Bringing your partner or spouse to Luxembourg

You are an expat and would like to bring your spouse or partner to live with you in Luxembourg but you don’t know the procedures. Are these so easy to follow? The answer is yes… and no. In fact, it all depends on your marital situation and your nationality. Are you married, partners or living in free union? Both of you are EU citizens or third-country nationals or only one of you?

Both of you are EU citizens

Let’s start with the simplest case. If your spouse or partner and you are EU citizens (or nationals from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or the Swiss Confederation) and wish to stay in Luxembourg for less than 3 months, you don’t need to carry out any procedure. You simply have to be in possession of a valid national ID card or passport. As EU citizens, you have freedom of movement within the EU, which gives you the right to live and work in any EU country.

However, for stays longer than 3 months, you keep the right to reside in the country if you complete certain formalities (declaration of arrival at the commune, registration statement, etc.) and as long as you do not become unreasonably dependent on the social welfare. This dependency is currently assessed by considering criteria including the amount and duration of the non-contributory benefits, as well as the period of residency. Concretely, non-working persons wishing to stay in the country for more than 90 days must provide the proof that they have sufficient resources to avoid dependency on the social welfare system and are affiliated to a health insurance scheme.

If your spouse or partner can’t meet these conditions, it is not a problem. Every close member of your family has the right to join you in your new country. It could be a problem if you live in free union and are non-registered partners. In this case, you must be able to prove the long-term nature of your relationship and request the recognition of the existence of this relationship to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. If you have a child in common, you must provide documents proving that you share parental responsibility (child’s birth certificate, household composition certificate issued by the last country of residence, etc.). If you are a childless couple, you must demonstrate how strong, stable and long-lasting are your links by providing documents certifying that you have been in uninterrupted lawful cohabitation for at least a year prior to the application and that you were residing lawfully in your country of residence (residence permit issued by the country of residence concerned, etc.). Once the long-term relationship has been recognised by the Immigration Directorate, the recognition must be enclosed with the family member registration form.      

  You are an EU citizen but not your spouse or partner

If your spouse and partner is a third-country national, he (or she) may stay in Luxembourg whatever the duration (less or more than 3 months) provided that he (or she) is effectively considered to be a family member – if you are non-registered partners, you must follow the same procedure described above. Your spouse or partner must hold a valid passport - and, where applicable, an entry visa - before arriving in Luxembourg and, for stays longer than 3 months, apply for a residence permit. Your spouse or partner has also the right to carry out a professional activity without requesting prior authorisation.

Both of you are third-country nationals

If both of you are third-country nationals, your spouse or partner must be in possession of a valid passport and, based on his (or her) nationality[1], a short stay visa if he (or she) wishes to reside in Luxembourg for less than 90 days over a 6-month period. Other formalities must be performed, including documents proving that your spouse or partner has sufficient resources for the duration of his (or her) stay as well as for the return to the country of origin or the transit to another country. If not, this proof may be in the form of a statement of financial support where you undertake to bear the living and return costs of your spouse or partner.

If your spouse or partner wishes to come to Luxembourg for a period of more than 3 months for reasons of family reunification, he (or she) must follow a procedure in two consecutive steps. Before entering the country, he (or she) must submit an application for a temporary authorisation to stay to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, hold a valid passport and, if needed, a long stay visa. After entering the country, he (or she) must make a declaration of arrival in the commune of residence in Luxembourg, undergo a medical check and submit an application for a residence permit. Pay attention to the fact that family reunification is not possible for all family members and do not include non-registered partners.

If your spouse or partner wishes to carry out a salaried activity on an ancillary basis, he (or she) must apply for a work permit before starting work. If he (or she) has been resident in Luxembourg for less than one year when the application is submitted, he (or she) will be subject to the labour market test: the employer must declare the vacant position to the National Employment Agency (Agence pour le développement de l’emploi – ADEM), so that it can check whether the vacant position could be filled by and individual available on the national or European labour market. If ADEM is unable to offer a candidate with the desired profile within 3 weeks, the employer may ask ADEM to provide a certificate allowing him to recruit the individual of his choice. If your spouse or partner wishes to carry out a salaried activity as his (or her) main activity, he (or she) must apply for a salaried worker residence permit. It means that the labour market test is always required whatever the duration of residence in Luxembourg.

After completing all the formalities required, the hard part is yet to come for your spouse or partner: making Luxembourg his (or her) new home. But that’s another story.  

 

[1] The list of countries of whose citizens require a visa is available (in French) at: https://maee.gouvernement.lu/dam-assets/services-aux-citoyens/visa-et-immigration/liste-des-pays-soumis-a-l-obligation-de-visa.pdf.

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