If your heritage is Lithuanian, then it may be possible to claim your Lithuanian citizenship and get the associated Lithuanian EU passport. A Lithuanian EU passport can give you, and your family, benefits you may not have even considered that comes with being a citizen of the EU. In Australia, we have many people who are now taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.
Why would I want a Lithuanian EU passport?
A European Union passport holder has entitlements that are valuable. Some of the benefits include:
- Eligibility to work
- Eligibility for university level education
- Own and reside in property
- Ease of travel in Europe
For more details review our EU Passports page.
What is the process to get a EU Lithuanian Passport by descent?
There are number of steps that you need to go through in order to be eligible to get your Lithuanian EU passport. Without guidance, the process can be time-consuming and frustrating. Our structured process allows for a smoother path to approval when compared to random ad hoc applications. We will work with you to determine eligibility, assist with the application and the associated documentation requirements. When the official documents are approved, we will then work with you on the process to the get EU passport.
Eligibility is determined based on a set of criteria and your specific circumstances. Some cases are clear as to your eligibility. Other cases require more research and supporting documentation. By answering our eligibility checklist, we will be able to recommend to you of the next actions to take.
In most cases, our clients need additional supporting documentation. We facilitate the process of getting these documents. Our partners based in Europe will conduct the research and extract the necessary documents to help support your application. This is where most people in Australia cannot assist you with your application. Sourcing these documents can be tedious and unless you know where to go and what to ask for, you can often be thwarted.
When the supporting documents have been sourced then the application can then be submitted. Often, there is some coordination with the Lithuanian officials. You will need to attend an interview in Australia and the formalities of identification will be conducted.
Lithuanian Citizenship Document
When citizenship is confirmed you will receive the formal documentation and that is required to get your EU Lithuanian Passport.
Tax implications of citizenship
This example pertains to Lithuanian Citizenship.
Don’t worry… there are no tax implications if you obtain your dual Lithuania citizenship but don’t work in Lithuania. In other words, there are no tax or filing requirements if you don’t live in Lithuania. Only if you work and live in Lithuania would you have to pay taxes and submit income declarations. You’d still have to do that even without your dual citizenship. Like most EU countries, Lithuania’s tax system is not based on citizenship, but on residency. That means you are only taxed if you are a permanent resident of Lithuania. You owe nothing to Lithuania if you don’t live and work there.
Wife/husband eligibility? (same for PL, LT and LV)
When you receive your dual citizenship, your husband or wife won’t receive Lithuanian citizenship automatically. But, if you relocate to an EU country, your spouse would then be eligible for a work permit and residence so he or she can live together with you. Eventually, your spouse could get a permanent residence permit and even get citizenship. Citizenship rules vary from country to country, but since only one of you is required to have Lithuanian citizenship to live life and work in an EU country, you can both work and live there.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many generations back?
You can get Lithuanian citizenship if one of your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents had Lithuanian citizenship.
You do not need to know Lithuanian language to restore your citizenship.
You can get a dual Lithuanian citizenship if at least one of your parents, grandparents or great grandparents were Lithuanian citizens and left Lithuania some time from 1918 to 1990. Dual Lithuanian citizenship means that you can get Lithuanian citizenship/passport and keep your current citizenship, according to Lithuanian law.
Who is not eligible?
If your ancestors left before 1918 (independence of Lithuania), or after 1990, according to current laws, you cannot obtain Lithuanian citizenship.
Exact dates: You can obtain dual Lithuanian citizenship if your ancestors left after 16 February 1918 and before 11 March 1990.
What is the process?
In a nutshell, the application process for a Lithuanian citizenship is the following:
- We will find documents proving your ancestors' Lithuanian citizenship and the fact that they left Lithuania,
- You will collect some documents that prove that you are a direct descendant of the Lithuanian citizen (we will tell exactly which documents are needed, usually it is 3-5 documents, such as birth and marriage certificates and a copy of your passport),
- We will prepare the application and translate all the documents to Lithuanian,
- We will submit the application directly in Lithuania on your behalf,
- We will follow up the status of your application and ensure that its processing is not delayed by local officials,
We will tell you where you can collect your Lithuanian passport after the application process is finished.
Can you find documents needed in Lithuania? I do not have any documents from Lithuania, can you help? - Our experience of archival search
We have extensive experience searching in various archives in Lithuania and Germany for the documents needed by our clients. There are 15 different archives in Lithuania and most of them can have some type of citizenship records and in most of the cases, we were able to find the documents needed.
We can also find documents in German archives showing that your ancestors left during the WW2 and were staying in Germany in Displaced Persons’ Camps or were deported for forced labor.
How likely is that you will be able to find the documents needed in Lithuania?
