Asylum-seekers whose application for asylum has been rejected and illegal aliens from non-EU states (e.g., holders of expired visas or residence permits) have an obligation to leave Lithuania. “Return to a foreign state means the procedure whereby the foreigner voluntarily complies with the obligation to leave the Republic of Lithuania or is expelled to a country which is not an EU Member State or a Member of the European Free Trade Association” (Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, Art. 2(7)).
In accordance to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, Art. 124, aliens are obliged to depart the Republic of Lithuania:
- Before the expiry of the visa or temporary permit to reside in the Republic of Lithuania;
- Before the end of visa-free stay, unless (s)he is issued a document confirming his/her right to stay or reside in the Republic of Lithuania.
The decision to return foreigner to a foreign state is regulated by Art. 125 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens and includes the following cases: the foreigner’s visa has been annulled or is expired; the foreigner has had a temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit revoked; the foreigner resides in the country after the expiry of the temporary residence permit; the foreigner entered the Republic of Lithuania lawfully but resides in the country without holding a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit, if (s)he is obliged to hold one; the foreigner has been staying in the country for a period exceeding the period of visa-free stay for foreigners under Art. 11(2-51, 7) of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens; the foreigner has arrived and stays in the Republic of Lithuania unlawfully, but (s)he is a vulnerable person, an asylum seeker or a foreign national who was not granted asylum, and agrees to repatriate voluntary with the assistance of an international organisation or an NGO.
The monitoring of the deportation of foreigners is exercised in the manner prescribed by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Social Security and Labour by the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with international organisations and NGOs.
A decision regarding the return of a foreigner is taken by the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior, the police or the State Border Guard Service under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania. The latter two institutions are responsible for the enforcement of return decisions.
Upon adopting a decision to return a foreigner to a foreign state, a time limit between 7 and 30 days is set for the foreigner to depart from the Republic of Lithuania voluntarily. The time limit is calculated from the service of the decision to the foreigner and may be extended if the foreigner is not able to depart from the country for objective reasons.
After a decision to return a foreigner to the country of origin or foreign state, (s)he has to depart: at his/her own expense; at the expense of the individuals or entities who invited the foreigner to the Republic of Lithuania; at the expense of the carriers in cases established by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.
In the absence of the above-mentioned resources, the foreigner is expelled or returned at the expense of the State.
In accordance with the regulations of the Republic of Lithuania, foreigners who have an obligation to leave the country, are able to leave the country voluntarily or otherwise they may be deported. “Deportation from the Republic of Lithuania is compulsory removal of a foreigner from the territory of the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with the procedure established by the regulations.” (Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, Art. 2(8)).
In accordance with Art. 126 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, a foreigner shall be expelled from the country for the following cases: the foreigner has failed to comply with the obligation to depart from the country within the set period of time or has not voluntarily departed from the country within the limit set in the decision to return him/her to the foreign country; the term to depart voluntarily from the country was not set for the foreigner as there is reason to believe that (s)he could go into hiding; the foreigner has entered or stays in the country unlawfully and there are no grounds specified in Art. 125 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens obligating the foreigner to depart from Lithuania, or a decision has been made to return the foreigner to the foreign country; the foreigner’s stay in the Republic of Lithuania constitutes a threat to national security or public order; a decision has been made to expel the foreigner from another state to which the Council Directive 2001/40/EC of 28 May 2001 on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of the third country national applies.
“The obligation to depart from the Republic of Lithuania means a decision taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in the regulations obliging an alien to leave voluntarily within the set time limit for the EU Member State of Member State of EFTA in which (s)he is entitled to stay or reside” (The Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, Art. 2(9)).
Frequently, foreigners who are obliged to depart from Lithuania are unable to do so on their own (e.g., they are unable to buy a return ticket for lack of financial resources). The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) provides voluntary return assistance to such foreigners in Lithuania. The programme of assisted voluntary return covers both services for the assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme in the country of origin.
Persons eligible to take advantage of the programme are:
- foreigners who hold an expired visa or an expired residence permit, or who overstay the permissible period;
- persons who have applied for asylum and whose applications have not yet been turned down;
- beneficiaries of any kind of protection in Lithuania (subsidiary or temporary protection, or a refugee status);
- vulnerable persons (disabled persons; persons with serious illness; elderly people; pregnant women; single parents with two or more children, large families; victims of human trafficking; persons who have been subjected to torture; unaccompanied minors) who have chosen assisted voluntary return as a form of discharging their obligation to leave Lithuania.
Participants in the assisted voluntary programme are entitled to the following assistance: consultations on all issued related to the return; translation services; legal advice; assistance in obtaining travel documents necessary for the return; travel arrangements (ticketing; routing, etc.); temporary accommodation before the departure, food rations; transit assistance during the travel; picking up in the country of origin upon return; one-time cash allowance prior to departure.
The IOM organizes returns only to secure countries, thus at the moment voluntary return is not available for Crimea (Ukraine), Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Libya, Gaza, Yemen, North Korea.
More information about the voluntary return programme implemented by the IOM here
In 2016, 1,923 illegal aliens were found illegal in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania (RL), most of them (1,473) men. More than half of the illegal aliens were citizens of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
1,739 foreigners were obliged to leave the RK, 1,548 persons actually left.
4,574 foreigners were denied entry to the RL.
Return and deportation
On 1 July 2017, 760 foreigners were returned to a foreign country. 48 foreigners (almost one-third fewer than during the same period in 2016) were deported from the RL.
In 2016, 1,570 decisions to return foreigners to a foreign state were made. 177 foreigners were deported from the RL.
Source: Migration Department