On October 21 the Lithuanian government extended the term for Venezuelans of Lithuanian descent to apply for relocation to Lithuania one more year, until October 1, 2021.
The term was extended at the request of the Venezuelan Lithuanian Community. Many members were unable to submit the necessary documents for objective reasons, such as the political and economic crisis in Venezuela, electrical and internet outages, and frequent closures of notary and government offices. The Lithuanian embassy in Spain received a flood of applications for relocation status.
The regulations governing the relocation of Venezuelans of Lithuanian descent from the crisis-torn country were passed in 2019. In August and September of this year, Lithuania welcomed the first 13 individuals having Lithuanian citizenship or being eligible to received it. They were housed at the Rukla Refugee Reception Centre. Transport and accommodation are funded and a one-time 250-euro payment is granted for settlement as well as 250 euros per month for essentials, child care, and Lithuanian language lessons.
This year relocation status has been granted to a total of 81 people, with 50 applications still pending. The process is complicated due to irregular flights and bureaucratic hurdles within Venezuela. Special permits are required for travel in Venezuela. Driving from one district to another without such a permit is prohibited.
According to the Lithuanian census, last year there were 187 Lithuanian citizens living in Venezuela. In all, the Venezuelan Lithuanian Community has about 400 members of Lithuanian descent, and it is thought that there may be about 1,000 Lithuanian citizens and persons of Lithuanian descent there.
Information and photo from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Lithuania