Luxembourg > Moving

How To Move To Luxembourg - The Definitive Guide

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Apply For A Visa
Find A Job
Rent Property
Buy Property
Register For Healthcare
Open A Bank Account
Learn The Language
Choose A School



Apply For A Visa

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The small town of Schengen is located in the south east of Luxembourg. Less than 5,000 people live there, and its biggest industry is winemaking. However, thanks to a treaty signed there back in 1985, there are 26 countries which do not have internal borders between each other. This is known as the Schengen Area. Over 400 million people living in the more than four million square kilometres of the Schengen Area have been able to travel freely, without border control checks since 26 March 1995.

Luxembourg, as a member of the European Union and also of the Schengen Area, has embraced the freedoms offered. People, goods, services and capital may move freely across Luxembourg’s borders into other Schengen Area partners without checks or restriction. This is one of the reasons why such a significant proportion of Luxembourg’s workforce, priced out of the country’s expensive residential property market, commute from the neighbouring countries where they now live.

If you legally live in one of the 22 EU countries that are Schengen Area signatories, or in one of the four non-EU countries who were admitted to the Schengen Area, you are free to visit Luxembourg whenever you wish.

Citizens of EU countries who are not part of the Schengen Area may also visit Luxembourg without obtaining a visa. However, your stay is limited to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, regardless of whether you make one long trip or several shorter ones. Your passport must remain valid for the full length of your stay, so you are likely to have difficulty entering Luxembourg if your passport is valid for less than three months. The same freedoms and conditions apply to a large number of non-EU countries as well.

Everyone entering the Schengen Area, whether from a non-Schengen Area EU country or from further afield, are meant to have their identity documents checked against the security computer system, known as SIS. However, it is alleged that some countries do not perform this check on everyone entering the Schengen Area, with immigration staff merely looking at documents and only checking against SIS if they perceive a risk factor.

The UK voted in an EU referendum in 2016. Gibraltar, the only British Overseas Territory which is part of the EU, also took part in the referendum. With 52 percent voting to leave the EU and 48 percent to remain, the UK triggered Article 50 and is expected to formally leave the EU in March 2019. Negotiations are ongoing, but as the UK has never been part of the Schengen Area, it is anticipated that access to Luxembourg for visits of up to 90 days will remain on the same terms as at present.

EU citizens are free to work in Luxembourg without first obtaining a work permit. Anyone arriving from outside the EU and hoping to work in Luxembourg must have a temporary residence order to enter the country, known as an autorisation de séjour temporaire, and a separate work permit, or autorisation de séjour d’un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue d’une activité salariée. These must have been received before travelling to the country, and expire 90 days after issue. It is best to apply for these documents together.

Permission to work in Luxembourg on a self-employed basis may be granted to non-EU citizens who apply for the autorisation de séjour d’un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue d’une activité indépendante self-employment permit, and are accepted. As with those wishing to work as an employee, the autorisation de séjour temporaire temporary residence order must also be applied for and accepted in the same timeframe.

If you are over the age of 18, have a clean criminal record and have lived in Luxembourg for more than five years, you may wish to apply for citizenship of Luxembourg.

You must pass a Luxembourgish oral language test at level A2, and a comprehension test at level B1, taken at the Institut National des Langues (INLL). There are no statutory classes you have to take to prepare for this test, but exam slots fill up quickly. If you do very well in one exam and badly in the other, overall marks will be considered.

If you have lived in Luxembourg for more than 20 years and do not wish to take the language tests, you may instead attend 24 hours of accredited Luxembourgish lessons and receive language certification. Both oral and comprehension skills will form part of the curriculum, which is delivered by INLL or another programme provider approved by the ministry of education.

Everyone applying for Luxembourgish nationality must also attend an accredited course which sets out the customs, rights and responsibilities of life in Luxembourg. Three modules of six hours each will cover citizens’ rights, state institutions and Luxembourg’s history, including European integration. A multiple-choice test will complete the course.

If you are getting married to a Luxembourgish citizen, you can claim citizenship automatically if you have already lived legally in the country for three consecutive years.

All children born in Luxembourg, where at least one parent has Luxembourgish nationality, can claim citizenship. This also applies if you were adopted in Luxembourg.

If you were born in Luxembourg to two parents with citizenship elsewhere, you may apply for Luxembourgish citizenship from your 18th birthday. You must have been living in Luxembourg for at least five consecutive years, and at least one of your parents must have lived there for a full twelve months before you were born.

Any young person who has spent seven years attending a state school in Luxembourg and has lived in the county for a continuous twelve months before application may be accepted for citizenship.

Refugees must live legally in Luxembourg for at least five continuous years, attend language classes and complete the cultural and history course. These requirements also apply to anyone who moved to Luxembourg before they reached the age of 18.

Luxembourg permits dual citizenship, as long as the other country allows it too.




Find A Job

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A significant percentage of Luxembourg’s residents and workforce were born outside the country. Being an important centre for the financial services industry, home to a number of high skilled, global industries, as well as a key location for many functions of the European Union, there is a continual need for highly-skilled and qualified individuals, as well as workers for the customer services industries which support them.

