Conditions of residence for students from third countries

This page was last modified on 01-04-2016

A third-country national who wishes to come to Luxembourg for a period of more than 3 months to study, must follow a procedure in 2 consecutive steps:

  • step 1 - before entering the country:
    • 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;
    • for persons subject to visa requirements in order to enter Luxembourg: request, where necessary, a type D visa after having obtained the temporary authorisation to stay;
  • step 2 - after entering the country:

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Carry out your procedure:

Who is concerned

A third-country national (i.e. from a country which is neither an EU Member State nor a country treated as such - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) who resides in a third country and wishes to establish his residence in Luxembourg to study will need an authorisation to stay and then a residence permit.

The following persons are considered to be students:

  • persons enrolled in a higher education establishment in Luxembourg;
  • in order to pursue, as a main activity, a complete study cycle on a full-time basis leading to an academic degree or diploma issued by said establishment.

Researchers enrolled in doctoral programmes (PhD) are also considered as students.

The following are considered to be higher education establishments:

  • the University of Luxembourg;
  • education establishments awarding the advanced technician's certificate (brevet de technicien supérieur - BTS);
  • approved private higher education establishments.

No prior authorisation is required for a third-country national who is a family member of a EU citizen (or of a citizen from a country treated as such).

The student must submit the application for the authorisation to stay in person. However, he may appoint a third party, such as the university, to carry out the necessary procedures.

Prerequisites

Third-country nationals must meet the following requirements first:

  • have a valid passport;
  • check whether or not they have to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen area;
  • fulfil the conditions to be considered a student.

How to proceed

Step 1: before entering the country

Authorisation to stay

The future third-country student must submit an application for a temporary authorisation to stay (on plain paper) from his country of origin:

The application must be submitted and approved before entering the country. Applications submitted from Luxembourg are inadmissible.

The application for a temporary authorisation to stay must contain the applicant's identity details (surname, first name(s) and address) and must be accompanied by the following documents and information:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • a birth certificate;
  • a copy of the police record or an affidavit (sworn oath) established in the country of residence;
  • a copy of the registration as a full-time student in an approved higher education establishment in Luxembourg;
  • proof of sufficient resources to cover for living expenses and return-travel costs;
    The monthly resources must at least be equal to 80 % of the current guaranteed minimum income. The following may be used as proof:
    • a certificate of scholarship or student loan stating the amount received and for how long;
    • or a bank certificate;
    • or an financial statement of support (formal obligation).
  • parental authorisation if the student is under 18 years of age;
  • a health insurance certificate covering illness in Luxembourg.
  • where necessary, a proxy.

    Proxy:
    third-country nationals may mandate a third party to submit the application in their place. In this case, the proxy holder, with the exception of attorneys, must provide proof of their mandate in the form of a written power of attorney, duly dated and signed by the principal. The signature must be preceded by the handwritten note 'bon pour procuration' ('good for proxy').

The documents enclosed must be originals or certified true copies. Should the authenticity of a document be in doubt, the Minister of Immigration can request that the document be authenticated by the appropriate local authority and legalised by the Embassy (or alternatively notarised with an apostille of the Hague).

If the documents are not drawn up in German, French or English, an official translation by a sworn translator must be attached.

The time required for a response from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is generally a maximum of 3 months. If no response is received within this time, the application shall be deemed to have been rejected.

In case of a favourable reply, the third-country national receives a "temporary authorisation to stay", sent by post. This temporary authorisation to stay is valid for a duration of 3 months. During that time, the third-country national must:

  • either apply for an entry visa to the Schengen area, if he is subject to visa requirements;
  • or, if he is not subject to visa requirements, enter Luxembourg territory and make a declaration of arrival to the administration of the commune where he resides.

After entering Luxembourg, the third-country national must take steps to obtain a residence permit.

Particular case: Students taking part in an EU or bilateral exchange programme

A third-country student who has lawfully resided in another Member State as a student for at least 2 years and who wishes to continue his studies in Luxembourg in the framework of an EU or bilateral student exchange programme must also obtain an authorisation to stay before coming to Luxembourg.

The application must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • a birth certificate;
  • an extract of the criminal record or an affidavit (sworn oath) established in the country of residence;
  • a copy of the full-time registration in the approved higher education establishment in Luxembourg;
  • a file listing his academic background to date and a justification stating that the planned study cycle in Luxembourg supplements the cycle already completed;
  • a copy of the registration as a full-time student in a higher education establishment;
  • proof of sufficient resources to cover for the cost of living and return travel (minimum 80% of the guaranteed minimum income);
  • parental authorisation if the student is under 18;
  • a health insurance certificate covering illness in Luxembourg.

Passport and visa

If he is not subject to visa requirements, the third-country national may enter Luxembourg with his authorisation to stay.

