the legal changes).
Thank you, Augustinas, for your quick reply. I’ve done some further digging:
It seems my grandmother and grandfather emigrated together under the same surname “Vinskus”, indicating they had already been married in Lithuania, in 1909 or 10. In the US 1920 census, they were both listed as Russian of “Lettish” (nowadays, that generally means Latvian) mother tongue. I knew my grandfather well and he spoke Lithuanian and all of the printed materials around his house were in Lithuanian. That entry was probably transcriber error or a broader use of the descriptor “Lettish” in those days. By the time of the 1930 census, this had been corrected and both of their national origins and language were listed as Lithuanian. All four of their parents (my great-grandparents) were also listed as Lithuanian. Although my Grandfather naturalized in 1922 (I don’t have the exact date yet), my grandmother never became a US citizen and remained listed as an “alien” for the remainder of her life, which ended sometime in the late 40s. My grandfather was born in 1893 and my grandmother in 1896 to ethnic Lithuanian parents, thus having 11 and 14 years of residence respectively, before emigrating and prior to 1914, in what is now Lithuania. My grandfather would have been, at most, 17 when he left Lithuania, so that probably speaks to his employment and land ownership. That calculation may also cast doubt on his being married in at that time as well, though I can’t speak to the cultural norms regarding marriage age in those days.
I think this information sounds pretty positive. Of course I’m interested in you comments and please email me your proposal.
My great grandfather was born in the Russian Empire in 1878 in the Vilna Region (town is now in present day Belarus) and came to the United States in 1906. He never became a United States Citizen and died in 1930. My grandfather was born in 1926. I have a birth act for my great grandfather from a parish in Belarus, as well as other documents. Do you think I would be able to claim Lithuanian single citizenship? I’m sure dual citizenship is definitely out of the question. Thank you so much for your time.
Who is a Lithuanian (and therefore whose grandchildren qualify for a single citizenship) is not extensively described in either law or precedent. As such, the more proofs you could get of this – the better (i.e. proofs of facts such as your grandfather speaking Lithuanian, participating in any Lithuanian activities, etc.). The final decisions depend on the particular employees, although they may be appealed to a court. In our practice, we have seen situations where in almost identical cases one person was granted citizenship while another didn’t. Therefore, it is usually difficult to tell for sure in advance but the more proofs there are, the higher are the chances.
According to a document I received from the Lithuanian Archives, my grandmother and great-grandparents were evacuated from Kaunas in 1941 at the beginning of the German-Soviet War to Turkmenian SSR. After the war though, they immigrated to the United States and became naturalized citizens in the 1950s. I have read some mixed information online and was curious if my grandparent’s brief time in Turkmenian SSR would disqualify me from obtaining dual citizenship?
According to the current version of the Lithuanian citizenship law, those whose forefathers have emigrated to the Soviet Union are not allowed to restore citizenship through those forefathers.
However, there is no exact precedent in a case like yours. It may be argued, for example, that evacuation was not fully voluntary, or that the initial goal was to emigrate elsewhere but the fact of war made them move through the Soviet Union.
That said, a negative decision is also possible (in cases without exact precedents, various decisions are possible). It may depend also on time they spent in the Soviet Union before emigrating to the USA and such.
Can you please assist me with the following:
My great grandparents came from Lithuania in 1912 to SA. Can I apply for a dual citizenship by restoration of (grandfathers’) citizenship. I know this was before the Lithuanian independence (1918), so would I still be eligible for dual citizenship and can you help with this process?
You are eligible if you could prove that your great-grandparents were citizens – i.e. that they automatically gained citizenship after independence. This may depend on such criteria as whether they had real estate or permanent jobs. This may be proved through archive search (if the necessary evidence exists). We may do the archive search, however, we cannot promise success as these cases tend to be more difficult and less clear than the cases where people had citizenship for sure, i.e. had a Lithuanian passport.
Just came across this site and postings, all very helpful.
I’m a British-born national whose paternal grandfather was born within the territorial boundaries of what would have been independent Lithuania in 1892, I know he held a Lithuanian passport when he left Lithuania and came to the UK in 1924 (but that document / other has been lost in the annals of time).
He was naturalised British in March 1931 and I’ve seen and taken copy of that evidence of naturalisation (which references him being born in Lithuania and both he and his parents being Lithuanian citizens).
I’m contemplating making a request to reinstate Lithuanian citizenship. I haven’t applied previously and I’m collating all the necessary birth, marriage and naturalisation certificates plus name change evidence held on UK files.
I know that separately I need to locate evidence of my grandfather’s birth and/or citizenship / departure from Lithuania from the Lithuanian archives (if such material exists).
Am I correct in saying that under the current status of citizenship law (2016) I am entitled as my grandfather’s grandson to seek reinstatement of citizenship and provisionally retain my current British passport subject to my supplying the ministry with and them accepting all requisite supporting evidence required by law? It being noted my grandfather left Lithuania in 1924.
Based upon the background I’ve supplied briefly here do you think there is due cause in law to reject my application to reinstate citizenship on the basis of my wish to retain my British nationality?
Appreciate your comment and insight. Before I meet with consular officials in this matter in the new year.
Good evening again, and an advance merry Xmas to you,
I think I’ve answered my question of 21Dec but I am sure you’ll be able to confirm that.
Pending the May 2019 referendum planned on dual citizenship the latest guiding reference point on citizenship law and dual nationality is the Constitutional Court decision announced in the autumn of 2017, is it not?
On the basis of that judgement and my ancestor (grandfather) leaving for the UK in 1924 then being pronounced naturalised British in 1931 I’ve come to the conclusion (perhaps incorrectly?) I’m not (currently) able to obtain citizenship through him other than on a single basis (Lithuanian) – which would require me to renounce my British passport.
Have I surmised correctly?
The yardstick (unless you tell me I’ve misinterpreted the current legal position) is that my grandfather is presumably considered to have voluntarily renounced his Lithuanian citizenship by taking British naturalisation in 1931, meaning he no longer held Lithuanian citizenship in the eyes of Lithuania at the time of the June 1940 cut off.
That brings me to another thought as to how to approach obtaining dual citizenship.
The law on citizenship entitles me as the great grandson of my grandfather’s parents to seek reinstatement as a descendant of those same great grandparents.
So theoretically I could make an application for reinstatement as their descendant and not my grandfather’s (i.e. their son). All I’d then need to do is trace citizenship one further generation as given to my great grandfather (or great grandmother) post 1918, show that those same great grandparents or one of them was a citizen in June 1940, and prove the link to my grandfather (their son) from local (Lithuanian) archival sources, i.e. birth records.
Does that change of approach and summation of my position make sense?
Grateful for your observations noting that at this point I would like to retain my British nationality,
Dear Jeremy, your explanation is correct, with the following differences:
1)The decision in question was not by the Constitutional Court but by an Administrative court.
2)There are various ways in which a person may have naturalised in a foreign country and retained Lithuanian citizenship until 1940. The most common way is if the person naturalised in the American continent as there was a blanket legal norm that allowed all the emigrants to America to retain dual citizenship and this is where the majority of Lithuanian emigrants went to. Great Britain is not in America, however, so this does not apply.
3)That said, after the aforementioned court decision, the practice of the Migration Department on who is considered to have lost the Lithuanian citizenship by 1940 is not fully consistent. It is clear that somebody who renounced his own Lithuanian citizenship in written form, leaving also evidence in Lithuanian archives, would be considered a non-citizen in 1940 (this includes, for example, people who took foreign citizenship and thus avoided Lithuanian military conscription by writing to the Lithuanian authorities that they are no longer are to be considered citizens of Lithuania). However, “the gray area” is people who naturalised abroad yet did not denounce the Lithuanian citizenship in written form to the Lithuanian authorities. At least some of them still get dual citizenship. As each case is not public before it reaches court, we can only talk about our clients and cannot give the exact statistics. Perhaps in the future a new court precedent will explain how exactly to interpret these norms in such cases and the Migration Department will follow that. We may search the Lithuanian archives in order to see if your grandfather renounced his citizenship to the Lithuanian authorities.
