Dual citizenship in Lithuania. Referendum on the dual citizenship.

According to the official data of statistics portal, the number of emigrated people from Lithuania in 2016 is 46 489. Each year the number of Lithuanian emigrants increases and the number of Lithuanian citizens refusing their citizenship increases as well. Lithuanian citizens who live abroad do not lose their Lithuanian citizenship, the state continues to protect them and provide care for them. The Lithuanian Seimas was concerned with the aforementioned problem before; therefore they are looking for ways to solve it. 

As one of the ways to solve the problem, the Lithuanian Liberal Movement has prepared and submitted a project to the Lithuanian Seimas in which they proposed to delete the provision of Article 12(2) “With the exception of individual cases provided for by law, no one may be a citizen of both the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time” of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania by means of referendum.

Following Article 12(5) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Referendum No IX-929, the date of referendum shall be determined no later than after 3 months and no earlier than 2 months since the Lithuanian Seimas makes a decision on announcement of the referendum. Lithuanian Parliamentary elections will take place on 9 October 2016, it is planned to make the decision during the unordinary parliament session from 11 July 2016 to 9 August 2016 by means of which it will be aimed at amending Article 12(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. During a meeting on 16 December 2015, the Commission of the Seimas of Constitution proposed to amend the old provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania to the following one: “Lithuanian citizens according to their descent who have acquired a citizenship of another state shall keep Lithuanian citizenship. With the exception of individual cases provided for by law, other persons may not be a citizen of both the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time.”

In Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship No XI-1196 of 2 December 2010, it is indicated that the dual citizenship is allowed in the following cases:
1. A person has acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania and citizenship of another state at birth;
2. A person was adopted by citizens (citizen) of the Republic of Lithuania and acquired Lithuanian citizenship or was adopted by citizens (citizen) of another state and acquired the citizenship of that state. In such a case, a person can keep the dual citizenship until 21 years of age.
3. A person who fled the occupied Republic of Lithuania before 11 March 1990 and acquired citizenship of another state or is a descendant of that person;
4. A person who was exiled from the occupied Republic of Lithuania before 11 March 1990 and acquired citizenship of another state;
5. By virtue of marriage to a citizen of another state;
6. A person has acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania by way of exception while being a citizen of another state;
7. A person has acquired citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania while having refugee status in the Republic of Lithuania.

Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Referendum No IX-929 of 4 June 2002 stipulates that in order to amend the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, more than a half of Lithuanian citizens having the right to vote and included in the lists of electors shall vote for it. Persons from 18 years of age have the right to vote in the country. According to the data of the register of October 2015, there are 2, 5 million of electors in the list.

The right to vote is not limited to Lithuanian citizens living abroad, they just like the other Lithuanian citizens have a right to vote and can implement it. All Lithuanian citizens having a document attesting Lithuanian citizenship, such as an identity card or a Lithuanian passport are included in the list of electors and are included in the register of Lithuanian residents. The Central Electoral Commission is occupied with compiling and managing the lists of electors. The following persons shall not be included in the list: dead persons, persons concerning which an order of the court to declare them incapacitated became final; persons who lost their Lithuanian citizenship.

Lithuanian citizens living abroad and having no possibility to return to Lithuania, have the right to vote in the following order:
- By arriving to a Lithuanian consular institution or a diplomatic representation (place, time of voting and more detailed information are provided in the web pages of the institution);
- by voting in advance by mail after having registered in the web site -http://www.vrk.lt/ereg.

During a sitting of the Lithuanian Seimas, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania claimed that the aforementioned amendments will allow Lithuanian citizens to keep their citizenship in order to allow their children to return to their native country after a while. A Lithuanian citizen having a dual citizenship is equal to other Lithuanian citizens. Having a citizenship of another state, he is not released from the obligations laid down in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the laws and other legislations. Thanks to a dual citizenship, a citizen gets twice as much of rights, obligations and social guarantees. Lithuanian citizens having a dual citizenship will be able to participate in the governing of the country which is very important in such countries where sovereignty belongs to the nation. Negative comments of the members of Lithuanian Seimas can also be heard who claim that a Lithuanian citizen who has emigrated to another country can only be loyal to one of the countries. It is feared that citizens will abuse their right with regard to one of the countries. It is proposed to include a separate article in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship which would indicate the countries where the citizens would be able to acquire a Lithuanian citizenship without refusing their own citizenship.

At the moment, a dual citizenship is legal in 20 Member States of the European Union. Such states as Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and Austria preclude a dual citizenship, but like in Lithuania, they apply certain exceptions. This only proves mitigated point of view of countries towards the issue of a dual citizenship.

 

MIGRATION LAW CENTER 

 

If you have any questions regarding Lithuanian citizenship or should you require more information or  help, please contact us by e-mail info@migration.lt or tel. + 370 6 1861886. We will gladly help you.