We cannot give a 100% guarantee that we will find the documents proving your ancestor's Lithuanian citizenship for the simple reason that some of the archives were lost during the WW2 and after. However, if your ancestors fled during the WW2 so far we were able to find the documents needed for all of our clients, so it is likely we will be successful in your case, as well. We have extensive experience working with various archives in Lithuania and were able to find some proof of citizenship in the most complicated cases. The likelihood that citizenship documents will be found decreases if your ancestor left soon after Lithuanian independence. It is still likely we will find the documents from the 30’s, but if your ancestor left in 1919-1920 (just one or two years after independence), then there are very little surviving documents from that time period.
What documents are required from the applicant?
From you, we will require the documents proving that you are a direct descendant of a Lithuanian citizen. Usually, we require a copy of applicant's passport, birth certificate, one of the parent’s/grandparent’s birth certificates. In some cases, we require some additional documents: marriage certificates (whenever the surnames were changed), death certificates and naturalization certificates (if we need to prove name changes or other documents are not available). We will tell the exact list of the documents that are needed for the application after analyzing your case and the documents that are available because each application is different and the list of documents needed varies depending on the circumstances. We always try to minimize the number of documents needed from our clients. We will do the search for the documents that would prove Lithuanian citizenship of your ancestors in Lithuanian archives ourselves if you do not have them.
Where to find documents in the USA?
You can find the date when your family came to the US by finding their Naturalization Certificates.
Naturalization certificates can be obtained through Freedom of Information applications, online from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or from the local office of the National Archives.
Where can I find my birth and marriage certificates in the USA?
You can find your family birth and marriage certificates in the US archives. The following link with different US archives might be useful - https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Archives_and_Libraries
How long does it take to get citizenship?
Usually, the application takes 1-3 months to prepare (the actual time mostly depends on how fast you can get the necessary documents from your country of residence). It can take 9-12 months for Migration Department to process the application (last applications were processed in 9 months). So I would say, you should expect to have your Lithuanian citizenship in about a year after starting the process. However, due to increasing number of applications, the processing time by Migration Department is increasing so we urge our clients to submit applications early.
We stay in contact with Migration department and follow up the status of your application during its processing period, in order to make sure that it is processed as fast as possible (making sure they do not have any questions, in case they need additional information - it is immediately provided and making sure that the application is not de-prioritized, because nobody is following it up).
Is it possible to get citizenship faster?
There is no legal way to get the applications processed extra-fast and if someone is claiming that they can do that either they are misinforming the applicants or they are doing something illegal, which can heavily jeopardize chances of getting Lithuanian citizenship.
We make sure the applications are processed as fast as possible by preparing the applications and all the supporting documents well, as well as following them up on them until you get Lithuanian citizenship. We make sure that the application itself and the supporting documents are prepared properly and applications are not suspended or rejected. We had clients approaching us that were submitting the applications themselves and were struggling with the process for 2-3 years without success because Lithuanian authorities are very strict regarding the application process and it is very easy to miss details doing it the first time and knowing Lithuanian language, citizenship law, and application rules. After citizenship applications are submitted they are being processed in succession (on the first come, first served basis). We follow up the process with Migration Department and make sure the applications are not lost, "de-prioritized" or "forgotten" as it often happens because the department is understaffed. In case they have any questions or need additional information we make sure we provide requested information fast and the processing is not delayed.
Tax implications for the USA
If you officially live in Lithuania (or any other EU country), you would be taxed by that country (regardless of your citizenship US or Lithuanian).
If you have Lithuanian citizenship and live in the US, Lithuania will not tax you. Details below.
We get the question regarding the taxes often. Below you can find our comment regarding the question. (Please note that it is not a legal advice and you should check your tax implications with a tax lawyer.)
I can comment only on Lithuanian tax system since I am not a qualified and registered lawyer in the USA. Please check the US tax implications with a qualified lawyer in the US.
Lithuania taxes its residents - i.e. you will be taxed by Lithuania only if you reside in Lithuania (residence-based taxation - most countries in the world and in Europe use this system). If you are a Lithuanian citizen but live and work in the US, you will not have to pay taxes in Lithuania, but only in the USA.
The USA, on the other hand, taxes income of its citizens regardless of where they live (citizenship-based taxation). So, you will be taxed by Lithuania only if you lived in Lithuania, but you will be taxed by the US government always (whether you live in the US or in Lithuania).
Lithuania and USA have double tax avoidance treaty, so your taxes would not sum up, but you would be paying a higher tax of the two. For example, personal income tax in Lithuania is 15%, and (let's assume) in the USA you would be in the tax bracket that has to pay 25% income tax. Sum of your taxes paid (in Lithuania and the US) in that case should not exceed 25% if you lived in Lithuania and had USA citizenship.
There are basically three scenarios:
1. You have Lithuanian and US citizenship but reside and work in the USA. In that case from the tax perspective, nothing changes for you - you do not have to pay Lithuanian tax or fill out tax return papers in Lithuania because you are not a resident of (i.e. living in) Lithuania. Your US taxes should not change.