4)Your second option makes sense. However, there are no court precedents on this issue, so it cannot be 100% said if it would work. You may apply to the Migration Department through this way or the way described above. Should the answer be negative, you may appeal to the court but it may as well be positive.
We may help you with the legal matters.
Augustinas, hello again,
Since we last corresponded I’ve managed to trace birth and marriage records for my great grandmother, but nothing for the birth of her second son – my grandfather.
In the British archives I’ve found confirmation of a Lithuanisn passport issued to my grandfather in 1923 at a European Lithuanian consulate.
Is there anywhere else locally other than LCVA that would hold details of this passport as issued. e.g. Migration Dept records or other? I have the passport number, date and location of issue.
Planning to visit some time in early April Brexit permitting (poss delayed to May). If everything went smoothly would it be convenient to meet sometime?
Augustinas, apologies I have another question,
LCVA have kindly told me that they hold my great grandmother’s property record for 1940.
I am correct in saying aren’t I that satisfactory evidence of that is sufficient to prove her citizenship in 1940?
That being the case I would only theoretically then need to prove the link between my great grandmother and my grandfather, her son, which I hold in a British document but haven’t located locally as yet. My understanding is correct isn’t it?
Appreciate your comment.
Firstly, could you please elaborate what document and where did you find (i.e. what particular British archive and what Lithuanian consulate, as such thing as “European Lithuanian consulate” did not exist; there were consulates in various cities though).
Property record is not a direct proof of citizenship but an indirect proof. Usually, indirect proofs are enough (sometimes it depends on an employee).
Yes, you need, basically, to prove the link between yourself and your great grandparent, so you need to prove 3 links (great grandparent to grandparent, grandparent to parent, and parent to yourself).
Lithuanian Central Archive is the main place which holds the passport data. There is some data in the Kaunas archive as well. Sometimes, the documents do not survive.
I will be in Lithuania in the end of April and May. In the beginning of April, I will be collecting information on the Lithuanian heritage in Latin America (for the http://global.truelithuania.com project).
I was born in Vilnius in 1973 though my parents were born in other parts of the world. They emigrated from Lithuania in 1990 before independence declaration. Am I eligible for dual citizenship as I was born in Lithuania?
To be eligible for dual citzenship, your parent (or at least a single great-grandparent) must have been a citizen of Lithuania. If they have moved into Lithuania during the Soviet occupation, they were not considered citizens of Lithuania at the time as any person who moved into Lithuania while it was under occupation would be considered an illegal settler under the international law.
If your parents moved into Lithuania before the occupation (1940), it is possible they were citizens of Lithuania (this needs to be checked in the archives).
After 1990 independence declaration, every person who lived in Lithuania could have opted for Lithuanian citizenship, had he/she so wished (regardless if he descended from pre-1940 or was considered an illegal settler, as the newly-independent Lithuania, unlike Latvia and Estonia, decided to give everyone citizenship). However, as I understand, by that time neither you nor your parents lived in Lithuania.
Hi there Augustinus. As far as I know, dual citizenship is only available for descendants of people who left before March 1990 and were citizens of Lithuania by June 15 1940. Would single citizenship be available to those whose anscestor lost citizenship in written form to Lithuanian authorities before 1940? I am confused as to what the court rules regarding citizenship reinstatement in October 2017. Please could you clarify.
Single citizenship is available to all grandsons/granddaughters of Lithuanians. What precisely a Lithuanian means is not entirely clear and may be decided on a case-by-case basis. However, if a person was a Lithuanian citizen, it is very likely he would be considered a Lithuanian, thus allowing his/her grandchildren to either get single citizenship, a Lithuanian residence permit, or a Lithuanian ancestry certificate that could lead to both.
Thanks for the reply!
Do you perhaps know why there have not been any applications approved in recent weeks?
There may be many reasons, such as a holiday for certain employees. There is also a possibly-precedent-setting citizenship-related case pending in the High Administrative Court, so maybe they wait for that decision.
Myself and siblings are super excited to get our citizenship restored except we have run into a hurdle.
Our grandfather immagrated to Canada in 1939 and became a Canadian citizen in 1949, and sometime before 1956 he started to spell his last name as “Yoneliunas” instead of “Joneliunas” but did not make a legal name change (that was common back then).
Do we have a hope of getting our citizenship or will the goverment reject our application?
Yes, you can restore citizenship indeed. In most cases, a difference in a single character causes no problems, especially since these characters are spelled the same (“J” in Lithuanian is spelled as “Y” in English). It may depend on the employee who evaluates the application, however, and this may need to be explained to him/her. Still, even if the employee would require more proofs, it would still be possible to do e.g. through a court of law. That said, it is usually unneeded.
If you are interested, we may help you with the application.
My great-great grandparents were born in Akmenė in roughly 1880, they immigrated to the United States in 1913. My great-great grandfather naturalized in 1925. Whilst in the US they had a few children one being my great grandfather. He was born in 1928. In 1932, when my great grandfather was 4 years old, they moved back to Lithuania but returned to the US in 1933. Would I have hopes to gain Dual-Citizenship? If it may help, I still retain the family surname.
The question here would be if your great grandparent had Lithuanian citizenship. 1913 was before the independence of Lithuania (1918), so they did not have citizenship at the time. They may have acquired it later, however, since they moved back to Lithuania, or they may have been considered citizens because of their status (if they had work or property before emigrating and that could be proved, for example).
Archives may be checked for information on how they came back to Lithuania and if they got any passport here. It is possible they didn’t, however, knowing they returned to the USA, although they might have been initially planning to stay and then decided to return due to finding no work, etc. In the scenario there would be no direct proofs of their citizenship, we could search the archives for proofs of them being automatically considered citizens (a harder job where the chances of success are lower).
Thank you for the help Augustinas.
[…] passports begins with allocations for Soviet exiles and their descendants, offered by Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. So far, these states have not reported much traffic, but this is quite likely to […]
[…] passports begins with allocations for Soviet exiles and their descendants, offered by Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. So far, these states have not reported much traffic, but this is quite likely to […]
Hello again Augustinas,
Thanks again for your remarks,
My grandfather’s nationality (Lithanian) and passport issued in Berlin in 1923 are both shown on his alien registry card issued in the U.K. in March 1924. I’m holding a copy of that alien registry card which also shows his place of birth as being Sakiai.
I’ve written twice so far to the current Berlin consulate asking where I might find records If any of the document (external passport) my grandfather would have shown customs officials on arrival in the U.K. ie the 1923 paperwork. So far no reply,
Do you have any other suggestions as to where I might look in local archives for evidence of that Berlin document issue? Migration Dept records perhaps?
Hello again Augustinas,
My thanks again for your helpful comments.
I hold a copy of my grandfather’s alien entry card from the 1924 Alien Register (contained in UK Home Office files) that confirms his nationality as Lithuanian, his birthplace as Sakiai and him holding what I assume was an external passport issued in 1923 in Berlin on arrival in the U.K. March 1924.
I’ve written twice to the current Lithuanian consulate in Berlin asking where I might find further evidence of the issue of that passport – as yet no reply. I’m assuming that in granting that passport there would have beeen a paper trail between Berlin and the relevant authorities in Lithuania that enabled my grandfather to get his 1923 passport in Berlin.
Apart from the archives is there anywhere else that may hold registratiojn details for the 1923 passport I assume was issued? I’ve got the passport number. Would the Migration Dept hold records or some other body assuming they weren’t destroyed?
Grateful for any further pointers you can give me. Kind Regards
It is usually quite pointless to ask the modern-day Lithuanian institutions these things. As Lithuania was occupied in 1940 by the Soviet Union, it lost most of its institutions (save for some embassies in the Western world, e.g. in Washington) and they were closed down. Even if an institution has the same name or covers the same area of public administration (as in the case with Migration Department) it does not have any documents from the pre-1940 era. All that has been moved to the archives by the occupational regimes and remain there (also including many church documents, company documents and more, as Soviets nationalized many things).
