Receipt and accommodation of unaccompanied minors

According to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens of the Republic of Lithuania, an unaccompanied minor alien means “an alien below the age of 18 who arrives in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania unaccompanied by parents or other legal representatives or who, after he has entered the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, is left unaccompanied until effectively taken into the care of the above-mentioned persons” (Art. 2.16). There are not many unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in Lithuania. In 2016, of 162 children below the age of 18 who applied for asylum in Lithuania, there was 1 unaccompanied boy from Afghanistan (3 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in 2015 and 5 in 2014).

The application for asylum of an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker and all actions related to the application (as foreseen in the Order of the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania On the Approval of the Procedure for Granting and Withdrawing Asylum in the Republic of Lithuania, paragraphs 22.1–22.4 and 22.9–22.10) must be submitted and taken in the presence of his/her authorised representative, as well as a representative from a children’s rights protection institution on invitation by the institution that accepted the application for asylum.

Applications of asylum submitted by unaccompanied minor asylum seekers have priority over other asylum applications being processed. In the cases foreseen in Art. 81.2 and Art. 81.3 of the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, when the Migration Department decides to extend the deadline for the examination of the asylum application in substance, the decision must be justified by complicated legal and/or factual circumstances that require additional time to investigate.

In accordance with the rules established by the Minister of the Interior and Minister of Social Security and Labour, unaccompanied minor asylum seekers are accommodated with their adult relatives or at the Refugee Reception Centre. For the purposes of making the decision to accommodate an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker, his/her opinion, age, and maturity are taken into consideration. The place of residence of the unaccompanied minor asylum seeker must change as little as possible. If the minor has siblings, they should not be separated.

When an unaccompanied minor arrives in the Refugee Reception Centre, his/her individual integration plan is drawn. Support for the integration at the Refugee Reception Centre is provided for 3 months and may be extended to 6 months. However, taking into account the needs and interests of the unaccompanied minor, support for his/her integration may be extended until he/she reaches the age of 18. When the unaccompanied minor moves from the Refugee Reception Centre to the territory of a municipality and reaches the age of 18, he/she is paid a lump sum allowance in the amount of EUR 1,122.

Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers have the right to study at public schools or take part in vocational training programs. This right is guaranteed immediately and no later than within 3 months from the lodging of the application for asylum. Besides, even when the minor asylum seeker reaches the age of 18 while he/she is at school, he/she has the right to finish his/her general education or vocational training program.