Visas & Immigration

Paths to citizenship in Luxembourg

Found your happily ever after in Luxembourg? Learn how you can take on citizenship, the requirements, costs, and how to apply.

Luxembourg citizenship
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Updated 16-5-2024

Once you’ve settled down in the only Grand Duchy in the world, you may find you never want to leave again. Naturally, the next big step in your Luxembourg journey would be getting citizenship.

Discover which route you can take as an expat in the following sections:

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Citizenship in Luxembourg

In 2021, Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerg, French: Luxembourg, German: Luxemburg) had around 339,900 citizens which roughly translates to 53% of the country’s total population. Among those, 18% had a second nationality.

People at the outdoor tables of a café in Luxembourg City
Photo: Alena Kravchenko/Getty Images

In 2022, just under 10,500 applicants were granted citizenship by the Nationality Office (French: Service de la nationalité Luxembourgeoise, German: Staatsangehörigkeitsabteilung). This government body oversees all aspects of Luxembourgish immigration, including citizenship and naturalization.

Interestingly, many people from Argentina, Brazil, and the US claim citizenship through their ancestry, a result of the mass migration to these countries in the 19th century. There is also a huge Portuguese community living in Luxembourg, so there might be a spike in Portuguese-speaking Lëtzebuerger in the upcoming years as well.

The most common paths to citizenship in Luxembourg include:

  • Birth (jus solis) applies – you were born on Luxembourgish soil
  • Descent (jus sanguinis) – you were born to Luxembourgish parents
  • Naturalization – you are a long-term resident of Luxembourg
  • Option – your new relative is Luxembourgish (i.e., marriage) or your relative is newly Luxembourgish (i.e., naturalization)

Of course, many expats would not qualify for the first two options. However, there are still other ways to take on citizenship, as long as you meet the requirements.

Dual nationality in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has allowed dual citizenship since 2009. That means new citizens are no longer required to renounce their other nationality or nationalities.

Some countries do not permit dual citizenship (e.g., the Netherlands). That means that you’ll have to renounce your existing nationality when you apply for citizenship in Luxembourg. Make sure to check with your country’s embassy or consulate regarding the rules before you start the procedure.

How to qualify for citizenship by birth?

Luxembourg operates a restricted nationality-by-birth law. As such, it is typically only possible to acquire citizenship by birth if:

  • The child’s parents are stateless
  • The child cannot get their parents’ foreign nationality
  • The parents’ nationality can only be passed on if the child lives in that country
  • It is not possible to establish the identity of the child’s parents

How to qualify for citizenship by descent?

In Luxembourg, citizenship by descent is also known as Nationality by Filiation. It means that any (adoptive) child of a Luxembourgish national automatically receives citizenship, even if they are born outside the country.

Toddler girl sitting on stroller and leaning her chest on the front handle, sighing.
Photo: images by Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

You also qualify for a citizenship by descent when:

  • One of your adult parents is a Luxembourgish national after naturalization, declaration, or reclamation
  • One of your underage parents is a Luxembourgish citizen after declaration
  • You are de facto Luxembourgish (i.e., you believe – in good faith – to be a citizen and act as such, even though you are not)

Citizenship by adoption in Luxembourg

Generally, all minor children adopted by Luxembourgish parents automatically get citizenship. This falls under the category of nationality through birth.

Adopted children can also take on citizenship if they are unable to keep their original nationality or cannot obtain their adoptive parents’ foreign nationalities. For this to apply, the foreign parents must legally be residing in Luxembourg.

