Moacir P. de Sá Pereira on July 22nd, 2009
That was easy.

That was easy.

I am responding to no questions on this topic if I consider them already answered below. See Update 2 for the rationale.

Update 1 (21.8.2009) on notarized copies, etc.

Update 2 (2.2.2010) on grandpa’s original birth certificate or passport and answering questions in general.

This morning, I rode my bicycle to the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago and picked up my Lithuanian passport. I used my driver’s license as ID, which means I now have both a Lithuanian passport and a US passport. I am now a dual citizen.

My “Guide to a Passport” series was written as a diary, so it lacked the summarizing benefit of writing about the whole affair with hindsight. So I’ve decided to collapse all of the information from the series into one concise post–this one!–which will serve as the one-stop shop anyone in the world (I’m generalizing this for not just US citizens) can use in pursuing dual citizenship with Lithuania. Throughout, I’ll also include links to posts that include the specifics of the various things I had to do.

The requirement for dual citizenship is a simple one:

One must be a “Citizen 0” or the direct descendant (child, grandchild) of a “Citizen 0.”

Proving this is, of course, the hard part. So first, an outline:

Citizen 0

“Citizen 0″ is a term I made up to describe the source individual of a person’s claim to Lithuanian citizenship. Who is eligible to be Citizen 0 widens if dual citizenship is no longer necessary, but since this post is about dual citizenship, I’ll provide the most narrow definition:

Citizen 0 is a person who was a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania before 14 June 1940 and left Lithuania between 15 June 1940 and 11 March 1990.

Any project of acquiring dual citizenship has to begin with determining who should be the applicant’s Citizen 0. Ideally, it would be the person herself, but that’s not likely to be the case, so throughout I’ll assume it’s a parent or grandparent. It is probably useful (because last names don’t change) to trace a genealogical chain through male ancestors. I suspect also, because of the patriarchy, that in the gathering stage it is easier to find evidence about fathers or grandfathers.

Picking a single Citizen 0 is helpful since it focuses the approach. If an applicant has many ancestors who could be Citizen 0s, she should choose the ancestor who is most likely to have the largest governmental paper trail: served in the army, owned land, completed advanced education, etc.

Gathering evidence

Once an applicant has determined a Citizen 0, the next step is to start gathering evidence.

But first, an important note! Of the materials submitted in a citizenship application, the only documents the applicant should expect back are her current passport and driver’s license (both are photocopied at the consulate). So if one is considering using an heirloom like grandpa’s 75 year-old passport to prove that he qualifies as a Citizen 0, one shouldn’t expect it back. One should, in light of the quick turnaround, always consider utilizing the services of the Lithuanian Archives, who provide authenticated copies of documents they have on file. These photocopies have no sentimental value, after all.

Furthermore, this warning extends to the applicant’s own birth certificate. If there is a sentimental attachment to the “original” birth certificate, the applicant should find out how to get a new official certificate made. It will cost money and take time, but it is possible. I walked into a currency exchange and bought two at once, for example. Please see Update 1 for more information on birth certificates and notarization.

What must one prove? There are four different things an applicant must prove:

  1. That the applicant’s ancestor is a valid Citizen 0. Proving pre-war citizenship can be done most easily (and emotionally cheaply) by contacting the Lithuanian Archives. Similarly, there was a nationwide census in 1942 that the Archives have recorded, which can help prove that Citizen 0 did not leave before 1940. Proving flight between 1940 and 1990 can be done either via hunting down documents from DP camps or via naturalization documents and the like from the country where Citizen 0 ended up.
  2. That the Citizen 0 is, in fact, the applicant’s ancestor. This can be done via a chain of birth certificates–that of the applicant and the applicant’s parent who is the descendant of Citizen 0, etc. If names don’t match on the certificates (usually because of marriage), then supplementary evidence of name changes will be necessary. An applicant should see how she can acquire new birth certificates, as the rules change from state to state and country to country.
  3. That the applicant is who she says she is. Easy enough. A current, valid passport proves this. If the applicant’s name is different than that on the birth certificate, then, obviously, supplemental evidence of legal name changes is needed.
  4. That the applicant is eligible to be served by the specific consulate in question. Also easy, and done with a current, valid state ID like a driver’s license. This is important just so that the consulate knows that it’s the proper consulate for the job. I have to prove that I live in a state served by the Consulate General in Illinois, say, in order to expect their services.

