Last update 01.01.2020
In matters of asylum, Luxembourg recognises two categories of international protection status: refugee status and subsidiary protection status.
Applicants who are granted international protection status receive a residence permit "international protection" with a 5-year validity.
Who is concerned
International protection applies only to nationals of third countries and stateless persons.
Persons who have committed one of the following wrongdoings are automatically excluded from international protection:
- crimes against peace, acts of war or crimes against humanity; or
- serious criminal offenses against common law outside Luxembourg before being accepted as a refugee; or
- breaches of the United Nations Charter.
Applications submitted by European citizens are inadmissible.
About the refugee status
Any person who, owing to a fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and who:
- as a third-country national: is outside of his/her country of nationality and who, owing to this fear, does not claim protection from that country; or
- as a stateless persons: is outside the country of his/her usual place of residence, and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to that country.
About subsidiary protection status
Any person who cannot be considered a refugee, but for whom there are strong and demonstrable grounds to believe that if that person were sent back to his/her country of origin, he/she would face a real risk of suffering serious harm:
- regarding third-country nationals: in their country of origin; or
- regarding stateless persons: in the country where they used to reside.
Examples of serious harm:
- death penalty;
- torture or inhuman or degrading treatment;
- serious and individual threat to the life or person of a civilian, as a result of indiscriminate violence arising in situations of international or internal armed conflict.
How to proceed
Application for international protection
Applicants must express their wish to submit an application for international protection in person to:
- the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE - Direction de l'Immigration, Service des réfugiés); or
- the control service (Service de contrôle) at the airport; or
- the Grand-Ducal Police; or
- the detention centre where the refugee has been placed; or
- the state prison where the refugee has been placed.
Applicants for international protection may submit an application for protection for persons under their responsibility (non emancipated minors, adults who have agreed to the submission of the application in their name).
Unaccompanied minors can submit their application for international protection in person or through an "ad hoc administrator" who has been assigned by the guardianship judge. The role of the administrator is to assist and represent the minor through the procedure concerning the application for international protection. If it is likely that the minor will reach the age of 18 during the procedure, there is no obligation to assign a special administrator.
In the event of doubt concerning a non accompanied minor's age, the minor can be invited to a medical examination to determine his age.
Registration of applications
Applicants need to present themselves in person (including minors, even if they are not accompanied) to the Immigration Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in order to register their application.
- an explanatory document concerning applications for international protection, including their duties and obligations. The document is drafted in a language which is likely to be understood by the applicant;
- information about their right to receive free assistance from an interpreter who speaks a language which is likely to be understood by the refugee;
- information about their right to request, at their own expense, a lawyer registered with one of the bar associations in Luxembourg, or to seek help from the legal aid service.
At the time of registration, applicants will receive a form and an appointment is scheduled for the submission of the application.
At the time of the appointment, applicants must submit the completed form and supporting documents so the application for international protection can be reviewed. The data on the form are the applicant's personal data and other useful information.
Applicants also have to hand over, in return for a receipt, their identity documents and other useful documents which will be returned once they have been granted one of the statuses. Identity documents are not returned if the applicant is granted refugee status. Where the status is denied, all the documents are returned to the applicant when he/she is removed from Luxembourg.
With the exception of identity documents, any document submitted in a language other than German, English or French must be accompanied by a translation into one of these 3 languages.
A photograph of the applicant will be taken.
Applicants for international protection will also be interviewed by a criminal police officer who is responsible for verifying the applicant's identity and itinerary before arriving in Luxembourg. Their fingerprints will be taken and, if deemed necessary, a physical search may take place.
Applicants may also receive an appointment for an interview.
Issue of the certificate
In principle, applicants will receive a certificate ("papier rose" - a "pink document") 3 days after submitting the application.
The certificate allows applicants to stay in Luxembourg while their application for international protection is being processed, as well as to move freely in Luxembourg.
The certificate does not allow to travel abroad. Exceptions will be granted to young schooled applicants who are participating in a school trip abroad.
In principle, the validity period of the "pink document" is one month, renewable each month until the end of the processing procedure. The renewal of the certificate is to be requested in person at the desk of the Refugees Office (Service des réfugiés) at the Immigration Directorate at the very latest on the day the certificate expires.
Supervision of asylum seekers
After submitting the application, the applicant for international protection will meet a social worker from the National Reception Office (ONA) who is in charge of applicants for international protection and who can provide information about the different types of aid available.
Declaration of arrival or choice of domicile
Within 8 days of submission of the application for international protection, applicants must make a declaration of arrival in the commune where they have taken up residence.
They may also chose to elect domicile at their representative's residence (their lawyer).
