A third-country national who wishes to come to Luxembourg to work as a researcher employed by an approved research institute 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;
- be in possession of 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:
If the researcher already has a residence permit without another EU Member State and wishes to stay in Luxembourg for a part of his research, a specific procedure is applicable.
Who is concerned
A third-country national (i.e. from a country which is neither an EU Member State nor a country treated as such - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) who resides in a third country and wishes to reside in Luxembourg to conduct a research project will need an authorisation to stay and then a residence permit.
The following persons are concerned:
- third-country researchers (who are not citizens of a EU Member State or of a country treated as such - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) who hold a higher education diploma giving them access to doctorate programmes and who wish to reside in Luxembourg to conduct a research project for an approved research institute;
- third-country researchers who have concluded a hosting agreement in another EU Member State.
Public or private research institutes who intend to host a third-country national to conduct research projects are also concerned.
The application for an authorisation to stay must be submitted by the applicant. However, he may mandate a third party (e.g. the research institute) to carry out the necessary procedures.
Note that non-EU nationals who are family members of an EU citizen (or a national of a country treated as such) living in Luxembourg do not need a specific authorisation to conduct a research project.
In certain other cases, the researcher is not subject to an authorisation to stay for researchers (e.g. with a view to obtaining a doctorate or posted work).
Third-country nationals who have been authorised to reside in another EU Member State as researchers and who intend to conduct part of their research work in Luxembourg on the basis of a hosting agreement concluded in that other EU Member State and for a period of less than 3 months are not subject to an authorisation to stay, provided that they have sufficient resources and do not constitute a threat to public order, safety or health.
A third-country national who wishes to undertake a research project in Luxembourg must:
- hold a valid passport;
- check whether or not he has to obtain a visa.
- present a signed hosting agreement with an approved research institute;
- hold a higher education diploma giving access to doctorate programmes.
Approved research institutes that conduct or plan to conduct research work may conclude such hosting agreements.
The accreditation must be applied for:
- to the Minister in charge of Luxembourg public research institutes;
- to the Minister in charge of the economy for Luxembourg public research institutes.
The application for accreditation must be accompanied by the following documents:
- indication of the place of activity;
- social status or company object of the institute;
- a description of the activities;
- the number of researchers employed;
- a description of the research carried out;
- the audited annual financial statements for the past 3 financial years.
To obtain the accreditation, the institute must be able to prove that it is conducting research work in Luxembourg.
Accreditation is granted for a maximum duration of 5 years or, where applicable, 3 years maximum if the institute was created recently.
A public research institute whose legal and regulatory objective is in the field of research does not have to provide these documents.
Provided the research project was accepted by the competent bodies of the institute, the research institute and the researcher must conclude a hosting agreement in which the researcher commits to conduct the research project and the institute commits to host the researcher to that end. The following elements are verified:
- the purpose and the duration of the research project as well as the financial means necessary to achieve the project;
- the researcher's qualifications compared to the research in question and attested by a certified true copy of the adequate diplomas;
- the researcher's sufficient monthly resources amounting to at least the social minimum wage for skilled worker, in order to cover for the cost of living and return travel without the need to appeal to the social assistance system as well as the cost of health insurance;
- the precise legal relationship in the hosting agreement, as well as the researcher's work conditions.
The research institute must:
- request to see the researcher's authorisation to stay/residence permit before beginning the working relationship;
- request a copy of the researcher'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 research institute 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 researcher and their national identification number (matricule - 13-digit social security number);
- the start date of employment;
- the identity of the research institute.
Research institutes that illegally employ one or more third-country nationals 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 third-country researcher must submit an application for an authorisation to stay (on plain paper) from his country of origin and before coming to Luxembourg:
- to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, or;
- to a Luxembourg diplomatic or consular representation or to a diplomatic or consular mission representing Luxembourg.
The application for a temporary authorisation to stay must contain the applicant's identity details (surname, first name(s) and address) and must be accompanied by the following documents and information:
- a copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
- where applicable, a copy of the residence permit issued in another EU Member State if they already reside in the Schengen area;
- an extract from the criminal records or an affidavit (sworn declaration) established in the country of residence;
- a curriculum vitae;
- a copy of their diplomas or professional qualifications;
- a signed hosting agreement with an approved research institute, provided that the research project has been accepted by the institute's competent bodies;
- an individual financial statement of support covering for the cost of living and return travel. The financial statement of support is drafted by the approved research institute after the hosting agreement has been signed;
- where necessary, a power of attorney.
