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Nationality law of Lithuania: Wikis

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Lithuanian nationality law automatically grants citizenship to persons born within the current borders of Lithuania. Citizenship may also be granted by naturalization. Naturalization requires a residency period, an examination in the Lithuanian language, examination results demonstrating familiarity with the Lithuanian Constitution, a demonstrated means of support, and an oath of loyalty. A right of return clause was included in the 1991 constitution for persons who left Lithuania after its occupation by the Soviet Union in 1940 and their descendants.

The current version of citizenship law was enacted in 1991, after Lithuania established its independence from the Soviet Union; it was amended in January 2003.

In November 2006, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania ruled that the Law on Citizenship (wording of 17 September 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements), was "controversial, inconsistent and confusing." [1]. At issue was the possession of dual citizenship; the provision extended the right of citizenship, and hence the right to vote, to members of the post-Soviet Lithuanian diaspora, which was concentrated in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina, and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The most notable member of this diaspora was Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who had become a United States citizen; he formally renounced US citizenship before taking the oath of office.

The petitioners held that basing citizenship on ethnic origin or nationality of the person violated the equality of persons and was discriminatory. The use and meaning of the term "repatriated" was especially controversial. The Lithuanian Seimas (parliament) has recently passed a temporary law, expiring in 2010, that grants dual citizenship in exceptional cases, most notably to those who were Lithuanian citizens prior to 1940 and who fled during the Soviet occupations, as well as to their children and grandchildren. The text of the law, as of July 15, 2008, is listed at the Seimas website: Lithuanian citizenship laws (English translation).

References

  1. ^ Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruling on the Law of Citizenship

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