Expats FAQ in Luxembourg


Q: How much do banks in Luxembourg charge for basic services?

A: It depends on the bank, but the charges are generally higher than those collected by banks in the US or UK. Examples of services that come with charges are credit/debit card usage, telegraphic transfers and remittance services.

Q: Is there an emergency hotline expats can call to report a lost or stolen credit/debit card?

A: Yes. Call 49 10 10 to report and block a card. The bank must also be informed immediately.

Q: Do banks in Luxembourg offer bills payment features?

A: Yes. Regular bank transfers are used by most people to pay their bills. With some banks, it's possible to set up an automatic bills payment account from which all payments are automatically made by the bank at a preset time (for example, monthly, every 5th of the month, etc.)


Q: What is the official business language in Luxembourg?

A: Luxembourgish or Lëtzebuergesch is the national language of Luxembourg, but French and German are considered the official business languages. Business communication styles are also heavily influenced by both the French and Germans.

Q: How do business people address each other in Luxembourg?

A: Business folks in Luxembourg usually address each other with a Mr. or Ms./Mrs., then the family name. Only very close friends or coworkers are on first-name basis and expats are expected to observe this unwritten rule. Luxembourgers also enjoy small talk for rapport but personal questions are to be avoided.

Q: Who needs a business permit to set up a business in Luxembourg?

A: Everybody needs a business permit to open a business in Luxembourg, except for EU-based companies providing occasional services. Nonetheless, all business owners should inform the General Directorate for SMEs and Entrepreneurship before starting to operate.


Q: What's a great outdoor adventure for kids in Luxembourg?

A: There are many parks and safe camping areas for kids and families in Luxembourg. However, one experience expat kids marvel at is walking barefoot at the Barefoot Woodland Walk (Kengert L-7633 Medernach), a 745-meter road with a mixture of gravel, sand, grass, wood bark mulch and stones or pebbles. Parents like to take their kids for a walk here because it gives the young ones a very close encounter with nature as the soles of their foot come in direct contact with the ground.

Q: Is there an acting school that kids in Luxembourg can attend during the summer break?

A: Yes. Ecole Théâtre is quite famous for this and they teach one group of kids between 7 and 12 years old and another between 13 and 15. The classes are in French and Luxembourgish and include games and performances.

Q: Are there obligatory vaccinations for children in Luxembourg?

A: There are no compulsory vaccinations in Luxembourg, but the following are highly recommended for babies before their first birthday: DTP, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Pneumococcus, Rotavirus and Haemophilus (should be given with booster shots around the child's thirteenth month and fifth or sixth birthday). Also recommended are measles, mumps and rubella vaccines after the child's first birthday.

Cost of living

Q: Is it expensive to live in Luxembourg?

A: Yes, it is fairly expensive to live in Luxembourg compared to the EU average, owing to the country's high standard of living, exceptional public infrastructures and peaceful environment. However, it is hardly the priciest place to live in Europe. In Mercer's Cost of Living Report, Luxembourg only ranks as the 84th most expensive expat destination all over the world. So while fairly expensive, living in this country is still way cheaper than in many other European destinations.

Q: How much goes to groceries in a typical monthly household budget in Luxembourg?

A: For a single expat, a monthly allocation for groceries could be around 300 euros while a family of four can live on about 700 euros a month. As expected, local goods will be cheaper than their imported counterparts.

Q: Are utilities expensive in Luxembourg?

A: Utilities in Luxembourg are just slightly more expensive than in some of its European neighbors like Germany, Belgium, and UK. An expat would probably spend around 150 euros monthly for heating, water, and electricity.


Q: What is the standard of healthcare in Luxembourg?

A: There are no private hospitals in Luxembourg and all medical services are provided by five public hospitals, all of which are managed by the Caisse de Maladie. Nonetheless, the healthcare system in the country is excellent and even ranks among the best in the world alongside such countries as Canada and France.

Q: What is it like for expat women giving birth in Luxembourg?

