Asylum in Lithuania

In Lithuania, the fundamental human right to seek and utilize asylum from persecution is upheld. Asylum in Lithuania includes two forms:

1. Refugee status.
2. Subsidiary protection.

Granting asylum offers protection against return to the country of origin, a residence permit (permanent or temporary) in Lithuania, and social assistance. Those with refugee status receive a permanent residence permit, while subsidiary protection recipients get a temporary permit, which may be reviewed after two years. Once granted asylum, individuals undergo social integration as per Lithuania’s legal procedures. For questions about social integration, contact the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.

How to apply for asylum

You can apply for asylum in Lithuania within the country, at any port of entry (airport, land border, or seaport), or at the Lithuanian Embassy in Belarus if you are not a Belarusian citizen. It’s not necessary to have a valid visa, travel documents, or a Lithuanian residence permit. Asylum applications can be made to the State Border Guard Service at any border point or directly to the Migration Department. The process is managed by Lithuanian authorities following national regulations, with officials specialized in asylum matters.

Foreigners can apply for asylum in Lithuania through:

1. State Border Guard Service – at border control posts or areas where the legal border regime applies.
2. Local branches of the Migration Department – for foreigners within Lithuania.
3. Foreigners’ Registration Centre in Pabradė, Švenčionys district.

Foreigners arriving or staying in Lithuania illegally (without a visa or valid travel document) must apply for asylum immediately to avoid liability for unauthorized entry or stay under Lithuanian law.

Applications must be made in person. Adult family members can apply on behalf of minor family members. Representatives may submit applications for unaccompanied minors or legally incapable foreigners.

Asylum applications should be well-founded, detailing all facts and reasons for needing asylum in Lithuania.

What happens after I apply for asylum in Lithuania?

Step 1 – Registration

Once you register your asylum application in Lithuania, you will receive a certificate and a foreigner’s registration card. Keep these documents safe and carry copies with you. The Migration Department will assess your application, typically within 6 months.

During this period, you’ll have asylum-seeker status. In certain situations, like identity verification or risk of absconding, the court may authorize detention. Additionally, during states of emergency, you might be required to stay in closed accommodation until your application is resolved.

You’re permitted to work if a decision on your asylum application hasn’t been made within 6 months.

Step 2 – Interview

During your asylum interview in Lithuania, you’ll have the chance to thoroughly explain your reasons for seeking asylum. This interview is crucial for your application, allowing you to present detailed information and all supporting documents. It’s essential to fully describe your experiences and fears regarding return to your home country.

You can submit supporting documents and evidence before, during, and after the interview, even by email to the Migration Department. Remember to include your ILTU number in the email, which can be found on documents issued by Lithuanian authorities or obtained with assistance from your accommodation center staff.

All information and documents provided (including interview records) will be kept confidential by Lithuanian authorities and not shared with your home country or others. If you require an interpreter for the process, you can request one.

Step 3 – Examination of application and decision making

Upon receiving an asylum application, the Migration Department of Lithuania may decide:

1. Not to examine the application if:
– The applicant has already been granted asylum in another EU Member State or a safe third country.
– The applicant entered Lithuania from a safe third country.
– The application is a subsequent one without new substantive reasons.
This decision is made within 48 hours and can be extended to 3 business days.

2. Not to examine the application substantively and transfer the applicant to another EU Member State, as per EU Regulation 604/2013, if that state is responsible for examining the application.

3. Examine the application urgently if:

  • The applicant comes from a safe country of origin.
  • The application contains irrelevant information or aims to mislead, with inconsistent, contradictory, or false identity/nationality data.
  • The application is a subsequent one without new essential information.
  • The application is to prevent deportation.
  • The applicant refuses fingerprinting.
  • The applicant poses a threat to national security or public order.

The Migration Department’s decision on an asylum application urgently examined is made within 7 business days, extendable by 3 days. If there’s no reason for urgent examination or transfer to another EU Member State, the decision on a substantive examination is made within 3 months, extendable by another 3 months.

Before deciding, a thorough, impartial investigation is conducted. The Department evaluates the asylum seeker’s information and additional circumstances. Based on this, it either grants refugee status with a 5-year permanent residence permit, grants subsidiary protection with a 2-year temporary residence permit, issues a temporary residence permit for other reasons, or refuses asylum and arranges for the return or expulsion from Lithuania.

