Work permits for employees in Lithuania: A complete guide for employers


May 25, 2023

If you’re hiring in Lithuania (or expanding your company's operations there), you need to know that all your employees are legally authorized to work.

It's illegal to employ workers who don’t have proper work authorization—and violating immigration laws could mean facing severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or even a ban on hiring foreign employees.

Before you make your first Lithuanian hire (or transfer an existing employee to Lithuania), read our guide. Below, you will find essential information such as the requirements for a work visa, the application process, and frequently asked questions regarding work permits for foreign nationals and third-country nationals in Lithuania.

What is a work permit in Lithuania?

Third-country nationals generally require two documents to work in Lithuania: a work permit and a visa to enter and remain in the country.

To be employed in Lithuania, the worker needs one of the following (these are the most common permits/visas):

  • A work permit
  • A ‘Decision on the Compliance of Foreign Work with Labour Market Needs’ permit
  • EU Blue Card
  • Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Card

The employer applies on the employee’s behalf for each type of permit.

In most cases, after obtaining a work permit, the worker still needs to apply for a long-term National Type D visa to legally stay in Lithuania (if not working on a three-month Schengen visa).

Together, these documents enable foreign workers to engage in legal employment within Lithuania.

Who needs a work permit in Lithuania?

Third-country nationals who don’t have permanent residency in Lithuania, need to obtain a work permit to be legally employed in the country.

However, there are several exceptions:

  • Citizens of EU/EEA member states, citizens of Switzerland, and their families.
  • Third-country nationals holding a permanent residence permit.
  • Third-country nationals who are family members of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and have a residence permit issued for family reunification.
  • Third-country nationals who have obtained residence permits to study.
  • Third-country nationals whose profession is included in the list of professions for which there is a shortage of workers.
  • Third-country nationals who intend to work as a trainee or an intern.
  • Third-country nationals who work remotely in Lithuania under an employment contract with a company that operates in Lithuania.
  • Those applying for a Blue Card.

A visa (to live in Lithuania) or residence permit is also required.

When you send an offer letter to a new hire in Lithuania, it should include a clause about the offer being contingent on their eligibility to legally work in Lithuania.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Lithuania?

Employers should be aware of the processing times for various documents. A work permit usually takes two weeks. National Visas (D) are processed in 15 to 30 days and a temporary residence permit can take two to four months.

Types of work permits and visas in Lithuania

There are several types of work permits and work visas in Lithuania. These vary by the nationality of the employee, the length of employment, and the type of employment. These are the most common:

Work Permit/Visa: A work permit allows a foreigner to work in Lithuania for up to one year and apply for a National Visa (D). A work permit also allows a third-country national to be employed for a maximum duration of three months under a Schengen visa or visa waiver.

A ‘Decision on the Compliance of Foreign Work with Lithuanian Labour Market Needs’ Permit: This is used for the hiring of workers in underserved labor categories and is valid for up to two years. With this document, a third-country national can apply for a residence permit in Lithuania. The foreigner can only start working after obtaining a residence permit.

The Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Card: This is a work-residence permit that is valid across all European Union countries. Qualified third-country nationals may obtain it in any EU member country. It permits workers of companies operating in both the EU and a third country to temporarily relocate workers to an EU country—in this case Lithuania—for work. The ICT Mobility Card allows ICT transferees to move between EU countries for the same purpose.

Seasonal Work Permit: This permit is for temporary seasonal workers and allows them to work for six months per year in Lithuania. Workers will also need to obtain a Schengen Visa (short-term EU visa) for work contracts of less than 90 days. For periods of more than 90 days, a National Visa (D) is required.

EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is granted to highly qualified non-EU workers, allowing them to live and work in an EU country. Eligibility requires professional qualifications and an employment contract or firm job offer with a duration of at least one year. Lithuania applies a Labour Market Test (LMT) that ensures third-country nationals are only admitted after employers have unsuccessfully searched for national workers, EU/EEA citizens, or legally residing third-country nationals with access to the labor market according to national legislation. There is also a salary threshold of 1.5 times the average monthly salary in Lithuania.

National Type D Visa: Third-country nationals who possess a National Type D visa can enter Lithuania and remain in the country for a duration specified in the visa, up to 12 months. Typically, the National Type D visa is issued to individuals who come to Lithuania for purposes such as work, study, or scientific research.

Remember that residents of the EU are not covered by these permits as they automatically have authorization to work in Lithuania and other EU states.