Getting evidence from Lithuania. I wrote already about my experiences with the Lithuanian Archives, but I can provide a synopsis here. I found that I had to make two queries: one that provided evidence that my Citizen 0 was a citizen before 1940 and one that provided evidence that my Citizen 0 was still in Lithuania in 1942. This involves making two separate requests of the Lietuvos centrinės valstybės archyvas, and the forms for both are available on this list of forms. The forms are available as .docs or .pdfs. Notable is that there is a possible third request, for proof of being shipped off to Germany. I don’t know if that is helpful or not, but I managed without it. One should also note that the Archive does not have records of births or marriages. That evidence is provided by Lietuvos valstybės istorijos archyvas, which has its own forms, etc. On the other hand, there is probably not much need for gathering vital statistic evidence about Citizen 0.

The Archive is cheap and fast. A five-day turnaround citizenship request costs 20 Lt, which is under $10. Getting the money to them, however, is a bit tricky, and the prices start to rise if you can’t draw on a Lithuanian bank. The five-day turnaround costs 7 Eur, and they add an 8 Eur fee to cover the bank’s fees if you send a check in lieu of making a wire transfer. Add in about two weeks for the mailed response, and the whole process still takes a less than a month, which is pretty shiny, considering.

The price and speed of using the Archive to find evidence of pre-1940 citizenship and of post-1940 residency make it my recommendation. One shouldn’t risk sentimental trouble with heirlooms. Rely on stamped photocopies from the Archive.

A final note about usage: the Lithuanian Archive presents “evidence,” not “proof.” They make no claims about whether whatever they find proves citizenship, etc. That is up to the Migration Department to decide. They just help make your case for you.

Getting evidence from DP camps. It is very likely that any Citizen 0 left Lithuania via Germany. If that is the case, then proving that Citizen 0 was in a DP camp is a good way of proving that Citizen 0 left Lithuania between 1940 and 1990. Depending on the applicant’s situation, it may be useful to use other evidence that’s a bit more solid, like naturalization documents or visas or something like that. I did not have those documents, and filing requests with US Immigration for new certificates took too long.

Instead, I followed a tip given by a professor and contacted the International Tracing Service. They have a form online for finding information about people in the camps, and it’s free. It takes some time (I think my search took about two months), but I received in the mail a stack of photocopies of trip manifests that showed my grandparents’ trip from Germany to Canada.

In the letter from the Lithuanian government that spells out their reasoning regarding my case for citizenship, they referred specifically to these documents. So considering the price, it is certainly a worthwhile venture.

Preparing evidence

Once all the evidence and materials are collected, they must be prepared for submission. Every document submitted in the request must be authenticated (perhaps via apostille) and translated into Lithuanian. The exceptions are, of course, documents provided by the Lithuanian government, which include any evidence sent by the Archive.

Authentication. Authentication is just proving that a foreign document is valid. For the Lithuanian government to accept a Canadian document as valid, for example, the document–a birth certificate, say–must be sent to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, which provides some guidelines for authentication. Once the document is returned, with a new set of stamps that prove that it has been authenticated, the Lithuanian government will reauthenticate it, which carries a fee ($14). Authentication is a bit of a pain, since it’s quite a bottleneck of doing the same thing over and over. Luckily, some countries, like the US and Lithuania, accept apostilles from each other.

Apostille. An apostille (wikipedia), simply put, is a document added to an original document that swears to the validity of the original document. This is a short cut to authentication, since when the Lithuanian government sees an Illinois birth certificate with an apostille attached to it, it trusts the apostille and doesn’t need to reauthenticate the document. Depending on the applicant’s situation, an apostille can be a nightmare to get, especially if the applicant lives in a different state from whichever state issued the birth certificate that she is trying to authenticate via apostille. For me, it was a quick trip downtown before work one morning.

Again, because every foreign government document must be authenticated, that means that naturalization documents must also be authenticated. In the US, getting an apostille for a federal document is a bit of a pain, since it requires mailing the documents to DC.

