Temporary residence permits for the foreigners in Lithuania
Decent business opportunities and good geographical location within the European Union make Lithuania a preferred destination for potential immigrants. To start business in big majority of other European countries, the prospective immigrant needs to have great amount of capital, a good business plan, healthy experience and a conditions to employ a minimum number of local employees in the company. Contrary to that, here in Lithuania in order be official immigrant you only need to start your own business with a minimal investment. Consequently, after joining the European Union in 2004, the number of temporary permits to stay in Lithuania is rapidly growing every year.
According to official statistics provided by the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, during the last year 3 291 foreigners from non-EU countries were granted the temporary residence in Lithuania and that is 24.7 per cent more that it was in 2010. Naturally, highest figures amongst the foreigners, who applied for temporary residence permits, are from our neighboring countries – Belarus (1 403 applications), Russia (1 038 applications) and Ukraine (1 040 applications), however, as a rapidly growing economy, Lithuania also highly interests investors coming from Canada, USA, China and other leading counties.
The grounds of applying for temporary residence
It must be said that there are several of them and they vary from family reunion to scientific work in Lithuanian scientific institutions. However at all times the most popular and common framework for a foreigner to obtain a residence permit in Lithuania is definitely a business development. Upon this ground a foreigner has three opportunities:
The first opportunity is to establish a company in Lithuania as the owner or co-owner hereof. In this case, nominal value of foreigner’s proportion of the authorized capital held in the company shall comprise not less than LTL 50 000 (~14 481 EUR), also a foreigner has to present argumentation that his stay in Lithuania is necessary seeking to attain the aims of the company and carrying out the activities.
The second way is to be employed as a head of Lithuanian company with the nominal value of the company’s authorized capital of at least 50 000 LTL (~14 481 EUR). Here, again, if the principal goal of foreigner’s entry into Lithuania has to be work at the company.
And finally, foreigner may establish a company in Lithuania as the owner hereof and employ himself as the head of this company. In this case the nominal value of the capital shall be at least 10 000 Lt (~2 896 EUR).
Foreigner’s rights in Lithuania
If a foreigner meets at least one of the above mentioned criteria, what is easily accomplished with a help of qualified lawyers, he is issued a temporary residence permit to stay in Lithuania valid for one year. Afterwards, the permit may be extended for another year and so on. After five years of continued stay in Lithuania, a foreigner may seek for permanent residence permit with a term of validity of five years.
Besides the fact that a foreigner receives legal right to reside in Lithuania, to depart from and return into Lithuania during the period of validity hereof, to work or study and does start his business in Lithuania, the residence permit also entitles its holder to enter the Schengen zone countries and stay there for an indefinite period of time. Along, a foreigner has the same social benefits as Lithuanian citizens: unemployment benefit, child birth allowance, free medical treatment and etc., with the exception of political rights.