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WorldAsiaLithuania prepares to stop accepting citizenship applications from Russians and Belarusians

Lithuania prepares to stop accepting citizenship applications from Russians and Belarusians


The Seimas of Lithuania adopted in first reading a draft law which suspends the acceptance of applications from Russians and Belarusians for obtaining Lithuanian citizenship. On this subject reported on the website of the country’s parliament.

The bill also introduces several other restrictions:

suspends the acceptance of applications for obtaining a residence permit (residence permit) in Lithuania from citizens of Russia and Belarus who do not have a valid Lithuanian or Schengen visa or residence permit in the country or in a another State of the European Union; restricts the right of Russian natural and legal persons to acquire real estate in Lithuania, with the exception of holders of a residence permit who risk being persecuted in their country of origin; suspends the acceptance of applications from Russians and Belarusians for obtaining visas, including national ones, from Lithuanian visa offices abroad. The exception is when they already have a national or Schengen visa, a residence permit, or when the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as an intermediary for obtaining a visa; introduces “additional detailed checks” for citizens of Russia and Belarus when attempting to enter the territory of Lithuania through the external border of the EU “due to the threat of their entry to national security” from the country ; involves the publication of information on companies associated with Lithuanian politicians who have economic ties with Russia and Belarus.

113 deputies voted for the adoption of the bill, nine abstained, no vote against the initiative was recorded. For the document to enter into force, the Seimas must approve it at second reading.

As explained in the Seimas, the bill was drafted in response to Russian military operations in Ukraine. Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Jovita Neljupsienė, presenting the project, said that “the vast majority of Russian citizens support their country’s aggressive military actions”. According to her, the bill is necessary “to change their behavior”.

The authors of the initiative, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite and Chair of the National Security and Defense Committee of the Seimas (KNBO) Laurynas Kasciunas, stressed that they were not proposing to remove the possibility of obtain Lithuanian citizenship for Russians, but to temporarily suspend the acceptance of applications, wrote Delfi. At the same time, the bill will not affect the acquisition of citizenship by birthright in the country.

If passed, the law will be valid for one year with the possibility of extension. If the bill is approved, it will come into force on April 15.

Lithuania suspended issuing visas to Russian and Belarusian citizens a few days after the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, while an exception was made for humanitarian visas. In August 2022, Vilnius stopped passing Russians and Belarusians with Schengen visas issued at Lithuanian embassies. In September, Lithuania closed entry to citizens of Russia and Belarus with Schengen visas from any country (with some exceptions).

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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