Expats propose way of preserving Lithuanian citizenship acquired by birth

Dalia Henke

Lithuanian expat communities suggest solving the dilemma of dual citizenship by allowing persons to preserve their Lithuanian citizenship acquired by birth upon the request.

Dalia Henke, the leader of the Lithuanian World Community, presented the proposal at a discussion at the parliament on Wednesday, emphasizing that persons who received another country's citizenship would not automatically keep their Lithuanian citizenship. In her words, every direct application should be discussed on case-by-case basis.

"The Lithuanian World Community suggests that persons of Lithuanian origin who speak the Lithuanian language and have links with their homeland, when their citizenship is acquired by birth and they want to keep it, they should submit a direct personal application to keep their Lithuanian citizenship by conditions established by law, and the applications would be processed on case-by-case basis," said Henke.

During the discussion about possibilities of preserving the Lithuanian citizenship upon receipt of another country's passport, the Lithuanian World Community's leader said that the current situation was discriminatory, as those who left the country before it regained independence in 1990 can keep their Lithuanian citizenship, even if they have become citizens of another country, while those who emigrated during the 26 years of independence do not have the possibility.

According to Article 12 of the Lithuanian Constitution, with the exception of individual cases provided for by law, no one may be a citizen of both the Republic of Lithuania and another state at the same time. The Constitutional Court has ruled that such cases can be very rare, consequently, there can be no legal regulation to make dual citizenship common practice.

The court says that broader application of dual citizenship requires changing the Organic Law, which can only be amended by way of referendum.

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