Luxembourg Citizenship: The Ultimate 2021 Guide

Getting Luxembourg citizenship is an interesting route into the EU.  You can achieve it through several different pathways.  

An individual can automatically gain Luxembourg citizenship in certain situations. This could be through heritage, adoption, or birth in Luxembourg. There’s also a special scenario called possession d’etat (de facto enjoyment of a certain civil status), which can lead to citizenship.  

Each of those has its own specific requirements, but here we’re going to focus on getting Luxembourg citizenship voluntarily, by naturalization or by option.  Naturalization is the main pathway for people who have no existing ties to Luxembourg but have simply decided to relocate there.  

Luxembourg citizenship is straightforward to get, provided you meet the requirements. We’ve spoken to recently naturalized expats in Luxembourg, who tell us that the Luxembourg government follows the exact process laid out on the official website and reviews applications within a reasonable timeframe.  

This efficiency is a major point in favor of Luxembourg. Not every EU country follows the rules so closely. For example, Malta officially claims five years of legal residency is enough to apply for citizenship. But it hardly ever grants it, preferring applicants to use the (far more lucrative for Malta) citizenship by investment route. 

Why move to Luxembourg?  

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world. Located between Germany, France, and Belgium, it’s well placed for accessing the whole EU.  

Luxembourg scores highly on safety and political stability. It’s a uniquely multicultural and multilingual society, with three official languages (German, French and Luxembourgish).  

Luxembourg is also Europe’s most powerful investment management center and hosts several important EU institutions. It’s a highly business friendly country and has an advanced economy with excellent infrastructure. Public services are efficient and easy to deal with. 

What’s more, Luxembourg also benefits from the world’s 5th fastest internet – perfect for remote workers and online business owners. 

Benefits of Luxembourg citizenship  

As a member of the European Union, Luxembourg citizenship has several key benefits. EU citizenship gives you full EU rights, including freedom of movement, which includes the right to settle, work, study, and retire anywhere in the EU. 

EU citizens can vote and run for office in national elections of the state in which they live. They can also vote in European elections and participate in other EU-wide decisions.  

If you decide to stay in Luxembourg, having citizenship allows you a greater say in the politics of the country, while also opening the door to additional job opportunities.  

The Luxembourg passport is extremely well-regarded, according to the Henley Passport Index. Ranked fourth (behind Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Germany), a Luxembourg passport gives you visa-free access to 190 countries.  

What’s more, as Luxembourg is a neutral and uncontroversial country, you’re unlikely to encounter problems crossing borders with your Luxembourg passport. Luxembourg also allows dual citizenship, so you don’t have to give up your existing citizenship (and you can still acquire additional new ones in future).

How to get Luxembourg citizenship  

There are two main pathways to get Luxembourg citizenship voluntarily. They are citizenship by naturalization and citizenship by option.   

Luxembourg citizenship by naturalization 

Getting Luxembourg citizenship by naturalization is open to any third country national who can fulfil the key requirements. These are as follows: 

  • You’re aged over 18 
  • You have legally resided in Luxembourg for at least five years (The year immediately before applying for citizenship must be uninterrupted) 
  • You have a basic command of the Luxembourgish language (A2 level spoken, B1 comprehension) 
  • You have knowledge of Luxembourgish civics, having taken the “Vivre ensemble au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg” course, or passed the exam  
  • You haven’t made any false statements, concealed important information, or acted fraudulently during the naturalization process 
  • You don’t have a criminal record with a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, or a suspended sentence of 24 months or more.  

Once you meet all those requirements, the next step is to gather your application documents, consisting of the following: 

  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of your passport 
  • Completed biographical questionnaire, signed and dated 
  • Criminal record certificates, from your country of citizenship, and any other countries where you have lived from the age of 18 in the 15 years before submitting your Luxembourg citizenship application 
  • Certificate of passing the Luxembourgish language exam 
  • Certificate confirming that you attended Vivre ensemble au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg” course, or passed the exam 

Then, you submit these documents to the civil registrar in Luxembourg. The Nationality Office of the Ministry of Justice will review the application.  

They may ask for additional documents if they decide the ones you’ve provided are insufficient or unsuitable in some way. The Minister of Justice will grant (or reject) naturalization within eight months from the submission date. This timeline is typically followed closely. In many cases it may be quicker than eight months.  

