China Stops Granting Visas to Lithuanian Nationals

The Chinese mission in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital, has halted visa issuance to Lithuanian citizens, confirmed by Foreign Minister. Despite this decision, Lithuanian authorities lack clarity on the rationale behind the suspension, leaving them speculating about China's motivations and intentions.

China Stops Granting Visas to Lithuanian Nationals

The 2021 suspension

This is not the first time China has suspended visa issuance for Lithuanians. In 2021, the Chinese mission in Lithuania halted visa issuance temporarily, citing technical reasons. However, it was later revealed that the suspension was connected to Lithuania’s decision to open a Taiwanese representative office in Vilnius. This move strained diplomatic relations between the two countries, but officials have been working to normalise ties.

During this visa suspension period, Lithuanian citizens won’t be able to apply for travel documents, and without a visa, they cannot enter China. In contrast, citizens of some other European Union and Schengen Area countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, enjoy visa-free entry to China for stays of up to 15 days from December 1, 2023.

The reason behind suspension and its duration

A brief overview of the suspension's rationale and its anticipated duration sheds light on the temporary measures being implemented. This insight provides clarity on the context and timeframe of the suspension.

  • Taiwan Relations: Lithuania recently allowed Taiwan to open a representative office under its own name, angering China who considers Taiwan part of its territory. This move goes against the "one China" policy and has been a major point of contention.
  • Lithuania's stance on the Uyghur issue: Lithuania has been vocal in criticising China's treatment of Uyghurs and calling for international action. This has contributed to a strained relationship between the two countries.
  • China's broader strategy: Some view this suspension as part of a larger strategy by China to pressure countries critical of its policies. China has used similar tactics with other countries, such as Norway and Sweden.


What is China’s latest visa policy concerning Lithuanian nationals?

China has indefinitely halted the issuance of new visas to Lithuanian passport holders regardless of category, from tourist to work or student visas.

Does the suspension affect existing visa holders?

No, China clarified Lithuanians with valid residence permits can still enter China without issue until expiry dates. Only new applicants face rejection.

Why did China specifically target Lithuania for visa sanctions?

While unspecified officially, analysts believe it signals retaliation for Lithuania permitting Taiwan to open a de facto embassy using its own name rather than “Chinese Taipei”.

How are Lithuanian citizens meant to visit or stay in China now?

With all visa channels blocked, Lithuanians cannot access China for tourism or employment purposes until official departments resume application approvals unconditionally.

Could the EU respond with countermeasures over the visa crackdown?

Possibly, as Lithuania urges joint EU action against the arbitrary visa denial for one member state’s citizens, though consensus requires bridging varied China policy stances.

Leave a comment