A: The quality of hospitals in Luxembourg is excellent, so maternity care is not a problem for expats at all. Women who just gave birth stay in the hospital for about five to ten days or longer if they've had a C-section. Obstetricians closely monitor women and administer compulsory medical and dental exams. In the workplace, mothers are given up to eight weeks of maternity leave before date of delivery, and another eight weeks after, plus four more weeks for those who are breastfeeding or had a premature delivery or multiple births.

Q: How should expats handle health emergencies in Luxembourg?

A: For health emergencies, including requests for information on pharmacies or duty clinics, the number to call is 112. Emergencies that need hospitalization are handled alternately by the five hospitals. For emergencies where hospitalization is not needed, patients can consult with GPs at the Maisons Médicales or clinics.


Q: Where in Luxembourg do most expats live?

A: Because EU institutions are located in the northern part of Kirchberg, a lot of expats are living in this area, though it tends to be expensive. The same is true for Belair and Limpertsberg which are pricey because of their location near major landmarks and basic services. There are also many expats in Cessange and Hamm which both offer cheaper housing. The popularity of Hamm among expats has largely to do with its close proximity to St. George International School. Even cheaper housing is available in Eich and Bonnevoi.

Q: What are the processes involved when buying a house in Luxembourg?

A: Buying a property in Luxembourg is a lot like buying a property in the UK. Real estate agents assess properties, For Sale signs are not common, and a Notary is needed for transferring titles. As in any other part of the part of the world, expats in Luxembourg are advised to seek the services of an English-speaking attorney who can cut through the red tape and provide appropriate advice.

Q: Is it wise for expats to purchase a housing property in Luxembourg?

A: Property prices in Luxembourg are high and this is the reason expats would often rather rent instead of make a purchase (especially those who don't intend to stay beyond five years). High conveyance costs also make purchases not quite good investments.


Q: What is one local dish that all expats in Luxembourg must try?

A: There are plenty but the national dish called judd matt gaardebounen is number one on the list. It's basically smoked pork served with a very thick cream sauce and some broad beans and potatoes on the side. Expats may also like liver meatballs with sauerkraut (sour cabbage).

Q: What are some great museums worth checking out in Luxembourg?

A: The National Museum of History and Art showcases Luxembourgish art in the 18th-20th centuries and mostly features the works of Auguste Tremont, Nico Klopp and Joseph Kutter. Another one is the Museum of the History of Luxembourg City. Both charge 5 euros as entrance fee.

Q: What is Luxembourg's national sport?

A: Luxembourg has no national sport but there are many types of sports played around the country. Football is probably the most popular, and then there's cross country running (Diekirch hosts a high profile international competition yearly) and also cycling.

Looking for a job

Q: Who need a work permit to be able to work in Luxembourg?

A: All people coming from non-EU/EEA countries need work permits to be able to work in Luxembourg. Note that all work permits are to be processed before arrival in Luxembourg.

Q: Are expat workers in Luxembourg covered by social security?

A: Yes, because all employers in Luxembourg are required to register their employees for social security coverage. Benefits include health services, all sorts of allowances and leaves, and pension contributions. Note that Luxembourg's health and social security systems are among the best in the world, though they tend to be some of the most expensive per capita.

Q: Do Luxembourg employers recognize university degrees obtained in other countries?

A: In most cases, university degrees or any academic diplomas are recognized by employers in Luxembourg. However, if there are anticipated problems, the National Academic Recognition Information Centers (NARICs) can be approached for advice. Half of the country's workers are foreigners, so employers are more or less familiar with overseas-obtained credentials.


Q: What is Luxembourg's official currency?

A: Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union, making euro its official currency.

Q: What language is used for instructions on ATMs in Luxembourg?

A: ATMs in Luxembourg are multilingual, considering the fact that locals speak a variety of languages, including French, German, and Luxembourgish. Due to the high expat population, most, if not all, machines also have English instructions.

Q: Do Luxembourgers use cards or cash when making purchases or paying for services?

