Luxembourg is one of the least populous countries in Europe, but residents enjoy the highest GDP per capita in the world. As well as being home to several EU institutions, Luxembourg has a highly developed economy and vibrant financial sector - making it a popular place for expats to live and work.
If you're considering a work move to Luxembourg, then you might need a work visa first. Read this short guide on how to go about getting a work visa for Luxembourg.
Your first priority should be to figure out if you need a work permit at all. In some cases, depending on your nationality and the role you’re going to take on, a permit might not be necessary.
If you're a citizen of another European Union (EU) country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland then you don't need a permit to live or work in France. Croatian citizens should also check the process requirements as it's currently under review as part of Croatia’s accession to the EU.
If you're a ‘third country national’ (from outside the EU), you'll need both a ‘authorisation to stay’ document and a residence permit to work in Luxembourg.
Businesses in Luxembourg must prove they've advertised their vacant job locally and failed to find a suitable applicant if they want to employ a third country national. Therefore, to get a work visa, you must also have a certificate from your employer, which certifies that they've fulfilled this requirement. The certificate is issued by the National Employment Administration and should be given to you by your employer.
To get a work visa for Luxembourg, you have to submit your application yourself, although your employer will usually help with this. If you prefer, you can ask your employer or another agency to submit the application on your behalf, but if you do this you'll also have to give them power of attorney using forms provided by the immigration service.
The first step is to apply to the Immigration Directorate for a temporary leave to stay in Luxembourg. This should be done before you leave your home country. You will need a valid passport and might also need a Type D visa depending on your citizenship.
The temporary visa will allow you entry into Luxembourg so that you can complete the rest of the process once you arrive.
The process once you're in Luxembourg is managed on a regional basis so you'll need to pursue your application in the area you intend to live and work. You first have to submit a declaration to confirm you intend to live in the particular region, which is done at your local administration offices. You might also have to undergo medical checks depending on your home country. Finally, you submit your formal application for a permit to live and work in Luxembourg.
The forms you need can be found and downloaded on the Luxembourg government website. Lots of helpful information about working and settling in Luxembourg can be found in this Luxembourg government guide.
There are a wide range of visa types for Luxembourg, categorised by the type of work you'll do, and the nature of your move there. For example, you might need a different visa if you're transferred by an existing employer, compared to if you're taking up a new job entirely. Similarly, if you're coming to work as an athlete or coach or to undertake research for an educational institution, there's a specific visa type to suit your needs. The full list of choices is available on the immigration pages of the government website.
In general, work permits for Luxembourg will be issued for a maximum of two years in the first instance. If you intend to stay beyond that point you should reapply, starting at least two months before your initial visa runs out. The reissued visa might be issued for up to a further three years. Visas are usually initially issued for one sector only, but this restriction might be lifted once you have held a visa for longer than a year or two.
When you make your initial application for a temporary residence permit, you need to provide the following documents:
valid passport photo
proof of clean criminal record
your resume and professional qualifications
the original certificate allowing the employer to hire a third-country national
cover letter explaining your motivation for moving to Luxembourg
All documents must be original or certified copies, and may need to be translated by an official translator depending on the original language.
Once you have your temporary residence permit (and Type D visa if needed) and have entered Luxembourg, you must also get a long stay residence permit. In this case you have to present the temporary permit you already have along with proof of your accommodation and a fee of around € 80. As the process is administered regionally, there may be variations, so check what documents are needed before you visit the local commune administration.
Depending on the type of work you're planning on doing, it might be possible to apply for an EU Blue Card. Similar to the US Green Card, this document gives you the right to work across most EU member states (excluding Denmark, Ireland and the UK). To be eligible for a Blue Card, you must be from a country outside the EU, be highly skilled (typically meaning you have completed a bachelor's level university degree, or have five years of senior professional experience), and have a binding job offer or active work contract.
The Blue Card application process is fast tracked by member states, meaning it's typically quicker than other forms of work visa application. However, it may still take up to three months. Although you start the application process online and through a single point of contact, the process may vary depending on your personal circumstances. The Blue Card network has a good website and offers support to applicants to help throughout this process.
