On November 16, the Lithuanian parliament approved amendments to the Law on Citizenship broadening the possibility for children born abroad to Lithuanian parents to acquire Lithuanian citizenship. The current procedure stipulates that children of Lithuanian parents can apply for Lithuanian citizenship before they turn 18 if they acquired citizenship of another state by birth between March 11, 1990, and July 22, 2008. The adopted amendments will now also allow adults to apply for Lithuanian citizenship if they were entitled to citizenship under this exception. Lithuanians will be able to apply for citizenship abroad at Lithuanian diplomatic missions or consular offices. The amendments to the Law on Citizenship were passed with 107 MPs voting in favour, none voting against, and four abstaining.
This year, 2,200 applicants had their Lithuanian citizenship restored, Deputy Interior Minister Arnoldas Abramavičius has said. The number is roughly the same as last year.
This year, the largest number of applicants – 485 – were Israeli citizens, while Brazilian applicants came in second with 445 applications and South Africans were third with 401, Abramavičius said at the meeting of the Seimas and the World Lithuanian Community (PLB) on November 15. In some cases, applications for restoring Lithuanian citizenship are rejected, but the number of rejections is decreasing. “In 2021, there were 352 [rejections]. Then after certain amendments, 81 persons were refused restoration of citizenship in 2022,” Abramavičius said.
He explained that people are usually denied restoration of Lithuanian citizenship “on the grounds that before 1940 their loss of citizenship was formalized by a decision of the relevant authorities, i.e., by a decision of a pre-war Lithuanian authority, or that they had been defined as foreigners in the Republic of Lithuania prior to the Second World War”.
According to the Law on Citizenship, persons who held Lithuanian citizenship before June 15, 1940, and their descendants, as well as persons who held Lithuanian citizenship before June 15, 1940, and who were exiled or left Lithuania before March 11, 1990, and their descendants, have the right to have their citizenship restored.