A: Luxembourg is practically a cashless society, meaning everyone uses either credit cards or debit cards to pay for goods and services. The most accepted credit cards are MasterCard and Visa, followed by American Express and Diners Club. Debit cards in Luxembourg work in three ways - as an ATM (locally known as Bancomat); a Minicash or rechargeable payment facility; and as a Maestro, which allows card holders to withdraw money from other countries. Obviously, the Maestro function is highly beneficial to expats.


Q: Is there a significant population of expats in Luxembourg?

A: About 44% of people in Luxembourg are foreigners who are living either in Oesling or Eisléck (north) or the Guttland (south). In any case, expats end up in cities or towns with a strong European vibe, global connections, and the chance to speak three languages, namely, German, French, and Luxembourgish.

Q: What language do Luxembourgers speak?

A: In 1984, Luxembourgish as the national language was signed into law. However, for geographical reasons (Luxembourg is sandwiched between France and Germany), it's not surprising that French and German are very widely spoken here. The good news for expats is English is also used everywhere in the country.

Q: How big is Luxembourg?

A: Luxembourg is quite a small country - under 2,600 square kilometers and roughly around 2/3 of America's smallest state, Rhode Island. It is landlocked, sharing a border with France, Germany, and Belgium.


Q: Does the European pet travel scheme or PETS apply to Luxembourg?

A: Yes, PETS is used in Luxembourg. PETS is a set of guidelines allowing pets to enter the country without having to go through quarantine. The animals do have to meet the anti-rabies, tick and worm requirements of the scheme.

Q: What are the requirements for importing "dangerous" dogs in Luxembourg?

A: The import of dogs considered dangerous in Luxembourg requires a special authorization issued by the Ministry of Agriculture while the Veterinary Services Administration Office (Administration des Services Vétérinaires) provides the required forms and information. Dog breeds considered dangerous in Luxembourg include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Mastiff, American Staffordshire Terrier, Tosa, Pit bull, Boerbull, and any other morphologically similar dogs.

Q: Are there any special laws on dog droppings in Luxembourg?

A: There are no such laws. However, there are local regulations requiring dog owners to pick up their dog droppings in public areas, even on pavements of residential neighborhoods. There are dog dropping bags everywhere, including at tourist offices and recycling centers.


Q: What are some of the best universities in Luxembourg?

A: The University of Luxembourg is the sole fully-fledged university in Luxembourg founded in 2003. However, there are foreign universities that have campuses here, such as Open University Luxembourg, Open University Luxembourg, Sacred Heart University and the Miami University Dolibois European Center.

Q: At what ages is schooling compulsory in Luxembourg?

A: Children in Luxembourg are required to go to school from ages 4 to 15. The first two years are spent in pre-school, and after that, they proceed to the 9-year secondary phase until they graduate, earning them the Luxembourg Leaving Certificate.

Q: What is the main language used in schools in Luxembourg?

A: Schools in Luxembourg use Luxembourgish as the main medium of instruction. When students enter secondary school, they are taught three foreign languages - German, French, and English. In technical secondary schools, more emphasis is given to French; by grade 7, all students are expected to be well-versed in the language.


Q: What is Luxembourg's main shopping area?

A: Luxembourg’s main shopping area is Grand Rue which is found north of Place D'Armes. The district consists of three to four blocks, with the streets lined with all types of shops, from small stores to international chains. There are also plenty of restaurants and coffee shops in the vicinity.

Q: Where do people buy antiques in Luxembourg?

A: There are private antique dealers in Luxembourg who are usually contacted through referrals, but antique markets provide a better option to most shoppers, especially tourists and expats. These markets happen every second and fourth Saturday of each month, usually from 9am to 2pm at the Place d'Arnmes (Luxembourg City). Some 20 to 30 stalls sell a wide variety of antique wares, including books, porcelain, coins, etc.

Q: Where do people buy fresh produce in Luxembourg?

