South Africa’s new immigration law and its regulations has left a large number of foreigners with their hands in their hair. The lives of these individuals have come to a complete standstill as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) flounder about trying to cope with a large volume of applications.
As a result of an influx of Jewish immigrants from 1868-1914, 80% of South African Jews are of Lithuanian descent, making it the third largest Lithuanian Diaspora community in the world. In light of this, and the new immigration law and regulations, Gary Eisenberg would like to remind the South African Jewish community of their Lithuanian heritage and encourage them to apply, if eligible, for Lithuanian Citizenship.
Today’s Lithuanian Jewish community consists of less than 5 000 souls, down from 15 000 in 1989 and 220 000 just before World War II.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
The new legislation dictates that in order to qualify, it must be proven that the forbearer fled Lithuania – on the basis that extraordinary circumstances existed which led to the fleeing – between 1919 and 1990 to reside permanently in another state. Lithuania, generally, prohibits dual nationality, but this provision is the exception to the general rule.
WHY IS IT BENEFICIAL?
Lithuania is part of the EU and it is therefore beneficial to South Africans if they are eligible, to apply for and obtain Lithuanian Citizenship. On the basis that Lithuania is against dual nationality, save for certain exceptions and on the basis that it is now a requirement to prove that extraordinary circumstances existed which forced the forebearer to flee Lithuania, it may become more difficult with time to acquire the nationality.
HOW LONG WILL THE PROCESS TAKE?
Once an application has been lodged at Lithuania’s Migration Department, expect to wait 18 months or longer.
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