Luxembourg citizenship by option  

There are 10 specific cases where a non-Luxembourgish national can get citizenship by option. Citizenship by option can be granted to the following situations:  

  1. Adults with a parent, adoptive parent or grandparent who is or was Luxembourgish 
  1. Parents of a Luxembourgish minor  
  1. Marriage to a Luxembourgish national  
  1. Persons born in Luxembourg, over the age of 12  
  1. Adults having completed 7 years of schooling in Luxembourg  
  1. Adults residing legally in Luxembourg for at least 20 years  
  1. Adults having fulfilled the obligations arising from the Welcome and Integration Contract (Contrat d’accueil et d’intégration)  
  1. Adults who settled in Luxembourg before the age of 18  
  1. Adults with stateless person, refugee or subsidiary protection status  
  1. Volunteer soldiers  

If none of these situations apply to you, it’s highly likely that going for the naturalization route will be a better fit. It’s also a lot faster than the similar option 6, which asks for 20 years of legal residency in Luxembourg.  

Here’s the official Luxembourg government website for detailed information on getting Luxembourg citizenship by option. 

Costs of applying for Luxembourg citizenship 

Unlike many other countries, Luxembourg’s naturalization process is free of charge, although there may be some associated costs for producing the required paperwork.

How do I get a Luxembourg residence permit? 

To get Luxembourg citizenship by naturalization or investment, you’ll need to live in Luxembourg for at least five years. To do so as a non-EU citizen, you’ll need a residence permit to stay longer than the typical 90 days offered to tourists. Luxembourg offers a wide range of ways to get residency, including via employment, self-employment, and family reunification.  

If you have sufficient income to support yourself without working in Luxembourg (e.g. from remote work with a non-Luxembourg employer, or dividends from an online business based outside of Luxembourg), then there’s a specific residency route open to you.  

It’s called residency for private reasons. We’ve identified this as the best pathway for remote workers and online business owners interested in starting their EU citizenship journey in Luxembourg. In the next section, we’ll explore this residency pathway in more detail. 

Residency in Luxembourg for private reasons 

If you want to stay in Luxembourg for more than three months and have enough income to support yourself, this is the pathway to choose. This residence permit can be renewed after three years, to cover the minimum of five years necessary for gaining Luxembourg citizenship.  

Getting the residency permit requires two separate stages.  

Stage One: Before entering the country: 

  1. Apply to the Immigration Directorate for temporary authorization to stay.  
  1. If you’re from a country that needs a visa to enter Luxembourg, apply for a Type D visa after getting the temporary authorization to stay.  

Stage Two: After entering the country: 

  1. Let your new commune of residence know about your arrival  
  1. Pass a medical check  
  1. Apply for the residence permit  

To get residency for private reasons, the most important factor is having enough resources to support yourself, without needing to work within Luxembourg or claim social security.  

When you apply, the Ministry will evaluate your resources based on their nature and regularity. They will also compare the amount to the monthly minimum wage for unskilled workers (which is currently set at EUR 2,201.93). You can prove your resources by showing a pension certificate, a bank certificate or similar documentation. 

Residency in Luxembourg by investment  

Luxembourg doesn’t have a citizenship by investment program, but it does offer a pathway to residency for those who wish to invest in the country. This can lead to citizenship after five years. Investment types include the following: 

  • New business – Investment of EUR 500,000 plus creation of 5 jobs in Luxembourg 
  • Existing businesses – Investment of EUR 500,000 in an existing business based in Luxembourg 
  • Management and investment structure – EUR 3 million  
  • Holding a bank deposit – EUR 20 million, held for 5 years in a Luxembourg bank  

Please note, these residency by investment pathways require the applicant to submit a detailed application to the government of Luxembourg. The timeline to citizenship is still five years, just as with the passive income route.  

What’s more, the resident investor is still required to spend at least six months a year physically present in Luxembourg, to maintain their residence status. We don’t see any advantage in using the residence by investment route to get citizenship in Luxembourg. 

For more details, here’s the official Luxembourg residency by investment page. 

Interested in residency in Luxembourg? Contact our team to discuss your options.

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