Last updated May 14, 2021
Today’s Status, Looking Towards Fall 2021 — Yellow
There are several current factors to watch in Lithuania. After a relatively low number of cases in the fall, the country has been seeing a sharp increase. It’s something we’re watching carefully. Another element to consider is the school situation — the schools where ILP volunteers teach in Lithuania need more time to re-open.
Check below to get more details on some key aspects that we’re watching. Each of these components help us determine when we’ll be able to send volunteers to Lithuania again (it’s stuff you’re going to want to know). Also, this info is changing often. Our goal is to keep things current with weekly updates, so check back frequently.
Right now, borders are open but with some requirements — and as of March 1, 2021, there are stricter requirements for US citizens than other countries with lower virus numbers. Lithuania is requiring all travelers to present a negative Covid test (taken within 48 hours) upon arrival. There is also a mandatory 10-day quarantine.
We are very confident that when the EU opens, they will require vaccination certificates, whether or not they open to test-on-arrival before that time. We encourage everyone who can to get a Covid vaccination to do so in case countries open with a vaccination certificate requirement.
The President of the EU commission stated late April that she was sure vaccinated travelers from the U.S. would be welcomed by Summer 2021.
You don’t need a visa to enter Lithuania: all tourists get a 90-day stay. Since your ILP semester is longer than 90 days, volunteers typically leave the country and visit favorite spots in Europe.
Airports are open!
The country went on a strict lockdown in March 2020 which did a good job curbing infection rates. Since slowly opening up, numbers have been increasing, with a series of subsequent lockdowns. Things have been increasing, with a slight decrease only recently — as of May 13th, Lithuania has 781.0 active cases per 100,000 people.
Quality health care in Lithuania and other nearby countries in the EU is available and the outbreak in Lithuania has not ever reached the point that they were overwhelmed or even full. Lithuania has had a relatively successful rollout plan for the vaccine, starting with essential personnel and now moving towards the general public.
ILP volunteers teach in very small private after-school locations in all cities in Lithuania. That type of small enterprise has been hit extremely hard with the shut-downs that have happened in the EU. In March 2021, some primary schools reopened for in-person teaching in Vilnius and Kaunas, which is a step in the right direction for teaching to resume.
The country has been under different levels of lockdown. Right now, most businesses are closed or have limited hours, kids aren’t in school, and people are encouraged to limit where they’re running essential errands. You can read more about that in another section.
When things are open, locals have been able to shop, visit parks, enjoy the city square, and more as life returns back to its new definition of normal. At the end of January, ski resorts were opened, which was a happy update. In April, gyms, some pools, and saunas reopened in Lithuania. There are some changes to be aware of like events capped at capacity, social distancing, and wearing masks for some activities, just like you’re seeing at home.
Out & About
Lithuania has renewed their strict national lockdown until May 31st (which may be extended). Individuals are required to stay home except to go to work, shop for essentials, go to/from the airport, or for other essential services. Walks outside are permitted, but only with members of your household. Facemasks are mandatory unless you’re outside in a public place, or while exercising.
When the nation isn’t under lockdown, in-country travel options are a go, with buses and trains taking people to some of our favorite things to see in Lithuania. Plan on visiting pretty coastal towns, peeking around the famous Hill of Crosses, and spending weekends touring picturesque Old Towns.
Travel between Lithuania and a whole list of countries is currently approved, but is always subject to changes and limitations of Lithuania and your go-to vacation spots. It’s looking like American travelers who have been vaccinated will be allowed to travel within the European Union in the summer.
Okay, now what? Should I still apply for Lithuania?
If you’re thinking “that’s all really good to know, but what does that mean for me?” we have some good news to share: time is still totally on your side.
We’ve seen policies change without notice that have made the difference between us thinking we’ll need to wait longer and helping us determine that this location is something we’re pretty optimistic about. Sometimes that has happened in the span of just a couple of weeks or even in a single day. A lot could change for Summer 2021 volunteers.
So we say start your application now so that you’re ready when the time comes. We are going to need volunteers who are ready to go right when things change for the better, which is why we think it’s a good idea to have your application in (even if things potentially look uncertain right now). Time really is on your side.
We’re also here for all of your questions. We’d love to talk about deferring to a later semester if things still need more time or finding a country right now that’ll be a good fit for you. You can bet that once things open up, you’ll be the first to know!