Yes, there should have been a paper trail indeed. Basically, there are two levels of archive search: one level involves just asking the archive, in which case they will just check certain particular places (e.g. exact dates, digitized documents and such). The second level involves visiting the archive in person or hiring researchers to do so, getting various documents and searching. If you are interested, you may hire our archive researchers so we may look into it. Of course, there can never be a 100% guarantee as some documents may be not surviving. Still, if you are interested, we may send you the prices.
P.S. Do I understand correctly that you don’t have any Lithuanian-issued documents, i.e. no documents issued by the consulate in Berlin (or signed by the Lithuanian consul, or such) – you just have the British-issued documents?
Hi again Augustinas,
I’ve now received some papers my father held before his death that are associated with my grandfather’s set of studies between 1918 and autumn 1923. Unfortunately no passports or ID material.
Two original sets of papers have caught my eye.
Firstly, a February 1919 document written in German that bears the stamps and signatures of what I assume is German authority residing in Vladislavov (Kudirkos Naumiestis) and Kovno (Kaunas) in 1919. I’m not proficient in German but it looks like a travel authority to me and I know my grandfather went to study medicine in Koenigsberg in 1919 and Koenigsberg is specifically mentioned so I’m guessing the paper was designed to get him across the border into East Prussia to then continue to Koenigsberg. This document also shows an ID number as a reference point, which I’m guessing was my grandfather’s internal passport.
As I’ve mentioned so far I’ve turned up nothing with the Central Archives although as you know I plan to visit shortly subject to whatever happens or doesn’t with Brexit.
The second original document I’m holding appears to be a copy of my grandfather’s study accreditations and doctorate in medicine (obtained in Berlin) and on the rear of that document there’s a lot of handwriting – I think it’s in Lithuanian – and it bears the seal of a notary in Sakiai in 1923.
My question now is this. Where can I go about finding registers that might hold lists of passport or ID numbers where I hold the two numbers I’ve mentioned, including the Berlin-issued passport of 1923; if there is nothing in the Central Archives? Do Central Register Lists exist for the post WW1 period or earlier? If so where would I be wise to look?
On a more general note and assuming ai wasn’t able to find records of the passport numbers I know existed what do you think the Migration Dept’s view would be of my submission of original academic accreditations from 1906-1914 plus the original papers I’ve mentioned here from 1919 and 1923 in support of a citizenship reinstatement application.
I’ve got at least four original papers from 1918 and 1919 that are written in German, signed by authority vouching for my grandfather by name, his place of birth as being within what we now know to be today’s Lithuania and confirming no adverse behaviour ie criminal.
Grateful for your further thoughts as to how to proceed from here. Best
In the Migration Department, every case is evaluated individually. Of course, for “simple cases” where someone brings a passport of his grandfather, it is easy. However, there are many unique situations like yours – unique in terms of what documents are provided, in terms of family history and so on. Of course, it is always beneficial to seek to get as many documents as possible but once the possibilities are exhausted, it is still useful to apply. From my experience, the evaluation not only depends on the documents themselves but also on the employee who evaluates – some are more “strict” than others. It is therefore impossible to know the result in advance, there could be just probabilities. The Migration Department cases, by the way, are not public and they are not precedents to each other – thus it is perfectly possible (and it has happened in our practice numerous times) that identical situations are evaluated differently by different employees.
In any case, should the result be negative, there is an option to go to a court of law to either appeal the decision or use the procedure of “establishing the fact that your forefather was a citizen”. In the court of law, the standard of proof is lower. Furthermore, court cases are public and binding as precedents. Once there is a court case decided in some way, the Migration department must also follow that practice in similar situations.
Each Lithuanian archive has very many data. Data may be sorted by municipalities. In interwar Lithuania, different sets of laws existed in different territories (due to different history) and so on. Often, you have to look at many documents and groups of documents and you cannot say for sure before looking that something would be there. If you are interested, you may hire a professional who specializes in the archive search and may go there in person. We do have such professionals.
Correct Augustinas, I don’t have any Lithuanian-issued documents at present. I may turn up something amongst my father’s papers but in any event I shall be looking to properly search the archives (including Marijampole records – which I didn’t realise hold some records for Sakiai up to 1944).
Hello Augustinas, I live in the UK. My Grandfather was Lithuanian (born in Birzai in about 1929). He died in the UK in 1996 and just before he died he wanted to go back to Lithuania but couldn’t find his birth certificate, unfortunately he died before requesting a copy. As his granddaughter I am interested to see if I am eligible for dual citizenship? I have no information/ documents, just his death certificate. I’m not too sure when he left Lithuania and where he went to before coming to the UK. He did once make a passing comment that he was in the ‘Hitler Youth’. I know he left Lithuania as a child/ young adult during the war but he didn’t like to talk about it so we know very little. How would I go about obtaining a copy of his birth certificate?
If your grandfather was a citizen of Lithuania until 1940 (which is very likely given his birthplace and birthdate), you are eligible to dual citizenship. However, you need not only the proof of his birth (as, in theory, he may have been, for example, born in Lithuania to non-citizens and thus not became a citizen himself, although that is unlikely), but rather a proof of his citizenship. Such proofs are in the Lithuanian archives, just as are proofs of birth.
We may help you search there. We will send you information about our services.
Thank you. I would like to use your services. How do I do this?
Thanks Augustinas, how do I use your services?
We will send you an offer by e-mail
Hello, Augustinas. I am a US citizen, My grandmother emigrated from Lithuania in 1901 with her parents to the US. My grandmother lived in St Petersburg, Florida, and was active in the Lithuanian community there. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather were both buried in the Lithuanian National Cemetery in Methuen, Massachusetts. I have copies of ship manifests and documentation that shows their original (Lithuanian) names and how the names were Anglicized after their arrival in the US. What I do not have is a Lithuania birth certificate or church records showing where and when my Lithuanian ancestors were born. Their ship records indicate they all came from Kaunas, but that is a large area.
I would like to either obtain a Permanent Residence status or Lithuanian citizenshiip, Is this possible for me? Also, I would like to buy a second (retirement) home in Lithuania. Is this easy to do for a Permanent Resident?
You can inquire with the Vilnius Archives to find their baptismal church records.
My great grandfather left Lithuania pre 1900 for the UK. However, he did not naturalise as a British citizen until 1920. Given that Lithuania gained independence in 1918, would his Russian citizenship have automatically changed to Lithuanian between 1918 and 1920? If so, would this make me eligible for dual citizenship?
For some, it would have been automatically converted, for others not. It depended on real estate ownership or having had a job in Lituania. That said, with the time of emigration so long before 1918, in practice it is often difficult to prove as such things as proofs about having had a job or real estate in Lithuania before then are often unrecorded in the archives.
In theory, if he could be proven to have had citizenship of Lithuania until 1940, then yes, you would be eligible to dual citizenship.
My grandfather left Brest in 1904 because of the tzar prosecution against jews.
He always told us that we were Lithuanian-Jews descendants.
I can prove: the place where he was born, that he was known as “the Lithuanian”, and some links to Lithuania. I have his documents say that he was “Russian”.
Can I be a Lithuanin citizen, even by renouncing my current citizenship??
Unfortunately, Brest is not in Lithuania now – it is in Belarus. Historically, the term “Lithuanian-Jewish” was used more widely than it is today, referring to Jews from territories much greater than today’s Lithuania and more closely resembling the historical Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which included Brest. As such, unless there was a closer relationship with Lithuania as it is today (e.g. they lived there before moving to Brest, spoke Lithuanian language and such), it would be difficult to get citizenship of Lithuania. I don’t say 0% as there is no precedent either for or against this in courts but, knowing Lithuanian court practice that is quite unwilling to expand the definitions of those who are eligible for citizenship, I would think it is very unlikely they would decide that people originating in what is now Belarus and has not been part of Lithuania since 18th century would be considered Lithuanian for the purpose of getting citizenship.
