You’re In The Army Now!

Notice of Caution

If you’re male and between the ages of 18-26 traveling to Lithuania on a Lithuanian passport beware…

By David E. Kaplan

 Jews with roots in Lithuania, known as Litvaks, have been active in applying for Lithuanian citizenship after the country in 2016 amended the law to make it easier for them to do so.

Most of them are Litvaks from Israel and South Africa and to a smaller extent, from the USA.

 Over 90 per cent of the South African Jewish community are Litvaks.

Lithuanian officials estimate that around 200,000 Jews with Lithuanian roots live in Israel and according to preliminary findings by the Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town  (UCT)the size of the Jewish community in South Africa has shrunken to fewer than 50,000.

In July 2019, I received a letter by way of an email from the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel warning young people aged 18-26 with duel Israel-Lithuanian citizenship to only enter Lithuania with an Israeli passport. It cited a recent case of a 22- year-old grandson who traveled  with his extended family on a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Kaunas (Kovna) who was arrested at passport control for military service and only released after the intervention of the Israeli embassy in Vilnius (Vilna).

Lithuania has a mandatory recruitment law that applies to boys aged 18-26.

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In order to clarify the situation, LOTL wrote to the Lithuanian Embassy in Tel Aviv  and received this reply:

From: <>
Sent: Thursday, August 1, 2019 12:07 PM
To: (Me)
Subject: FW: Del karines prievoles LR pilietybe atkurusiems LR piliečiams, taciau niekada negyvenusiems Lietuvoje

In response to your email inquiry please be informed that:

° According to the Article 8 of the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who is a citizen of another state at the same time shall be considered by the State of Lithuania to be only a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania. The possession of citizenship of another state shall not relieve him of the responsibilities as a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania under the Constitution, laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania.

° From the beginning of 2015, the conscripted army has been renewed in Lithuania. Every year (usually until January 15 of the calendar year) lists of military conscripts of the calendar year are drawn up randomly, with the help of a computer program. You may check the list of military conscripts online:  All Lithuanian men aged 19-26 can be invited to perform compulsory military service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces for a period of 9 months. The priority shall be given to volunteers. Generally, only 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. It is important to emphasize that neither this law nor other legislation provide a legal basis for an exemption from the military service to a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who is a citizen of another state at the same time and (or) serves at the moment or has completed service at the army of another country.

° A military conscript who is on the list of conscripts may submit a claim based on evidence to the Regional Military Conscription and Compilation Division regarding a postponement of his military service due to disproportionate damage to his interests and his application would be considered by a special commission.

For additional questions and clarifications we would suggest you to contact Lithuanian military duty and recruitment department in Vilnius:


Mindaugo str. 26, Vilnius 03225, Lithuania


+370 5 2 30 96 91, +370 706 84 376



LR ambasada Izraelio Valstybėje

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the State of Israel

Ph.: +972 3 6958685

Fax: +972 3 6958691

Sason Hogi Tower

12 Abba Hillel Silver str., Ramat Gan 5250606

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