Archives of Lithuania are open to public. Any person, upon the presentation of an ID card, may have an access to archival records. Records of state institutions without restrains (except a few, access to which is restricted by law) are available for reference. Records transferred to the state archives by individuals and non-state institutions are accessible on the terms set by the owners.
Access to documents which contain information on personal’s private life and personal data
Access to documents is regulated by the Law on Documents and Archives of the Republic of Lithuaniaand related legislation particularly Civil Code and the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data of the Republic of Lithuania.
The Article 2.23 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania determines the Right to Privacy an Secrecy and defines that privacy of natural person shall be inviolable. Information on person’s private life may be made public only with his consent. After person’s death the said consent may be given by person’s spouse, children and parents. Establishment of a file on another person’s private life in violation of law shall be prohibited. A person may not be denied access to the information contained in the file except as otherwise provided by the law.
The article 19 of the Law on Documents and Archives of the Republic of Lithuania, embeds provision of free access to documents without delay period, except those documents the access to which is limited by other laws. Persons shall have the right of access to such documents in accordance with the procedure established by the said laws.
The part 5 of the article 20 of Law on Documents and Archives of the Republic of Lithuania determines fixed restrictions on access to the documents which contain information on person’s private life, as well as to structured sets of personal data - 30 years after the person’s death, and in the event of failure to determine the date of death – for a term of 100 years from his birth. If neither the date of birth nor the date of death of a person is determined, the access shall be limited for a term of 70 years from the creation of the documents. Restrictions on access set in related legislation does not mean, that documents are not accessible at all.
Some exceptions could be applied. For example, access to the documents containing information regarding the persons who have admitted to secret collaboration with the intelligence agencies of the USSR and who have been entered on the record of the persons who have confessed is restricted. In order to get an access to the documents mentioned above a written consent must been given by the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania. It means that a person, who wishes to get acquainted himself with such documents, must apply to Lithuanian Special Archive, which within its competence applies to Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania in order to get a permission for access.
Access to the documents in the cases when a person who suffered from the intelligence agencies of the USSR expresses his will on the limitation of use of the information on him until his death, is restricted as well. A person can get acquainted himself with such documents after getting a written consent from a person who suffered from the intelligence agencies of the USSR and expressed his will on the limitation of use of the information on him until his death.
After expiration of the above mentioned periods, documents are available without any restriction. During the closure period access can be provided according the procedures established by Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data of the Republic of Lithuania.
Time restrictions are not applied to a living person requesting his/her own birth certificate, marriage record or other vital record. Person has the right of access to such documents in accordance with the procedure established by the laws. Articles 23 and 24 of the Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data lay down procedure on person’s (data subject’s) access to his personal data. Law on the Right to Receive Information from State and Local Authorities sets procedure on access to information on person’s private life. The Article 7 of this Law determines that the applicant has the right to receive private information about himself, except the cases established by laws, when certain information may not be provided. Private information related to the applicant may be provided to him/her according to the procedure established by this Law submitting a written request and confirming his/her identity in accordance with the procedure established by laws. A person who wishes to get acquainted himself or make use of the documents which contain personal data or information on his/her private life must apply to the document holder, submitting a written request and a document proving his/her identity.
A family member may review documents which are held in State Archives submitting a written request and a document proving his identity and family relations with a deceased person.
The Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data of the Republic of Lithuania regulates protection the right of individuals privacy with regard to the processing of personal data. The Law on Documents and Archives of the Republic of Lithuania determines closure periods of access only to structured sets of personal data.
Documents containing personal data which restriction term is unexpired can be accessed by:
- courts, pre-trial investigation institutions and other institutions in accordance within their competence;
- lawyers - to personal data and private information of principle persons in court by procuration or contract with him;
Information on person’s private life can be made public only with his/her consent. After person’s death the said consent may be given by person’s spouse, children and parents.
Natural and legal persons can have access to documents which contains information of person’s private life - for scientific research, statistical and historical purposes on following conditions.
Personal data shall be processed in the course of scientific research, statistical and historical purposes if the data subject has given his consent. Without the consent of the data subject personal data can be processed only if the State Data Protection Inspectorate which must carry out a prior checking has been duly notified.