Any change of residence within the same commune must be declared to the commune. In the event of a transfer of the usual place of residence to another commune, the applicant must inform the commune of the new place of residence.
Unless an exception is granted by the Minister, the applicant must stay in the country. However, he or she has the right to move freely within the country while his/her application is being processed.
Applicants must undergo a medical check within 6 weeks after entering the country.
Applicants receive a letter by mail to their usual place of residence or designated domicile inviting them to an in-depth interview. The letter may also be delivered in person.
Applicants must present themselves in person at the scheduled date and time with their invitation and certificate (pink document) at the Refugees office at the Immigration Directorate.
Failure to show at the scheduled interview can only be justified by medical reasons. Applicants are therefore requested to inform the officer conducting the interview as soon as possible by calling the number indicated on the invitation, and to provide a medical certificate issued by a doctor. In case of doubt, the MAEE can request a health professional's opinion in order to determine whether the applicant is fit to participate in the interview or not.
Each adult of the same family is interviewed separately. Another member of the family may exceptionally be present.
Applicants are allowed to be assisted by an interpreter if the interview is being held in a language they do not understand.
They may also be assisted by a lawyer.
The interview is an opportunity for applicants for international protection to explain in detail the reasons for their application and also the reasons why they have left their country. The answers to the questions must be sincere, clear and reflect the truth.
Applicants must produce, if they have them, the original documents or other papers which may prove their identity, nationality, marital status, reason for their application, etc.
Statements made during the interview are noted in order to draw up a written, detailed and factual report. Applicants are entitled to read over the report or to have it read out loud, and to request changes which will be noted at the end of the report.
They are invited to sign the report, as well as all other persons that were present during the interview. If the applicant refuses to sign the report, the reasons must be noted.
No signature is required in the case of audio- or video-recorded interviews. Applicants can then submit their comments in writing within 8 days of submission of the report.
Interviews are confidential.
If any doubts remain concerning the applicant's origin, linguistic tests can be undertaken. In the same manner, if the applicant claims to be a victim of persecution or serious harm to body or health, a medical examination can be undertaken.
Admissibility of the application
The application will not be processed if the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs declares itself incompetent for processing the application for international protection, namely in the case where another country is competent in said matter. In this case, the applicant will be transferred to that country.
Applications are declared inadmissible if:
- applicants are EU citizens; or
- international protection has already been granted by another EU Member State; or
- there is a first country of asylum, i.e. another country who has already granted the refugee status and where:
- said protection is still valid; or
- sufficient protection will be provided under the condition of admission to the country concerned; or
- if there is another safe country where the applicant could have settled and where their life and freedom are not in danger for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, political opinion, etc.; or
- the application is a subsequent application which does not contain any new element or fact that allows to determine if the conditions for granting international protection are met; or
- the application is submitted in person when the applicant has already agreed to another person submitting the application on their behalf.
Decisions of inadmissibility are notified in writing. Possibilities of appeal against these decisions are indicated in the decision.
Processing the application
If the application is admissible, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) will process the in-depth interview.
After the review of the application, the refugee status or subsidiary protection status may be granted or the application may be rejected.
Applications can be processed under the condition that the applicant undergoes a medical examination with regard to signs of persecution or serious harm to body or health in the past.
Applicants receive an answer within 6 months following the submission of the application.
If the processing time of the application exceeds 6 months (factual or complex judicial questions, large number of simultaneous applications for international protection, non-compliance with obligations by the applicant), the applicant is informed of the reasons for the delay. If they so wish, applicants are entitled to request the reasons for the delay and an estimation of the deadline for processing the application.
The processing times of applications cannot exceed a total of 21 months.
Applications can undergo an accelerated procedure in the following cases:
- the applicant has only presented facts which are not relevant in matters of international protection status;
- the applicant comes from a safe country;
- the applicant has provided false information or documents, or has hidden documents concerning his identity or nationality in order to influence the decision;
- it is likely that the applicant has wilfully destroyed his/her identity or travel documents so that his/her identity or nationality cannot be established;
- the applicant's statements are inconsistent, contradictory, false or unlikely and in contradiction with duly verified information regarding the country of origin;
- the applicant has submitted a subsequent application which is not admissible;
- the applicant has submitted an application with the aim to delay or prevent an expulsion decision against him or her;
- the applicant has entered the country or illegally extended the stay and, without valid reason, has not presented him-/herself to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs or has not applied for international protection immediately after entering the country;
- the applicant refuses to be fingerprinted;
- the applicant is likely to constitute a threat to public order in Luxembourg.
The Ministry's response time for the accelerated procedure is usually 2 months from the day on which the applicant is deemed to have met one of the above conditions.