Third-country nationals subject to a visa obligation must submit, before their journey and from their country of origin, a type D visa application and present their authorisation to stay to the Luxembourg diplomatic or consular representation in their country of origin, or, failing that, to the embassy or consulate of the country in the Schengen area which represents Luxembourg for the issuance of long stay visas (only the Belgian embassy or consulate).

The visa, valid for a maximum period of 3 months, is affixed in the passport in the form of a seal.

If the applicant's passport is due to expire in less than 6 months, he/she is advised to renew it before coming to Luxembourg.

If the third-country national has a valid residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen or a valid residence permit issued by another EU Member State, a visa is not required. The third-country national must nonetheless have a temporary authorisation to stay in Luxembourg.

Step 2: after entering the country

Declaration of arrival

Third-country nationals must come to Luxembourg with a valid travel document (passport and visa, where required) within 3 months of issuance of their temporary authorisation to stay.

They must make a declaration of arrival at the administration of the commune where they intend to establish residence, within 3 days of arrival in Luxembourg, presenting:

  • a valid travel document (passport and, where applicable, a visa or a residence permit issued by another EU Member State);
  • the original temporary authorisation to stay;
  • a valid proof of address (i.e.: rental agreement, electricity bill, etc.), where applicable.

The applicant will receive a copy of the declaration of arrival as a receipt.

The copy of the declaration of arrival together with the authorisation to stay are valid as an authorisation to study and as an authorisation to stay until the residence permit is issued.

Medical check

A third-country student must undergo a medical check for foreigners as soon as possible which consists of:

  • a medical examination by a doctor established in Luxembourg;
  • and TB screening by the Health and Social Welfare League (Ligue médico-sociale - LMS).

After receiving the results of these examinations, the Immigration Medical Department (Service Médical de l'Immigration - SMI) of the National Health Directorate (Direction de la Santé) will issue a medical certificate, which will be sent to the Immigration Directorate (Direction de l'Immigration) of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes) to allow the residence permit application to be processed.

Residence permit application

Third-country students must submit an application for a residence permit for third-country students to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs within 3 months of entry into Luxembourg.

The following documents must be sent together with the residence permit application:

  • a certified copy of the pages with content of their valid passport;
  • a copy of the authorisation to stay;
  • a copy of the declaration of arrival established by the communal authorities;
  • proof of payment of a EUR 80 tax into the IBAN account LU46 1111 2582 2814 0000 (BIC: CCPLLULL; beneficiary: ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Direction de l'immigration; Communication: titre de séjour dans le chef de 'insert your name here').

When the application is approved, the applicant will receive a letter inviting him to come in person with his/her valid passport to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs during opening hours. The applicant will get his photograph and fingerprints taken, which will be incorporated into the residence permit. The applicant may also bring a recent photograph compliant with OACI/ICAO standards ('biometric passport standards').

A few days after the biometric data have been provided, the applicant may pick up his residence permit in person at the Immigration Directorate. The exact date will be communicated to the applicant at the time the biometric data are being collected.

The residence permit takes the form of a chip card containing the biometric data.

The residence permit includes information about its holder (surname(s), first name(s), nationality, date and place of birth), as well as specific information about the residence permit (permit category, date of beginning and end of validity of the permit).

Certain residence permit categories include additional information in the field "observation". In the case of the "student" residence permit, the observation on the permit includes information on eligibility for work.

Carrying out a paid activity

During their studies, access to the job market is restricted for holders of a residence permit for third-country students.

Depending on the level of studies, a third-country student may carry out a paid activity with his residence permit:

  • during the 2 first semesters of a bachelor's degree or an advanced technician's certificate (BTS), the student is not authorised to carry out a paid activity.
    Exceptions: a paid activity in the higher education establishment of 10h/week maximum is permitted;
  • as of the 3rd semester of the bachelor's degree or advanced technician's certificate, master's degree and doctorate, the student is authorised to carry out a paid activity for a maximum of 10h/week (on average).
    Exceptions: this 10h/week restriction does not apply to:
    • paid work carried out during school holidays;
    • research work carried out in the higher education establishment or in an accredited research institute forming part of a doctorate programme;
    • employment contracts concluded by assistants of the University of Luxembourg.

Before hiring a third-country student (or in case of a change of employment contract), the employer must send a written declaration to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, stating:

Once these formalities are accomplished, the student may be hired by simply showing his residence permit for student.

Employers hiring a third-country student have to:

  • request to see the student's temporary authorisation to stay/residence permit before the working relationship can begin;
  • request a copy of the student's temporary authorisation to stay/residence permit and keep said copy for the whole duration of the contract;

The employer must notify the beginning of the working relationship to the Immigration Directorate in writing (mail, email or fax) within 3 working days as from the worker's first day of work and specifically state:

  • the identity of the worker and his social security number;
  • the start date of employment;
  • the identity of the employer.