2. You have Lithuanian and US citizenship but reside (and work) in Lithuania. In that case, you have to fill out Lithuanian tax return and pay Lithuanian taxes. Lithuania and US have double taxation avoidance treaty (which in general means that you would not have to pay double tax, but the higher amount of the tax share).
3. You have Lithuanian and US citizenship but reside and work in another country (i.e. UK). In that case, you would not have to fill out Lithuanian tax return or pay tax in Lithuania. You would have to pay tax in the US and in the UK. Most countries have signed double tax avoidance treaty with the US, so your total tax would be whichever tax is highest (in US or UK).
I hope I answered the question about the tax implications for you. In very short summary there are no tax implications - if you are US citizen you will have to pay tax to the US government regardless of your second citizenship. Lithuanian citizenship does not imply automatically that you would have to pay tax to Lithuania. You would have to pay tax to Lithuania if you are residing in Lithuania (regardless of your citizenship). Other EU countries have quite similar tax system to Lithuania (amount of taxation is, of course, different).
Tax implications – non-USA
Obtaining dual Lithuanian citizenship does not have any tax implications as far as Lithuania is concerned. There are no tax or filling requirements if you are not living in Lithuania. That is if you get Lithuanian citizenship, but live in Australia you will not have to fill any income declarations in Lithuania or pay taxes to Lithuania. If you live and work in Lithuania (regardless whether you are a citizen or not) you would have to pay taxes and submit income declarations in Lithuania. Like in most EU countries Lithuanian tax system is residency based and not citizenship based (like in the US), meaning that Lithuania taxes permanent residents of Lithuania (anyone who lives and works in Lithuania) regardless of their citizenship, but it does not tax Lithuanian citizens if they live abroad.
Getting Lithuanian passport in the USA
Please find information about getting Lithuanian passport below.
You can get Lithuanian passport in Lithuanian consulate in New York.
Address: 420 5th Ave #304, New York, NY 10018, United States
Please bring your valid US passport, 2 passport-size photos (same size as for US passport), and the letter from Lithuania’s Migration and Citizenship department, that confirms you were granted Lithuanian citizenship.
Consular fee for issuance of the Lithuanian passport (either cash or money order- credit cards or personal checks are not accepted for the payment) is $109. If you want your new passport to be shipped to the mailing address within United States by US Express Priority mail - there will be an extra $20 charge. If you will pick up your passport yourself at the consulate after it has been manufactured in Lithuania and delivered to us- no extra charge.
Please note that it takes about 2 months to receive the very first Lithuanian passport (from the time application and fingerprints are submitted at the consulate).
Please note hours for visitors reception:
Monday 9.00 am - 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Tuesday - Thursday 9.00 am - 12.00 pm
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on national holidays Consulate General is closed for public.
All visitors to 420 Fifth Avenue must be registered in advance and provide photo identification upon arrival. To avoid delays, please call or e-mail the Consulate to provide your name and date of your visit so that they may enter you in the building‘s visitor registration system.
It is best to have cash for payment with you (I am not sure whether cards are accepted). There should be at least some officials speaking English there, but if you have somebody speaking Lithuanian with you, it will be probably easier for you to navigate the process. Expect to have to wait, even though the queue is usually not very long. You would have to pick up the passport yourself, if you want someone else to do it, this person will need a signed authorization, certified by a notary public.
Yes, Lithuania has a military requirement that was re-introduced in 2015 again, because of our geopolitical situation. However, after calling Lithuanian Military I was told that they cannot imagine that e.g Australian or American with Lithuanian citizenship would be actually forced to serve in Lithuanian army unless he voluntarily decides to join. There are a number of reasons for that:
Only ~0,7% for men in the eligible age group will become conscripts this year. There are ~150.000 men eligible for the army, 38.000 of them were randomly selected for the draft list, but there will be only 3000 persons drafted for the army this year. (As of 24/08/2015 the draft was stopped in some regions of Lithuania because there were more volunteers than draft plan required – so essentially no one was drafted. As of 12/12/2015 as far as I know there were enough volunteers, so no one actually was drafted against their will).
Even if the person was randomly selected for the draft list, they can request to postpone their army service for the following reasons: a) they are studying b) they are working and being drafted for 9 months would mean that they will lose their job c) there would be a significant financial damage incurred by the person, if they were drafted - for example in your case it would be very expensive to fly to Lithuania and back d) I suppose that you do not speak Lithuanian, so it would be technically difficult and expensive to ensure that you could complete military service (you would need a translator) e) medical reasons, etc.
If army service is postponed, then next year they might get on the list again (and ask for postponement again) or they may not get on the list at all (it is randomly generated).
In all the cases the final decision is being made by the special commission, in case your name would get on the draft list. In that case, you would have to write a letter with the supporting documents to the commission explaining why you cannot join the military.
