06/07/2016 The President of Lithuania has signed amendments to the Law on Lithuanian Citizenship

The President of Lithuania has signed amendments to the Law on Lithuanian Citizenship passed by the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas under an urgent procedure. These Amendments are expected to make the process of acquiring dual citizenship of Lithuania more liberal. Based on the previously developed practice applicable by the Migration Department of Lithuania, a person applying for a dual citizenship on the grounds that his/ her ancestors had been citizens of Lithuania by 15-Jun-1940 and left Lithuania by 11-Mar-1990, was obliged to present the Migration Department with additional evidences of the reasons why he/ she or his/ her ancestors left Lithuania. Mere facts of leaving Lithuania by 11-Mar-1990 and having the Lithuanian citizenship by 15-Jun-1940 were not considered as sufficient grounds for acquisition of a dual citizenship. The departure from Lithuania had to be determined by historical, political circumstances, and an actual threat faced by the person at the time of departure from Lithuania. A person became entitled to acquire a dual citizenship only upon proving that the person, who left Lithuania by 11-Mar-1990, faced an actual threat. Departure during the interwar period, i.e. by 1940 year, was considered as a period when a person could not have faced an actual threat based on the historical context in that period. This practice not only caused procedural difficulties for the applicants, but it also reduced the possibilities of acquiring a dual citizenship for people, who had such a right based on the effective legislations. The Lithuanian Seimas took this into consideration and passed amendments to the Law on Lithuanian Citizenship. Consequently, people applying for restoration of the Lithuanian citizenship and wishing to keep their current citizenship, i.e. to have a dual citizenship, would have to prove only two essential facts: that they themselves, their ancestors or one of them had been Lithuanian citizens by 15-Jun-1940 and that they left Lithuania by 11-Mar-1990. A person would not be entitled to a dual citizenship in cases when the person or his/ her ancestors departed from Lithuania after 1940 to the territory of the former Soviet Union. The President of Lithuania has signed the amendments.