Being a member of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), Luxembourg allows free access to all citizens from other member states, which includes the right to work without a permit.

From the accession of Croatia in 2013 until 1st July 2015, citizens of Croatia had to obtain a work permit in order to work in Luxembourg. These people still face restrictions in other EU countries, but Luxembourg now welcomes Croatian citizens on the same basis as other EU citizens, without additional restrictions.

If you intend to live in Luxembourg for more than 90 days, you must register your address with the local municipal office, or commune. You only have eight days to do this, so make it a priority, no matter how busy you are when getting settled. You will need to present your identity documents, including a passport. Within three months you should receive a déclaration d’enregistrement, which confirms and proves your registration is complete.

Anyone arriving from outside the EU and expecting to work in Luxembourg must have received their work permit before they arrive. Employers may not take on non-EU staff without first completing a lengthy process. To begin with, the vacancy must be widely advertised, including at the local employment office, or Administration de l’Emploi (ADEM). The employer must prove that no suitable applicants who were EU citizens applied for the post before it can be offered to a non-EU citizen. The individual must obtain an autorisation de séjour temporaire, the temporary residence permit, before they travel to Luxembourg, as well as the autorisation de séjour d’un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue d’une activité salariée work permit.

The autorisation de séjour temporaire must also be obtained by any non-EU citizen wishing to set up a business in Luxembourg before they arrive in the country. They must also be granted official permission to work on a self-employed basis, by applying for an autorisation de séjour d’un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue d’une activité indépendante.

Applications for the temporary residence permits and permission to work in the country follow a strictly applied process, set by Luxembourg’s legal and government orders. The process ensures the applicants are who they say they are, have the skills and qualifications claimed, and will not be a security or financial risk to Luxembourg’s population. Therefore, all applicants will be required to submit a number of official documents which must meet the official guidelines, with certified translations for documents not in French, German or English. A decision to approve or reject an application will normally be made within 90 days.

If your application to work in Luxembourg is successful, you must arrive in the country within 90 days, having separately received your permission to enter the country.

If you are a non-EU resident who has permission to stay and work in another EU country, but wish to move to Luxembourg and work there, you must apply for permission to do so. Your work permit in another EU country does not allow you to legally work in Luxembourg without permission.

In order to protect the pay and benefits promised to you during the recruitment process, you should sign a contract with your prospective employer. This will almost certainly be in French, so if you don’t have a good grasp of the language ask someone to translate it, even if you need to pay a professional translator to do so. Once you have signed the contract, you and the employer are bound to the terms and conditions in it.

However, a contract of employment will not be valid if it does not meet national and EU employment rules. For example, no employer may pay an hourly rate below the national minimum wage for any reason.

Some workers also have union representation. Annual salary increases and any changes to the terms and conditions of employment will be negotiated by the union representatives on behalf of the union members.

There is a continual need for experienced financial services staff to work in Luxembourg. Online jobs sites such as Jobs.lu and Monster list vacancies in English. They outline the role and employer, set out the experience, skills and qualifications required, and allow you to apply via the website. There are also a wide range of specialist recruitment agencies.

The government in Luxembourg runs a national jobs website, called agence pour le développement de l’emploi (ADEM).

This lists vacancies and offers links to a range of recruitment agencies. It also links to many useful pages about CV writing, obtaining police record certificates, and other topics useful to those seeking employment.

Since a number of EU functions are located in Luxembourg, there are employment opportunities there for EU agencies and organisations such as the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. With more than 12,000 people working in this field, the EU is essentially the second biggest employer in the country. For highly skilled individuals who speak at least two European languages fluently, there will be an array of interesting job opportunities available.

However, some of these jobs are no longer as prestigious as in previous times. Luxembourg has become an expensive place to live, and the EU wages have not kept pace. On the contrary, there are allegations that a practice known as ‘social dumping’ is increasingly used within the EU employment arena. This is where temporary staff with high qualifications are employed at pay rates significantly below what the permanent workers would receive to do the same job. In 2014, a three-day strike was called to protest against the practice, but there has been no formal acceptance that this practice will be dropped. This is an issue to be aware of if you are offered a temporary contract.

The European personnel selection office shows a large number of job vacancies on its website. This is a good place to start, and can give you an idea of the salary grades attached to specific roles.

Since Luxembourg has a number of other important industries operating on the country, there is a constant need for highly skilled and experienced individuals to work in sectors such as the chemical industry or food processing, as well as supporting business roles such as international logistics and information technology.

For those with fewer qualifications, the high cost of living in Luxembourg means staff in the retail and customer services sector can be hard to find. Hotels, spas and restaurants all need friendly, motivated employees to make their customers happy. Cleaners are needed in homes and businesses, whilst high net worth individuals require housekeepers and nannies.

If you are looking to work in domestic setting with accommodation provided, agencies such as London-based Simply Private Staff and Household Staff Agency may be happy to accept your CV and discuss your employment plans.




