Declaring personal property to the customs when moving from a third country to Luxembourg

Common Customs Tariff duties are applicable to all goods imported into the European Union.

When entering Luxembourg, all persons must declare the goods they are transporting to the customs office. They must also pay any taxes due.

However, if a natural person moves from a third country to Luxembourg, it is possible, under certain conditions, to benefit from exemptions on personal property they are transporting. In this case, no duties or taxes will apply.

Who is concerned

Situations concerned

Any natural person who:

Exemptions may be granted provided that the intention of the person concerned was to remain outside the European Union for at least 12 months.

Assets concerned

All personal property, i.e. property that is used for the personal use of the applicant or the needs of their household, including:

  • household effects and objects (furniture, clothing, etc.);
  • bicycles and motorcycles, private motor vehicles and their trailers, camping caravans, recreational watercraft, and light aircraft;
  • household provisions corresponding to a normal family supply;
  • pets;
  • saddle animals.

Personal property must not, by its nature or quantity, be intended for commercial use or economic activity.

The exemption is limited to personal property that:

  • for at least 6 months before the date on which the declarant ceased to have their normal place of residence in the third country of origin:
    • has been in the possession of the declarant;
    • for non-consumable goods, were used by the declarant on the premises of their former normal residence;
  • are intended to be used for the same purposes in Luxembourg.
    These conditions may not apply if, as a result of exceptional political circumstances, a person has to transfer his or her normal residence.

    Excluded assets

    The following are excluded from the exemption from customs duties:‎

  • alcoholic products;
  • tobacco and tobacco products;
  • mixed-use vehicles, transportable dwellings;
  • utility vehicles, unless there are exceptional political circumstances;
  • equipment for professional use other than portable, mechanical or liberal arts instruments, unless there are exceptional political circumstances;
  • stocks of raw materials and semi-manufactured or semi-finished products;
  • objects which have not been used in the former normal place of residence (initial packaging intact);
  • objects intended for different purposes than those they were used for at the previous place of residence;
  • personal property that reflects, by its nature or quantity, a commercial interest;
  • personal property in the possession of the importer for less than 6 months before the date on which they ceased to have their normal place of residence in a third country;
  • objects moved from a secondary residence.

Prerequisites

Personal property must:

  • be in the possession of or be owned by the importer;
  • be moved from the normal place of residence.

Deadlines

In principle, the exemption from customs duties must be applied for at the time of importing the personal property to Luxembourg.

However, the declaration of the importation of personal property:

  • can be submitted 6 months before the change of residence by:
    • a formal commitment from the person concerned to establish their effective place of residence within a period of 6 months;
    • a deposit of a security whose amount is set by the Customs and Excise Agency;
  • must have been made 12 months after the change of place of residence at the latest.

Failure to do so will result in the refusal of the exemption from customs duties.

Personal property may be imported in several stages within 12 months of the change of residence.

The period of 6 months is calculated from the date the personal property is moved to Luxembourg.

How to proceed

Submission of the declaration

The applicant must file an import declaration with the customs office concerned.

The presentation of the personal belongings as well as the related formalities can only be made on working days and during the opening hours of the customs offices.

The goods must appear on the initial inventory even if they are imported at a later stage.

Each applicant who is planning to import their personal property in several stages must:

  • mention them on their formal commitment form;
  • attach additional partial lists corresponding to the different shipments.

Supporting documents

Applicants must add to their import declaration:

  • a commitment whose form is defined by the customs office;
  • a detailed inventory of the household effects or objects being considered for import:
    • listing their estimated value;
    • dated and signed;
  • additional partial lists if the goods are imported in several shipments;
  • if applicable, a copy of the importer's ID card or passport in order to:
    • identify the beneficiary;
    • check the validity of a proxy giving power of representation to the mover or to a third party (spouse).

The applicant must also attach documents proving the fulfilment of the following conditions:

  • any document proving that the declarant has their normal place of residence in a third country:
    • certificate of residence from the former place of residence;
    • passport excerpt (visa);
    • lease contract from the former residence or utility bills;
    • certificate of the residents' registration office (Switzerland);
    • attestation from the former employer;
  • any document proving that the declarant settles in Luxembourg:
    • certificate from the new employer in the European Union (transfer contract, assignment, etc.);
    • any other alternative document acceptable to customs (title deed, lease contract, gas, electricity, landline or mobile phone bill in the name of the declarant).
If one of the conditions can not be met, the importer must provide:
  • written explanations;
  • any proof necessary.

Specificity for motor vehicles

When importing a motor vehicle, the declarant must submit a separate import declaration accompanied by: 

  • the supporting documents listed above;
  • the registration certificate;
  • the purchase invoice or leasing contract, or the redemption invoice in case of leasing.
For vehicles that are leased or rented with an option to purchase imported in the context of a move, VAT remains due on all monthly payments and the amount of the sale subsequent to the transfer of normal residence. These vehicles may, however, be imported free of import duties.

Moving for professional reasons

If, due to professional obligations, the person concerned leaves the third country without simultaneously establishing their normal place of residence in Luxembourg, the Customs and Excise Agency may authorise the duty-free admission of the personal property transferred. In this case, the person concerned must intend to establish at a later date their normal place of residence in Luxembourg.

In this case, the duration of the ownership period:

  • of 6 months with respect to the possession and/or use of personal property prior to the move will only begin on the day the property is moved to Luxembourg;
  • of 12 months to complete the import declaration also only starts on the day the goods are moved to Luxembourg;
  • regarding the ban on loaning, pledging, leasing or transferring for 12 months will be calculated from the effective date the person concerned establishes their normal place of residence in Luxembourg.

The person concerned must also undertake to establish their normal place of residence in Luxembourg within the deadline set by the Customs and Excise Agency. The deadline is set according to the circumstances.

This commitment is accompanied by a security deposit.

 

If the right to a duty-free allowance is in doubt

If the customs office questions the right to benefit from the duty-free allowance, it may require the deposit of a guarantee covering the customs duties in question until the missing documentary proof is presented.

Obligations

From the date of acceptance of their declaration, personal property admitted to the benefit of the allowance must be kept for a period of 12 months and cannot be subject, without first informing the Customs and Excise Agency, to:

  • a loan;
  • a pledge;
  • a lease;
  • a transfer for consideration (sale) or free of charge (donation).

Failing this, customs duties will be applied.

These conditions may not apply if, as a result of exceptional political circumstances, a person has to transfer his or her normal residence.

Specific goods

A separate declaration must be made to the administrations concerned for the following goods:

It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the administrations concerned directly.

Who to contact

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