Translation. Every document submitted in the citizenship application must be translated in full into Lithuanian. The only exceptions are apostilles (just the certifications) and, of course, documents already in Lithuanian. Documents don’t need official translation–one can translate them herself–but those documents require an signed attestation that the applicant speaks both English and Lithuanian fluently and has translated the documents to the best of her ability (see example under “Pastabos”). I don’t know how much official translations cost, as I translated everything myself (with a native speaker friend who looked over what I did), but I suspect that, given the paucity of exposure to Lithuanian legalese that we get, in most cases it’s worth paying for the translation.

Submitting evidence

This is the easy part. The local consulate’s webpage should have links to forms to download and fill out for the application. The two required forms are linked to from this page on the Chicago General Consulate’s site. Add a few passport-sized photos, and it’s off to the Consulate to submit the application! I wrote about my experiences here, and I will add that the government has up to a year to decide on an application. That said, my decision came in just over two months, and I received my passport just over three months after submitting my paperwork. Super!

Update 1

The most common question I’ve gotten about this post involves notarization and copies of documents like birth certificates. I suppose I didn’t make it clear above, but:

One cannot submit notarized photocopies of US documents. They must be official documents with translations and apostilles.

It is possible to have more than one birth certificate. The applicant must follow the laws for her state to figure out how to get a new birth certificate to submit to the Lithuanian government. In my case, I walked into a currency exchange, paid a fee, and picked up two certificates for myself a week later (or so). It is important to lose the magical, hyperliteral connection to some kind of “original” certificate that is the only “official” one. This view, brought to its extreme by certain Americans dissatisfied with the current President, is simply, legally, wrong. A birth certificate issued for me today is as official as the one issued the day I was born. In fact, even that old one isn’t the “original”–the original is kept by the state. And the state can certify to a birth over and over and over.

Perhaps it’s easier to think, then, that a birth certificate is more like a college transcript than like a passport. No one freaks about having to order 5 transcripts at once, though they are all official attestations of a certain academic record.

Update 2

The previous update was about notarized documents (short version: Notarize nothing). This update is about another frequent question I get and on answering questions in general. To begin, I’ll reiterate what I already called an “important note” above:

DO NOT use “original” documents from Lithuania in your application.

Maybe your Citizen 0 kept meticulous records, saved everything, and can prove that she meets the criteria to be a Citizen 0. Congratulations, you have heirlooms. But that does not matter, since it is very likely that in making your citizenship request, the government will keep all those documents your Citizen 0 worked so hard to save.

So don’t do it.

Contact the Lithuanian Archives. They are cheap and fast, and they give you documents that are as valid as the documents your grandmother kept from 70 years ago. Having those old documents does not make the petition any easier in any real sense, and it only causes potential for heartbreak when the government keeps them.

Documents pertaining to leaving Lithuania are a bit trickier, but I’ve already indicated above how I managed to get around all that for free.

Recall that both of my potential Citizen 0s are long dead and that they left nearly no pre-war documentation behind. So I started with, basically, a blank slate. The only “old” documents I provided were my passport and driver’s license, which were photocopied at the consulate. Everything else I ordered from the various governmental agencies in the US, Canada, and Lithuania, as well as with ITS. I encourage everyone to follow that lead.

Now, the amount of bold text and italics in the previous few paragraphs indicate that I’m frustrated enough with questions I’ve gotten on this site pertaining to citizenship to declare, in general, that I am no longer responding to inquiries that I consider to be answered already in this document. I tried very hard to track every step and then generalize them for a wide, international audience. Answers to nearly every question that I could answer (remember, I’m not a lawyer, etc.) are already in the text above.

There are some things I have overlooked, such as an example of the attestation of competence in English and Lithuanian that one can write when translating English documents on one’s own. When asked about something like that, I’ll continue updating this page. But if a question is something like “can I use a notarized copy of my birth certificate?”, I won’t answer. I’m sorry to be a jerk about this, but I don’t consider it non-jerky to ask a question that has been already answered, too.

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38 Responses to “If you read only one post about Lithuanian dual citizenship…”

  1. I am an Estonian and don’t know the details of Lithuanian law. However, if your situation is anything like the Estonian one, then you have not become a Lithuanian citizen or a dual citizen, you were one all along. This is important. The issuance of a passport is not the same thing as naturalization. To be issued a passport is proof oc citizenship which was there all along. With best regards from Tallinn, Juri

  2. That’s right, Jüri. It’s something I personally didn’t consider until, having picked up my passport, I realized that there was no oath, no nothing. I was always a citizen of Lithuania, since the day I was born. What this process enables is for me to exercise and reserve my right to that citizenship.