Rent Property

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Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world, and Luxembourg City is home to key business operations, including the banking sector. As a result, rents can be high, especially in Luxembourg City. There are many towns within an hour’s commute of Luxembourg City which offer the possibility of more affordable rents. Some people put up with the long commute from nearby France, Belgium or Germany to pay lower housing costs, either because they choose to or because their financial circumstances demand it.

Only about a quarter of Luxembourg’s properties are rented out to tenants, but there is a good range of properties available to suit your needs and budget. Properties can be rented as tiny studio apartments, flats with one or more bedroom, family homes and grand villas with outbuildings and land around them. Whilst Luxembourg City is particularly popular with expats, towns and villages across the country also are home to those who have relocated here.

All homes put on the market for rental will typically have a fitted bathroom and kitchen. Whether a property is furnished or not will depend on the landlord’s decision. You will generally pay more for a property which has been furnished, but this does allow you to move straight in and live comfortably without making a significant investment to purchase furniture. Curtains will rarely be included, as many properties include shutters to cover the windows at night.

Some newspapers do still run classified ads for housing rentals, but today these are more likely to be online, or even as Facebook posts. You should always exercise caution with any rental prospects, especially if you are seeking properties without agency help. If you are a young, single person, there is a small risk you receive unwelcome attention from the landlord when viewing a property. However, the main risk for property seekers is that criminals will be looking for ways to obtain your money. If you have any issues looking at a property or meeting the owner, or you are asked to pay a cash reserve fee, you should walk away. Never pay any deposit, security bond or rent in cash, so you can at least prove that you made the payment if you need to seek help from the police or courts.

If you find a rental property using the services of an estate agent, you will typically pay them a fee of one month’s rent plus 15 percent VAT. You will see estate agents advertised as agencies immobilieres, and they are easily located online. Properties available for rent through an agency will typically have an a louer (for rent) sign outside, with the agent’s contact details.

Luxembourg has clear and strong laws in place which protect tenants’ rights. As a result, most landlords are very careful about which tenants they will accept. It is normal, therefore, for the landlord or the agencies immobilieres to ask for your proof of ID and residency status, documented evidence of your income and a reference.

Tenancy agreements are usually for a fixed period, typically two or three years. As an expat, you may be offered a contract which allows you to leave earlier with a notice period, such as three months. This could be useful if you need to relocate again for work or family reasons.

In addition to the first month’s rent payable in advance, you will also be asked to deposit a security bond. The amount will vary; it is often the equivalent to one month’s rent, but can be up to the equivalent of three month’s rent. For good practice, your security deposit should be held in a client account, rather than deposited into the landlord’s bank account.

On the day you move in, check the property and contents against the etat des lieux (state of the premises) inventory and condition report. Discuss any listed items which are not physically present, and amend the listing accordingly. Similarly, annotate the list with any items which need fixing or replacement. You should take photographs of all rooms and contents, with close ups of any areas of wear and tear or signs of damage. Given the excellent quality of most camera phones today, this is easily done. On the day you move out, repeat the same process. This means you have proof should the landlord later try to claim repair costs for pre-existing damage.

The roads in Luxembourg can get congested during commuting hours, not least because of the number of workers driving in from nearby countries. Before you decide on your rental property, check the public transport and driving routes thoroughly, as an unexpectedly long commute may affect your enjoyment of your new home.

If the property does not have a garage or designated parking area and you own a car, you will need to obtain a vignette de stationnement (parking permit). The first for each household is free, and a further three can be purchased for an annual fee.

Apartment blocks mean you will have a number of communal rules to follow, the terms of which will be found in your tenancy agreement. They can apply to a number of areas, including disposal of refuse, storage of bicycles and guest parking.

The residents of apartment blocks also pay a monthly contribution to the maintenance of the premises. These will vary according to the type of property and the management arrangements. Some properties will employ a concierge or building manager, and maintain elevators and laundry rooms, whilst older basic properties may need to replace the roof. The charges can be quite substantial, and some will be the responsibility of the tenant to pay. Make sure you have received a schedule of charges for maintenance and additional services before you sign the tenancy agreement.

Tenants in an apartment block may also have all their utility costs covered for one monthly charge, although what is covered will vary, so it is important to receive all the information in writing. If you are renting a house, you will get connected via an energy company for electricity and natural gas, and receive regular bills to pay. This is the same for telephone, broadband and TV connections, which are again the responsibility of the tenant.




Buy Property

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There are no legal barriers preventing migrants from purchasing property in Luxembourg, regardless of whether they intend to live in the country or not.

Luxembourg has high rates of home-ownership, and as a small country, it has limited amounts of available building land. Many important industries such as banking and IT have bases in Luxembourg, attracting well educated, aspirational professionals. These factors combine to make Luxembourg an expensive place to buy a home, especially in Luxembourg City.

There are several routes to finding your ideal property, but most people will contact a real estate agent, known as agents immobiliers. It is rare for an owner to sell a property without an agent. Agents will have helpful websites showing the properties they are currently under instruction to sell, with filters according to price, location, type of property and so on.

