Conditions of residence and work for highly qualified workers from third countries ("EU Blue Card")

This page was last modified on 11-07-2016

A third-country national who wishes to come to Luxembourg to work as a highly qualified worker for a period of more than 3 months, 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:
    • make a declaration of arrival in the new commune of residence in Luxembourg;
    • undergo a medical check;
    • apply for a residence permit for highly qualified workers from third countries called 'EU Blue Card'.

Forms / Online services

Carry out your procedure:

  • With an online service

  • Commande d'un certificat d'affiliation au CCSS
  • By downloading a form

    • Autorisation de séjour - ressortissant de pays tiers en qualité de travailleur hautement qualifié - modèle de demande
    • Titre de séjour "carte bleue européenne" - ressortissant de pays tiers en qualité de travailleur hautement qualifié - renouvellement
    • Liste des observations sur les titres de séjour pour ressortissants de pays tiers

Who is concerned

Every third-country national (i.e. a national from a country which is not an EU Member State or a country treated as such - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) requires a temporary authorisation to stay and then a residence permit if they:

  • either reside abroad and intend to set up residence in Luxembourg to carry out a salaried activity as a highly qualified worker;
  • or already lawfully reside in Luxembourg without having worked there and wish to carry out a salaried activity as a highly qualified worker;
  • or already lawfully reside and work in Luxembourg but intend to carry out a profession or work in an area of activity for which they are not yet duly authorised.

The application for the residence permit must be submitted by the salaried worker. However, he may mandate a third party, such as the employer, to carry out the necessary procedures.

No prior authorisation is required for third-country nationals who:

  • either already hold a valid residence permit granting them the right to work for any employer in the sector or profession concerned;
  • or already hold a valid residence permit granting them the right to work in any profession or for any employer in any sector;
  • or are registered as long-term residents in another EU Member State.
Non-EU nationals who are family members of an EU citizen (or of a national of a country treated as such) living in Luxembourg do not need a specific permit to carry out a paid activity.

Prerequisites

Third-country nationals must meet the following requirements first:

  • hold a valid passport;
  • check whether or not they have to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen area;
  • satisfy the conditions of higher professional qualifications, i.e.:
    • have an employment contract of one year at least for a job for a highly qualified worker;
    • have an offer for a remuneration:
      • at least equivalent to 1.5 times the Luxembourg average gross annual salary (48,864 x 1.5 = EUR 73,296 in 2016) or;
      • at least equivalent to 1.2 times the Luxembourg average gross annual salary (48,864 x 1.2 = EUR 58.636,80 in 2016) for work in one of the following professions and for which the government has noticed a particular need to employ third-country nationals:
        • mathematicians, actuaries and statisticians;
        • systems analysts;
        • software developers;
        • web and multimedia developers;
        • applications programmers;
        • software and application developers and analysts, multimedia developers not listed elsewhere;
        • database designers and administrators;
        • systems administrators;
        • computer network professionals;
        • database and network professionals not elsewhere classified;
    • show a document proving that they possess the high professional qualifications required for the activity or sector mentioned in the employment contract, or that they meet the requirements to carry out the regulated profession indicated in the employment contract.
Third-country nationals working under the highly qualified worker status may under certain conditions benefit from a tax deduction on the grounds of expenses related to their setup in Luxembourg.

Preliminary steps

Before recruiting a highly qualified salaried worker, employers must make a declaration of vacant position to the ADEM.

Highly qualified workers are not subject to the obligation of a labour market test.

The employer must sign a dated employment contract with the future employee. It may be stated in the contract that the start date is 'on the day the highly qualified worker obtains his authorisation to stay'.

An employer hiring a third-country worker must:

  • request to see the worker's authorisation to stay/residence permit before beginning the working relationship;
  • request a copy of the worker's authorisation to stay/residence permit and keep said copy for the whole duration of the contract;
  • notify the beginning of the working relationship to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs within 3 working days from the first day of work.

The employer must notify the beginning of the working relationship to the Immigration Directorate in writing (mail, email or fax) and specifically state:

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

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

How to proceed

Step 1: before entering the country

Application for an authorisation to stay

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

  • to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs;
  • to a Luxembourg diplomatic and consular representation;
  • or to a diplomatic or consular mission representing Luxembourg.
The application must be submitted and approved before coming to Luxembourg, except in certain special cases (i.e. third-country nationals who already hold a residence permit in Luxembourg). Applications submitted from inside Luxembourg are inadmissible.