    But the process certainly makes me feel like I’m “becoming” a citizen after not being one before. But you’re absolutely right–this is not a process of naturalization.

  3. My great-grandfather and his wife were lithuans, but they left before 1940. I sent papers to lithuania, they accepted them (the citizen 0 was proved), but they want me to resign to my brazilian citizenship and that is something that I can’t do right now.

    Brazil accepts citizenship resignation, but there are other countries that don’t accept it – it has no legal value, like Uruguay. There are many uruguayans that have dual citizenship, but as I am a brazilian, I can’t do that because in my country I would lose my rights. I’m waiting until january to submit my papers again.

    Sorry for my english and thanks for all the help. Your posts are awesome and VERY helpful. Thanks for all the hard work and congratulations for your success.

  4. Thanks for the very helpful information. Like Niarchos, I have also been told to renounce my current (South African) citizenship before my Lithuanian application will be processed. I, obviously, am reluctant to do this without being certain of the outcome of my Lithuanian citizenship application. What does one do???

  5. Glad to hear that it all worked out!

    I commented on your posts a few months back, explaining that my family and I were in the same process as you. We turned in all of our documents to Vytautus in Chicago as well in January–however we have not yet heard back from him. We have contacted him, but he has not received the answer from Lithuania yet. I hope that it comes soon. Congratulations to you!

  6. @Niarchos and @Colin,

    If your “Citizen 0″ left before 1940, then (for now), you’re likely out of luck for dual citizenship, though regular citizenship remains available. I’ve argued against this position repeatedly, largely since it excludes many who left Lithuania in the 1930s as it was slowly falling under noxious nazi influence, but the laws are as they are at this time.

  7. I’m glad to hear there’s no oath…that would definitely make me feel like I was renouncing my US citizenship. There was no sort of language test, either?

    Someone from the Consulate in Chicago told me the law would change Jan. 1, 2010. Do you know what changes they are considering? She said “there are no grounds to think the new version will be more strict”.. will there even be a decision by Jan. 1?

  8. Laura, I know nothing about a new law, but I suspect that it will not be more strict.

    There was no oath or language test because, as Jüri surmised, by following this path one doesn’t *become* a Lithuanian citizen. They always were one. They just exercise their right to citizenship.

  9. I’m waiting for the new law too. I think it won’t be more strict… but we will have to wait until Jan 1st to know… or a couple of month before that.

  10. Laura asked what changes they are considering.

    You can read more at (although it is not a final version of the law):

    http://irzikevicius.wordpress......community/

  11. Thank you so much for your helpful post!

    Quick question: those trip manifests from the International Tracing Service – did you need to provide any authentication/notarization of these documents? Or were they submitted as is? I found my Citizen 0 on the ship roster through ancestry.com and am hoping to be able to submit this information as proof of flight post 1940.

  12. As the ITS stuff is not provided by a government, there is no sort of authentication process, I don’t think. I translated the relevant parts (they’re lists, so I didn’t translate every name, occupation, etc.) and included them along with the letter from the ITS (also translated, I think). The ITS letter has a case number on it, so the government could always fact check with the ITS directly, to make sure I didn’t forge the photocopies.

    Whether that will work for something found via ancestry.com, though, I don’t know.

  13. Thank you so much for your amazing blog – it has given me the confidence to begin this application process. My grandparents and great-grandparents were active Lithuanian nationalists from the 1920′s onward, but left Lithuania in 1942 for fear of being executed or exiled by the Soviets.

    I have one question for you, as someone who has received Lithuanian Citizenship, and who has clearly done exhaustive research on the topic – are there currently income tax implications for having dual citizenship between the US and Lithuania? Does Lithuania tax foreign (i.e. not Lithuanian) income? Is this something to be concerned about in the future?

    Thanks for any thoughts you might have on this subject.

  14. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems that the government only taxes income earned in Lithuania or paid by a Lithuanian entity. Those are also the only kinds of income that are taxed for membership in Sodras, the Lithuanian Social Security / health system. So despite being a citizen, I am not enrolled in their health care system.