Power of attorney: third-country nationals may mandate a third party (e.g. the research institute) to submit the application in their place. In this case, the mandate 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 (except for the passport where a plain copy will suffice). 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.
The time required for a response from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is generally a maximum of 4 months. If no response is received within this time limit, the applicant can consider that their application has been denied.
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 they are 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.
Passports and visas
If he is not subject to visa requirements, the third-country national may enter Luxembourg with his authorisation to stay.
Third-country nationals subject to a visa obligation must submit, before their journey and from their country of origin, a type D visa application and present their authorisation to stay:
- to the Luxembourg diplomatic or consular representation in his country of residence;
- or, failing that, to the embassy or consulate of the country in the Schengen area which represents Luxembourg for the issuance of long-stay visas (only the Belgian embassy or consulate).
The visa, valid for a maximum period of 3 months, is affixed in the passport in the form of a seal.
If the third-country national has a valid residence permit for family members 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 in Luxembourg.
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 their temporary authorisation to stay.
They must make a declaration of arrival at the administration of the commune where they intend 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 or authorisation 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 their declaration of arrival as a receipt.
The copy of the declaration of arrival together with the authorisation to stay are valid as a work permit and authorisation to stay.
Before applying for the residence permit, the third-country researcher 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 there as a general practitioner or a practitioner specialised in internal medicine or paediatrics;
- 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 researchers must submit an application for a residence permit to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs within 3 months of arrival in Luxembourg.
The following documents must be sent together with the residence permit application form:
- a copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
- a copy of the temporary authorisation to stay;
- a copy of the declaration of arrival established by the communal administration;
- proof of suitable housing (rental agreement, property deed, etc.);
- proof of payment of a fee of EUR 80 tax to the account IBAN 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 to make an appointment at the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in order to have his 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 collected, the applicant can pick up the residence permit in person at the Immigration Directorate, by appointment.
The residence permit is valid for one year or for the duration of the research project, and can be renewed provided that the conditions for renewal are still met.
The residence permit takes the form of a chip card containing the biometric data. It includes the work permit for researcher.
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 'observations' field.
Validity period and renewal
The third-country researcher's residence permit is valid for one year or for the duration of the research project, and is renewable provided the conditions for renewal are still met.
Renewal of the residence permit
At the latest 2 months before the residence permit expires, the third-country national must apply for renewal of the residence permit to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, and submit the following documents:
- a copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
- a signed hosting agreement with an approved research institute;
- the financial statement of support drafted by the approved research institute;
- the researcher's certificate of affiliation with the Luxembourg social security which must include all the researcher's affiliations to date;
- a recent extract of their Luxembourg criminal record;
- proof of payment of a fee of EUR 80 to account IBAN 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 name here]).
After 5 years of lawful and uninterrupted stay on the territory of Luxembourg, third-country nationals may submit an application for a long-term residence permit.
Loss, theft or damage of the permit
If the residence permit is lost, stolen or damaged, a special procedure needs to be followed.
Forms / Online services
Authorisation to stay for a third-country national in view to conduct a research project - Explanatory note
Autorisation de séjour d'un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue de mener un projet de recherche (chercheur) - note explicative
Modèle de demande d'autorisation de séjour d'un ressortissant de pays tiers en vue de mener un projet de recherche
Demande en renouvellement d'un titre de séjour pour ressortissant de pays tiers en qualité de "chercheur"
Hosting agreement between a third-country national researcher and a hosting organism in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg
Modèle de convention d'accueil entre un chercheur ressortissant d'un pays tiers et un organisme d'accueil au Luxembourg
Demande en délivrance d'un titre de séjour pour ressortissant de pays tiers
Liste des observations sur les titres de séjour pour ressortissants de pays tiers
Conditions for third country nationals as student, "researcher in training", researcher and "posted researcher" - Explanatory note
Conditions pour étudiant, "chercheur en formation", chercheur et "chercheur détaché" ressortissant de pays tiers