Legal migration

European Union citizens

Citizens of the European Union (EU) and their family members may enter the Republic of Lithuania and stay there in for a period not exceeding three months starting from the first day of entry into the Republic of Lithuania. The same right is vested to the citizens of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member States (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein).

A certificate in the form established by the Minister of the Interior is issued to foreigners (citizens of an EU or EFTA Member State) entering the Republic of Lithuania for the residence for a time period that is longer than three months in half a year to confirm their right to reside in the country. The certificate is valid for five years from the adoption of a decision on the issuance of the certificate or for the planned EU citizen’s period of residence in the Republic of Lithuania, if shorter than five years.

Family members of an EU citizen who are not citizens of an EU Member State, having arrived to live in Lithuania for more than three months in half a year, must acquire a card permitting the family member of the EU citizen to temporarily live in the country. The card is valid for five years or for the planned EU citizen’s period of residence in the Republic of Lithuania, if shorter than five years.

The legal status of EU citizens and their family members in the Republic of Lithuania is regulated by Section V of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens.

Non-EU citizens (third country nationals)

Non-EU citizens who intend to stay in Lithuania for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, only need a visa (this does not apply to foreigners who enjoy a visa-free travel regime).

Visas are issued by diplomatic missions or consular institutions of the Republic of Lithuania.

Types of visas:

  1. Schengen visa may be single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry:

a) Airport transit visa (A) valid for transit through the international transit areas of one or several international airports of Schengen member states;

b) Short-stay visa (C), which entitles its bearer to travel by transit through the Republic of Lithuania or other Schengen states or to enter the Republic of Lithuania and stay in it for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days from the first day of arrival.

2. National visa (D), which entitles the foreigner to enter the republic of Lithuania and stay in it for the period indicated in the visa. A national visa (D) may be issued for one or several entries:

a) A single national visa (D) shall be issued to a foreigner who has been granted a temporary or permanent residence permit in the republic of Lithuania;

b) A multiple-entry national visa (D) shall be issued to: (1) a foreign student arriving in the Republic of Lithuania for studies under international student exchange programmes; (2) a foreign student accepted to a tertiary educational establishment registered in the Republic of Lithuania; (3) a foreign professional athlete or coach arriving in the Republic of Lithuania to undertake sports-related activities and the accompanying family member; (4) a foreigner who arrives to the country to work as a teacher or to undertake research and/or experimental (social, cultural) development as a researcher, as well as the accompanying family member; (5) a foreigner arriving in the country to carry out joint government programmes as a teacher or undertake research as a researcher, as well as the accompanying family member; (6) a foreigner arriving to work and holding a permit to work in the Republic of Lithuania issued by the Labour Exchange under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (the ‘Labour Exchange’); (7) a foreigner arriving to do seasonal work; (8) a foreigner who intends to engage in lawful activity in the Republic of Lithuania; (9) a foreigner who is a seafarer arriving to board a ship flying the flag of the Republic of Lithuania; (10) a seafaring foreigner who is a member of the crew of a ship that is undergoing repairs in the Republic of Lithuania; (11) a journalist accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania; (12) a foreigner arriving to work and holding a profession from the list of professions wanted in the Republic of Lithuania by type of economic activities, as approved by the head of the Labour Exchange; (13) a foreigner who works permanently for a company established in a non-EU or non-EFTA Member State and is posted for temporary work as a specialist in the Republic of Lithuania; (14) a foreigner who has submitted a request to issue or change a residence permit in the Republic of Lithuania; (15) a foreigner who is not able to leave Lithuania because of illness, another acute health disorder or physical condition, or personal reasons that the foreigner was not able to foresee, or force majeure; (16) in other cases when the purpose the arrival in the Republic of Lithuania is a long-term stay in the country.

A foreigner who holds valid national visas (D) may travel to territories of other Schengen states for a period up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

Foreigners who wish to stay longer than 90 days within a period of 180 days have to acquire a national visa (D) or a temporary residence permit. For a long-term stay, in most cases, after 5 years (or in the cases foreseen in Art. 53 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens), a permanent residence permit could be acquired.

Types of residence permits:

  1. A temporary residence permit is a document granting a foreigner a right to temporary reside in the Republic of Lithuania. It is usually issued for one or two years. In respect of persons of Lithuanian descent and foreigners who have retained the right to the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, a temporary residence permit is issued for a period of five years.

