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Travel Security Advice for Lithuania

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Lithuania is a stable democracy that is currently experiencing the ill effects of the global economic downturn after years of undergoing rapid economic growth.  Tourist facilities in Vilnius, the capital, and to a lesser extent in Kaunas and Klaipeda, are similar to those available in other European cities; in other parts of the country, however, some of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries may not be available.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Lithuania for additional information.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Lithuania are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department State travel registration page, to obtain updated information on travel and security within Lithuania. U.S. citizens without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration is important: it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Akmenu Gatve 6, Vilnius, Lithuania LT-03106. The Embassy can be reached via phone at (370) (5) 266-5500 or 266-5600, Fax (370) (5) 266-5590.

Consular information can also be found at the Embassy Vilnius website.

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

Lithuania is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. citizens may enter Lithuania for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheetTravelers remaining in Lithuania for more than 90 days within any six-month period must apply for temporary residency. Lithuanian authorities recommend applying for a residency permit through a Lithuanian embassy or consulate before initial entry into Lithuania, as processing times can run beyond 90 days. All foreigners from non-European Union countries seeking entry into Lithuania must carry proof of a medical insurance policy contracted for payment of all costs of hospitalization and medical treatment in Lithuania.  Visitors unable to demonstrate sufficient proof of medical insurance must purchase short-term insurance at the border from a Lithuanian provider for roughly $1.00 per day.  The number of days will be calculated from the day of entry until the date on the return ticket. Children residing in Lithuania must have written permission from at least one parent to travel outside the country if neither parent is accompanying them on their trip. This policy is not applicable to temporary visitors. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Lithuania and other countries.  Visit the Embassy of Lithuania web site at for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry requirements for visitors to or foreign residents of Lithuania.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information abut customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Civil unrest is not a problem in Lithuania, and there have been no incidents of terrorism directed toward American interests.  Incidents of anti-Americanism are rare.

Recently, larger Lithuanian cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, and Siauliai) have experienced an increase in marches and public gatherings protesting the effects of the global economic downturn. While these events have been overwhelmingly peaceful in nature, U.S. citizens are reminded that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can become confrontational. Therefore, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, if possible, and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any event. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.

CRIME:

Lithuania is a relatively safe country; however, crimes do occur. Visitors should maintain the same personal security awareness that they would in any U.S. city. Large amounts of cash and expensive jewelry should be secured in a hotel safe or left at home. Crimes against foreigners, while usually non-violent, do occur. Pickpocketing and thefts are problems, so personal belongings should be well protected at all times. Theft from cars and car thefts occur regularly. Drivers should be wary of persons indicating they should pull over or that something is wrong with their car. Often, a second car or person is following, and when the driver of the targeted car gets out to see if there is a problem, the person who has been following will either steal the driver’s belongings from the vehicle or get in and drive off with the car. Drivers should never get out of the car to check for damage without first turning off the ignition and taking the keys. Valuables should not be left in plain sight in parked vehicles, as there have been increasing reports of car windows smashed and items stolen. If possible, U.S. citizens should avoid walking alone at night. ATMs should be avoided after dark. In any public area, one should always be alert to being surrounded by two or more people at once. Additionally, criminals have a penchant for taking advantage of drunken pedestrians. U.S. citizens have reported being robbed and/or scammed while intoxicated.

Following a trend that has spread across Eastern and Central Europe, racially motivated verbal, and sometimes physical, harassment of foreigners of non-Caucasian ethnicity has been reported in major cities. Incidents of racially motivated attacks against U.S. citizens have been reported in Kaunas, Klaipeda, and Vilnius.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

 If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see Department of State list of embassies and consulates). This includes the loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. For more information about assistance for victims of crime in Lithuania, please visit the Embassy’s website.

The local equivalent to the 911 emergency number in Lithuania is 112.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and many not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Persons violating Lithuanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Lithuania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. For more information about arrest procedures in Lithuania please visit the Embassy’s website.

Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Lithuanian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary importation into or export from Lithuania of items such as firearms and antiquities.

Telephone connections are generally good. American 1-800 numbers can be accessed from Lithuania but not on a toll-free basis; the international long distance rate per minute will be charged. Local internet cafes offer computer access. ATMs are widely available. Most hotels and other businesses accept major credit cards.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical care in Lithuania has improved in the last 15 years, but medical facilities do not always meet Western standards.  There are a few private clinics with medical supplies and services that nearly equal Western European or U.S. standards.  Most medical supplies are now widely available, including disposable needles, anesthetics, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. However, hospitals and clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources.  Lithuania has highly trained medical professionals, some of whom speak English, but their availability is decreasing as they leave for employment opportunities abroad.  Depending on a patient’s condition, an appointment with a specialist may not be available for several weeks. Western-quality dental care can be obtained in major cities.  Elderly travelers who require medical care may face difficulties.  Most pharmaceuticals sold in Lithuania are from Europe; travelers will not necessarily find the same brands that they use in the United States. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, particularly if immigration status in Lithuania is unclear. 

Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease are widespread throughout the country.  Those intending to visit parks or forested areas in Lithuania are urged to speak with their health care practitioners about immunization.  Rabies is also increasingly prevalent in rural areas.

The Lithuanian Government does not require HIV testing for U.S. citizens; however, sexually transmitted diseases are a growing public health problem.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC web site. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers including detailed country-specific information.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad. Important questions are whether the policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. All foreigners from non-European Union countries seeking entry into Lithuania must carry proof of a medical insurance policy contracted for payment of all costs of hospitalization and medical treatment in Lithuania (please see entry/exit requirements above).  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. 

U.S. citizens may drive in Lithuania with an American driver’s license for up to 90 days. U.S. citizens who reside in Lithuania for 185 days or more in one calendar year and who wish to continue driving in Lithuania must acquire a Lithuanian driver's license.  The foreign license must be given to the Lithuanian Road Police to be processed by the Consular Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which in turn sends it to the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, where the owner is expected to claim it.

Roads in Lithuania range from well-maintained two- to four-lane highways connecting major cities, to small dirt roads traversing the countryside. Violation of traffic rules is common.  It is not unusual to be overtaken by other automobiles traveling at high speed, even in crowded urban areas. Driving at night –especially in the countryside- can be particularly hazardous.  In summer, older seasonal vehicles and inexperienced drivers can be extra hazards.  Driving with caution is urged at all times.  Driving while intoxicated is considered a very serious offense and carries heavy penalties.  The speed limit is 50 km/hr in town and 90 km/hr out of town unless otherwise indicated. The phone number for roadside assistance is 8-800-01414 from a regular phone and 1414 from a GSM mobile phone.

Seatbelts are mandatory for the driver and all passengers except children under the age of 12. During the winter, most major roads are cleared of snow. Winter or all-season tires are required from November 10th through April 1st. Studded tires are not allowed from April 10th through October 31st.  Drivers must have at least their low-beam lights on at all times while driving.

Public transportation is generally safe.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information, or visit the website of Lithuania’s national tourist office or national authority responsible for road safety.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Lithuania, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Lithuania’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA safety assessment page.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 2, 2009 to update the section on Threats to Safety and Security.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Lithuania HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).......

Regards

The SW Team...

 

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