    What the future holds, I do not know.

  15. After reading your blog I’m going to start the process of regaining my citizenship. I have little to no information about my grandparents so I suspect I’ll need to do a lot of digging with Lithuanian archives, army service (grandfather got conscripted), etc. My biggest obstacle is going to be language as I don’t read or speak Lithuanian. Do you have any advice for me on the best way of working through documents?

  16. Karl,

    The archives will do all the digging for you, if you can provide a name, birthdate, and birthplace. If you’ve not even got that, then they might be able to work with you.

    As for the language, that’s going to probably cost you $. First, every document you submit (except for apostille certificates) will have to be translated into Lithuanian. I recommend getting a pro to do that even for people who grew up speaking Lithuanian at home!

    Whatever you receive from the archives you should scan/photocopy for your own records and then resubmit. It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand the documents beyond basically what they are (most likely school and armed services records, at least based on my experience). The results will either suffice or not–no amount of language expertise on your part will help that.

    Here are some basic instructions from the Archives, in English:

    http://www.archyvai.lt/archyva.....pathId=342

    Finally, there are some forms that need to be filled out, but you can conceivably do that at the consulate by hand with help from the consular staff, though I’d call ahead and maybe schedule an appointment. I DO NOT KNOW if this is a service they provide, but it seems reasonable to expect it (by US standards).

    Elsewhere on this site I’ve provided links to lithuanian-english dictionaries, etc. For something as basic as filling out a form, using that should suffice.

  17. My maternal grandparents left what is now Lithuania in 1891. Do I qualify for citizenship on ancestry grounds? Or is that date too early? Please E-mail me with the answer. Thank you.

  18. Would the process be different for Canadians to gain their dual citizenship? If so, what steps are different and what is the equivalent to the consulate in Chicago in Canada?

    Aciu!

  19. Victoria,

    The process is structurally no different. It’s all in the details. The main difference is that Canada does not issue apostilles, so all your Canadian documents will have to be authenticated in Ottawa. The authentication process permanently alters the documents, so I would get new versions of all the relevant documents (your birth certificate, your parent’s birth certificate, and any immigration documents).

    Authentication also adds costs (at least it did in Chicago) on the Lithuanian side of things.

    In the post above, I have a paragraph on authentication here: http://www.lithchat.com/iseivi.....entication

    Getting new versions of immigration papers for Canadians is explained here: http://www.lithchat.com/iseivi.....uania.html

    There is a garbės konsulas in LN, but I suspect they are unequipped to provide consular services of this sort. This, coupled with the fact that Ottawa will authenticate up to ten documents while you wait, makes me recommend taking a day trip up there, stopping off for authentication first thing, and then taking the pile of documents to the Lithuanian Embassy. This is why I suspect authentication on the Lithuanian side might not cost you extra, though it cost me: the embassy in Ottawa is used to seeing authenticated Canadian documents.

    Finally, the Canadian version of the citizenship law:

    http://www.ca.mfa.lt/index.php?-1108295122

  20. What does the lithuanian government require in turns of renouncing citizenship? The United States has a nice little loophole(for tax reasons of course) in which if you renounce citizenship, you dont actually lose your US citizenship. Its a bit complicated but it is done a fair bit in order to get japanese citizenship.

    Im looking to get Ltihuanian citizenship in order to qualify for some EU benefits. Both my grandparents from one side of the family emigrated a few years before 1940 but they both currently hold dual citizenship as they applied before the Lithuanian government decided to make it hard.

  21. Sean, you’re asking the dirty secret of the dual citizenship game.

    From my understanding, if one doesn’t qualify for the above business with citizen 0 and the like, one must surrender his or her (US, let’s say) passport to the Lithuanian government upon receiving the Lithuanian passport. There’s nothing here: http://www.konsulatas.org/LR%2.....etybe.html about requiring a Certificate of Loss of Nationality. (Cecil Adams on renouncing citizenship: http://www.straightdope.com/co.....itizenship )

    If that’s the case, what’s to stop me from doing that, turning around, and walking to a State Department building (or US Embassy) and declaring my passport lost/stolen and getting a new one based on my birth certificate? (I don’t recommend trying this, as life after you’ve declared a passport stolen/lost becomes a security nightmare, friends who’ve had it happen to them tell me.)