Please contact me on Whatsapp: 919106640745
Private legal consultations over a phone are not free. If you are interested, we may send you information on how much it would cost.
Otherwise, you may describe your situation here in comments and we could then answer it here.
Good day Augustinas
I am attempting to apply for citizenship through ancestry for lithuania. My grandmother, Miriam witten born 1923, 19 october left lithuania due to religious and war issues (i am jewish) at the age of 6 and came to south africa with my great grandmother in around 1929-1930
She married my grandfather 4 june 1950, sydney Oscar Cohen
Simply asked, do I qualify for lithuanian citizenship?
Further I am currently in the process of finding the exact date of naturalisation but wanted to know if I do qualify possibly
Full each person’s full name, maiden name and all variations of names: Miriam Witten
Date and place of birth: 19 october 1923, lithuania, vil komir just outside vilnuous (born)
Date and place of death: Died in South Africa,more specifically in Gauteng Johannesburg, Died September 2009
Occupation at time of naturalisation: came to south africa with her mother at the age of 6 years old
Aprox year of naturalization (Its impossible for me to search over 30 years in one hour for one person) she came to south africa when she was 6, putting her arrival around 1929 or 1930. As a child i dont think she will naturalise then. Possibly 5 years later?
Did they come on their own or with parents ? if so I will need all there details as well. Her mother’s name was Rivka Witten.and father Joseph Witten . He was Joska anglicized to Joseph
Who were they married to and what is there full names? She later married my grandfather, Sydney Oscar Cohen on the 4th of june 1950
If your grandmother was a citizen and she did not lose Lithuanian citizenship before 1940, you do qualify. Losing citizenship has recently (late 2019) been interpreted by the court as having it officially stripped by Lithuanian authorities – it would not be lost automatically by simply gaining another citizenship, according to the present interpretation.
Her birthplace is Ukmergė (formerly Vilkmergė).
Currently, the reasons of emigration are no longer important.
My family is originally from Kėdainiai, they moved to Vilnius circa 1900, where my grandfather was born in 1902. In 1915 they moved (or maybe fled, or maybe were deported as many others at that time – I don’t know for sure) to Russia. What are my chances of reinstating Lithuanian citizenship without renouncing my current citizenship?
Actually, I’m not even sure about the exact year – it may be later then 1915…
1915 is a good year for that, as 1914 is a cut-off date for a certain law that basically says if somebody had a real estate and/or in Lithuania for 10 years before 1914, he is to be considered a citizen automatically. This is just one of the ways. However, the fact that they moved to Russia, if they stayed there, may cause problems because the 1920 Lithuanian-Russian peace treaty generally “partitioned” citizens into either Lithuanian or Russian citizens depending on where they chose to remain (it is easier with third countries, e.g. the USA, if they would have “emigrated on” from Russia).
The success also depends on what could be proven by archive data. We can help in “mining” this data, but nothing is completely certain as some documents have been lost and there are some cases where it is definitely known that somebody was a Lithuanian citizen but this could not be proven.
I have been working on my geneology for the past year and have finally gotten my great grandmother’s baptismal certificate from the Vilnius archives that reveals the following:
In the Suwalki governate metric books, Prienai roman catholic church books there’s an entry for Marijona (Мариани) (Lazauskaite). She was baptized on June 16th, 1901. The parent’s are: Andrius (Андрей) Lazauskas (Лозовский) and Marijona Lazauskiene (nee Klimaitė). The child was born in Dumiskes village.
So, seeing how she was born in 1901 and from what I have found, left in 1905 but did not gain formal citizenship in the United States until 1940. I don’t know under what circumstances they left or how to find out that info.
We were planning on taking all documentation to the Lithuanian consulate in New York City:
her baptismal, marriage, and death certificate, my maternal grandfather’s (Lithuanian great grandmother’s son) birth and death certificate, my mother’s birth and marriage certificate, as well as my birth certificate.
I know the laws have changed some recently but would I be eligible for citizenship? Dual? What about my husband and my children?
Specifically, she did not get formal US citizenship until July 15th, 1940.
But had lived in the US from when she fled there until said citizenship. But seeing how she never had the formal paperwork, would she have been considered Lithuanian during that time, seeing how rule of Lithuania didn’t change over until June 14th, 1940.
This is good as it makes it impossible that she would have lost her Lithuanian citizenship before 1940 (although, in case of people who naturalized in the Americas, they typically did not lose Lithuanian citizenship through naturalization in any case).
Still, it is important to prove she had Lithuanian citizenship at all (or, as an alternative, go through the path of Lithuanian ancestry which does not lead to dual citizenship but may be easier to prove, depending on the situation).
1.For the process of citizenship restoration (that leads to dual citizenship) you would need to have had at least a single citizen great grandparent. As Lithuania became independent only in 1918 and citizenship began to be issued only then, this would mean a requirement to prove that your great grandmother was a citizen. There were some people who gained citizenship automatically although they were not living in Lithuania in 1918. For instance, children of the citizen, or people who had real estate or a regular job in Lithuania 10 years prior to 1914. That would need to be proven by archive data. Given they left in 1905, full 9 years before WW1 and 13 years before independence, and she was a minor, this would be very difficult, however.
2.For the process of Lithuanian ancestry citizenship you would need to prove one your *grandparent* was a Lithuanian. “Lithuanian” is not clearly defined in laws. It does not mean somebody born in Lithuania or a Lithuanian citizen and we had success in courts of law of Lithuania in proving somebody was a Lithuanian despite not being born in Lithuania or not being a Lithuanian citizen. The more “Lithuanian” was one of your grandparents, the better: that is, if he/she spoke language and you could prove it, if he/she was baptized in a Lithuanian church in the Americas, participated in any Lithuanian-American organizations and so on. There are no list of requirements – it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis; so even if e.g. he/she spoke no Lithuanian or that could not be proven, there may be other beneficial facts in your favor. This process would only lead to either a single citizenship, a residence permit, or a right-to-citizenship certificate, however (not dual citizenship).
Your husband would not be eligible to citizenship in any case, though your children could be. If you would move to Lithuania, your husband could get a residence permit more easily and then follow the path of naturalization, which is easier for spouses.
Augustinas~ Your help is so greatly appreciated! You are really a gem for helping all of us. I will let you know how it all pans out. *fingers crossed*. Will keep your info for further record if I need any further assistance. Thanks again!
Have you ever had people use their DNA results to “prove” their Lithuanian ancestry, as “Lithuanian” is not clearly defined by the laws? Just got mine back and it says specifically 17% Eastern European/Russia but then further breaks it down to:
“Your connection to this region is most likely through ancestors linked to this community: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania.”
I also have 20% Baltics which then breaks it down further to:
“Primarily located in Latvia, Lithuania.”
Seeing how I never heard anything about Latvia from any part of my family, I’m going to assume all that 20% is Lithuanian!
I believe that my great grandmother was buried in a Lithuanian cemetery. Trying to figure out is married there as well, or if she was part of specific Lithuanian-American organizations.
My mother specifically remembers her grandmother (my great grandmother) speaking Lithuanian. My mother’s father would sometimes as well (usually when drunk, haha). I don’t know if it could be cited by my mother and notorized to confirmed said recollection of this?
I haven’t an ancestry recognized solely on DNA data. The law requires one grandparent having been Lithuanian. In your case, it is just 20% and not necessarily from Lithuania (e.g. it could have been great grandparents on different lines).
Yes, the written “memories” is an evidence that could be used.
However, just these two would make a rather weak case I think, even though it could be attempted. The idea here is “the more – the better”, and memories tend to change over time while DNA testing for ethnicities is not that precise.
Both can be used as parts of evidence presented, with both being evaluated on case-by-case basis. But, just these two is rather a small evidence.
That said, if we could find out additional evidence, that may work. For example:
*Perhaps you could know what Lithuanian cemetery is she buried at, get a picture of her grave there?