In summary - yes, you can get on the draft list, like anyone else. However, it would be almost impossible for you to be actually drafted unless you put extra effort yourself to join the army or do absolutely nothing to say that are actually in the USA and cannot join Lithuanian military. Just giving you full information about the situation.
After you get Lithuanian citizenship, your spouse, unfortunately, would not get Lithuanian citizenship automatically. However, if you move to any EU country your spouse would be eligible for residence and work permit and live in the EU together with you. After living in EU for some time they would be able to get permanent residence permit and citizenship eventually. Actual citizenship rules differ from country to country, but for life and work purposes it is enough that one person has Lithuanian citizenship, which allows you and your spouse to live and work anywhere in the EU.
Eligibility of children
Your children would obtain Lithuanian citizenship automatically if they are born after you get your Lithuanian citizenship. Otherwise, they would not be eligible for Lithuanian citizenship since you are the last generation that can claim your Lithuanian citizenship based on your ancestor's Lithuanian citizenship (it goes 3 generations back: parents, grandparents or great-grandparents).
Children do not become citizens automatically. They need to apply separately.
Eligible for Dual citizenship if left to USSR before/after 1940
Based on the current edition of citizenship law if person's ancestors left to former Soviet Union (but were not deported or forced into exile) after 1940, then the person is eligible only for single Lithuanian citizenship. However, if person's ancestors left Lithuania (to any country, including USSR) before 1940, then the person can apply for dual Lithuanian citizenship.
Benefits of Lithuanian citizenship
There are 4 main benefits to having a double US and EU (Lithuanian) citizenship.
- Possibility to live and work in the EU. It is increasingly difficult for non-EU nationals (including US citizens) to get work permits in the EU countries. So having the EU country citizenship for some persons can be a significant benefit: it gives a possibility to work and do business in Europe easier, it is valued by some employers, who can send a person on a secondment to Europe without additional paperwork. It also gives a possibility to live and work freely anywhere in Europe - be it at a young age or later in life.
- Possibility to get free or very cheap but high-quality education in Europe. For example, tuition fee for medical studies in the US is $20-40,000 per year, but medical studies are free in Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and many other countries in Europe. If you study medicine in Europe (to become a doctor in 7 years) you save $140-280,000. Saving for other types of studies would be smaller, but still substantial. Probably Lithuanian citizenship would pay for itself during the first month of studies. Your grandchildren would be eligible for the same benefits as well in case they will be born as Lithuanian citizens.
- Hopefully, nobody would have to use this one, but medical care in the EU in a case of serious illness is also either free or very cheap compared to the USA.
- Children born to the person with a double citizenship will automatically get Lithuanian citizenship as well, as well as their children and their children. So this is an investment for generations.
Most of the costs are already included in the fee for our services, which besides our work also includes the cost of translations and fee for submitting the application itself. You may incur additional costs only for the tasks that we cannot do in/from Lithuania:
- postage costs when sending us all the documents;
- costs for sourcing the documents needed in your home country (usually 3-5 documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, a copy of passport etc.) and certifying them (they have to be apostilled and certified by a notary public).
- Getting passport in local Embassy
Do you need to live in EU/Lithuania for certain time period after receiving citizenship?
Can you lose citizenship after it is given?
No. only if you have hidden information when applying or you have got another citizenship after getting Lithuanian citizenship.
Do I have to visit Lithuania in order to get citizenship?
No, you do not need to visit Lithuania to get the citizenship, unless you want to. We will take care of the application on your behalf and you will be able to get a passport in the closest Lithuanian embassy or consulate.
Name spelling changes in Lithuanian passport
Also, please note that Lithuania can only write names and surnames in the passport in a national alphabet. Lithuanian alphabet does not have letters Q, W, X - if names or surnames of the applicant include these letters they are converted to the closest version using Lithuanian letters.
X usually becomes KS
W becomes V
Q becomes K or KV
If the somebody was adopted by a person that can restore Lithuanian citizenship, this adopted person is treated as a child for Lithuanian citizenship restoration. Does not matter they this adopted person does not have any blood relationship to Lithuania. 3 generation rule applies, the same as for anyone else that wants to restore LT citizenship. If an adult person is adopted it seems to be ok as well (if they can be adopted in the country where they live, of course).
If you would like Translationz to talk with you personally regarding your eligibility, either contact us directly by going to the GET A QUOTE LINK HERE or please fill out this questionnaire. At the end of the questionnaire provide your contact details and we will call or email you to discuss your answers.
If Lithuanian was adopted by foreign national, s/he can have LT and other citizenship until 21 years old at which point they have to decide whether they want to keep Lithuanian or other citizenship. After that, it is not possible to restore Lithuanian citizenship (unless they are ok with losing their other citizenship - then wee have to investigate the possibilities further).