Sale boards are also placed outside properties for sale, if the owner agrees to it. The boards will include the real estate agent’s contact details. This is useful if you have a specific location you would like to move to, as you will be able to spot new properties coming onto the market.

All estate agents in Luxembourg are regulated, and must be covered by professional liability insurance. This protects both buyers and sellers, and ensures a level of service appropriate to the significance of the business.

The real estate agent will arrange viewings with the owners, so you can visit the property as many times as you like before making an offer. Most people will visit twice. You can also look at the ministry of housing’s website to find out whether the asking price is reasonable.

By law, all properties about to change hands must be inspected and given an energy performance certificate, known as the energiepass. This will tell you how energy efficient the property is and what improvements could be undertaken.

Once you have decided you definitely want to buy somewhere, you will make an offer via your agent, who will communicate that offer to the seller. You may be accepted, asked to increase the offer, or rejected outright.

Once an offer has been made to the satisfaction of both parties, a legally binding purchase document will normally be prepared. This is not compulsory, but once signed it is enforceable and protects both parties. The contract should include the names and addresses of the buyers and seller, a full description of the property and buildings, the agreed purchase price, mortgage data, and details of the penalties should one party default.

You will normally be asked to pay a deposit at this stage. Your solicitor will keep the funds in a client account until it is eventually transferred to the seller on completion of the property transfer.

A building surveyor can be hired by the buyer to investigate the condition of the property. There are different degrees of investigation that can be done, with a range of charges to match. A mortgage company will ask for at least a basic check and report to be completed, to ensure their loan is being used for a property which is in good condition and being bought at a reasonable price. In the event you default on the mortgage, they will repossess the property and sell it.

If you are buying your new home without a mortgage, you will not be obliged to commission a building surveyor’s report. However, you may wish to make this investment anyway, so that any issues of concern can be identified and investigated by the experienced professional before the sale progresses further.

Apartment blocks have a number of charges and responsibilities levied on all the residents. This could include maintenance of elevators and corridors, employment of a concierge or handyman, general repairs and other costs which may be levied monthly. It is possible that significant repairs, such as to the roof, may require additional payments. Meanwhile, residents may be required to deal with refuse in a particular way or to a timescale, or be required to follow other rules such as where to store bicycles or allow visitors to park. Each property will be different. Make sure you have received written notice of all charges, obligations and rules, and that you are happy with them. Your solicitor will normally include this in the purchase papers but you must have reviewed it thoroughly too.

Your solicitor must register your title with the Administration de l’Enregistrement et des Domaines. A tax charge will be levied, which the buyer pays. The rate will be between six percent and 10.20 percent. A transcript tax of 1.2 percent will also be levied on the property buyer. The registration tax can be increased to 7.2 percent if a resale clause is added to the property deeds. In Luxembourg City, a further three percent is also added.

Solicitors in Luxembourg are regulated and covered by professional indemnity insurance. Their work protects your legal rights to a property which you have paid for. They charge 1.5 percent of the property purchase price to cover the cost of their work, which is paid by the buyer. The legal work for the seller will be typically done by a different solicitor, and the seller will pay their own costs.

On successful completion of a house sale, the agent will receive a fee of three percent (plus VAT). This will be paid by the seller, and is normally deducted from the property sale funds by the solicitor, who then makes the appropriate payment to the agent. The property buyer does not pay the agent.

It is also possible to purchase property through an auction. You must have your finances in place before the auction takes place, and comply with all terms and conditions. You are advised to visit the property and perform enough checks on the property and area to satisfy yourself it is a good purchase before the auction date. Once you have given the winning bid for a property in the auction, you are committed to purchasing that property, making the immediate deposit and settling the balance within tight deadlines.

House builders also sell apartments and houses off plan. This means you choose the property from its plans, usually after having looked at the ‘show home’, which is an example of the property type about to be built. The purchasing process is similar to that for existing homes, except that you will pay the purchase price in agreed instalments. Once the property is completed, you will need to sign an acceptance agreement, and to note on it anything that you have found to be missing, incomplete or requiring repair. The builder will have to deal with these issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. You will have a 10-year warranty, which means all issues relating to the property construction can be referred back to the builder during the warranty period.

The government can offer and promote schemes to help homebuyers and home builders finance their purchase. This can be through tax credits, grants, saving schemes or allowable tax deductions. Each scheme will have rules and conditions, and will change in response to economic conditions. They will normally only be available to those purchasing their primary home, and all the scheme criteria will be strictly applied.




Register For Healthcare

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QUICK LINK: Luxembourg health insurance

The national healthcare system provided in Luxembourg by the Caisse de Maladie (sickness fund) is modern and internationally highly regarded. Whilst the 2014 expenditure on healthcare at 6.9 percent of GDP was below that of the UK (at 9.8 percent) and the US (16.6 percent), the government funded more than four fifths of the total healthcare expenditure.

Life expectancy in Luxembourg is 82 years of age, making it the 13th longest average lifespan in the world. This is longer than experienced in the UK (in 20th place globally, with 81.2 years) and the US (down in 31st place globally, with average life expectancy at 79.3 years).

