How to Become a Citizen of Lithuania?

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Becoming a citizen of Lithuania offers a unique blend of historical richness, cultural depth, and access to the European Union’s benefits.

Lithuania allows for citizenship through various means, including descent, naturalization, and exceptional cases.

This guide outlines the key pathways, requirements, and eligibility criteria for acquiring Lithianian citizenship.

Citizenship by Descent

Lithuania has provisions for individuals of Lithuanian descent to reclaim citizenship. This is often applicable to the descendants of Lithuanians who emigrated during various periods of the 20th century.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Proof of Lithuanian descent from a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent.
  • Evidence that ancestors were Lithuanian citizens prior to 1940 or left Lithuania between 1940 and 1990 due to occupation.
  • Ability to demonstrate a basic understanding of the Lithuanian language.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Naturalization is a common pathway for foreigners living in Lithuania to acquire citizenship, involving several criteria that reflect integration into Lithuanian society.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Legally resided in Lithuania for at least 10 consecutive years.
  • Hold a permanent residence permit.
  • Have a lawful source of income or sufficient means of subsistence.
  • Pass the Lithuanian language and Constitution exam, demonstrating an understanding of the Lithuanian language and basic principles of the country’s constitution.
  • Renounce previous citizenship(s), as Lithuania generally does not allow dual citizenship, except for specific cases outlined by law.

Citizenship for Exceptional Merit

Lithuania may grant citizenship to individuals who have significantly contributed to the Lithuanian state and society through their professional or personal achievements.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Significant contributions to Lithuania’s culture, economy, science, or national security.
  • Recommendations or acknowledgments from government bodies or prominent organizations.

Restoration of Citizenship

Individuals who previously held Lithuanian citizenship and lost it upon acquiring another country’s citizenship may have the possibility to restore their Lithuanian citizenship under certain conditions.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Proof of previous Lithuanian citizenship.
  • Demonstrating the loss of Lithuanian citizenship was due to acquiring another nationality.

Required Documents

The specific documents required vary based on the pathway to citizenship but generally include:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Proof of Lithuanian descent (for citizenship by descent).
  • Proof of continuous residence and legal status in Lithuania (for naturalization).
  • Evidence of contributions to Lithuania (for citizenship by exceptional merit).
  • Lithuanian language and Constitution exam certificates (for naturalization).
  • Current passport and documentation of previous Lithuanian citizenship (for restoration).

Application Process

  1. Determine Eligibility: Review the specific criteria for your pathway to citizenship.
  2. Gather Documents: Collect all necessary documentation, ensuring everything is correctly filled out and authenticated as required.
  3. Submit Application: Applications are typically submitted to the Lithuanian Migration Department. Those residing abroad may submit applications through a Lithuanian embassy or consulate.
  4. Attend Interview: Some applicants may be required to attend an interview or provide additional information.
  5. Wait for Decision: The processing time can vary, but applicants will receive notification of the decision.

Conclusion

Acquiring Lithuanian citizenship is a process that requires meeting specific legal criteria, demonstrating ties or contributions to the country, and undergoing a formal application process.

Whether through descent, naturalization, or exceptional merit, becoming a Lithuanian citizen offers a connection to Lithuania’s rich cultural heritage and membership within the European Union.

Frequently Asked Questions on Lithuanian Citizenship

1. Can I hold dual citizenship while becoming a citizen of Lithuania?

Lithuania generally does not permit dual citizenship, with some exceptions. Individuals can hold dual citizenship under specific circumstances, such as being of Lithuanian descent or having left Lithuania before the restoration of independence in 1990 and their descendants.

It’s important to consult the latest legislation or seek legal advice to understand your eligibility for dual citizenship.

2. How proficient in the Lithuanian language do I need to be to qualify for citizenship through naturalization?

Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the Lithuanian language sufficient to participate in everyday communication. This is usually assessed through a language exam that tests reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills at the A2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

3. What is the Lithuanian Constitution exam, and how can I prepare for it?

The Lithuanian Constitution exam is a requirement for citizenship through naturalization, designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the Lithuanian Constitution’s basic principles and the country’s history. Preparation materials and information about the exam structure are available through the Lithuanian Migration Department and educational institutions offering language and civic integration courses.

4. How long does the citizenship application process take? The processing time for a citizenship application in Lithuania can vary based on the application type and the completeness of the submitted documentation. Generally, the process can take from several months to over a year. It’s advisable to submit your application well in advance of any planned travel or significant life events.

5. Can my children automatically become Lithuanian citizens if I do?

Children under 18 can acquire Lithuanian citizenship together with their parents in cases of naturalization or restoration of citizenship. For citizenship by descent, children born to at least one Lithuanian parent typically have a right to citizenship, regardless of their place of birth. Each child’s eligibility must be individually assessed based on specific criteria and documentation.

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