*If she is buried at a Lithuanian cemetery, she likely was a member of a Lithuanian parish (as many cemeteries were parish-aligned)? Then parish records may have data on her marriage or the baptism of her child (i.e. your grandparent). If your grandparent was baptised in a Lithuanian church, that is another arguement in favor of him being a Lithuanian.
*Many Lithuanian parishes also had Lithuanian parish schools – maybe your grandparent went there and thus learned some Lithuanian.
*If you know their names, approximate birthdates/birthplaces, we may also search for evidence in Lithuanian archives on their births and emigration (also useful).
Oh yes, I already have her baptismal certificate from Dumiskes Village, Lithuania. I figure just putting together ALL of the information, making the more the better case, would be good, given the circumstances that she was baptized in 1901 and left for US in 1905 and didn’t get actual US citizenship until 1940, as was stated in our prior threads back and forth to one another.
Will keep trying to gain as much evidence as possible as to her “Lithuanian”-ness.
All 4 of my maternal great grandparents were Lithuanians leaving the Russian Empire in 1885, 1891, and the last two in 1903. I have done extensive research of the ePaveldas and Suwalki archive images of the Catholic Parish Metrical Books, and have found the records for 3 of them. For the 4th, I have found records of other family members.
In one case, I have a copy of my GGM’s Lithuanian Birth Certificate pointing to the Meteliai church register, that was issued in the 1920’s. I actually have 2 of these Certificates, the other belonging to my great grandmother’s uncle.
I would assume that I would be able to restore my Nationality (as would my siblings, as well), correct?
What steps would I need to follow to start the process?
Would my mother and Uncle be eligible for citizenship?
I do not entirely understand the situation. You have said that they left Lithuania in 1885, 1891, and 1903 but you also mention there is a great grandmother’s Lithuanian birth certificate from the 1920s. So, was one of your great grandmothers born in Lithuania in 1920s (after the 1918 independence of Lithuania), or not?
No, my great grandmother was already living in the US. She was born in Buckunai in 1882, and came to the US in 1903. She needed a birth certificate, so it appears she wrote back to Lithuania in 1925.
My question was basically, “Is that document sufficient in order to restore Nationality?” I would think so, no?
Most likely no, because the Lithuanian nationality only began to be issued after the independece of Lithuania in 1918. Being born in Lithuania alone was not an important factor for this. You had to be living there for several generations and living at 1918, or, alternatively, having had a job or real estate in Lithuania, or being a child of a citizen (i.e. one automaticlaly eligible to citizenship through other criteria), etc.
“Nationality restoration”, is, however, just one of the ways too get Lithuanian citizenship. Simplified citizenship (for descendants of Lithuanians who were not citizens) is another and it may be easier here, depending on the situation. Still, that would only lead to single (rather than dual) citizenship.
Hello. My grandfather was born in Lithuania in 1908 and left in 1926. I have his passport. However, in the US he went by a completely different name than the name on his Lithuanian passport. According to my mother, he never officially changed his name – he just took an American name, one that doesn’t closely resemble his Lithuanian name. What can I present to demonstrate that he changed his name? Can I have my mother write an affidavit and attest that he used to be called x in Lithuania, and in the United States he became y? Thank you so much.
This would need to be established as a fact by a court of law in Lithuania. The court would recognize this if the court would believe that, given all the data presented, it is more likely than not, the person who lived in Lithuania and the person who lived in America (under a different name) is one and the same. Yes, affidavits are one type of evidence in such cases. Other types of evidence include other similarities: for example, maybe there are documents that show the same birthdate or birthplace or wife or parents or children for the “Lithuanian-named person” and the “English-named person”. If you have no documents from Lithuania itself (beyond the passport), we may search for them in the archives. Another possibility would be some documents he could have signed in both names, or e.g. if he would use his old name when writing letters to Lithuania, or he would have been addressed by such name in letters he received from Lithuania (if such letters survive).
We may help you with the procedure in the Lithuanian courts.
Hello, I would like to obtain a Lithuanian dual citizenship, but believe it is out of reach. So now, I’m hoping that I can qualify for a Certificate of Lithuanian Descent. My Great Grandparents were born in 1860 in Raksiskiai and stayed in Lithuania and would have been living there after 1918 in Birzai. My Grandparents left Birzai between 1910 & 1912 to the USA and never returned to Lithuania and they did not obtain a US citizenship. Is there any chance for acquiring either of these privileges, dual citizenship or certificate of Lithuanian Descent? If so, can you provide me with details of your services?
Dual citizenship may be theoretically possible though not certain given the circumstances of grandparents leaving 6-8 years before independence (we are currently having some similar cases, however, where great grandparents stayed; we’ll see where the precedent goes – maybe this will be considered enough).
Certificate, however, may be acquired if your grandparent as a Lithuanian (which is not the same as a Lithuanian citizen) and thus is significantly more likely.
We will e-mail you the information on our services.
Hey Augustinas, could you please give an update on where the cases have gone with children of Lithuanian citizens who left pre-1918?
I recently got records from my great-great-grandmother’s church in Pušalotas which proves she lived until 1940 and died in Lithuania. So she was certainly a citizen. If having a great-grandparent who was a citizen is enough, why wouldn’t that apply to pre-1918 emigrants as well whose parents became citizens in 1918? In my personal case it is my great-great-grandparents who remained in Lithuania, but maybe my dad could use this to get citizenship or it could be argued that my great-grandfather could be recognized as a citizen as the child of Lithuanian citizens?
This is being set by precedents. According to the current precedents, only those children of citizens who were minors at the time of 1918 got citizenship. Was that your case?
For dual citizenship, you need not only to have a great grandparent who was a citizen but also who left before the restoration of Lithuanian independence (1990), at least precedents drift that way.
Otherwise, only a single citizenship, a residence permit, or a right-to-citizenship certificate are accessible.
That is not my case unfortunately. However, I was meaning that since the law says anyone with a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who held citizenship of Lithuania is eligible, wouldn’t that also apply to people with a pre-1918 emigrant grandparent who also have a Lithuanian great-grandparent (the emigrant’s parent) who stayed behind and did become a citizen around 1918? In my case it would not work but I am just curious, in that case it could work for my dad.
I am still hoping that the precedent will change to recognize the citizenship under interwar laws of people who had already left before 1918 who were the children of people who stayed behind and did become citizens in 1918. My great-grandfather left in 1910 but his parents stayed and became citizens in 1918, and according to the interwar laws a child of a citizen is listed as automatically also recognized as a citizen so I think there is potentially a good argument there.
Hello, could You help with my situation, please: my great grandfather was Lithuanian. I can prove it. However, I doubt that I can prove nationality of his son – my grandfather. Can I obtain Lithuanian citizenship in this case?
If you can prove the Lithuanian nationality (citizenship) of your great grandfather, it is enough for Lithuanian citizenship restoration (and, usually, dual citizenship, save for some exceptions).
If you can prove just him being a Lithuanian (but not Lithuanian citizen), then you would need to also prove the same for your grandfather (and this would lead only to single citizenship, or residence permit, or right-to-citizenship certificate but not to dual citizenship). But a grandfather ho was born outside Lithuania may still be considered a Lithuanian (we had such cases).
Hello, at minimum, 5 of my mothers 8 great grandparents are ethnically Lithuanian Jews. They all moved to America at about 1900 and I can document their geneology and the cities they came from. One of them didn’t apply for American naturalization until 1927. Another applied for a Lithuanian Passport in 1930. It seems like my mom can get dual citizenship, but can I chain off her to get it as well? I don’t want to give up my American citizenship.
Yes, if at least one great-grandparent was a Lithuanian citizen until 1940 (which is likely if he/she got a Lithuanian Passport in 1930) then her great-grandchildren (i.e. your mother) may be dual citizens. However, in the case of great-great-grandchildren (i.e. you), there may only be ways to single citizenship (renouncing your current one), right-to-citizenship certificate (which may be essentially converted into citizenship later but, if the laws won’t change, you would still have to renounce current citizenship at the time of “conversion”), or residence permit.