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Luxembourg has the lowest number of babies and children who will die before they are five in any of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The state healthcare system is funded by a form of taxation similar to National Insurance Contributions in the UK. Both workers and employers pay a contribution to the fund each time the employee is paid, based on the amount paid. Self-employed workers also contribute, with the amount based on their net income.

The state health services identify and contract with specific individuals and businesses to provide state funded cover. You cannot arrive at any surgery or hospital and expect state-funded treatment to be provided. Instead, you must check that the professional or organisation is registered for funded care before you begin to receive treatment. If you do not, you become liable for the costs, even they were due to a misunderstanding.

With the exception of emergency treatment, you can only access hospital services via a referral from your GP. All hospitals in Luxembourg are funded by the state healthcare system, but only some have emergency departments.

If you need to stay in hospital, the basic accommodation will be provided in a ward of four patients. Those who are willing to pay more or have insurance to cover the additional cost can be upgraded to a private room with an en suite bathroom.

Luxembourg uses a percentage reimbursement model for its state healthcare system. Patients pay in full for each session of treatment, whether it is through the local GP surgery, at the local hospital, to the dentist, or as payment for prescribed medicines. Detailed receipts for the payment will be given to the patient, which they submit to the Caisse de Maladie. The appropriate refund will then be processed; for some medical services the patient will be reimbursed in full, but for others they are expected to make a transaction-based contribution and therefore only receive a partial refund.

In order to cover the transaction based contribution costs, many people take out supplementary insurance. A number of not-for-profit health insurance bodies have been affiliated by the ministry of social security in Luxembourg to provide this additional insurance. Employees can also receive this cover through their employer’s scheme.

If you are moving to Luxembourg and will not be working, you will not make contributions into the fund. Therefore, you will not receive state funded healthcare and must take out private health insurance. If your employer has overseen your relocation, you may be offered private medical insurance as part of your remuneration package.

European citizens are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which means they can receive emergency medical care on the same basis as local residents when in other European countries. This includes treatment for pre-existing conditions which have become a medical emergency. If local residents receive the emergency treatment for free, so will EHIC holders; the same applies where a small fixed charge is levied. However, it does not cover ongoing or non-emergency treatment.

The EHIC scheme is also only applicable for visitors. If you move to Luxembourg from another EU country, your EHIC card will no longer be valid. You are also unlikely to be covered for treatment in your home country once you have moved away. The NHS in the UK, for example, will only deliver treatment free of charge to those who are permanently resident in the country and visitors who hold valid EHIC cards; everyone else will be invoiced for the treatment they receive. Therefore, if you move to Luxembourg and will not be working or contributing to the state health insurance scheme, you must arrange private health insurance as a matter of urgency, since you will not be covered by the state in either your new country or home nation.

If you need an ambulance whilst in Luxembourg, call the emergency number 112. Police assistance can be requested on 113.

Many international businesses, including those in the financial services and information technology sectors, are based in and around Luxembourg City. This is one of many reasons why high-quality private healthcare provision in Luxembourg is available. There is plenty of choice for those looking for privately funded doctors, specialists and hospitals.

Accord to WHO, the major health risks in Luxembourg are related to the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Luxembourg regularly tops the table of alcohol consumption in OECD countries. However, death rates from alcohol consumption in prosperous Luxembourg are surprising low, but this reflects data seen in most developed countries, whereby poorer people suffer more from alcohol related health damage even though they drink less than the middle classes.

However, in 2015 drink driving was the cause of almost one third of all car accidents involving a fatality. The drink driving limit in Luxembourg is 0.5 grammes per litre, the same as many European countries such as France and Germany. This is lower than permitted in the UK – except Scotland – and many US states.

Failure to wear a seatbelt, despite it being required by law, caused a similar rate of fatality in the 2015 data.

The first national restrictions on where people could smoke in Luxembourg was introduced in 2006. This was tightened on January 1st, 2014, when it became illegal to smoke in an indoor public place. In August 2017, the ban was further extended to ban smoking near a playground or in a car with a child under the age of 12 years.

These latest changes also significantly regulated the sale and use of e-cigarettes. Like tobacco products, the sale of e-cigarettes to children and young people under the age of 18 is illegal. In all areas where it is illegal to smoke tobacco products, it is now illegal to consume e-cigarettes, or vape, as it is commonly known.

The rate of obesity in Luxembourg, at 15.6 percent, is very slightly below the EU average. However, the rate is increasing over time, including in childhood.




Open A Bank Account

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Luxembourg has been a long-standing partner of many major European projects since 1951. This includes the European coal and steel community, the European Economic Area (EEA), the Euro currency area – known as the Eurozone – and the Schengen Agreement. As a result of this, the legal tender in Luxembourg since January 2002 has been the Euro.

The Euro can be divided into 100 cents, and is represented by the symbol €.

In 2013, the Europa series of Euro banknotes were put into circulation. The enhanced security features of the banknotes mean that forgeries should be easier to detect.

