Declaring a domestic partnership (civil partnership)

Update in progress

The legal provisions relating to civil partnerships confer on 2 persons who have chosen to live together without being married:

  • legal recognition of domestic arrangements other than marriage;
  • legal security in civil matters (through the establishment of certain rules of solidarity and responsibility between unmarried partners), tax matters (by providing them with various forms of tax relief) and social security matters (by granting them social protection).

A civil partnership or common-law union is defined as a domestic community of two persons of different sexes or of the same sex, known as "partners", who live together as a couple and who have declared their partnership by appearing together before the civil registrar of the commune of their common place of domicile or residence to personally and jointly certify their partnership.

Note: Among the measures introduced by the Law of 3 August 2010, partners in a civil partnership are entitled to leaves of absence (from work) for personal reasons that are granted to couples in a matrimonial relationship.

Who is concerned

Anyone, regardless of their nationality, may enter into a partnership in Luxembourg, provided that that they are legally resident in Luxembourg.

Prerequisites

The following categories of individuals may declare a civil partnership in Luxembourg:

  • individuals with the legal capacity to enter into such a relationship (the individual must not have been declared legally incapable by law, or must not be a non-emancipated minor or a protected adult);
  • individuals who are not already bound by another marriage or partnership;
  • individuals who are not related by blood or marriage to the following degrees:
    • in direct lines of descent, partnership is forbidden between legitimate or illegitimate forebears and descendants by blood or marriage in the same line;
    • in collateral lines of descent, partnerships are forbidden between legitimate or illegitimate brothers and sisters by blood or marriage in the same degree;
    • partnerships are also prohibited between uncles and nieces and aunts and nephews.

How to proceed

Formalities preliminary to entering into a civil partnership

The two future partners must appear, with the required documents, before the civil registrar of the commune of their common place of domicile or residence to personally and jointly declare their partnership.

The required documents must be in French, German or English. If this is not the case, the future partners must:

  • have them translated by a 'sworn' translator (addresses available by telephone at +352 47 59 81-335). A list of 'sworn' translators can also be requested from the Ministry of Justice;
  • apply for an international document prepared in accordance with ICCS Convention No. 16.

For the actual signing of the declaration of civil partnership, an appointment must be made with the civil registrar.

Essential documents to be submitted

Several supporting documents must be submitted (and translated into French, German or English if necessary) to declare a civil partnership. These include:

  • a valid identity card (for Luxembourg nationals and nationals of the European Union);
  • a valid passport (for Luxembourg nationals and nationals of the European Union);
  • a full copy of the birth certificates of the future civil partners issued by the commune of their place of birth. To be valid, the full copy must be less than 3 months old if it was issued in Luxembourg or France, and less than 6 months old if it was issued abroad; if such a document cannot be obtained, an affidavit issued by the justice of the peace of the applicant's place of birth or domicile may be submitted instead;
  • the partners' common legal domicile will be checked by the civil registrar against the corresponding entry in the National Register of Natural Persons at the time that the file is submitted;
  • a sworn statement, signed by the partners in the presence of the civil registrar or a notary, that there is no relationship by blood or marriage between them that would constitute a legal obstacle to the registration of the partnership;
  • for individuals who were not born in the Grand Duchy
    • a certificate attesting that neither of the partners has registered another partnership with someone else. Such a certificate may be applied for by sending a letter by post to the Cité Judiciaire, Public Prosecutor's Office, Civil Register, L-2080 Luxembourg (tel.: +352 47 59 81-341). The letter should mention the given names and surnames, marital status and address of the partners, and be accompanied by photocopies of their social security identification cards and identity cards or passports. It should be signed by both partners;
    • for non-Luxembourg nationals: in addition to the certificate issued by the above-mentioned Public Prosecutor's Office, a certificate (mentioning the future partners' marital status) attesting that the future partners are not in a civil partnership or any other form of domestic arrangement entered into abroad;
  • for foreigners born in Luxembourg: a certificate (mentioning the future partner's marital status) attesting that the future partners are not in a civil partnership or any other form of domestic arrangement entered into abroad.
For non-Luxembourg nationals, the certificate attesting that the future partners are not in a partnership or any other form of domestic arrangement must be issued by the competent authority of the country of origin. That authority may be, for example, the embassy or consulate of the country of origin in Luxembourg, or the communal authorities of the last place of residence in the country of origin.

For countries where marriage is the only existing domestic arrangement: a certificate of custom/law issued by the embassy and clearly stating that no domestic arrangement other than marriage is recognised by the authorities of that country.

Where applicable:

  • for divorced persons: a full copy of the certificate of dissolution of the marriage mentioning the divorce, or a full copy of the divorce transcript, if the divorce is not mentioned in an entry in the margin of the birth certificate;
  • for widowed persons: the death certificate or birth certificate of the deceased spouse, mentioning the death;
  • for persons who have already entered into a civil partnership before 1 November 2010: a recent certificate from the civil register listing the dissolution of the registered partnership;
  • proof of the existence of a property settlement agreement, if such an agreement was entered into between the partners.
Since the supporting documents may vary depending on the situation of the persons in question, it is advisable to discuss the matter with the civil registrar of the commune of residence beforehand.

Official declaration of the civil partnership

If all of the required documents are legally admissible, when the partnership is declared:

  • the civil registrar will check that both parties satisfy the conditions stipulated by law and, if they do, record the declaration of civil partnership on paper and give the partners a certificate stating that their partnership has been declared;
  • the declaration (mentioning, where applicable, the property settlement agreement entered into by both partners) will be forwarded to the Public Prosecutor's Office within 3 days and recorded in the civil register. Once it is registered, the declaration enters into force.

For persons whose birth certificate was established or transcribed in Luxembourg, an entry mentioning the declaration of civil partnership will be made in the margin of the birth certificate. This entry indicates the place and date of the registered declaration of partnership and the other partner's personal details.

The entry regarding the partnership only appears on the full copy of the birth certificate, but not in an extract of the birth certificate should one be applied for by one of the partners.

Upon receipt of the notice of registration in the civil register, a certificate of registration of partnership will be sent to the partners by post.

Neither the agreement, nor the submitted supporting documents are kept by the civil registrar. These will be returned to the partners after they have been checked. It is therefore up to the partners to ensure that they keep them in their personal records or deposit them with a notary, a lawyer or a person whom they trust.

Entering into a property settlement agreement is not required, but the option does exist. The partners may choose to enter into such an agreement when declaring their civil partnership or afterwards, and it may be amended at any time following the declaration. If such an agreement does not exist, however, the declaration of partnership creates rights and duties between the partners. As a result, the partners are obliged to provide each other with material assistance and to contribute to the expenses of the partnership in proportion to their respective abilities. They will be jointly liable towards third parties for debts incurred for the everyday needs of their domestic arrangement and for expenses relating to their common home. Neither of the partners may dispose of their rights to the common home or its furnishings without the consent of the other party. The partners may transfer property to each other by way of donation or legacy.

Who to contact

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