    I could be wrong–the Lithuanian government could require more rigid proof of renouncing–but I’m skeptical. (The opposite, I’ve been told, is not uncommon among new immigrants: they arrive in the US/Canada, fulfill their residency requirements, naturalize, and just don’t bother telling the Lithuanian government. The idea is that by the time they have to choose, all this dual citizenship silliness will be solved in their favor.)

    As for your specific situation, I have no idea how these rules apply in cases like yours–as a comparison, a friend of mine applied for dual citizenship before the new rules came down, though she’d still be eligible under the new rules, and was wondering about her kids–born since 1991. I suspect that they are eligible, too, as their eligible regardless of their mother’s citizenship (they are greatgrandchildren of a Citizen 0). But in your case, there is no Citizen 0, so I don’t think that would work.

  22. After reading a bit of law, it is still as clear as mud.

    Taken from paragraph 7 of article 22 of the law of citizenship
    http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter3/.....38;p_tr2=2

    “a document evidencing that the person has lost the held citizenship of another state. ”

    in addition from paragraph 9

    “the person’s written statement certified by the notary in which the person indicates that he chooses citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania. Such statement of the person shall be transmitted to an appropriate institution of a foreign state.”

    But here is the US governments take
    http://travel.state.gov/law/ci.....p_778.html

    “The consular officer will simply ask the applicant if there was intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship when performing the act. If the answer is no, the consular officer will certify that it was not the person’s intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship and, consequently, find that the person has retained U.S. citizenship. ”

    I can conclude that it is entirely possible to obtain dual citizenship without a “citizen 0″

  23. If I’m understanding all this correctly, I should be able to obtain dual citizenship. I’m a US citizen, but my grandmother (on my father’s side) was born in Lithuania and I believe she left after 1940 (not 100% sure though because she moved to Germany first and to America after). My grandmother is still alive so I need to get in contact with her and find out if she has a birth certificate and something proving when she left. If she has those things, should it be somewhat easier for me to obtain dual citizenship? I’d like to move to Europe and work over there, but there’s so much running around in circles with work visas for a US citizen to work in the EU, and I found this information and thought it could make things much simpler.

  24. I noticed that you’re very adamant about telling everyone that they can’t use notarised copies of documents for the application. I believe this to be false as I have now successfully submitted my application, through my embassy, which is almost entirely notarised copies of original documents. The embassy told me that notarised copies are fine as long as they have the relevant legalisation/apostilles that are needed. For instance one of my documents was a German evacuation notice proving flight from Lithuania. I had this document notarised by the nearest German embassy, sent it to Berlin to have an apostille affixed to the copy (my country did not sign at the Hague convention), had it professionally translated to Lithuanian, and that’s it. No original required except for showing to the LT embassy official. She simply wanted to verify that I had the original. Now I can’t be certain that the process isn’t different for Canada as compared to the U.S. but I can pretty well guarantee you that LT will accept a notarised copy for your application so long as it’s been legalised properly.

  25. Karl,

    Thanks for the update. I relied on photocopies for some of my documentation, too–especially the documents from Germany and the documents from the Lithuanian Archives.

    The issue is that for birth certificates, etc., a notarized copy won’t suffice. In the US, you need to provide an apostille, and, from my understanding, an apostille can’t be affixed to a copy.

    We’re in agreement, though, that the main thing is to legalize everything appropriately. I’ve found that it’s not worth half-assing things, and getting originals when possible. I do not suspect it adds much to the cost, and the peace of mind is invaluable.

    I did include, btw, notarized copies of my mother’s birth certificate (from Manitoba), but the consulate tossed them out. Without her certificate legalized by Ottawa, I think I would have been out of luck.

  26. Moacir, I have really enjoyed looking through your blog (Lithchat) while I prepare to apply for my Lithuanian citizenship. You seem to be very on-top of the current laws and news.