If I wait till after my mother gets citizenship, could I apply as the child of a Lithuanian citizen? Because my great grandfather died before my mother was born, you could argue she had no idea she even had the ability to apply earlier in life (before my birth) until we found the records on ancestry.
Yes but not as dual citizenship (unless a new precedent is made through court).
Olá; Tenho uma dúvida: meu bisavô nasceu em 1893 em Utena – Dauniskis Lituânia. E chegou ao Brasil em 1930. Posso fazer a restituição da cidadania?
Hi; I have a question: my great-grandfather was born in 1893 in Utena – Dauniskis Lithuania. And it arrived in Brazil in 1930. Can I return citizenship?
Most likely yes. You need to prove he was a citizen until 1940 (we may help with archive search) and that you descend from him.
There may be exceptions; in a few cases the data in the archives has been destroyed and is impossible to prove, or the person would have lost citizenship (e.g. for not serving the Lithuanian army when conscripted) but I’d say in up to 95% of similar cases with Brazilians we have success.
Hello Augustinas and Aiste!
First of all just say thank you for your excellent service. You are very good and efficient in your job.
I have one question, is it allowed triple citizenship in Lithuania? For exemple:
-A person born in Brazil (Brazilian by birth)
-The same person gets Spanish citizenship (by residence)
-Then this same person gets Lithuanian Citizenship (by Reinstatement).
I have been reading many articles but there is no common sense about this…
Thank you and best regards! I am a fan of TrueLithuania!
Yes, triple citizenship is permitted if dual citizenship is permitted for that person. That is, if you are allowed to have Lithuanian citizenship and another citizenship at the same time, then you are also allowed to have unlimited other citizenships.
I have been in touch with you guys before but I am wondering if you have any updates on the court cases currently pending regarding potential for dual citizenship for those whose ancestor(s) left in the years immediately prior to independence? My great-grandfather emigrated to America in 1910 and now that I am here living in Vilnius I am interested in pursuing dual citizenship further.
There are several ways theoreticlaly possible for that, both of which are being tested in the courts.
*One way is via having real estate or job before 1914. So far, however, the precedents seem to be going the way that this means “until 1914” – i.e. somebody who left in 1914-1917 could go this way but probably not someone who left in 1910.
*Another way is being a child of a citizen (i.e. if a parent did not leave but a child did, he could be considered having received a citizenship in 1918-1919 as a child of a citizen). So far the precedents seem to be going the way that this is possible, but only if the child was minor in 1918.
The precedents are not yet set by highest courts, however, so there may be changes.
Thanks so much for that info. Could you please tell me where I can receive info about these upcoming court precedents as they are set?
They should be explained here in the comments, so you may check the comments here.
My Great Grandparents left Lithuania for the United States sometime before 1914 as my Grandmother was born in the US in 1914. I have read that in order to obtain citizenship by descent your ancestor had to be a Lithuanian citizen between 1918 and 1940. I have 2 questions:
1) Because my Great Grandparents left before 1918, would that mean they were not citizens of Lithuania when they left or when they became US citizens? Meaning, if they did not officially become US citizens until 1920, were they Lithuanian citizens between 1918 and 1920?
2) My Great-Great Grandfather never left Lithuania, and he died in 1926. If the data shows that I cannot use my Great Grandparents to obtain citizenship, would i be able to use my Great-Great Grandfather?
1)This depends on if they automatically received citizenship of Lithuania in 1918 or not. If they left before 1914, especially if long before, this is unlikely.
2)No, great great grandfather is one generation too many. However, in theory, it may be possible to use great great grandparent, who was nearly certainly a Lithuanian citizen, to attempt to prove that his son/daughter would be a citizen as well, and he/she received citizenship automaticlaly ~1918 as son/daughter of a citizen. This theory is being tested in court, however (if the person would have been a minor in 1918, the chances of successful precedent are higher).
Please also note that you don’t actually have to have had a citizen ancestor to get citizenship by descent. There is an alternative way that merely requires a Lithuanian ancestor (not necessarily a citizen). That way may only lead to a single (non-dual) citizenship, a residence permit, or a right-to-citizenship certificate, however.
Thank you very much for the information. What would be the best way to contact you to further explore my options?
We will contact you by e-mail.
“No, great great grandfather is one generation too many. However, in theory, it may be possible to use great great grandparent, who was nearly certainly a Lithuanian citizen, to attempt to prove that his son/daughter would be a citizen as well, and he/she received citizenship automaticlaly ~1918 as son/daughter of a citizen. This theory is being tested in court, however (if the person would have been a minor in 1918, the chances of successful precedent are higher).”
Is there still any litigation on this angle? Any court decisions on this topic whatsoever?
Greetings Augustinas and thank you for your informative responses here!
I was recently recognized as an Italian citizen, and would like my wife to have a similar EU credential.
– According to the (admittedly not always factual) 1900 census, her GGGF & GGGM came to the US in 1887 and 1895, respectively. It shows their place of birth as “Russia Lith.” (no language listed)
(Interestingly though, a later census says they are from Poland, and speak Polish.)
– GGF was born in Pennsylvania in 1898, then GM (living) > M (living) > Her
– GGGF died in 1916. GGGM died in 1938.
– Let’s assume for right now that they never naturalized, and were actually from Lithuania.
I can see how dual citizenship would be out of the question, but what about, say, a certificate of Lithuanian descent? Ideally I would like her to have some legal claim to residence in the EU, besides just being a spouse of an EU citizen.
Thank you very much,
A certificate of Lithuanian descent could be possible as it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis whether her grandparent was a Lithuanian. As I understand, her GGF was entirely Lithuanian by descent, while grandparent would have been half-Lithuanian. A lot then depends on his life choices: did he (or she) speak Lithuanian, participated in diaspora activities, was baptized in a Lithuanian church, etc. There are no finite requirements to prove the Lithuanity of a grandparent – the more, the better, but a few are often enough.
As for Poland/Russia it is explained here: http://www.truelithuania.com/ethnic-relations-6272 (read the section on Russian Imperial times, 1795-1918).
Any updates on the court cases pending which could extend dual citizenship to pre-1918 emigrants? Any news would be amazing.
No updates in favor of this. However, there is one precedent that seems to explain that Lithuanian citizenship could have been automatically granted to those who left after 1914. On the one hand, if such precedent will take hold, this would disqualify those who left before 1914 from dual citizenship. On the other hand, those who left in 1914-1918 (and their descendents) could have an easier path.
Ok so I have been thinking about this a lot. Since my great-grandfather left Lithuania in 1910, and my grandfather was born in August 1918, does that mean that my great-grandfather would have been stateless when my grandfather was born? Why would he not have counted as a Lithuanian citizen at that time? It seems to me as though there must be some path here.
Earlier posts on here list potential categories under interwar Lithuanian law that should have been recognized as citizens even if they were not present in LT such as people whose ancestors had lived in Lithuania since the dawn of time, which describes my great-grandfather, who has already been recognized as a person of ethnic Lithuanian descent from a village near Panevėžys. I would love some kind of detailed description of why the courts are rejecting this argument if that is indeed what is happening?
I live in Vilnius now and would love the option to become a dual citizen..
The question is mostly linguistic. There is a Lithuanian word “iki” which can mean either “before” or “until”. So, “A person who had a job for 10 years or a real estate ‘iki’ 1914” may have two different meanings – either at any time before 1914, or until 1914. A court of law has interpreted “iki” here as “until”. Still, this particular thing may perhaps possibly change.
However, in another similar example, a court of law interpreted that “people who can restore citizenship are those whose forefathers had citizenship iki 1940” meant “until 1940”, and this is a final decision by a higher court. That said, as the word iki may have two meanings, it is entirely possible that in one law it is interpreted one way and another way in another law. After all, it may be logical that a person must have had citizenship until the 1940 occupation of Lithuania in order to be able to restore it. The arguments may be different in case of those who left before Lithuanian independence.
