Where to begin?
The most important aspect when moving to another country is to plan your relocation. Knowing your plan of actions before and upon the return eases the integration process, spares one from needless psychological and emotional stress and minimizes bureaucratic difficulties.
First of all, think about your place of residence: do you plan to stay in the capital or maybe you would like to live in a small town (useful information on different parts of Lithuania – Regions of Lithuania). Are you considering renting an apartment or plan to temporarily stay with someone you know, friends or relatives, maybe you have enough savings to buy your own apartment? These are the types of questions that have to be addressed. This is so, because once you are settled, you will have to declare your place of residence. For those who plan to buy their own apartment, mortgage loan might be of interest. Further information on these topics – in the section housing.
Look for a job prior to your relocation to Lithuania. Having a job immediately upon return serves as a great benefit not only as a regular source of income but also spares the need to handle Compulsory health insurance (employee’s compulsory health contributions are paid by the employer). More information on finding a job. If you are a Lithuanian national seeking to start a professional career and would like to do an internship, checking options presented in “Kurk Lietuvai" and “Talentai Lietuvai” programs would be a great starting point.
If you are a foreigner, make sure you have all the necessary documents for a visa or a residence permit ready. Remember, that Schengen visa allows you to stay for no more than 90 days within the 180-day period and does not allow you to work here.
Learn some Lithuanian before you get here or refresh your knowledge if you already speak a little "lietuviškai".
If you have children, make sure you make their integration process as easy as possible. If a child is below school-age, look into the situation of kindergartens in particular regions of Lithuania – here you will find information on kinds of kindergartens available, application process and how to register your child prior to your return to Lithuania (more information on pre-school education). If a child is already attending school, upon moving to Lithuania, teachers will evaluate his/her level of knowledge and suggest the most suitable grade. The assessment process is deeply linked with child’s knowledge of Lithuanian language: if he/she is not able to speak Lithuanian at all, additional language classes may be provided in school (more information on school education). Children who have limited knowledge of Lithuanian language may improve their skills prior to the return to Lithuania. This can be done via distance learning or in Lithuanian schools.
Those receiving social benefits in either of the EU member states, should bear in mind that a significant amount of the benefit may be transferred to Lithuania. More on this topic: aggregation of employment periods, unemployment benefits, social benefits related to child birth and care.
Summing up, first steps in Lithuania are as follows:
- Prior to coming to Lithuania, make sure you possess required documents (more information – Which documents to bring?). It might be a good idea to give a power of attorney to a relative or a friend back home. If you need to obtain a specific document, they can then ask for it on your behalf.
- Get a Schengen visa if you need one. In some cases you can get a national visa or a temporary residence permit prior to your arrival to Lithuania.
- Declare the departure from the country of your current residence.
- Apply for a residence permit in Lithuania.
- Declare a place of residence in Lithuania. This can be done via the E-Government Gateway (for Lithuanian citizens only) оr in your local municipality (seniūnija). Foreigners can also declare their place of residence when collecting their residence permit at the Migration Office. More information on declaring place of residence.
- Ensure that you have taken care of the compulsory health insurance (Privalomasis sveikatos draudimas or PSD). If you are a citizen of Lithuania, as soon as you declare a place of residence in Lithuania, there is an obligation to pay the PSD payment to “Sodra”. If you are employed, there is no need for these payments, as they are automatically charged along with paychecks. If you do not work for a period of time, you have to pay the required PSD contributions (in 2018 - 36 Euros/month) on your own (unless you belong to one of the categories of people who are insured by the state). Insured by the state are the retired, those who are unemployed and registered at the Lithuanian Labor Exchange, students, one of the parents that is raising a child (under 8 years old, etc.), minors (under 18 years of age), among others. If you are a foreigner, you can participate in the compulsory health insurance system and are obliged to pay CSI contributions only in case you have a permanent residence permit in Lithuania. If a foreigner is employed the employer pays his PSD fees. Read more about the compulsory health insurance.
- Choose and register at a healthcare institution. Before registering, make sure that your chosen healthcare institution has an agreement with the territorial patient fund regarding the compensation of healthcare services. In this way, you will not have to pay for the services that are covered by the budget of the compulsory health insurance fund (CHIF). Read more about healthcare institutions.