    I have the necesary documentation to prove that my grandfather is Lithuanian (his passport, army papers, etc) along with my mum’s birth certificate. I have a few questions that I would appreciate if you could help me with. To start out maybe I should explain my situation a bit to you. My grandparents immigrated to the United States from Kaunas. My mother was born in MIchigan and then immigrated to Argentina, where I was born. I already have dual citizenship with the United States and Argentina. It is not possible to give up either of these nationalities, because I use them quite frequently for travel and work. Actually, it is against the law to give up Argentine nationality but it may be possible (but still not an option for me!).

    First of all, how much does it cost to go through all of the translation and application fees to apply for a passport?

    Is it possible to obtain Lithuanian citizenship without renouncing others? If at all possible I would really like to have the passport for traveling through the EU. When I went to Lithuania as an American I was given much trouble because my student visa took a while to come out, and I had to change my United flight TWO times because of this!

    Would I be able to complete the necesary transaction at an honorable conulate (http://www.ltembassyus.org/index.php?-1383264059) or would it have to be at a full blown embassy? I will be in Michigan this year so the easiest thing for me would be Lancing and Chicago.

    And finally, how much Lithuanian do I need to know to go through the paper-work? I don’t know any Lithuanian and everyone in my family has forgotten it (my grandparents no longer live). I do have friends in Lithuania that can help me, I think.

    Thank you for your help! I will continue to look through you great website to get tips and advice. Chau for now.

  27. Joshua,

    I’ve covered the specifics of who can get Lithuanian citizenship while not relinquishing their other citizenship. Your specific family’s history will determine your case. Argentina, the US, Canada–for the time being, all those nations are treated the same, all or nothing.

    Costs I’ve detailed elsewhere, though I have no idea what translation would add. I imagine there’s some kind of per-page rate that translators charge, and I know that it’s easy to find those kinds of services on the internet. I have, however, no specific recommendations at this time.

    It’s not entirely clear if a person has to go in person to the Consulate/Embassy, and I certainly don’t know what the rules would be for a Garbės Konsulas, like what you have in Argentina. I would bet that going to a real consulate would be better.

    Finally, you probably don’t need to know any Lithuanian. There are only two forms to fill out (for the petition and for the passport), and they are both rather straightforward (and may even have english on them). You’ll just take up the time of the consular officer who has to go through the forms with you.

  28. Hi I am on this journey and finsd some conflicting information of Lithuanian Embassy and American Lithuanian Embassy sites. It clearly states that
    “The court stated that the provision saying that a person willing to get Lithuanian citizenship back did not have to renounce another country’s citizenship contravened the Constitution as well. Therefore persons, restoring or applying for the citizenship of Lithuania as of 16th of November, 2006, must renounce their current citizeship after it will be stated that he or she is eligible and can become a Lithuanian citizen. Those who are willing to apply may do so according to the established procedure. After analyzing the application the person will be informed if s/he is eligible to become a Lithuanian citizen. Person, willing to obtain Lithuanian citizenship and a passport, will then have to renounce his or her current citizenship and prove this fact to the Lithuanian migration authorities. This is valid till stated otherwise”.
    My question is how does one get around this significant issue your very informative site seems to not have this as an issue, it seems to be the biggest issue. If you look at the yearbook on emigration on official LT site no new citizenships were granted to people from the 1st world in the last 3 years i.e. people did not give up their citizenship of the US UK, Canada etc. Just what is this loophole that gets dual citizenship and where is the legal information to support it. you clearly have had success. Aciu Kestas

  29. Kestai, I would recommend that you do a search for “loophole” on this site. I don’t describe the legal basis in this post, but I do elsewhere.

  30. Hi,
    Is it absolutely imperative that the relative left Lithuania to qualify as a Citizen 0? Basically my father is estranged for 20 years now, he lives in Lithuania, and I was told that his father (my grandfather) lived in Lithuania prior to 1940. But I assume that, like my father, he also lived his whole life in Lithuania and never immigrated (my mother’s side of the family is Jewish, but my father’s is not). My mother is not from Lithuania, but I was born there and we both had passports which I suppose technically, like you say, makes us both still Lithuanian citizens despite now being naturalized in the US. However, my mother’s Lithuanian passport expired last year and I only ever had a child’s passport which expired many years ago. Anyway, unfortunately in beauracratics, details like this are of no importance so the most important issue is whether it’s possible to obtain dual citizenship if the relative never immigrated out of lithuania?

    Thanks!

