One of the Baltic states, Lithuania lies in the northeast of Europe and is bordered by Belarus, Poland and Latvia to the east, west and north respectively. The country also has a small stretch of Baltic Sea access on the western edge and this access plays a hugely significant role in Lithuanian commerce, trade and tourism.
Once a powerful and dominant empire from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, Lithuania was one half of the Polish-Lithuanian confederation for almost two centuries before being occupied by Russia in 1795. The country fell to the German army during World War II before being absorbed into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the U.S.S.R., In 1944.
It was not until as recently as 1990 that Lithuania became an independent country and joined both the European Union (EU) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in 2004. Although Lithuania signed the Schengen Agreement in 2003 it was not until four years later, in late 2007, that the terms of the agreement were fully implemented.
Visa Required for World Travellers
Because Lithuania is a member of both the European Union and Schengen Area citizens travelling under a passport from either of these two bodies do not require any form of visa to enter, stay for a short period or travel through the country. This also applies to a number of other listed countries who have signed up to a reciprocal visa-exempt travel agreement.
The list of visa-exempt countries includes the United States, Canada, Australia, China and many South American countries. Despite having left the EU and not being a Schengen member state, British citizens currently also enjoy visa-free travel to Lithuania (and all Schengen countries) although this situation is set to change with the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) in the not too distant future. All other nationals not covered under these agreements are deemed to be “world travellers” and will need to have applied for (and received) the correct form of Schengen Visa before arrival in Lithuania.
Which Type of Visa?
Before lodging an application with the Lithuanian authorities it is vital to decide which type of visa best fits the purpose of the visit. There are numerous types of visa to choose from, the most commonly sought being those for holiday, work and study purposes but these are just three of the many available. Selecting the wrong visa type for the purpose of the visit is a common mistake and one that can easily lead to extended processing times and even refusal.
World travellers should choose from the following Lithuanian Schengen Visa types:
Not always required but may be needed to transit through a Lithuanian airport en route to other destinations.
Same as the Airport Transit Visa but for the use of seaports and travel by ship.
Short holidays and sightseeing trips fall under the Tourist Visa category and is the one most world travellers visiting Lithuania will require.
Business, and business-related matters, requiring a short visit to Lithuania are covered by the Business Visa which can be processed and approved quicker than a Tourist Visa.
A Study Visa covers courses with a maximum duration of three months. Longer courses (university or college) require a special extended study visa.
If medical attention or treatment must be undertaken in Lithuania it is necessary to possess a Medical Visa. This can only be granted with the necessary medical history, treatment schedule and associated files provided by the applicant’s doctor and the relevant medical body in Lithuania.
Similar to the Tourist Visa, a Visitor Visa specifically targets world travellers visiting friends or relations currently resident in Lithuania. Proof of the relationship and a letter of invitation must accompany the visa application form.
Cultural, Sports, Film, Religious Events
World travellers wishing to attend events pertaining to the arts, culture, sports and religion should possess this form of visa.
Members of visiting official delegations should possess a Members of Official Delegation Visa. Applications for this type of visa must be accompanied by a copy of the official invitation and details of where and when meetings are scheduled as well as the accommodation plans for the duration of the visit.
All standard Schengen Visas comply with the 90/180 day rule. This states that the holder may only remain in Lithuania (or the Schengen Area) for no more than a total of ninety days out of one hundred and eighty. The ninety days can be one continuous block or broken into several smaller stays as long as the limit is not exceeded. World travellers wishing (or needing) to remain longer will need a different form of visa.
Standard Requirements for Application
Regardless of which type of visa is being sought there are a number of documents and standard requirements that are required. Some are easily attainable while others can be more difficult to acquire but the following are not just standard but compulsory in all cases:
- Schengen Visa application form completed in full, reviewed, signed and dated.
- Passport valid for minimum of three months beyond the last date spent in the Schengen area. Passport must also have at least two pages blank for affixing the visa.
- Two identical, recent passport approved photographs.
- Copies of any previously held visas.
- Flight itinerary details including dates and flight numbers. Travellers using ferries, trains, coaches or cars should supply the relevant booking details with car registration number and driving license.
- Copies of booked accommodation documentation.
- Proof of sufficient funding to cover the time to be spent in the Schengen Area.
- Proof of adequate health insurance coverage while in the Schengen Area.
- Letter outlining the main purpose of the visit and details of entry and exit to the Schengen Area and any proposed outings, day trips or onward travel.
World travellers accompanying spouses or children may also need to supply civil status documentation which can include copies of marriage, birth or guardianship certificates.
Apart from the usual mandatory requirements an applicant will often be asked to supply various other documents. Exactly which papers will be required depend on the type of visa being sought and the applicant’s employment status.
Examples of which documents may be requested include:
- An employment contract, holiday leave approval, income tax forms and recent bank statements if employed.
- Self-employed travellers will require details of the business license, income tax returns and most recent business bank statements.
- Students need to show that they have registered with an approved educational establishment and show proof of enrolment and a letter from the college attesting the student will leave Lithuania at the end of the course. Proof of sufficient funds to cover accommodation and daily expenses may also be required.
- Pensioners are required to provide additional documentation in the form of the preceding six months pension statements as well as details of any additional income where applicable.
These are just some of the many types of documents that the Lithuanian visa authorities may seek but there are many others that may be sought depending on the applicant’s circumstances. This is why it is so important to select the type of visa that best fits the reason for visiting Lithuania and to always check precisely what additional documentation are required.