The bill passed in a vote of 82 to 37 with three abstentions and will come into force if it is signed into law by President Gitanas Nauseda.

The bill allows using the letters "q", "x" and "w", which do not exist in the Lithuanian alphabet, to spell the names of Lithuanian citizens if they assume their spouses' non-Lithuanian surnames.

This will also apply if the surname of a Lithuanian citizen's parents or one of their parents is spelled in non-Lithuanian characters in the source document, and if a citizen's parents, grandparents or ancestors had or have the citizenship of another country and their first and last names were spelled in non-Lithuanian characters in the source document.

The original spelling of names in Latin-based characters without diacritical marks will also be allowed if a Lithuanian citizen acquired their first and last names in the foreign country where they reside and the names are spelled in these characters in the source document.

The parliament rejected a proposal from the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance's MPs to allow Latin-based characters with diacritical marks in documents.

Politicians from the ruling coalition say they support in principle the use of diacritical marks, but note that this is a matter for further discussion, because the changes would require adapting information systems and additional budgetary funds.

Earlier in the debate, the parliament rejected an alternative proposal by several MPs to allow the original spelling of the surname of a Lithuanian citizen married to a foreigner and the surnames of the children of such spouses on the first page of the "other entries" section of the passport or on the back of the ID card.

Discussions on the original spelling of non-Lithuanian names in documents have been taking place for decades now. All previous bills on the subject failed to muster enough votes to be passed by the parliament.

Currently, foreigners and their spouses who want to have their names spelled originally in their passports and ID cards have to turn to courts, which have so far ruled in their favor.

The issue of the original spelling of ethnic Poles' names that contain non-Lithuanian characters is regularly raised at bilateral meetings between Lithuanian and Polish politicians.

It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
Comment Show discussion