  31. Sveiki Moacir
    I see the loophole in the Semas website ‘Lietuvos Respblikos Pilietybes Istatimo pakeitimo Istatymas. (The Law on citizenship) this is the real deal not the para-phrased version that appears on official webites from Vilnius and London etc.
    it clearly states in article 17 .3. (1)
    “1) that persons who held citizenship prior to 15 June 1940, their children,grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are residing in other states” .(they qualify right!)
    persons in this category shall implement the right to citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania after they renounce the held citizenship of another state. The condition SHALL NOT APPLY TO: ( THESE ARE THE KEY WORDS)
    2) persons who held citizenship prior to 15 June 1940, who left to reside in other states during the occupations of 15 June 1940 and 11 March 1990, their children,grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of these persons.
    Iki

  32. Thanks for your very helpful series. I studied it over a number of months and coordinated the efforts for submitting for dual citizenship for myself, my sister, and our mother. Your information was very helpful and succinct.

    The consulate in NYC seemed reluctant to accept documents of ITS without an Apostille attached to them and refused to do so. Fortunately, the documents I received from the Lithuanian Archives sufficiently proved citizenship prior to 1940 and departure after (my mother was born in Lithuania in 1942.

    Another issue that we encountered, and one which we are still waiting to learn if it will ultimately be problematic, is the variations and westernizations of my mothers names. My grandfather’s last name is Jasinskas, and my mother’s last name on her birth certificate is Jasinskaite. When they settled in the west, as is the custom, my mother’s documents took on the last name of her father. Thus, she began using Jasinskas. However, there is no formal documentation of a change. To make matters more complicated, subsequent legal documents (my mother’s marriage license, and my birth certificate) show her second name from her Lithuanian birth certificate, Jurate, which she was always called by and thus began to use officially. Again, there is no official record of legal name change.

    Hopefully, given all of the original documentation that I was able to provide, they will accept the proof of descent from my grandfather that I was able to provide. We just submitted at the beginning of May and I’m informed to expect a processing time well in excess of 6 months, and possible a year, before receiving a response.

    In any case, I wanted to thank you for the wonderful gift you have provided by documenting your path for us.

    Peace.

  33. Excellent news, and good to know about the ITS, though Ii wonder who exactly the apostille-granting entity is. Germany?

    Also, it’s not the Consulate that makes the final decision, so they can’t really dictate what they will or will not accept. They can just warn that certain things might run into trouble down the road.

  34. Hello,

    Thank you for your excellent website.

    My great grandparents immigrated to the US from Lithuania in the 1890′s. Their Ellis Island records, along with those of their brothers and sisters who immigrated, indicate that they immigrated from Russia, but indicate that they were all born in what is now Lithuania. Some records indicate that they are Lithuanian-Russian, some indicate German-Russian, etc. It is clear that they where born in what is now Lithuania, but they were evidently ethnic Germans, as they associated with the German and German-Lithuanian community in the US. I do know that my g-grandfather spoke Lithuanian for what it is worth.

    To anyone’ knowledge, does ethnic origin within Lithuania determine whether one will be granted citizenship? I don’t know if my family names are common in Lithuania, they seem German/Polish although they are names I’ve seen from immigrants all throughout eastern europe.

    Thanks for any input, Jim

  35. I posted my application 6 weeks ago. getting through all the barriers put up by the Lith Consulate officials was made easier by the info on this site. The guys at the consulate are happy to help as long as you have the necessary information and that you are following the laws laid down.
    The recent amendments do not appear to change the crucial one which applies to Dual citizenship,i.e. Article 17 section 3. (1) about dual citizenship is still there.

    Any request is based upon your traceable ancestor having lived and been born in LT before 1940 and then left after 15 June 1940 and March 1990 and you can prove this. Any other dates render your application a single citizenship application which means you MUST renounce your other citizenship. That is my understanding at this moment.
    Good Luck to all who try.
    Oh and smart move Moacir, in applying for you Passport at he same time as your citizenship.
    Sekmes

  36. My application for citizenship went in from Ottawa back in January of this year (2010). The latest update is that they’re apparently looking at applications from October 2009. So it’s been about 8 months for me and it doesn’t sound as though it’ll be anytime soon. I guess at this point I’m just hoping for a positive outcome!

    Anyone else have word on their application?

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