Euro banknotes are widely available in denominations of €5, €10, €20 and €50. Denominations of €100, €200 and €500 are also legal tender, but are unlikely to be issued by ATMs or used in retail outlets.

The €500 note is due to be discontinued in late 2018. UK banks stopped accepting them in 2010 after concerns that they were facilitating criminal activity, and a European Commission inquiry in 2016 concluded that concerns justified withdrawing the note.

Coins are issued for €1 and €2, as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. All Euro coins have a side showing which Eurozone country issued the coin, whilst the other side has a standard design regardless of the Eurozone country of origin.

ATMs are easily found in the city and towns centres in Luxembourg. Some charge for cash withdrawals, but the screen will tell you how much you are being charged before you proceed with the transaction.

All debit and credit cards will be issued with four-digit PINs, under the chip and pin system. This is normal for most countries across the world, except for those using debit and credit cards issued in the United States. If you are paying by card from any automated point, you will need to enter your PIN. A staffed pay point may allow a US customer to pay by chip and signature, but as this is done very rarely, the member of staff may be unaware of the procedure.

Credit cards issued in Luxembourg are usually Mastercard or Visa cards. They are widely accepted by retailers, food outlets and other businesses. You may occasionally find a small business which does not accept credit cards, or which imposes a minimum payment as a result of transactions charges.

American Express cards are frequently accepted by larger companies, but you should check before putting your card in the reader. Diners Club cards are not accepted at many locations in Luxembourg.

Between 1999 and 2011, Luxembourg operated a domestic electronic money scheme called MiniCash. You may occasionally see outdated references to the scheme, but like the Bancomat card scheme, it no longer exists.

If you are looking to open a bank account in Luxembourg, there is plenty of choice. At the end of 2017, there were 146 credit institutions registered to operate in Luxembourg, despite 26 banks having recently closed. Commercial banks and branches of international banks offer a wide range of retail and commercial services.

Luxembourg has high standards of regulation for its financial services industry. Banks are required to be alert to the risks of corruption, crime and money laundering. As a result, there will be thorough checks of your ID documents, address and income sources before you are allowed to open a bank account.

Banks charge for the transaction costs associated with each account. Some banks offer a set monthly fee, whilst others offer a range of costs for individual transactions. The account that is best for you will depend on your individual circumstances, including access to nearby ATM machines, bank branches, and the types of transactions that you typically generate through your bank account.

The hours of bank branches vary, depending on the bank and the branch location. Most branches open on weekdays at 9am, though some offer pre-arranged appointment times at 8.30am. Closing time is normally between 4-4.30pm, although pre-arranged appointments at some branches can be offered as late as 5.30pm.

Access to bank branches on Saturdays is limited; some close for the entire day and some offer a few hours in the morning. All branches will be closed on Sundays.

Electronic banking has become a normal feature of accounts in Luxembourg. There will be different procedures to generate banking processes online depending on the retail bank account you choose, but they are all aimed at stopping your money from being stolen by criminals online.

As online security increases, scammers now cold call householders with various stories, including claims to be calling from the bank, to try to persuade the account holder to make a transfer. Even experienced professionals can find themselves falling for these ploys. Many banks will not refund customers who unknowingly transfer funds to criminals.

Luxembourg is one of the 32 countries which form part of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Under this system, a bank payment in Euros from a Luxembourg bank account can be made to an account in a different SEPA country as though it is a domestic payment. Credit transfers, direct debits and payment cards are covered by the SEPA harmonised legal framework.

Since electronic payments including direct debits are so common, cheques are not used very much in Luxembourg. If shopping at a supermarket, take a €1 coin to use in a trolley, but most people will pay for their groceries using a debit or credit card.

If you are a resident in Luxembourg, you must pay your taxes there on all income, wherever it is derived from. Your individual circumstances determine whether you are classed as a resident for tax purposes. This includes where you ordinarily live, and whether you have been in the country for at least six months without any significant absences. If you live there for less than six months, you will only pay income tax on your earnings within Luxembourg. Income taxes are due for income earned in Luxembourg even if you live elsewhere.

Tax treaties mean that you will not pay income tax twice if you earn income abroad but are a taxpayer in Luxembourg, or vice versa.

If you are working for an employer in Luxembourg, your income tax and health insurance payments will be deducted at source. Although income tax is a progressive system as in the UK and US, where higher incomes gradually lead to higher rates of tax due, a different approach is used. Firstly, all taxpayers fall into classes according to whether they are single, married, have dependent children or are over the age of 65. Every small increase in income leads to a higher rate of tax, starting at eight percent for those earning more than €11,266 and up to 42 percent for those earning above €200,000 a year for the 2017 tax year. Married couples split their income in half, add it to their partner’s halved income, and pay tax at that income level. This is a much more sympathetic system for couples raising children without two full time incomes coming in. Compare this, for example, to the UK tax system, where in most cases the full timer pays full tax, even if their partner does not earn enough to reach the personal allowance at which tax deductions begin.