The employer must notify the Minister of any change to the nature or duration of the contract and of the number of work hours per month.

Employers who illegally employ one or more posted workers from third countries with no valid authorisation to stay or residence permit may face administrative and criminal sanctions.

Traineeship

Students wishing to undergo a traineeship must complete certain formalities depending on the type of traineeship:

  • for a mandatory unpaid traineeship forming part of the academic study cycle, the residence permit for students is sufficient valid authorisation;
  • a paid traineeship (a traineeship including an employment contract and a salary, and thus assimilated to a job) is compared to a job. Restrictions concerning the access to the job market apply;
  • work which is essentially educational in nature and carried out in the framwork of paid continuing education (stage de formation) or probationary training (stage probatoire) is not considered a job (i.e. paid work), and the limitation of 10h/week does not apply.

To be considered as continuing education or probationary training, a traineeship must:

  • be essentially educational in nature;
  • be organised and controled by a Luxembourg or foreign higher education establishment;
  • or be organised by an employer on the basis of an internship contract between him and a student/pupil.

To be considered as work of an essentially educational nature, continuing education or probatory training organised by an employer on the basis of an internship contract between him and the student/pupil must:

  • be integrally part of the training, in accordance with the programmes of the Luxembourg or foreign education establishment;
  • be informative or provide orientation;
  • not assign the student/pupil tasks that require a work output comparable to that of the employer's permanent employees.

Validity period and renewal

The residence permit is valid from the date of the declaration of arrival at the commune. It is renewable on request as long as the application conditions are met.

Note: foreigners who intend to leave the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg for more than 6 months must return their residence permit to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and make a declaration of departure at the administration of the commune where they resided.

Validity period of the residence permit

The residence permit for students is valid either for a minimum of 1 year or only for the duration of the study cycle in the event its duration is shorter.

The residence permit for "students" contains an observation on eligibility for work.

Renewal procedure

In order to renew a residence permit, non-EU nationals must apply to the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (ministère des Affaires étrangères) within the 2 months prior to the expiry date of the residence permit.

The application for renewal must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • a certified copy of the pages with content of their valid passport;
  • proof of registration in a higher education establishment;
  • parental authorisation if the student is under 18 years of age;
  • proof of sufficient resources to cover living and return-travel costs. The following may be used as proof:
    • a certificate of scholarship or student loan stating the amount received and for how long;
    • or a bank certificate;
    • or a statement of financial support;
  • A recent certificate of affiliation with the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS) which must include all the third-country national's affiliations with Luxembourg social security;
  • a recent copy of the criminal record in Luxembourg;
  • proof of payment of a EUR 80 tax into the IBAN account LU46 1111 2582 2814 0000 (BIC: CCPLLULL; beneficiary: ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Direction de l'immigration; Communication: titre de séjour dans le chef de 'insert your name here').

Salaried activities after the completion of studies

After having successfully completed a higher education programme in Luxembourg leading to a higher education diploma, a third-country national can benefit from a simplified procedure in order to obtain an authorisation to stay for salaried workers with the purpose of carrying out paid work in Luxembourg.

In order to benefit from this procedure, the third-country national must send an application for an authorisation to stay for salaried workers to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs before the expiry date on the authorisation to stay for students and also attach/state:

  • a certified copy of the pages with content of their valid passport;
  • A recent certificate of affiliation with the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS) which must include all the third-country national's affiliations with Luxembourg social security;
  • a recent extract from the criminal records in Luxembourg;
  • a copy of his higher education diploma, stating that he successfully completed his academic cycle in Luxembourg;
  • that he wishes to complete his education by obtaining his first professional experience in Luxembourg with the intention of returning to his country of origin afterwards;
  • that the paid work which he intends to carry out is in direct relation to his academic education;
  • a copy of the employment contract, dated, signed and compliant with Luxembourg labour law;
  • proof of payment of a EUR 80 tax into the IBAN account LU46 1111 2582 2814 0000 (BIC: CCPLLULL; beneficiary: ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes, Direction de l'immigration; Communication: titre de séjour dans le chef de 'insert your name here').

The authorisation to stay for salaried workers is valid for a maximum period of 2 years, non-renewable, and the paid work is limited to one sector and one profession (but it may be carried out for several employers, either simultaneously or consecutively).

Moreover, the student cannot change the residence permit category after expiration of the residence permit for students.

If the student returns to his country of origin without applying for an authorisation to stay for salaried workers, he will not benefit from simplified procedures and will have to submit an application for an authorisation to stay for salaried workers upon his return.

Loss, theft or damage to the residence permit

In case of loss, theft or damage to the residence permit, a specific procedure needs to be followed.

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