Lithuania’s Parliament panel proposes tighter rules for dual citizenship
As the BNS writes the Lithuanian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee suggests tightening the conditions for granting dual citizenship.
After discussing the proposed new version of the Citizenship Law, the committee objected introduction of the so-called Lithuanian Charter, which is not regulated in the new edition of the law. The committee’s proposals are still to be considered by the Committee on Law that plans to hold discussions on the proposed changes to the legislation.
The Foreign Affairs Committee suggest an amendment so that a person who automatically acquires foreign citizenship should decide on which passport he wants to keep. Under the current language of the law, children born abroad who are automatically granted the country’s citizenship are allowed to keep Lithuanian citizenship, as well. Meanwhile, the committee proposes that persons between ages of 18 and 21 should choose the citizenship he wants to retain. The parliamentary panel also suggests setting a period for decisions of persons who automatically acquire foreign citizenship by way of marriage.
Under a draft legislation proposed by a task force set up by the president, dual citizenship can be extended to persons and progeny of those who left Lithuania from Jan. 9 of 1919 to March 11 of 1990, thus extending the period and the number of descendants eligible for dual citizenship. Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Committee wants the same legal regulation, which provisioned dual citizenship only for three generations – children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those who held Lithuanian citizenship before June 15 1940.
The new version envisages dual citizenship for those who left Lithuania before the independence period and their descendants, while persons who emigrated after 1990 are not eligible for dual citizenship, which would only be granted to their children born abroad, as the procedure is now.
The draft bill also provides that dual citizenship would be granted to all descendants of deported Lithuanian citizens, while the Foreign Affairs Committee suggests trimming down the provision to three generations.
Under article 12.2 of the Constitution, no one can hold citizenship of Lithuania and another country at the same time, with a few exceptions. The constitutional provision can only be revised via a referendum.
Lithuanians who emigrated after the reestablishment of independence will be granted dual citizenship only by way of exception, for example by marrying a foreign citizen whose country has legitimized dual citizenship and thus acquiring it. On the other hand, their children, born abroad, will be eligible for dual citizenship as is currently stipulated in the country’s legislation.
Discussions on dual citizenship roused after the Constitutional Court in the fall of 2006 found that the country’s main law provides for dual citizenship as rare exceptions, declaring laws allowing dual citizenship as running counter the Constitution.
The Citizenship Law approved by the Seimas last summer provisioned granting dual citizenship to children of Lithuanian emigrants born abroad and Lithuanian nationals who are acquiring citizenship of countries that have an agreement with Lithuania on double citizenship. Lithuania so far hasn’t signed any such agreements with another country.