A: Supermarkets and grocery stores sell all sorts of fresh produce, but the best are usually found in markets all throughout Luxembourg. In Luxembourg City, for instance, they happen bi-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays} on Place Guillaume II and Place de Paris from around 7am to 1pm. The stalls sell all kinds of organic produce, from fruits to vegetables to poultry to cheese to flowers and even spices.


Q: What is the language of transmission of TV stations in Luxembourg?

A: The main language used is Luxembourgish, but there are broadcasts in French and German, the two other widely spoken languages in the country. Luxembourg's biggest TV broadcaster (Radio-Television Luxembourg or RTL) is one Europe's leading broadcasters, second only to Britain's BBC.

Q: Is Luxembourg well-connected in terms of the Internet?

A: Absolutely! Luxembourg is the second best location in Europe in terms of Internet connectivity (ADSL). Expats who want to get connected should provide proof of a local address and a copy of their residence permit.

Q: Do they have free public Wi-Fi in Luxembourg?

A: Yes. In fact, HotCity Wi-Fi network, which serves Luxembourg City and the key towns of Esch-sur-Alzette and Strassen, is considered the most successful municipal Wi-Fi network in Europe. Many cafes and bars also provide free Internet access to their guests.


Q: How is the public transport system in Luxembourg?

A: As it is, Luxembourg’s bus/train system is highly efficient. All main towns and cities are served and fares are very reasonable. On weekends and holidays, commuters get good ticket discounts and there are passes which cover unlimited bus or train travel around the country, as well as The Netherlands and Belgium.

Q: Is there enough parking space for motorists in Luxembourg?

A: Yes. There's an impressive parking strategy in Luxembourg and it really works. In the city center are several underground parking spaces with electronic signs outside, indicating there's a nearby garage and how many spaces are vacant. Instead of driving around looking for parking space, drivers know exactly where to go.

Q: Are traffic rules strictly implemented in Luxembourg?

A: Yes. There are radar traps distributed around town and city roads to detect overspeeding and other traffic offenses. Fines are also collected on the spot. The speed limit in congested areas is 60 kph, on the main roads, 90 kph, and on the motorways, 130 kph.


Q: When is the best time to travel to Luxembourg?

A: It depends. Spring and fall are great seasons because they bring out the best in the country. Usually, this happens from May through September, with temperatures ranging from 8 - 20 degrees Celsius. Unsurprisingly, this is the peak of the tourist season. Those who want to come for the snow should fly in from December to February. Festivals are also an attraction in Luxembourg so those who want to take part in these activities should come anytime from March through May.

Q: How is the climate in Luxembourg?

A: The climate in Luxembourg is moderate all year round, which means there won’t be that much difference as the seasons change. Summer temperatures average 20 degrees Celsius while winters can go below freezing point (November to February). The Ardennes in the north gets all the snow during winter and is mostly colder and wetter than any place south of the country.

Q: Which airports serve international flights to and from Luxembourg?

A: Luxembourg only has one airport and that is the Findel International airport in Luxembourg City. Note that there are no domestic flights in the country, so people take trains for regional travel.


Q: What are the requirements for obtaining a work permit for expats outside the EU/EEA?

A: A non-EU/EEA national seeking a work permit in Luxembourg should submit certified copies of his passport, relevant professional diplomas and Luxembourg employment contract, a letter from the prospective Luxembourg employer confirming employment, and a CV. After receiving a confirmation letter, the applicant can apply for a visa at the Luxembourg or Belgian Embassy in his home country.

Q: What is a Schengen visa?

A: The Schengen visa is a visa issued to Luxembourg visitors and is valid for a total of three months within a six-month period. Whether or not a person needs to get this visa depends on his home country, how long he plans to stay in Luxembourg and his reasons for coming. EU citizens and nationals of certain other countries are exempt from getting a Schengen visa.

Q: When and where must an expat file a visa application for Luxembourg?

A: Visas applications must be forwarded to the Luxembourg embassy or the embassy of any Schengen member state issuing Luxembourg visas in the applicant's home country. Applications should be filed at least two weeks before the planned departure.