Applicants who are granted international protection obtain either refugee or subsidiary protection status.
The notification of the granting of the status is generally delivered by hand.
The notification of the granting of one of the statuses can also be done in writing through registered mail. The decision is deemed to have been notified 3 days after it was sent by registered mail.
In the absence of a usual place of residence or elected domicile, the decision will be publicly posted at the MAEE.
Applicants then benefit from the rights granted by international protection.
Rejection of the application
If the application for international protection has been rejected, the applicant is informed in writing via registered mail. The decision is deemed to have been notified 3 days after it was sent by registered mail.
In the absence of a usual place of residence or elected domicile, the decision will be publicly posted at the MAEE.
The notification of the decision can also be delivered by hand.
Possibilities of appeal against these decisions are indicated in the notification.
Withdrawing the application
Applications for international protection may be implicitly or explicitly withdrawn.
The application is implicitly withdrawn if the applicant:
- has not provided essential information or did not present him-/herself at the examination; or
- has fled or left the place where he/she was detained or the designated domicile without permission and without informing the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) within 24 hours, or has not complied with the obligation to present him/herself at the MAEE within a month.
The application is explicitly withdrawn if the applicant has done so in writing.
The withdrawal of the application entails the loss of international protection status and applicants will be transferred back to their country of origin.
Authorisation of temporary occupation
During the processing of applications, applicants for international protection may, under certain conditions, obtain a temporary work permit allowing them to carry out a professional activity.
It is possible to submit an appeal to the administrative court against the refusal of international protection and against the notice to leave the country, within the framework of the normal procedure.
A single appeal must cover both the decision and notice; if two different appeals are submitted they will be deemed ineligible. The deadline for submitting an appeal is one month from the notification of the decision.
The deadline for submitting an appeal and an appeal submitted within the deadline will have a suspensory effect.
An appeal against a decision issued by the administrative tribunal may be made within one month of notification of the decision. The time limit for submitting an appeal and an appeal submitted within the time limit will have a suspensory effect.
Please note that appeals against a ministerial decision to refuse an application will not suspend the time limit for submitting an appeal.
Appeals to the administrative court must be submitted via a lawyer.
In the case of the accelerated procedure, an appeal may be submitted to the administrative tribunal within 15 days of the notification of the decision:
- against the decision to make use of this procedure;
- against the decision not to grant international protection;
- against the notice to leave the country.
All 3 appeals must be filed in a single petition, on pain of inadmissibility. The decision of the president of the Chamber or the judge replacing him/her cannot be appealed.
Informal appeals against a ministerial decision made in relation to the accelerated procedure will not suspend the deadline for the submission of an appeal.
Appeals to the administrative court must be submitted via a lawyer.
Lack of jurisdiction of Luxembourg and inadmissibility of the application
It is possible to submit an appeal to the administrative tribunal against decisions on the grounds of lack of competence of Luxembourg or the inadmissibility of applications for international protection within 15 days of notification of the decision. Decisions issued by the administrative tribunal cannot be appealed.
Return to the country of origin
The refusal to grant international protection and the exhaustion of appeals mark the end of the application procedure for international protection.
The certificate for applicants for international protection is cancelled and the applicant is given an appointment with an officer from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MAEE) who will explain the process of return to the country of origin.
Applicants are invited to return to their country of origin within 30 days from the day the refusal is final.
Persons who choose to return voluntarily must inform the MAEE within the 30-day deadline.
In certain cases (schooled children, other social and family ties, etc.), the deadline for a voluntary return may be extended.
Persons who freely choose to leave the country may benefit from specific aid in order to organise their journey and resettlement in the country of origin or in another country that has decided to take them in. Persons from third countries with a passport without visa cannot benefit from said aid.
Applicants who have not left the country within 30 days from the day the decision of refusal is final (after the exhaustion of appeals) can be removed by force from the territory, escorted by law enforcement officers. In this case, the applicant can be placed in a closed facility.
Financial aid for the return is denied and prohibition of entry and stay in the Schengen area is ordered. The prohibition ordered can be for a period up to 5 years.
Forms / Online services
Demande en renouvellement d'un titre de séjour pour ressortissant de pays tiers en qualité de bénéficiaire d'une protection internationale
Who to contact
Immigration Directorate – Refugee Office26, route d'Arlon
Postal address :
B.P. 752 L-2017 Luxembourg
Fax : (+352) 247-84050Service for new arrivals: Mon.-Fri. from 8.30 to 12.00 / Opening hours of the reception desks: Mon.-Fri. from 8.30 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 16.00
Luxembourg and Diekirch Bar