Application process for Lithuanian work permits and visas

These are the steps required to obtain the most common work permits and work visas in Lithuania:

  • Work Permit and ‘Decision on the Compliance of Foreign Work with Lithuanian Labour Market Needs’:
    • The employer collects the necessary documents from the foreign worker to file the application. This includes a copy of a passport, personal information, proof that the work is required in the Lithuanian labor market, and other relevant documentation (see below).
    • The employer files the application with the Lithuanian Labour Exchange.
    • A decision is usually made within seven business days.
    • Upon approval, the Labour Exchange issues the work permit.
    • The employer fills out a mediation letter in the MIGRIS system. This means workers can apply for a National Visa (D) and a residence permit.
    • The employment contract is finalized.
    • The employee applies for a National Visa (D) at the diplomatic mission in their country.
    • Once the employee has a National Visa (D) and a residence permit, they can enter the country and start working.
  • Blue Card
    • The employee must have a valid work contract or binding job offer for highly qualified employment lasting at least one year and meet the salary threshold.
    • The employer files an application at the Labour Exchange for a Labour Market Test (LMT) to ensure that no residents, EU nationals, or other authorized workers are available for the position.
    • The employee applies online using the Lithuanian Migration Information System (MIGRIS).
    • The employee books an appointment to submit biometric data and documents. This can be done in person at a Lithuanian Embassy/Consulate or online.
    • Allow 30 to 90 days for processing.
    • The employee picks up the card at the Lithuanian Embassy/Consulate.
  • National Visa (D)
    • The worker makes an appointment at a Lithuanian Embassy/Consulate.
    • The worker files an application online.
    • The worker gathers the required documents.
    • The worker submits the documentation to the Lithuanian Embassy/Consulate. At the same time, they pay the fee and include proof of payment with the other documents.
    • Upon approval, the applicant can pick up the visa at the Lithuanian Embassy/Consulate. The process takes 15-30 days.

Rippling can connect you with immigration services to help you sponsor work visas around the world.

Frequently asked questions about work permits for employees in Lithuania

Do US citizens need a work permit to work in Lithuania?

Yes. US citizens must follow the same rules as third-country nationals to obtain a work permit and a work visa for Lithuania.

What documents are required to apply for a Lithuanian work permit and visa?

When applying for a Lithuanian work permit on behalf of a worker, the employer will need:

  • An application form
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Copy of the worker’s valid passport or travel document
  • Photograph
  • Proof of the worker’s qualifications
  • Copy of the document entitling the third-country national to stay in Lithuania (if available)
  • Employer information
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Other documents as required

When applying for a Lithuanian work visa (Type D), the applicant will need:

  • Visa application form
  • Passport or travel document
  • Photograph
  • Proof of financial resources/income needed to support staying in Lithuania
  • Proof of health insurance
  • A valid work permit
  • Copy of the work contract
  • Additional documents as required

When applying for an EU Blue Card the applicant will need:

  • Blue Card application form
  • Proof of fee payment
  • Passport (must be valid for 15 months after departure from the EU and contain at least two blank pages)
  • Copies of the passport’s information page
  • Expired passports, if available
  • Photographs
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Employment contract with an EU employer
  • Letter from employer explaining the reason for the hire and the benefits
  • Salary details
  • Proof of qualifications and higher education
  • Resume/work experience
  • Additional documents as required

What’s the fastest way to get a work permit in Lithuania?

While it is not possible to speed up the process, employers and workers can avoid processing delays by ensuring that the application is complete and includes all the necessary documents and forms at the time of submission. Depending on the profession, Blue Cards can be expedited.

How much does it cost to get a Lithuanian work permit and work visa?

Fees for the most common Lithuanian work permits and work visas vary. The amounts below are listed in Euros and US dollars.

Type of Visa/Permit

Application fee
(excludes EU/EEA/Swiss citizens)

Short-term Visa (Type C)

€80 ($86)

Long-term Visa (Type D)

€120 ($130)

Work Permit

€120 ($130)

Blue Card

€120 ($130)

Are family members included in work visa applications in Lithuania?

Eligible family members, including spouses, children, and parents of Lithuanian citizens, as well as those with a residence permit in Lithuania, can apply for a family reunification visa. Upon approval, they will also receive a temporary residence permit, which is valid for two years.

How do you renew your Lithuanian work permit?

For a work permit extension, the employer must apply for the extension one month before it expires. If the worker’s intended stay in Lithuania exceeds one year, they must apply for a temporary residence permit. This is good for two years and can be renewed. After five years, it is possible to apply for permanent residence. Blue Cards may be renewed as well.

Is there a limit on the number of work permits you can obtain in Lithuania?

In most cases, work permits are valid for only specific employment contracts. The work permit allows the worker to apply for a National Type D visa. These are valid for one year and the worker cannot change the employer. National Type D visas can’t be renewed, however, a new one may be issued after 180 days from the expiration of a previous visa. In cases where the worker holds a residence permit, they may renew it upon expiry.

Run your global workforce with Rippling

Rippling can connect you with immigration services to help you sponsor work visas around the world; enquire for more information.

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: May 22, 2024

The Author

Doug Murray

A Vancouver-based B2B and business trends writer, Doug is a charter member of the global workforce, having lived and worked out of Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Guatemala, Ghana and, of course, Canada.