The tax year ends on the 31st of December each year. Anyone required to submit tax returns must do so by the following 31st of March, but if your employment is your only source of income and below €100,000 you may not be required to do so. Tax advice for uncomplicated circumstances can be readily found online, but if you have other assets and income then investment in personal tax advice would be worthwhile.




Learn The Language

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Luxembourg is a tiny European nation, with a small population of just over half a million people, including the 40 percent of Luxembourg City’s residents who have moved there from other countries. Landlocked between Germany, Belgium and France, it has a long history of being invaded, welcoming migrants, and conducting everyday business with people over the border.

Today, Luxembourg is home to a number of important European Union functions, and is the base for a thriving financial services industry, employing thousands of highly skilled staff. Major companies are attracted by the low tax base offered by a country which has fewer expenditure requirements for military and infrastructure projects compared to larger nations. However, the high cost of living there means many workers commute in each day from neighbouring countries.

As a result of its history, as well as current commercial and political importance, the use of language in Luxembourg is complicated. Luxembourg has three official languages: Luxembourgish, French and German, all of which have different uses.

Most people who have been born and brought up in Luxembourg will speak what the English call Luxembourgish. The native term is Lëtzebuergesch, whilst in German it is known as Luxemburgisch, and Luxembourgeois in French. It is a variant of German, but with important differences that mean Germans would have difficulty understanding some of it.

A 2013 study found that about 70 percent of the national population speaks Luxembourgish at home, work or school, although this varies by region. Most pre-school children and staff will use Luxembourgish as the primary language of communication. People will use it as their primary language on the street. Cashpoints and some supermarket signs will communicate with customers in written Luxembourgish.

However, official written procedures, such as application forms, will never be issued or accepted in Luxembourgish. Local people are proud of their language, and it is the primary one offered by local language schools, but if you come to live in Luxembourg you will struggle if you only learn Luxembourgish. French and German are too integral to the country for them to be ignored.

Once children start primary school in Luxembourg, they are taught in German. Most newspapers are printed in German, as are official sources of information for the public such as local council leaflets.

French is the written language for official processes. It is taught in almost all schools, from second grade onwards as an additional language. Whilst it is used for matters of high office such as parliamentary documents and bills, you will also find a lot of street names, menus, tickets and adverts are in French.

Younger people tend to speak more languages to a good level. Retired people are more likely to speak Luxembourgish with only a basic grasp or French or German. This may reflect location, as the countryside has an older population, and younger people are drawn to cities where they will work in a multinational workforce.

A number of strange anomalies exist. For example, debates in Parliament will be conducted in Luxembourgish, while the written questions are submitted in French. In order to receive citizenship of Luxembourg, you must take the Luxembourgish language test, but the nationality application forms will be completed in French. Despite being official languages of the country, French and German may not be taken as alternatives to Luxembourgish if you wish to become a citizen. Some institutions will reject applicants from degree courses and similar academic studies if they do not speak French.

After the three official languages, which local people happily use depending on the circumstances, English and Portuguese are the next most commonly spoken languages. English is taught in schools, and the significant number of English speaking expats working in Luxembourg City means the language is widely understood there. However, English cannot be relied upon if you want to settle long term in Luxembourg and integrate well into your new community.

Italian, Danish, Polish, Chinese, Dutch and Indian languages are some of the other tongues spoken by smaller communities in Luxembourg.

The majority of expats living in Luxembourg speak more than one language, with about one third of them having some ability to speak Luxembourgish.

There are a number of options available to anyone wishing to learn Luxembourgish. Classes at private language schools offer choice over location, timing and difficulty level. Private tutors are easily found, and there is a variety of online resources. Unusually, all language teaching, even in class, tends to rely on the written form, even though the language is predominantly a spoken one.

Whilst newsstands in city centres will offer a range of imported English language newspapers and magazines, the internet offers a wide range of sites which communicate news and views about Luxembourg to their English-speaking audience.

The Luxemburger Wort is a German language newspaper which also has an English language online edition. It covers politics, business, sport and community.

The Luxembourg City Magazine is a good source of information about cultural events and news connected to the running and development of the city. For a business take on the city, try the magazine Delano. The Chronicle offers an array of local news to entertain readers.

For those looking for specific streams of news, try EIN Newsdesk. You can view the news from thousands of sources, arranged by the subject.

Many newspapers from your home country will also allow access to their sites, though some may construct paywalls around premium sections.

Satellite television services are widely available, so you can watch television programmes, news and films in English. Some broadcasters offer free streaming of content, but note that the BBC has location blocks on anyone attempting to stream content from the BBCiPlayer from abroad. This is because the BBC is funded by UK license fee payers, with no subscriptions for overseas viewers available.

If you live in a city, especially Luxembourg City, you will find screenings of films in English across a number of cinemas.




Choose A School

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Luxembourg is a wealthy country which has made education compulsory for all children. Most children enrol at state maintained schools, which don’t have tuition fees. As a result, adult literacy rates in the country are at around 99 percent. However, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) compared the educational achievements of 15 year olds in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2015 and found that Luxemburg performed below the OECD average in science, mathematics and reading.

