Unaccompanied minors in Lithuania

An unaccompanied minor in Lithuania is a person who is less than 18 years old and who arrived in Lithuania without parents or other legal guardians (or has been left without legal guardians after entering the country).

The situation of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum is much better than those who do not seek asylum. Both asylum seekers and minors who did not apply staying in the country have to be accommodated but latter is expected to be accommodated in the institutions not suitable for minors. According to the legislation the detention of unaccompanied minors is possible only in exceptional cases, but the detention of minors not seeking asylum is quite often.

The law forbids to refuse an entry of unaccompanied minors, but in reality if they fail to submit the application and do not have the documents, sometimes can be returned back to the country they have come from.

The legislation does not foresee any exceptions for the unaccompanied minors, except that during the stay in Lithuania they receive the guardian who represents interests of the child. Regardless of this in practise during the primary questioning they do not get such a guardian. Moreover there are no experts specially trained questioning the unaccompanied minors.

During the procedure of applying for asylum unaccompanied minors live in Refugees` Reception Centre in Rukla. Sometimes the age of a minor is not know and he/she is temporary, till establishing that asylum seeker is below 18 years old, accommodated in the Foreigners` Registration Centre which is not suitable for children.   

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