Citizenship by option in Luxembourg

Another way of acquiring Luxembourgish citizenship is by option. There are 10 specific cases in which foreigners can qualify:

  • Citizenship by ascent – if at least one of your (adoptive) parents or grandparents are or were Luxembourgish and their nationality was not passed on to you. This can, for example, be because they moved to a different country that does not allow dual citizenship (e.g., the Netherlands).
  • Parents of Luxembourgish minors
  • Spouses or civil partners of Luxembourgish nationals – you must be a resident of Luxembourg or be married for three years if you live abroad. The waiting period does not apply if your new spouse is working abroad as a Luxembourgish civil servant or international organization employee.
  • Foreign children over the age of 12 born in Luxembourg – at least one parent who legally resided in Luxembourg for at least one year before they were born
  • Adult students – you must have completed a minimum of seven years of Luxembourgish public school curriculum
  • Long-term adult residents of Luxembourg
  • Adults who have signed a Welcome and Integration Contract (CAI – French: Contrat d’accueil et d’intégration, German: Aufnahme- und Integrationsvertrag)
  • Adults who settled in Luxembourg before they were 18
  • Refugees, stateless persons, or protected status holders
  • Volunteer soldiers – you have served at least one year of good and loyal service in the Luxembourgish military and demonstrate this with a certificate from the Luxembourg Army’s chief of Staff

Additional requirements

There are certain additional requirements for those who apply for citizenship by option. These include:

Condition:Notes:Applies to:
Legal residency in LuxembourgAt least one consecutive year prior to the applicationAdult students
At least five consecutive yearsForeign children over the age of 12 born in Luxembourg
At least five years, the last one of which must have been uninterrupted– Parents of Luxembourgish minors
– Adults who have signed a CAI
– Adults who settled in Luxembourg before they were 18
– Refugees, stateless persons, or protected status holders
At least 20 years, the last one of which must have been consecutivelyLong-term adult residents
A passing certificate of the Luxembourgish language test– Parents of Luxembourgish minors
– Spouses or civil partners of Luxembourgish nationals
– Long-term adult residents of Luxembourg
– Adults who have signed a CAI
– Adults who settled in Luxembourg before they were 18
– Refugees, stateless persons, or protected status holders
Passed the Vivre ensemble au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg course– Parents of Luxembourgish minors
– Spouses or civil partners of Luxembourgish nationals
– Adults who have signed a CAI
– Adults who settled in Luxembourg before they were 18
– Refugees, stateless persons, or protected status holders

Citizenship by naturalization/residence

In addition to the above, it is possible to take on citizenship after five years of legal residency in Luxembourg. The year prior to your application must be uninterrupted.

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Additional requirements include:

  • A passing certificate of the Luxembourgish language test
  • Passed the Vivre ensemble au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg course
  • Proof you are a person of good repute; you cannot:
    • Have received a criminal sentence or custodial sentence of 12 months or more, either in Luxembourg or abroad
    • Have received a suspended sentence of 24 months or more, either in Luxembourg or abroad
    • Make false declarations, conceal important information, or act fraudulently during the application procedure

How to apply for citizenship in Luxembourg?

Those who qualify for citizenship by birth, descent, or adoption do not have to make a formal application. Instead, they will automatically get Luxembourgish nationality once their birth is registered. If you run into any issues (e.g., your parents are stateless), you can contact the Nationality Office.

Expats who want to apply for citizenship by option or naturalization must apply in person with the civil registrar of your local town hall (Luxembourgish: Gemeng, French: commune, German: Rathaus). If you don’t live in Luxembourg, you must go to the civil registrar of the City of Luxembourg.

You will need to submit the following:

  • Filled out application form (in French)
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of your passport
  • Criminal record from your current country of citizenship and any foreign country you have lived in as an adult during the previous 15 years
  • If applicable, passing certificate of Luxembourgish language test
  • If applicable, passing certificate of Vivre ensemble au Grand-Duché course

All documents should be in one of the official languages of Luxembourg. As such, any document not in Luxembourgish, French, or German must be accompanied by an official translation.

Depending on the situation, foreign nationals who apply for citizenship by option must also provide:

  • Authorization form to apply for Criminal Record No.2 (in French)
  • Birth certificate or certificate of Luxembourgish nationality for parent or grandparent
  • Certificate of Luxembourgish nationality for minor child
  • Marriage certificate
  • School reports or certificates
  • Certificate confirming fulfillment of Welcome & Integration Contract
  • Certificate of good and loyal service

Your application and supporting documents should be submitted in one go. However, if your application is incomplete, you’ll have three months to submit any missing documents. After that, the civil registrar will disregard the application.