In general, seasonal workers must apply for a permit to work in Luxembourg in the same way as any other salaried worker. The steps outlined above still need to be followed.
Students enrolled in full time courses at university in Luxembourg may be entitled to work as part of their student visa. This is subject to controls by the university as well as the immigration authorities, though. After graduating from a course in a Luxembourg university, you can stay to work for two years, subject to further approval. In this case your job must be related to your degree subject.
If you're aged under 30 and want to come to Luxembourg as an au pair, you’ll need a specific visa. The process is much the same as outlined above, although you'll have to prove your fitness to conduct regular household tasks, and your ability to speak the language of the host family (as well as either English, or one of the country’s administrative languages).
If you're coming to Luxembourg for temporary work, it's worth checking the full range of options available to you, as visa processes change all the time. For example, in 2016, the Australian government announced that Luxembourg would soon start to offer a visa for Australians wishing to take a working holiday there. This isn't yet available at the time of research, but demonstrates the fluid nature of national visa agreements.
If you want to work on a self employed basis in Luxembourg you must apply in the same way as outlined above. Your application must be started before you go to Luxembourg, and when you apply you'll be asked to prove your suitability to run the business you intend to open. In particular you'll be asked to show how your business will contribute to the culture or economy of Luxembourg, as well as proving you have the qualifications and resources to create a business of value.
When you're preparing your business case, you should also check if the business you intend to operate is subject to any licenses or permits in Luxembourg. If it's, you must have these arranged prior to your application being accepted.
You should then apply for a residence permit as a third country national working on a self employed basis when you arrive in Luxembourg.
Holders of the EU Blue Card are able to apply for visas on behalf of family members without a waiting period under the family reunification scheme.
If you have a regular visa for working in Luxembourg, and want a family member to join you, you must apply for documentation before they arrive in the country, in much the same way as you did for yourself. There is a waiting period of twelve months before you can apply, and you must have at least a further twelve months remaining on your own visa. You must also prove your ability to sustain any family members and provide adequate accommodation for them. In this case, the salaried worker is considered the sponsor of all accompanied family members. Usually the only family members able to apply will be a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 18.
There are sometimes exceptions to these rules though. For example there may be no waiting period for a parent with sole custody to bring their child under 18 into the country. Similarly parents of older children who can not reasonably support themselves (due to illness for example) may also be allowed to join their family.
All new arrivals in Luxembourg (including EU citizens planning on staying for more than 90 days) must present themselves at their local commune to complete a declaration of arrival. This should be done within three working days of entry to Luxembourg. You will have to take your passport and proof of address in Luxembourg there with you.
If you're a third country national, you'll also need to take along your temporary residence permit, which will ultimately be replaced with the long stay visa once granted. Third country nationals, in most cases, must have a clear medical check up (conducted by a locally approved doctor) and a TB screening before their long stay residence permit is offered. This can be arranged once you have completed your declaration of arrival.
Getting a visa can be an administrative headache, but once it's done you'll be able to focus on the more enjoyable aspects of planning for your new challenge.
To get the most of your money in Luxembourg, you'll want to open a bank account in Luxembourg, which you can do before you arrive.
Once you send money to Luxembourg, consider using a money conversion service like TransferWise to avoid unfair exchange rates. There's a small transparent fee, and when your money is converted from one currency to another you’ll get the real exchange rate - the same one you can find on Google. Not only that, but TransferWise receives and sends money via local bank transfers instead of internationally, further saving you money by cutting out hefty international transfer fees.
If your trip is short or opening a bank account in Luxembourg isn't an option, you can always withdraw money from your foreign account using a local ATM. Just keep in mind it'll be more favourable to agree to be charged in the local currency, not your home currency.
Regardless of when you start your new job abroad, it should be fairly straightforward to get yourself a visa if you follow the right steps. The most important part is just to make sure to enjoy your new adventure.