The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Lithuania. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
From late January 2013 there has been an influenza epidemic across many regions of Lithuania. Travellers are advised to take sensible precautions to reduce the risk of infection, including avoiding contact with flu sufferers if possible, regular washing of hands, avoiding spreading the virus by touching the mouth, eyes and nose, and frequently disposing of tissues used for coughing and sneezing.
You should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) free of charge, which entitles you to emergency medical treatment. This card is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. See www.ehic.ie for further details. The EHIC replaces the Form E111, which is no longer valid.
Irish citizens do not require a visa to enter Lithuania. Entry requirements may change from time to time and should be checked with the nearest Lithuanian Embassy.
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Most visits to Lithuania are free of trouble. However, as with travelling to any country, we advise people to use their common sense and be very careful of their passports, cash, ATM and credit cards.
If you plan to drive in Lithuania, you should note that roads and driving may be of a poor standard. Motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road. Road traffic accidents are common. Extra care must be taken at all times, when driving, particularly when driving at night.
Safety and Security
Most visits to Lithuania are free of trouble. However, as with travelling to any country, we advise people to use common sense and be very careful of their passports, cash, ATM and credit cards. It is recommended that you leave your passport in a safe place in your accommodation and bring a photocopy of it when you go out. We would also advise that you bring another form of identification with you to Lithuania, such as a driving licence. The loss or theft of a passport must be reported to the police, as a statement of loss is required for the issuance of a new passport or emergency travel document.
There is a risk of mugging, pickpocketing and bag snatching, particularly on public transport. Avoid poorly-lit streets, parks, and secluded areas after dark. There has been a recent increase in pickpocketing in bars and restaurants.
Be wary of accepting food and drink from strangers in bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Some visitors have been drugged and subsequently robbed. There have also been reports of foreign tourists being charged extortionate prices for drinks or having fraudulent transactions debited against credit/debit cards in bars and nightclubs. It is advisable to check the price of drinks before ordering and whether there is a “cover” charge made for entry. You should be vigilant when using your credit/debit card.
Car theft, particularly of/from new or expensive cars, is rife. Lock unattended vehicles: conceal all contents (and radios, if possible). Major cities have guarded car parks: use them if at all possible, especially overnight.
If you plan to drive in Lithuania, you should note that roads and driving may be of poor standard. Motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road. Road traffic accidents are common. Extra care must be taken at all times when driving, particularly when driving at night. See also “Local Laws and Customs”.
Along with other European countries, there is potential for Lithuania to experience international terrorism.
Local Laws and Customs
Please note that while in Lithuania, Irish citizens are subject to Lithuanian law, which may differ in some areas to Irish law. In particular, public drunkenness (i.e. in the streets, on public transport etc.) will be dealt with very severely by the Lithuanian authorities, who have the right to detain people in detoxification centres if they believe them to be very drunk.
You should not become involved with drugs. Possession of even very small quantities of drugs can lead to imprisonment and/or heavy fines.
If driving in/to Lithuania in winter, equip your car for severe conditions. Winter tyres are a legal requirement in Lithuania between 10 November and 1 April. Dipped headlights are also compulsory all year round. Seat belts must be used in both front and back seats. The use of a mobile phone while driving (unless it is “hands-free”) is banned. The speed limits, unless otherwise indicated, are 50km/h in towns, 90km/h on country roads and 110km/h on highways. (130km/h on highways from 1 April to 1 November).
Should you be moving to Lithuania on a long-term basis, please note that right-hand drive vehicles cannot be registered in Lithuania.
Do not drink and drive. The legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.4 gr/1000cm. There is zero tolerance for drink driving and those found over the limit face a fine and possible imprisonment.
Border officials and police require original car documents and those driving into the country need car insurance valid for Lithuania.
When travelling by car, border officials will ask for the following documents:
· A passport with a validity of at least 6 months;
· Original car registration documents (copies are not acceptable);
· International vehicle insurance (Green Card).
If it is your intention to reside in Lithuania for longer than three months, please be advised that the Lithuanian authorities will require that any child travelling and residing with you will need to have his or her own passport, and you may experience difficulties upon your arrival or departure in the case of children who are listed on the passport of one of their parents.
Natural Disasters and Climate
The climate of Lithuania varies from a maritime climate in coastal areas, to a more continental-type climate inland. Winters are very cold by Irish standards, with summers generally warm and humid.
The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of about 20°C. January is usually the coldest month, with an average temperature of about -3°C. Temperatures of over 35°C in summer and up to -30°C in winter have been recorded in recent years.
Regular, at times heavy, snowfall is typical during the winter season, with rainfall frequent between April and October.
Warm, humid weather gives rise to frequent storms throughout the year, some of which cause damage to buildings, trees etc. Visitors should exercise caution during stormy weather, avoiding unnecessary travel.
With over 30% of Lithuania covered in forestry, forest fires frequently break out in periods of dry weather. Visitors are advised to avoid areas which may have fire warnings in place.
Floods, including urban flash floods, are common in Lithuania, following heavy rain and the Spring thaw. Property is frequently damaged but loss of life is rare.
Additional Country Info
Emergency Services (multilingual) Tel: 112.
Outside tourist areas in the major cities, English is little spoken.
Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease are common in Lithuania, especially in forested areas during the summer months. You should seek medical advice regarding inoculations against rabies and tick-borne encephalitis if you intend to visit forested areas.
Please note that not all Irish pre-paid mobile phones operate fully in Lithuania. You are advised to check with your mobile operator as to whether you will have full service when in Lithuania.
ASSISTANCE FOR IRISH CITIZENS IN LITHUANIA
Irish Diplomatic and Consular Relations with Lithuania are handled by the Embassy of Ireland in Vilnius, Lithuania. We strongly advise all Irish citizens residing in or traveling to Lithuania to register their details with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Irish citizens requiring emergency assistance in Lithuania should make contact with the Irish Embassy in Vilnius on +370 5262 9460 or +370 65515235 (out of hours emergency assistance). Citizens can also contact the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000 (24/7).