As these are interwar laws, it needs to be shown how exactly did they operate in the interwar period. But it is not as straightforward as it seems: as Lithuania was in its infancy in 1918, the laws were very short and there was a wide array of different interpretations by different consuls and officials (e.g. it could be entirely possible that in the 1920s one official would have given a Lithuanian passport for somebody who left in 1910 if so requested and another official wouldn’t have, using the same short law, where the entire citizenship law consisted of a few paragraphs and ambiguity such as with the word “iki” existed). That said, from the data I have, it would seem that Lithuanian officials recognized the existence of citizens who left before independence at least and probably before World War 1, and we try to argue this way in court. But the data is relatively vague, e.g. various letters among consuls of the era that we have discovered in the archives. Gradually we try to discover more data. Lithuanian archives are mostly not digitized, meaning a work there is relatively long and difficult.
Wow! Thank you so much for that very detailed response. So are you still trying to work on this argument in the courts? Do you think there is any realistic chance that the interpretation can change?
Yes, we are working with it. However, it is not like we can work on a “clean space”. Rather it is so: when we get a case, we take it to the court. Some cases are better than the one that was decided negatively by the courts (the other arguments are better), so it is possible that the courts will decide them differently, that way setting up a boundary between the cases that are acceptible and that are not.
Moreover, the parliament has been expanding the dual citizenship recently, so it may in theory change by law as well. However, as the dual citizenship is nominally banned by constitution, it is also possible that some time inn the future the Constitutional Court will deem various laws expanding the dual citizenship unconstitutional, that way severely restricting it (this already happened in 2006 after the parliament has made dual citizenship almost universally possible; when the Constitutional Court has stroke down these laws, dual citizenship suddenly became nearly impossible; since then, however, the parliament has been slowly but steadily increasing the possibilities without another constitutional court case so far; should such a case arise, I believe the chance is more than 50 percent that the Constitutional Court would restrict dual citizenship once again, and the laxer rules the parliament creates, the more likely is a new Constitutional Court decision on the matter).
All in all, if there will be a possibility, it is the best to act quickly, as nobody knows how long that possibility would exist.
Your point about acting quickly is well noted. I definitely intend to keep an eye on this, and I already live in Vilnius so it shouldn’t be difficult to make a move if something happens. Please if you remember, let me know or post here if there are any further positive precedents that could impact my eligibility. Also, I’d be willing to invest some money into this if a way presents itself to get dual citizenship.
I just found out about the possibility of Lithuanian residency.
My great-grandmother and great-grandfather were both from Lithuania, spoke Lithuanian, and their parents before them were also from Lithuania. The areas of immigration are murky, between around 1907-1911, and I found a document of naturalization from 1912 relating to my great-grandma’s second husband (not related by blood, but also Lithuanian,) which stated “Republic of Lithuania,” for which country coming from which I understand is a key point to citizenship. I’m not sure if it applies though…
I’d love to speak more to see if my Mom and I could be eligible (as these would be her grandparents.)
Most likely you are eligible for citizenship (single) and residency, as well as a right-to-citizenship certificate, based on the simplified procedure. It would be more difficult to get dual citizenship if you would so wish, as they have emigrated before 1918 and 1914. It would be beneficial if at least one of them would have acquired/confirmed Lithuanian citizenship in a consulate or legation (this was relatively rare, mostly true for those who traveled to Lithuania between 1918 and 1940). Also, if you don’t know the exact date, maybe it was e.g. 1914, making it easier. We may check the Lithuanian archives.
Thank you Augustinas! I would love to discuss this more in further detail, so I am sending you an email! Thank you.
I very recently found out that if my parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent was Lithuanian, I myself can become a citizen of Lithuania!! I am an American, and currently I am not interested in renouncing my US citizenship, so dual citizenship would be preferable if possible. I am aware that it might not be, though.
My great-grandmother was born in America, but she had Lithuanian parents. My great-grandfather, on the other hand, was Lithuanian born, although he was only in the country for a couple years, as I understand it. My grandma has told me that he and his family left the country to immigrate to America around the year 1908. The reason that they left was because they were Jewish and they were facing persecution. This is why they left and came to America.
Based on this information, would I be eligible? I would love to hear more about this! Thank you for your time!
Dual citizenship is difficult if they came in 1908, as Lithuania only became independent in 1918 and Lithuanian citizenship would be issued only since that time. Or did your great grandfather moved in later? If not, they would most likely not be considered Lithuanian citizens. In theory, they may be considered Lithuanians but that could lead only to a single (non-dual) citizenship, a residence permit, or a right-to-citizenship certificate for the descendents.
Ah okay, I see. Thank you for the clarification. Since I now know that I cannot acquire dual citizenship, I will not pursue this option. Thank you again for your time!
Hello. My family and myself applied last November for Lithuanian citizenship by decent. We had all presented in the Lithuanian Inmigration Offices by someone with a power of attorney. Inmigration office responded that they night more documents regarding my grand grand mother not loosing her citizenship when she came to Argentina.
The official response is in this google drive doc – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d3dSNJGCjymdIR9RtiX5NFCwM9yymNDE/view?usp=sharing
Can you help us? We dont have more documents from her. We have her passport in perfect condition.
I reside in Germany actually, but my family lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are all Argentinians.
Due to a recent court precedent, the courts began requiring data on naturalization. That is because, according to some interpretations, when a person naturalized in a foreign country he/she lost Lithuanian citizenship. If that happened before 1940, he had no citizenship by 1940 and ths his descendents could not restore it.
However, this is not universal. Lithuanians in the Americas (including Argentina) had a right to naturalize without losing their citizenship for most of the period, save for, arguably, a few years.
According to some incorrect interpretations of the interwar law, a person may have also lost citizenship by “not keeping contact to Lithuania” (in reality, this typically did not happen).
Still, knowing such interpretations, information on how she continued her ties to Lithuania would be useful (although the exact boundaries on what is useful, e.g. participation in Lithuanian clubs, speaking Lithuanian, sending letters to Lithuania, etc. is not yet etsablished by precedent and it is more an unilaterial interpretation of the Migration Department so far).
We may help in arguing your case, we will countact you by e-mail.
Dear Mr. Žemaitis and Mrs. Žemaitienė,
My sister and I sent y’all an e-mail, but we believe it got lost in your inbox. So we are in hopes that we can contact y’all here.
We have started looking for documents that prove our great-grandfather was a Lithuanian citizen for quite a while now, since we believe that we fit the criteria to apply for a Dual Citizenship of Lithuania. We currently have in hands the following documents:
• official Brazilian documents that prove that his family and he came to Brazil from Trakai when he was 15, around March 25th, 1927;
• an official Brazilian document that proves he was born in April 4th, 1911, and was baptized in the Kalviai Roman Catholic Church, in Lithuania;
• a written document in cursive Lithuanian that proves his Lithuanian citizenship and of his family.
Also, we asked and payed for the Lithuanian Historical and Central Archives in Vilnius to send us documents that would prove our claims, but we unfortunately received letters that we cannot fully translate, since they are both written in Lithuanian.
Therefore, my sister and I would love to know if y’all could help us proceed, since we find ourselves in a stalemate.
Thank you in advance,
Davi Dumalakas Silva and Júlia Dumalakas Silva.
Yes, we may offer translation services and application services to Lithuanian authorities.
Hello Augustinas Žemaitis!
Had quite a read here and fascinated by your expertise and knowledge.
Could you provide an advice for my story?
My great-grandfather and great-grandmother were ethnic Lithuanians (as of my knowledge and from the stories I have heard from my grandparents. They lived in the Suwalki region very close to the Lithuanian border (as of now). My grandfather was born in the city of Krejwiany. He had 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Somewhere between 1935-1941 they were forced out of their homes (reason unknown) and moved to Vilkaviskis where the whole family further lived all of their lives (great-grandfather and great-grandmother, grandfather and his sisters and brothers). Some of them were probably born in Lithuania, the youngest was his sister born in 1939.
