Vytautas Sinkevičius
Keywords: Citizenship, Dual Citizenship, the Constitution, the Constitutional Court ,


When relations of citizenship are regulated, it is very important to assess new actual situations, as well as the latest needs of society and the state and to react to them adequately. It is important that the Law on Citizenship defines which persons are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, and in what situations a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania may be also a citizen of another state, since citizenship is not only a formal legal category, but it is also always inseparably related with the issues of sovereignty, national identity, political order, and the rights and freedoms of persons. While regulating the citizenship relations from the restoration of the State of Lithuania in 1918, the view was upheld that, as a rule, a citizen of Lithuania may not also be a citizen of another state at the same time, and that dual citizenship was allowed only in individual cases established in the law. The development of legislative regulation of citizenship after the 1992 Constitution entered into effect shows that legislation gradually widened the circle of persons who were allowed to be citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and of another state at the same time. In 2006, when a legal dispute arose regarding the compliance of some provisions of the Law on Citizenship with the Constitution, the Law on Citizenship used to contain the legal regulation whereby the absolute majority of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, regardless of where they lived – in Lithuania or another foreign state – were allowed to be citizens of another state at the same time as well. By its ruling of 13 November 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised such legal regulation as being in conflict with the Constitution. If the legislator were really committed to following the provision that dual citizenship may be a widespread phenomenon
– and this would be so if, alongside the cases specified in the draft Law on Citizenship, one would provide that also the persons who left Lithuania after 11 March 1990 are allowed to have dual citizenship—it would be necessary to correspondingly amend the provisions of Article 12 of the Constitution. This can be done by referendum only. No matter how the legislative regulation of the relations of citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania will be amended in the future, one must pay heed to the provisions of the Constitution, including those which entrench equality of rights of all persons and non-discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.