Decisions can be appealed to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court within 14 days. The court may ask the Migration Department to reconsider or pass the case to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, which can order a re-examination or uphold the decision. If rejected, the Migration Department’s decision is final.

Accommodation for asylum seekers in Lithuania

The Migration Department decides on the accommodation of asylum seekers, except when they are detained or under alternative detention measures per Lithuanian law.

Asylum seekers can be housed in the Foreigners’ Registration Centre, other government-approved facilities, or, upon request and the Department’s approval, in a place of their choosing.

Unaccompanied minors should stay with adult relatives, a representative, or in a Refugee Reception Centre, barring objections from their representative.

Vulnerable individuals and their families may be placed in specialized NGO-administered accommodations catering to their needs. Ideally, they should stay with an adult or close relative legally residing in Lithuania.

Rights and obligations of asylum seekers in Lithuania

During the asylum application process in Lithuania, asylum seekers have these rights:

  1. Access to accommodation facilities, including detention and border control posts, and transit zones.
  2. Free information about their rights, obligations, and the asylum process.
  3. Management and formalization of asylum-related documents.
  4. State-guaranteed legal aid as prescribed by the Interior Minister.
  5. Compensation for public transport use related to the asylum application.
  6. Free interpreter services.
  7. Free medical, psychological, and social services at registration or reception centers.
  8. A monthly cash benefit, set at 10% of the state-supported income, as determined by the Ministers of Social Security and Labour and the Interior.
  9. Private meetings with UN High Commissioner for Refugees representatives and other legal aid organizations.
  10. Special accommodation conditions for vulnerable individuals.
  11. Other entitlements and rights under international agreements, national laws, and regulations.

As an asylum seeker in Lithuania, you must:

  • Adhere to the Lithuanian Constitution, laws, and other legal acts.
  • Follow the duties set by the Migration Department and court decisions.
  • Permit medical check-ups by a doctor.
  • Provide all available documents and detailed, truthful explanations about your asylum grounds, personal circumstances, and your arrival and stay in Lithuania, while cooperating with officials.
  • During interviews, disclose any funds and assets you have in Lithuania and notify the Migration Department in writing about any funds received during your stay within 3 business days of receipt.

For assistance or advice on obtaining asylum in Lithuania, contact our asylum lawyers for a consultation via messenger or by mail or our contact form. We offer comprehensive support, including accompanying you to all authorities and providing expert advice throughout the procedure, help to appeal the refusal.

Iryna Berenstein
Associated Partner
Mrs. Berenstein is a distinguished and outstanding lawyer with profound experience and exceptional legal knowledge in the field of International Private Law, Financial Law, Corporate Law, investment regulation, Compliance, Data Protection, and Reputation Management.

Asylum in Lithuania FAQ

Is Lithuania taking refugees?
Since 24 February 2022, Lithuania has received refugees from Ukraine, exceeding 2.5% of its population.
Can asylum seeker work in Lithuania?
As an asylum-seeker, you can work if a decision on your application hasn't been made within 6 months.
Is Lithuania taking Ukrainian refugees?
Over 50,000 Ukrainians in Lithuania hold valid residence permits, and since the war's start, over 80,000 war refugees have arrived. IOM Lithuania has helped more than 11,000 Ukrainians through various activities.
What is the process for seeking asylum in Lithuania?
The process for seeking asylum in Lithuania involves:
  1. Application: Apply for asylum immediately upon arrival at a border control point, police station, or the Migration Department in Lithuania.
  2. Registration and Interview: After applying, you'll be registered as an asylum seeker and interviewed to discuss your reasons for seeking asylum, focusing on fears of persecution or harm in your home country.
  3. Receiving Basic Needs: During the application process, you'll be provided with accommodation, usually in a reception center, along with basic necessities like food and healthcare.
  4. Legal Assistance: You have access to legal counsel and, if necessary, an interpreter to help understand the process.
  5. Processing Time: The decision on your asylum application can take several months, depending on the complexity of your case.
  6. Appeal Rights: If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal within a specified period.
  7. Integration Support: If granted asylum, you receive support for integrating into Lithuanian society, including language courses and employment assistance.