I’ve been asked about a few updates to the dual citizenship project that was called about a year ago by outgoing president Valdas Adamkus. The idea was to figure out a way to grant dual citizenship to emigrants, whose foreign born babies would be dual citizens, without going afoul of the Constitutional Court’s decision back in 2006. This was the decision that struck down the previous dual citizenship law as being, among other things, not restrictive enough regarding who could get citizenship.

This restriction clause, reading the phrase from the Constitution “atskirus atvejus” as meaning “rare,” has dogged the dual citizenship project since 2006. So today I can mention that last month, a new approach was adopted by liberal MP Gediminas Navaitis. Drawing inspiration, he says, from the Israeli and Polish attitudes, he thinks Lithuania should simply ignore / be agnostic about a citizen’s non-Lithuanian citizenship. Any connection to another nation is considered the Lithuanian dual citizen’s private business and of no interest to the state.

Or, as he says (also here):

Įtvirtinama aiški ir gana paprasta pozicija – Lietuvos pilietį, kuris kartu yra ir kitos valstybės pilietis, Lietuvos valstybė laiko tik Lietuvos piliečiu. (…) Siekiama numatyti, kad Lietuva ignoruoja bet kokius Lietuvos piliečio santykius su kitomis valstybėmis, nes tokie santykiai traktuojami kaip privatus Lietuvos piliečio reikalas.

The only officially recognized dual citizens would be those who are granted citizenship by the President, maintaining the “rare” test.

This is an interesting move, and it’s one I’ve never heard of or considered before, so I’m not ready to opine on it.

Furthermore, there is movement to expand the pool of dual citizenship to include, wait for it, Russian and Belarusian citizens. I’m surprised that this is getting support, since the atavistic response I’ve gotten from Professional Lithuanians In Diaspora is that blanket dual citizenship is to be avoided precisely because Russia may use protecting its citizens as a pretext to invade Lithuania. Although there is a bit of a crucial twist, if one reads the article carefully:

Svarstant įstatymą Seimo posėdyje pritarta dar vienam siūlymui – leisti du pasus turėti lietuvių kilmės asmenims, tradiciškai gyvenantiems valstybėje, su kuria Lietuvą skiria valstybės siena, tad į dvigubą pilietybę galės pretenduoti ir Baltarusijoje bei Rusijoje gyvenantys lietuviai.

This would then go against the “no discrimination based on ethnic origin” clause of the Constitution that the Court used to strike down the ethnic claim to dual citizenship in 2006.

So as it stands, and if I’m reading everything correctly, the project is waiting a final vote for legislation that will look something like this:

Lithuanians will be entitled to dual citizenship under all the old criteria, plus those who left Lithuania after 1991 and obtained citizenship in an EU or NATO nation.

Discussions continue regarding Switzerland, non-EU Schengen nations, and Australia.

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3 Responses to “Dual Citizenship law hangs around Seimas, picks up Russian / Belarusian exemptions”

  1. Thanks for the informations. I always read this blog to get infos about the double citizenship.

    ;)

  2. Are there any liberal movements towards granting dual citizenship for descendants of people who left lithuanian before 1940? Or is that still a case of being forced to give up your current citizenship to get a Lithuanian one.

    Last I heard there was something that might change in July 2010, but searching the net, I can’t find it anywhere.

    Thanks!

  3. Bronwyn,

    See my article from today for the latest on the pre-1940 issue, if you like. The short version is, though, that it seems like it will be dead in the water, still.