In accordance with Art. 40 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, a temporary residence permit may be issued to a foreigner if: (s)he has retained the right to the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania; (s)he is a person of Lithuanian descent; it is a case of family reunification; (s)he intends to work in Lithuania; (s)he intends to work in the employment requiring high professional qualifications; (s)he is engaged and intends to continue to be engaged in lawful activities;  (s)he is transferred within the company; (s)he intends to be engaged into lawful activity related to new technologies or other innovations important to the country’s economic and social development; (s)he intends to study; a guardian has been assigned to him/her or (s)he has been appointed a guardian to somebody; (s)he is a victim of human trafficking or illegal work; (s)he intends to work as a lecturer or engage in research and/or experimental (social, cultural) development as a researcher; (s)he has gained a long-term resident’s status in another EU Member State and holds a residence permit issued by that country.

An application for a temporary residence permit shall be submitted to the Migration Department or the Migration Service on the territory of which (s)he has declared or intends to declare his/her place of residence.

An application for a temporary residence permit must be considered:

  • by routine procedure, within four months from the lodging of the application to the Migration Department, the Migration Service, or to a Consular Post;
  • by urgent procedure, within two months from the lodging of the application to the Migration Department or the Migration Service.

In case a foreigner: arrives in Lithuania to work in a position requiring high professional qualifications; intends to engage in lawful activities related to new technologies and or other innovations important to the country’s economic and social development, is of Lithuanian descent; engages or intends to engage in lawful activities in the country and applies for a temporary residence permit in accordance with Art. 45 (1)(21 and 22) of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, or is a family member of the above, the application for the issuance of a temporary residence permit by routine procedure must be considered within two months from the lodging of application and by urgent procedure, within one month.

The decision to issue a temporary residence permit is made by the Migration Department.

2. A permit of a long-term resident of the Republic of Lithuania to reside in the European Community (the permanent residence permit) means a document entitling a foreigner to reside in the Republic of Lithuania and certifying his/her permanent residence status. The permanent residence permit is issued for five years and may be renewed thereafter.

In accordance with Art. 53 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, a permanent residence permit may be issued to a foreigner if: (s)he has retained the right to the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania; the foreigner is a person of Lithuanian descent; the foreigner has entered the country for residence together with a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania as his/her family member; (s)he has lost citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania but resides in the country; (s)he is a foreign minor born in Lithuania and his/her parents or one of the parents hold Lithuanian citizenship and have declared their residence in Lithuania or hold a permanent residence permit; (s)he has been granted a refugee status; (s)he has been residing in the country without interruption for the last five years under a temporary residence permit; (s)he has been residing in EU Member State without interruption for the last five years, including two years spent residing in Lithuania without interruption and had a temporary residence permit issued to a foreigner who intends to work in a position that requires high professional qualification; (s)he has been living in non-EU Member State for a period of 12 consecutive months or less, or in another EU Member State for a period of six years or less, without acquiring the status of a long-term resident there, and before settling in a foreign country has been residing in Lithuania under a permanent residence permit.

An application to issue a permanent residence permit shall be processed:

  • by routine procedure, within four months after the day it was submitted to the Migration Department or to the Migration Service;
  • by urgent procedure, within two months after the day it was submitted to Migration Department or the Migration Service.

Immigration trends

In 2016, 20,162 persons immigrated to the Republic of Lithuania (RL), of whom 5,955 (around 30%) were foreigners. Citizens of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus made up around 60% of all foreigners.

Visas

In the first half of 2017, 225,780 Schengen visas (C) and 11,691 National visas (D) were issued. During that period, 2,565 foreigners were denied entry to the RL.

In 2016, a total of 433,098 visas were issued, including 415,937 Schengen visas (C) and 17,161 National visas (D).

Residence Permits

On 1 July 2017, 22,876 foreigners holding temporary resident permits lived in the RL – 27.9% more than in the same period in 2016. In the first half of 2017, 6,566 temporary residence permit applications were submitted by foreign nationals.

In 2016, 8,820 temporary residence permits were issued to foreigners, most of them (6,423) on the basis of employment, followed by family reunion (2,958), and legal activities (2,766).

6,317 temporary residence permits were renewed.

In 2016, the majority of temporary resident permits were issued to/renewed for citizens of Ukraine (5,484), Belarus (3,138), and Russia (2,723).

In 2016, 1,204 temporary residence permits were cancelled, the majority of them (533) on the grounds of termination of employment.

On 1 July 2017, 18,331 foreigners held permits of a long-term resident of the RL to reside in the European Union (PRP).

In 2016, 630 PRP applications submitted. 587 PRPs were issued, and 49 were denied.

176 PRPs were issued to foreigners who have had resided in the LR without interruption for the last five years under a temporary residence permit.

In 2016, the majority of PRPs were issued to citizens of Russia and Ukraine (24% each) and Belarus (10%).

In 2016, 2,777 PRPs were renewed, of that number 24% for stateless persons, and 44% for Russian nationals.

Citizenship

In the first half of 2017, 80 persons acquired RL citizenship through naturalisation, compared to 173 persons in 2017.

Source: Migration Department

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