Lithuania's ruling Peasant and Green Union is considering a new idea on spelling non-Lithuanian names in passports. The party suggests entering both versions – in Lithuanian characters and in Latin characters – on the main page of the passport, with only the Lithuanian version entered in registers.
Lithuanian passport
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Authors behind the idea expect the scheme would answer the expectations of the majority of the Polish community in Lithuania to have their names in passports spelled by Polish rules, i.e., with the letter w that does not exist in the Lithuanian alphabet.

Reviewers say the decision could be viewed as a symbolic step towards improved relations with Poland, while some lawyers doubt whether the rules would be in line with Lithuania's Constitution.

LPGU leader Ramūnas Karbauskis told BNS the party was analyzing the possibility of providing both versions of a last name, for instance, Mackevič/Mackiewicz, on the mane page of the passport.

"We were talking about entering on the first page, however, the registers would only feature the version with Lithuanian characters," Karbauskis said.

He emphasized that the rule would only apply to Latin characters, not Cyrillic alphabet.

Lithuanian politicians have been for years discussing two options – allowing the original spelling as the main entry or on an additional page of a passport, however, have not yet made a decision.

The name-spelling issue is important for the Polish community in Lithuania, as well as Lithuanian females married to foreign citizens.

In effect since 1991, the current rules envisage that first and last names of Lithuanian citizens should be spelled in passports in Lithuanian characters only. Over the past few years, courts have started changing the situation, allowing personal names with non-Lithuanian characters w and x in documents of Lithuanian citizens on a few occasions.

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