Children must, by law, be enrolled with a school for full time education from the age of 4 until they are 16. Schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or language. Parents’ status has no bearing on their child’s rights to an education or the legal compulsion for them to attend school.

Children are expected to attend their local school, within their local government community. As an expat, you can send your child elsewhere, but the process will not be easy. Given that the national curriculum is supposed to be delivered in all schools and using the same textbooks, each school aims to deliver the same educational experience. External data about school performance is not available, so you have no league tables to review when identifying school options.

Teachers are employed by the central department for education, a significant change from the pre-2009 recruitment system, in which local government appointed teachers. Pre-school and elementary teachers must have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, whilst teachers in secondary school must possess a master’s degree.

Financial resources for elementary schools are allocated by central government to local government according to population needs. These take into account pupil numbers, but also the wealth and education levels of local communities, to ensure children from poorer households are given additional support and resources to overcome their barriers to education. Secondary schools are funded directly from central government.

Children start their school day between 8 and 9am, depending on their age. Between 11.45am and 12noon, children are expected to go home for lunch. In the modern world, this can be difficult for some families, so many schools have set up a lunch club at school. You will be asked to pay a daily fee, based on food and staffing costs, and places are limited.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, all pupils have the afternoon off. A lot of clubs and classes are run during this period, giving children the chance to develop sporting, artistic and musical skills outside the classroom. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, children return to school for 2pm, where they will be in lessons for a further two hours.

When school finishes, children can stay at an after-school club if there is one provided. A fee will be charged to cover staffing and overhead costs.

Class sizes are typically, small ranging from 16 or 17 pupils to around 29 pupils in larger schools.

Almost one in five children in Luxembourg were born abroad, and the majority of the school population cannot speak Luxembourgish. The country is keen to promote cohesion and integration, so language skills are at the core of the education system.

The numbers of international children are so high that the state has three elements of support dedicated to helping these families. The department of schooling for foreign children, the school reception unit known as CASNA, and the intercultural mediators are all sources of help and information aimed at helping children access and succeed in local schools.

The Luxemburger Wort, which is an online newspaper with pages available in English, publishes school term dates. Whilst different types of schools will have differing dates, meaning elementary schools and secondary schools may differ, state schools of the same type will have the same term dates.

The new school year starts in early September, with a week-long half term break starting in late October and running into early November. The Christmas holidays start in mid-December, but end as early as January 1st. The middle of February sees a week-long break for the country’s carnival. March and April see a two-week Easter holiday. Whitson bring another week-long holiday in mid-May, before the summer break arrives in mid-July.

Pre-school education in Luxembourg is normally delivered in an environment where adults and children speak Luxembourgish to each other. From grade one, when the children are six years old, they will be taught in German. French is introduced in grade two, and English will be taught as a foreign language later.

When children reach the age of 12, they will attend either an academic school or one tailored towards a technically based education. The child’s elementary school will recommend the best option for your child, based on the assessment tests taken throughout the year. Up to three tests per subject may be taken each term, so that teachers have a good selection of data on which to base their recommendations.

Technical schools will deliver their curriculum in French or German, depending on the language skills of their pupils, but from grade seven onwards, this reverts to French only. These schools aim to prepare pupils for work, but also deliver a wide range of subjects to study.

Those attending a classically designed academic school will be taught in both French and German, and will be expected to be fluent in both. English will be taught as an additional language, and many will also include Latin classes.

Between the ages of 16 and 19, pupils can attend a local lycée général (general high school). Some of the these also provide vocational training.

Students who successfully complete their higher-level studies will graduate with a diplôme de fin d’études secondaires (school leaving certificate). Students whose focus is technical rather than academic will receive a certificate of aptitude.

There is a small number of private schools in Luxembourg, most of which receive some funding from the state and follow the national curriculum. If you are looking for something different and have the means to pay, international schools and international baccalaureate schools may provide the solution.

St George’s International School, which teaches according to the English and Welsh curriculum, and the European School, which offers a breadth of international lessons and languages across two school sites are both popular international schools in Luxembourg City.

Luxembourg’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) school opened in 1994. Today, four schools offer the IB curriculum that leads to a diploma. The Athénée de Luxembourg and International School of Luxembourg deliver their teaching in English, whilst the Fräi-Öffentlech Waldorfschoul Lëtzebuerg and Lycée Technique du Centre both teach in French. The IB diploma is an internationally recognised alternative to the Luxembourgish school leaving certificate.

Due to its small size and population, the nation only maintains one university, which was established in 2003. The University of Luxembourg has three separate faculties, offering a range of bachelor and postgraduate degrees. Master’s and doctorate degrees are offered on a research basis. Some technical secondary schools also offer higher education courses, in the areas of business and management, healthcare and the arts.

However, a number of overseas universities have set up sites in Luxembourg, providing a wider range of study opportunities.

Students on most bachelor degree courses do not pay tuition fees, including those who arrive from abroad. An enrolment fee will be charged, which is a few hundred Euros a year depending on the course.





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