Married Same-sex Couple Confused Lithuanian Migration Officers

The specialists of the Migration Department at the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania encountered an unusual situation – a man from Belarus handed a request to temporarily stay in Lithuania. He expects to get a permit, and, according to the law, a citizen of another country is permitted to legally stay in Lithuania when the documents proving marriage or partnership with Lithuanian citizen are being submitted. The migration officers admit that this would be an easy case if this man was married to a woman, however he is married to another man.

Belarusian man claimed that he got married in Holland and provided all the needed documentation, but the officers got confused, because same-sex marriage is illegal in Lithuania. “We confirm that such an application was handed in. Following consultations with the Migration Department at the Ministry of the Interior, the Migration Board of Vilnius Country has accepted the application and delivered it to the Migration Department” – acknowledged communication officer of Vilnius Country Migration Board. The migration officers review the applications submitted, and they have the right to immediately dismiss it upon any contradiction of the laws. If it do fit the laws, requests and all of the attached documents are being sent to the Migration Department at the Ministry of the Interior for further evaluation and official conclusion.

According to the Lithuanian law, foreigners are allowed to temporarily stay in Lithuania in case of family consolidation. In such case, the legal partner of a foreign citizen has to reside in Lithuania and be a citizen of Lithuania or have a permit to temporarily live in the country. This authorization also includes underage children (biological or foster) of the legal partners. Even though same-sex marriage is illegal in Lithuania, this law does not have any apparent statement that the partnership has to be made by partners of different sex. “It should be noted that this is the first case when a foreigner hands a request to temporarily stay in Lithuania by virtue of being married to a same-sex citizen of Lithuania who also resides here” – concedes Tomas Beržinskas, the adviser of the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania.