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The grant of asylum in the Republic of Lithuania means:
The refugee status is granted to a foreigner who is recognised a refugee in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention. The provisions of Part 1 of Article 86 of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners are completely harmonised with Part A of Article 1 of the aforementioned Convention which provides the definition of refugee. Part 1 of Article 86 stipulates the following:
Refugee status shall be granted to an asylum applicant who, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, citizenship, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his citizenship and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country or who, not having a citizenship and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it
Subsidiary protection in the Republic of Lithuania may be granted to the applicant for asylum who is outside the borders of his/her country of origin and cannot return due to entirely reasonable fear that:
1) s/he will be tortured, subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
2) there is a threat that s/he will be imposed capital punishment or execution;
3) his/her life, health, safety or freedom is under threat as a result of indiscriminate violence which emerged during an international or internal armed conflict(Part 1 of Article 87 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners).
Refugee status and subsidiary protection may be refused to be granted to a foreigner, if there are any reasons provided for in Article 88 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners.
Procedure for granting asylum
Procedure for granting refugee status and subsidiary protection
A foreigner shall have the right to lodge an asylum application at the border crossing point, and if s/he is in the territory where the legal regime of the frontier has been established ‒to the State Border Guard Service, in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania – to any territorial police office or to the Foreigners Registration Centre. Civil servants of the aforementioned institutions shall immediately interview the asylum seeker, take his/her available personal, travel or other documents, take his/her fingerprints and take his/her photo. The asylum application and other related documents are sent to the Migration Department.
A dactylography card is sent to the Criminal Expertise Centre which is a designated national EURODAC unit to transfer fingerprint data to the Central EURODAC Unit.
The Migration Department shall no later than within 48 hours from the moment of lodging of the asylum application to take one of the following decisions:
a) toconsider the asylum application on its merits by means of general procedure, to grant temporary asylum and issue a foreigner’s registration certificate. This decision shall be made when the reasons due to which temporary asylum is not granted are not identified (see paragraphs c and b)and if no other EU Member State can be identified to be responsible for the examination of an asylum application (see paragraph b);
b) to determine that another EU Member State shall be responsible for the examination of an application, not to consider the application on its merits, to grant temporary asylum and issue a foreigner’s registration certificate. Such decision shall be made, if there are any signs that another EU Member State, other than the Republic of Lithuania, may be responsible for the examination of an application. In this case, the asylum application is not considered on its merits; instead, an investigation is carried out the aim of which is to transfer the asylum seeker to the EU Member State responsible for the examination of such asylum application. If an asylum seeker is for any reasons not transferred to another EU Member State, the temporary territorial asylum to such a foreigner shall be extended and his/her asylum application shall be considered on its merits in Lithuania;
c) not to grant temporary asylum, not to consider the asylum application on its merits, to send the asylum seeker back to a safe third country. This decision shall be made, if it is determined that the asylum seeker arrived in Lithuania from a safe third country. A safe third country means a country other than the foreigner’s country of origin but is a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and (or) the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, also the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of HumanRights and Fundamental Freedoms and (or) the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, implementing the provisions of the aforementioned documents and in accordance with its national laws, providing a realistic opportunity to apply for asylum and be granted it in accordance with the established procedure (Part 25 of Article 2 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners). An asylum seeker having arrived from a safe third country is obliged to leave for that country, is returned to it or deported. The principle of a safe third country shall not be applicable, if the asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor and, if a safe third party is a Member State of the European Union. In the latter case a decision specified in paragraph b shall be taken.
d) not to grant temporary territorial asylum, not to grant asylum, to deport the asylum seeker from the Republic of Lithuania. In taking this decision, the term of 48 hours, during which the Migration Department must decide, may be extended to 72 hours from the moment of lodging the asylum application. Such asylum application shall be considered on its merits by means of an urgent procedure; it shall be applied, if a foreigner arrived from a safe origin country (the foreigner’s origin country where legal system, applied legal standards and political relationships are such that a person is not persecuted for the reason of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership to a certain social group or political beliefs and nobody is tortured, subjected to violent, inhuman or humiliating treatment and such measures are not applied as a means of punishment, the fundamental human rights and freedoms are not infringed on, there is no reckless violence which could pose threat during an internationalor internal conflict (Part 24 of Article 2 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners) and, if the asylum application by a foreigneris a manifestly unfounded asylum application (an application by a foreigner for asylum in the Republic of Lithuania which evidently contains no reasoning of the threat of persecution in the country of origin or which is based on deception or which serves for abuse of the procedure for granting asylum and which for the aforementioned reasons apparently fails to meet the criteria established in this Law for granting asylum in the Republic of Lithuania (Part 1 of Article 2 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners). The procedure of urgent consideration of an asylum application shall not be applicable to asylum seekers who are unaccompanied minors.
The Migration Department also has the right to take charge of an asylum seeker passed over from another EU Member State, if it is identified that the Republic of Lithuania is responsible for the consideration of asylum application. In such cases asylum applications shall be considered on their merits in the Republic of Lithuania.
An asylum seeker whose asylum application is considered on its merits by general procedure is accommodated in the Foreigners Registration Centre. Asylum seekers-unaccompanied minors are accommodated in the Refugee Reception Centre. The Migration Department decides on the accommodation of the asylum seeker, if there are no reasons for which the asylum seeker would be subject to any restrictions on the freedom of movement within the country. The issue of a foreigner’s freedom of movement shall be considered by the court which may apply detention or a measure alternative to detention in accordance with Article 113-115 of the Law on Legal Status of Foreigners. An asylum seeker who legally arrives in the country and can afford to settle in Lithuania at his own expense, by decision of the Migration Department may be permitted to settle in the chosen place of residence.
An asylum application shall be considered by general procedure within the period of 3 months which for objective reasons may be extended for three more months.
A decision on granting (non-granting) of asylum is taken by the Migration Department. This decision may be the following:
The decision of the Migration Department may be appealed against at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court within 14 days from the day of service of the decision.
Foreigners have the following rights during the procedure for consideration of asylum applications:
Asylum seekers must: