Foreigners who wish to work in Lithuania will have to obtain Lithuanian residence permits. Exceptions will only apply in certain cases

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Following the entry into force of the amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, which aim to regulate labour migration flows more efficiently, the procedures for employment of foreign nationals are becoming stricter.

Starting from 1 July 2024, foreigners who previously came to our country using the visa-free regime, national or Schengen visas, or residence permits issued by other countries will no longer be able to work in Lithuania.

From now on, such individuals will be required to obtain a temporary residence permit issued in Lithuania.

Temporary residence permits will not be required in exceptional cases only, when foreigners arrive in Lithuania legally and meet certain additional criteria exempting them from the obligation to obtain a work permit.

Such exceptions will apply:

  • To foreigners who are sent to Lithuania and come to work as employees of a company established in a member state of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association;
  • To crew members of ships sailing international routes under the flag of Lithuania;
  • To foreigners coming to Lithuania for no more than three months a year to conduct affairs related to the conclusion and execution of contracts, staff training or equipment installation;
  • To entrepreneurs who are shareholders and managers of companies;
  • To highly skilled athletes;
  • To performers;
  • To journalists accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • To individuals officially engaged in religious activities;
  • To foreigners who come to Lithuania to carry out governmental or voluntary programs recognized by the European Union or its member states;
  • To lecturers and researchers who come to conduct scientific research as researchers, having labour or copyright contracts signed with scientific or research institutions;
  • To nationals of economically developed countries (Australia, Japan, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea) who come to work or engage in other legal activities.

Foreigners who started working in Lithuania before the amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens came into effect will have the right to work until the end of their legal stay or until they acquire the right to work on other grounds provided for by the said law.

For example, a Belarusian citizen who came to Lithuania with a Polish national visa and is employed here per the shortage occupation list will be able to work as long as his or her visa remains valid. If such a foreigner wishes to continue working in Lithuania, he or she should apply for a Lithuanian work-based temporary residence permit as soon as possible. In such cases, the Migration Department advises to apply for new permits at least 4 months before the expiration date of the existing documents.

The Migration Department reminds that the submission of an application for a temporary residence permit does not grant the permission to stay and work in Lithuania if the previously held permit has already expired. Working without a valid permit is illegal, and in such cases the employer who violates the legislation will become subject to administrative liability. In addition, the employer fined for allowing illegal or undeclared work or violations of the procedure for employment of foreign nationals will be prohibited from hiring new foreigners for one year.