Citizenship applications by option take can take up to four months to process. Naturalization takes up to eight months.

How much does it cost to apply for citizenship?

The application procedure is free of charge. However, you may incur additional fees when obtaining the supporting documents.

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Photo: fizkes/Getty Images

For example, the Luxembourgish language test (Luxembourghish: Sproochentest Lëtzebuegesch, French: examen d’évaluation de la langue Luxembourgeois, German: Sprachkompetenz im Luxemburgischen) costs €75. Additionally, you might have to pay a municipal tax when requesting copies of your birth certificate or criminal record.

Passports in Luxembourg

After you get citizenship, you can apply for a Luxembourgish passport. You can do so at the:

  • Population Office (Luxembourgish: Aschreiwung Büro, French: Bureau de la Population, German: Einwohnermeldeamt) in your local town hall
  • Passport, Visa, and Legalization Office (BPVL-MAEE – Luxembourghish: Pass, Visa an Legaliséierung Büro, French: Bureau des passeports, visas et légalisations, German: Amt für Reisepässe, Visa und Beglaubigungen)

To make things easier, you should make an appointment to submit your application and another one to collect it.

Your application will require you to fill out and sign an application form, and provide your:

  • Valid ID
  • Previous passport (if you have one)
  • Receipt of payment
  • Passport photo
  • Biometric data (not applicable to minors under the age of 12)

Once submitted, you will receive a receipt confirming your application. Passports are usually ready for pickup after 7 days. You’ll need to make a new appointment and hand in the receipt to collect your new passport.

Passports for minors and adults over the age of 4 are valid for five years, and cost €50. Passports for minor children under the age of 4 are valid for two years and cost €30.

If you need a passport quickly, a fast-track procedure is available at extra cost. This will take three days and costs €150 for a five-year passport and €90 for a two-year passport.

Getting a Luxembourgish passport overseas

If you are stationed abroad, you can apply for a passport at your local Luxembourg or Belgian embassy or consulate. The application procedure and documents are the same, except you will also need to submit a resident’s certificate or permit from the country you are applying in.

Losing or renouncing your citizenship

The Minister of Justice may revoke your citizenship if a court of law finds that you have:

  • Made false statements
  • Perpetrated fraud
  • Impersonated someone else
  • Were involved in a marriage of convenience

If that happens, you’re prohibited from making a new application for the next 15 years.

Happy couple in white at a wedding, people are celebrating in the background.
Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

You may also renounce your Luxembourg citizenship. For example, if your new home country doesn’t allow dual nationalities. You can do so at your local registrar or the town hall of the City of Luxembourg. You must be over 18 and provide:

  • Declaration of renunciation
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of your passport or ID
  • Certificate confirming that you have a different nationality or can get one after renouncing your Luxembourgish citizenship – this document cannot be older than 30 days
  • Certificate of Luxembourgish nationality – this document cannot be older than 30 days
  • If applicable, the decision of the Minister of Justice granting an exemption from the need to submit any of the required documents

All documents must be in Luxembourgish, French, or German. The forfeiture is free of charge and will take effect within four months.

How to regain Luxembourg citizenship?

If you have lost or renounced your Luxembourgish nationality, you can reclaim it by filing an in-person application with the civil registrar at your local commune or the City of Luxembourg. You must prove that you are a person of good repute (i.e., no fraud or criminal record).

To reclaim your citizenship, you must submit:

  • An application form (in French)
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your passport
  • Certificate of loss or renunciation of Luxembourgish nationality
  • Criminal record from the country of your current nationality, and any other countries you have lived in as an adult during the previous 15 years

You will also need to grant the civil registrar permission to obtain Record No. 2 of the criminal record (in French) from Luxembourg’s public prosecutor’s office. They will then forward the application to the Ministry of Justice for review.

Citizenship appeals and complaints

Generally, if there is an issue with your citizenship by option application, you can file an appeal with the administrative tribunal within 3 months of the decision. A court lawyer must petition the court for you.

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