The application for a temporary authorisation to stay must contain the applicant's identity (surname, first name and contact details) 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 curriculum vitae;
  • a certified copy of the applicant's diplomas or professional qualifications;
  • a copy of the employment contract (compliant with Luxembourg law), dated and signed by both the applicant and his future employer in Luxembourg. The contract must have a duration of at least one year and provide for a gross annual salary of at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary (i.e. EUR 73,296 in 2016) or, where applicable, 1.2 times the average gross annual salary (i.e. EUR 58,636.80 in 2016);
  • a covering letter to support the application;
  • where necessary, a proxy.
    Proxy: third-country nationals may give mandate to a third party (e.g. the future employer) 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.

If the information or documents provided are incomplete, the applicant will be given a reasonable deadline to submit the missing documents and information. The application may be rejected if the deadline is not met.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has maximum 3 months to send a reply. If no decision is received within this time, the application has 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 90 days. 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.

Passport and visa

Third-country nationals who are not subject to visa requirements may enter Luxembourg with their authorisation to stay and their valid passport.

Before travelling and leaving the country of origin, the third-country national subject to a visa must bring the authorisation to stay and submit a visa type D application form to the Luxembourg diplomatic or consular mission in his country of residence or, failing that, at the embassy or consulate of the country in the Schengen area which represents Luxembourg with regard to the issuance of visas (Belgium or the Netherlands).

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.

Step 2: after entering the country

Declaration of arrival

When entering Luxembourg territory, the third-country national must hold valid travel documents (visa and passport, where applicable), as well as his temporary authorisation to stay.

He/she must make a declaration of arrival at the administration of the commune where he intends 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 a work and residence permit until the residence permit is issued.

Medical check

The third-country worker must undergo a medical check for foreigners as soon as possible which consists in:

  • a medical examination by a doctor established in Luxembourg and authorised to work as a general practitioner or a practitioner specialised in internal medicine or pediatrics;
  • and a 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 workers must submit an application for a residence permit for third-country nationals, also called EU Blue Card, to the Immigration Directorate of 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 form:

  • 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 authority;
  • proof of suitable housing (rental agreement, property deed, etc.);
  • 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/her to come in person with a valid passport to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs during opening hours. The applicant will get his/her 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 the 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. It includes the work permit.

The residence permit includes information about its holder (surname, first name, 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".

Validity period and renewal

The residence permit is valid from the date of the arrival declaration at the commune. The residence permit is renewable on request as long as the application conditions are met and its holder can prove that he/she has effectively worked for the duration of validity of the residence permit.

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

If the highly qualified worker wishes to be accompanied by his/her spouse/partner or single underage children (or the children of the spouse/partner), he/she must include the requested documents for family reunification.

Validity period of the EU Blue Card

The first residence permit for highly qualified workers is valid:

  • for 2 years;
  • or, if the employment contract has a duration of less than 2 years, for the duration of the contract plus 3 months;
  • for one profession only with all employers;
  • in only one sector.

The sector and profession for which the non-EU national is authorised to work are indicated on the residence permit under the field "observations" in the form of an "ISCO" code.

It is a 3-digit code representing the profession for which the access to the job market is granted, defined according to the ISCO classification (International standard classification of occupations). The ISCO classification is an international classification of professions developed by the International Labour Organization.

The complete list of ISCO codes is available online. For more information on the classification, see the website of the International Labour Organization.

A change of sector and/or profession is only possible if authorised by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

Change of activity: In order to be authorised to fill another position which does not meet the conditions of higher professional qualification, the third-country national must start the procedure again and submit an application for third-country worker.

Renewal of the residence permit

If the conditions are met for the first renewal and for each subsequent renewal, the residence permit is valid for:

  • 2 years;
  • and for any salaried activity which meets the conditions of higher professional qualifications.
Change of activity: in order to be authorised to fill another position which does not meet the conditions of higher professional qualification, the third-country national must start the procedure again and submit an application for an authorisation to stay as a third-country worker.

Renewal procedure

Third-country nationals must submit an application for renewal of the EU Blue Card to the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes) within 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;
  • a copy of the work contract (valid and compliant with Luxembourg labour law), duly dated and signed, for a annual gross salary of minimum 1.5 times the average annual gross salary;
  • proof of payment of a salary (e.g. the last 3 salary slips, tax return, etc.);
  • a recent certificate of affiliation with the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale - CCSS) which must include all the salaried worker's affiliations;
  • a recent extract from the Luxembourg police records;
  • 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').
After 5 years of regular and uninterrupted residence in Luxembourg, the third-country national may apply for long-term resident status.

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

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.

Who to contact

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
26, route d'Arlon
L-1140 - Luxembourg
Postal box B.P. 752 L-2017
Luxembourg
Phone (+352) 247-84040 (from 14.00 - 16.00)
Fax (+352) 22 16 08
Email immigration.public@mae.etat.lu

Opening hours
Monday to Friday from 08.30 - 12.00