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Latvia: Immigration law amendments
26th May 2014
Latvian parliament adopted amendments to the Immigration Law in Latvia on May 8th, 2014. The amendments will come into force on September 1, 2014. Changes refer to the minimum thresholds of the property that qualifies for temporary residence permit.

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Lithuania facts

Area 65,200 sq.km
Total national border length: 1,732 km
Capital: Vilnius
Official language: Lithuanian
Length of Baltic coastline: 90.66 km
Population: 2,869,690 (2016)
Borders with: Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Russia


Lithuania lies at the edge of the East European Plain. Its landscape was shaped by the glaciers of the last Ice Age. Lithuania's terrain is an alternation of moderate lowlands and highlands. The highest elevation is 297 meters above the sea level, found in the eastern part of the Republic and separated from the uplands of the Western region of Zemaiciai by the very fertile plains of the South-Western and Central regions. The landscape is punctuated by 2,833 lakes larger than one hectare and an additional 1,600 ponds smaller than one hectare. The majority of the lakes are found in the eastern part of the country. Lithuania has also 758 rivers longer than ten kilometres. The largest river is the Nemunas (total length 917 kilometres), which originates in Belarus. The other larger waterways are the Neris (510 kilometres), the Venta (346 kilometres) and the Sesupe (298 kilometeres) rivers. However, only 600 kilometres of Lithuania's rivers are navigable.


The official language of Lithuania is Lithuanian. Lithuanian is closely related to Latvian. More than 80% of the country's 3.8m population speak Lithuanian as their first language. The Lithuanian language has two dialects: Aukštaičių (Aukštaitian, Highland Lithuanian), Žemaičių/Žemaitiu (Samogitian, Lowland Lithuanian).

Russian, Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian are spoken in larger cities. Yiddish is spoken by the tiny remaining Jewish community in Lithuania. According to the Lithuanian population census, 8% are native speakers of Russian and 6% of Polish. 80% of Lithuanians can speak Russian and 38% can speak English. Most Lithuanian schools teach English as the first foreign language, but students may also study German, French or Russian. Schools where Russian or Polish are the primary languages exist in the areas populated by minorities.


Lithuania's landscape is pleasing to the eye but modest in resources. The area has an abundance of limestone, clay, quartz sand, gypsum sand and dolomite, which are suitable for making high-quality cement, glass, and ceramics. Oil was discovered in Lithuania in the 1950s, but only a few wells operate in the western part of the country. Lithuania has five national parks (Aukštaitijos, Dzūkijos, Žemaitijos, Kuršių nerijos and Trakų) and 30 regional parks filled with virgin forests and unspoiled marshland, inhabited by protected wild animals and rare birds.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Lithuanians make up 83% of the population and Lithuania has the most homogenous population in the Baltic States. According to census, the population of Lithuania stands at 3,043,400, most of whom are ethnic Lithuanians who speak Lithuanian - the official language of the country. Several minorities exist such as Poles, Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians.

Poles are the largest minority in the Vilnius region. Russians are the second largest minority. They constitute sizeable minorities in Vilnius and Klaipėda, and a majority in the town of Visaginas. 3,000 Roma live mostly in Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevėžys. Their organizations are supported by the National Minority and Emigration Department.

Foreign relations

Lithuania is a member of the European Union.

Lithuania became a member of the United Nations in 1991. It is also a member of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO and its adjunct North Atlantic Coordinating Council. Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Lithuania has established diplomatic relations with 149 countries.

Lithuania is active in the cooperation among the Northern European countries. Lithuania is a member of the Baltic Council. The Baltic Council is an organisation of international cooperation, located in Tallinn. It operates through the Baltic Assembly and the Baltic Council of Ministers.

Time, weights and measures

Lithuania uses Eastern European Time - two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Every year, between March and September, Lithuania introduces Daylight Saving Time. Lithuania uses the metric weights and Celsius temperature scale.

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