Some time after my grandfather went to serve in the army (late 1950’s ) and was allocated to Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) where he met my grandmother and later my mother was born (1962). Between 1979 and 1980 my mother went to study to Moscow from Ashgabat, but my grandparents returned to Lithuania and lived there (firstly in Pakertai then in Elektrenai) until their death in 1995 and 2004. While my mother was in Moscow she met my father. My mother went back to Lithuania after she finished her higher education in 1984. She worked in Vilnius between 1984 to 1988 and in 1988 she went to live to Estonia with my father. I was born in 1989.
All of my relatives from my mother’s side are Lithuanians, we all spoke Lithuanian (from what I remember from my childhood) and the nationalities stated in many documents show that my mother was Lithuanan and my grandfather’s documents also show that.
Am I eligible to apply for Lithuanian citizenship? If yes, this story feels like I am a person of Lithuanian origin, but do not qualify for restoring the citizenship (My great-grandfather might have moved to Lithuania after 1940). Im currently a stateless person residing in Estonia. My mother holds a stateless person’s passport, my grandfather had a Russian passport afterwards, but I am sure he had an option to get a Lithuanian citizenship after 1990’s, not sure of the reason him taking a Russian passport, probably he was afraid of losing his pension or something like that.
Happy holidays. I have posted here before but I am writing once again to inquire about the process of obtaining dual citizenship here in Lithuania. I am descended from a Lithuanian great-grandfather who left for America in 1910, from Kidžioniai, near Pušalotas, which is outside of Panevežys. I have been following this topic for years and currently living in Vilnius with a permanent residence permit issued due to my certificate of Lithuanian descent. I want to know what the current status is regarding the argument of pre-1918 migrants being recognized as citizens? I would really like to have dual citizenship here and am motivated in pursuing this. Please let me know what my options might be moving forward. I am considering contacting the migration department to hear what they have to say about this, but would like to hear your take on it first. I would also be willing to pay for a meet-up to discuss options, as I am already based in Vilnius. Thank you!
Unfortunately, the precedents went not in our favor on this – that is, people who emigrated before 1914 (the start of WW1) are typiclaly not given a right to dual citizenship. The arguement is easier for those who left 1914-1918 and the best for those who left after acquiring Lithuanian passport (or those who left earlier but acquired a Lithuanian passport later through embassy in the USA or due to returning to Lithuania, both of which were relatively rare cases for pre-1914 emigrants, although theoretically possible).
You should be eligible to Lithuanian citizenship.
The question is whether that would be a single citizenship or dual citizenship (i.e. whether you could keep your current citizenship). However, as you are a stateless person, this does not matter, as it would be a single citizenship in any case.
However, as Estonia was considered not part of USSR but rather an occupied territory, you should be eligible to dual citizenship as well (if other people with similar cases read this).
My grandfather was born abt 1883. His naturalization record said he was born in Kmals, Lithuania. I cannot find any town called Kmals. He arrived in New York 1904. Naturalized to US in 1927.
I understand Dual citizenship is only available to descendants of citizens, and the citizenship was only instated after Lithuania’s independence in 1918. Seeing how he didn’t naturalize until 1927 do I have a case for dual citizenship or do they look at the fact that he left and arrived in the US in 1904.
No, unfortunately, the date of the naturalization doesn’t matter much in this case according to the recent precedents (unless he would have officially taken Lithuanian citizenship while in the USA through a Lithuanian consulate. This was common among those who sought to visit Lithuania. The evidence may be available in the archives which we may search).
Hi there. My great-grandfather was born in Lithuania, to parents also born in Lithuania, but he left in 1906. If I can somehow locate his documents, is there any hope for me in obtaining a certificate of Lithuanian descent? (And thus EU residency?) What is usually involved in this process?
Yes. You’d need to prove your grandparent was a Lithuanian (i.e. teh son/daughter of said great grandfather). This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis but we had success in such cases. See this article for more infoermation “Lithuanian descent certificate – a citizenship alternative“.
Hello, my great-grandmother was born in Lithuania in 1918 and was evacuated to Central Asia in 1941. We are applying to obtain her passport or birth certificate from Lithuanian archives. My question is can I get Lithuanian citizenship? Also am I eligible for dual citizenship? Is it a problem that she was evacuated to Soviet Union? We talked to one lawyer and he said that it’s not possible because she decided to stay there after the war is over. She decided to stay because she believed all her family members were dead(she was evacuated alone) plus she already had a family in Central Asia then.
The situation is such:
-In Lithuania, one is not entitled to dual citizenship if he, she, or his/her forefathers emigrated to the Soviet Union. The reasons for this are mainly related to Russian imperialism – namely, Lithuania fears, that this could allow people to have Lithuanian-Russian, Lithuanian-Belarusian dual citizenship, and Russia could use this to claim that Russian citizens are discriminated in Lithuania and invade Lithuania. Such concerns began after the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 when Russia’s casus belli was “protecting its citizens”.
-However, there is an exception for those who were exiled to the Soviet Union (i.e. emigrated not by their own free will but there deported).
-It is unclear how to view evacuation and, depending on situation, there may be arguements on both sides (i.e. that it is like an emigration or like an exile).
-It doesn’t matters that she didn’t return or why she didn’t return – only two things legally matter, taht is where she went to (Soviet Union or elsewhere) and, if Soviet Union, then did she do so by her own will or was she exiled.
Hello again Augustinas,
I am writing to inquire if there have been any developments regarding the argument that a person (adult) who left Lithuania before 1918 could be considered a citizen if their parent(s) remained behind and became citizens. Any news regarding this? I have proof that my great-great grandmother was still alive until 1940, whereas my great-grandfather left in 1910. It would be amazing for me if he could be recognized as a citizen.
There are no new developments on these issues.
Thanks so much for your helpful post. Much appreciated!
My great-grandmother was a citizen from the establishment of the Republic, and immigrated to Israel around 1925. I’ve just ordered her proof of citizenship (internal/external passports) from the archives; She has Lithuanian passports from 1922, 1924, and 1925 and about 14 pages total proving citizenship.
We have family documents (birth certificates, etc.) proving our relationship, and I think I’m all good to go. The only thing missing is proof of departure.
I have three methods for proving she left:
1. Her application for an external passport supposedly indicates she wished to immigrate to Israel
2. She is on the voter rolls for Tel-Aviv in 1928
3. My grandfather’s birth certificate shows she was married to my great-grandfather and that they lived in Israel (issued in 1930)
Would any/all of these documents actually prove she emigrated? Is there a way I can ask the Lithuanian government for proof of emigration? If none of these avenues are available, are there further steps I can take to prove departure?
Thanks for your time,
This is often evaluated differently by different employees. Ultimately, however, in case the employee says it is not proven, it can be established through a court of law based on the facts you say – if a person lived in 1925 in Lithuania but in 1928 in Tel Aviv, it is clear the person has emigrated.
In other cases (when evaluated by different employees), these facts are enough even at the Migration Department level.
My grandmother was born in Lithuania in 1933 (due to the war the documents were lost), where my mother was born in 1952, Klaipeda. My mother was constantly living, finished her school, graduated from a technical colleague, and was working in Klaipeda until 1980. Also, in Lithuania was born my mother’s siblings and my elder brother (Anatoly Sreiberg). My grandmother deceased in 1981 in Lithuania.
After 1980 my mother got married with my father and was shifted to Moscow, where she lives till date. I was born in 1984 in Moscow and currently have citizenship from Russia.
Currently I live with my husband (Argentinian national) in Chile where I have temporary residence permit. For the past 12 years I constantly lived and worked outsides of the Russian territory.
Please advise if I can apply for the Lithuanian citizenship based on the above conditions. Currently I have copies of the following documents: divorce certificate between my grandmother and my grandfather, birth certificate of my mother, death certificate of my grandmother, marriage certificate of my parents, my birth certificate.
Appreciate your advise and time,
You may be able to get Lithuanian citizenship but not get the dual citizenship, as dual citizenship is not accessible to those who left for the Soviet Union (and their descendents). That is, if you would get the Lithuanian citizenship, you would have to renounce the Russian citizenship.