As structured sets of personal data are defined concrete files or their parts, which filing principle is information about person. Access to such files or their parts, which are held in the state archives is limited.
The main groups of containing personal data files are:
- personal (officeholders, officers, students, etc.) files;
- population census files (census papers);
- household books;
- hypothecary books;
- church or civil registers of births, marriages and deaths (parish registers);
- various lists containing personal data (not only first and family name, but also including natal data, marriage status and it’s content, nationality racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, and the processing of data concerning health or sex life, conviction, and etc).
Without State Data Protection Inspectorate prior checking notification or agreement of relatives specified by law, direct disclosure of data for individual researches must be limited (producing of document copies, conversion of document to other medium).
Individual reseachers from European Union and other states in the course of scientific research, can access to documents, the access to which is limited by law, by analogous treatment as well as Lithuanian researches.
Users applying for access to files, which are determined as structured sets, must fill application for access to documents which contains private data. State archives can make the contracts in case of multiple disclosure of private data.
Searching for documents or their copies to exercise the Right to Lithuanian Citizenship
According to the Republic of Lithuania Law on Citizenship the following persons may exercise the right to citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania:
- persons who were citizens of the Republic of Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, residing in other states (provided that such persons, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren did not repatriate);
- persons of Lithuanian descent who reside in other states.
For more details about legal procedures related to Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania issues see this Internet page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs .
Documents specified in paragraph 4 of Article 26 of the Law on Citizenship or their copies proving that the person held Lithuanian citizenship prior to 15 June 1940:
Documents confirming that the person held Lithuanian citizenship prior to 15 June 1940 shall be the following documents: extant internal or foreign passports of the Republic of Lithuania issued prior to 15 June 1940; foreign passports of the Republic of Lithuania issued by diplomatic missions or consular posts of the Republic of Lithuania abroad after 15 June 1940; documents relating to service in the Lithuanian Army or employment in civil service; birth certificates or other documents having direct reference to Lithuanian citizenship held by the person, identity cards issued on the basis of documents issued in Lithuania prior to 15 June of 1940.
In the absence of the above documents the following documents may be submitted: documents relating to studies, work and residence in Lithuania prior to 15 June 1940; Lithuanian descent shall be confirmed by documents testifying directly or indirectly that the person’s parents or grandparents, or one of the parents or grandparents are Lithuanian or held Lithuanian citizenship.
Persons searching for mentioned above information should apply to:
Address: O. Milašiaus 21,
LT 10102 Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: +370 5 247 7811
Fax: +370 5 276 5318
Persons searching for information about their or their relatives’ birth, death or marriage (certificates from church and civil vital records books) should apply to:
Address: Gerosios Vilties g. 10,
LT 03134 Vilnius, Lithuania
Telephone: +370 5 213 7482
Fax: +370 5 213 7612
Person could get acquainted himself with the documents in the archives’ reading rooms or submitting written request. Archives provide paid services relating to the search of documents. In order to start search, as far as all known information must be provided. Information to get started could be: full names (including maiden name), date and place of birth, marriage or death (though approximate), determined residential town, village or other areas and addresses.
Archives will contact and inform about service fees and terms as soon as possible.
There are reference rooms in each Archives. The researchers observing the regulations have the possibility directly to become acquainted with the documents.
Services of reading rooms:
- Reading rooms provide access to inventory lists, indexes, descriptions, catalogues, and reference books.
- Consultations of experienced archivists are available here, too.
- The information search systems are created for helping to find documents.
- The State Archives provide advices for institutions and organizations regarding the organization of documents management, and preservation of documents; they also handle enquiries of institutions and individuals.
- On user's request, photocopies and microfilm copies of documents can be made.
- Professional restoration of documents.
- Educational excursions and exhibitions of documents are organized in the archives for the public.
- At the request the archives give official certificates about the birth, marriage and death of persons, estate, record of service and other legal status facts.
Also Lithuanian archivists, displaying the history sources for the society, are compiling collections of various documents, preparing monographs, writing articles and making publications.
Notice to clients
Some services (copying of documents, etc.) are provided for a fee (see the pricelist of paid services).
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