A third-country national who wishes to come to Luxembourg to carry out an activity as a self-employed worker 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;
- hold a valid passport;
- for persons subject to visa requirements in order to enter Luxembourg: request a type D visa after having obtained the temporary authorisation to stay;
- Step 2: after entering the country:
- make a declaration of arrival in the new commune of residence in Luxembourg;
- undergo a medical check;
- then apply for a residence permit for self-employed third-country nationals.
Who is concerned
Every third-country national (i.e. a national from a country which is not an EU Member State or a country treated as such - Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) requires an authorisation to stay and then a residence permit if they:
- either reside abroad and intend to set up residence in Luxembourg to carry out a self-employed activity;
- or already lawfully reside in Luxembourg without having worked there as a self-employed worker and wish to set up as a self-employed worker.
Moreover, in order to be granted a residence permit as a self-employed worker, third-country nationals must:
- provide proof of required qualifications to carry out the planned activity and, where applicable, in order to be registered with the respective professional body in the relevant professional register;
- where applicable, ensure they fulfil the conditions set out by law to access the professions of craftsman, trader, industrialist and certain liberal professions;
- provide proof that they have sufficient resources to carry out the desired activity in Luxembourg;
- ensure that the activity carried out serves the interests of the country in terms of social or cultural interest, or economic benefit, i.e.:
- as a response to an economic need;
- in terms of integration in the national or local economic context;
- in terms of viability and sustainability of the business project;
- in terms of creating jobs;
- and in terms of investment, namely in research and development, innovation or specialisation.
The application for a temporary residence certificate must be submitted by the applicant. However, he may appoint a third party to carry out the necessary procedures.
Non-EU nationals who are family members of an EU citizen (or of a national of a country treated as such) living in Luxembourg or who have long-term resident status or who are under international protection in Luxembourg do not need to meet the conditions for a residence permit for a self-employed workers in order to carry out a self-employed activity. However, they have to check whether they meet the conditions of access to the profession.
Third-country nationals must meet the following requirements first:
- have a valid passport;
- check whether or not they require a visa to enter the Schengen area.
Before applying for a temporary authorisation to stay, the applicant must fulfil the conditions of access to the profession concerned:
- if the self-employed activity requires a business permit, the applicant must join to his application the outline consent from the Ministry of the Economy regarding the issuance of the business permit;
- if the activity requires other authorisations, accreditations or registrations,, the applicant must join to his application a copy of his/her authorisation or registration/accreditations, or the outline consent of the competent authority.
How to proceed
Step 1: before entering the country
Temporary authorisation to stay
The future third-country self-employed worker must submit an application for a temporary authorisation to stay (on plain paper) from his country of origin:
- 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.
Except in certain special cases (For example: (e.g. third-country nationals who already hold a residence permit in Luxembourg), the application must be submitted and approved before entering the country. Applications submitted from Luxembourg are inadmissible.
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;
- an extract from the criminal records or an affidavit (sworn oath) established in the country of residence;
- a curriculum vitae;
- a business and a financing plan;
- proof that the applicant has the necessary economic resources to carry out his business project;
- in the case of a takeover of a business, the balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the past three financial years;
- in the event of an activity subject to a business permit, the agreement in principle;
- in the case of an activity subject to other authorisations, accreditations or registrations, the agreement in principle from the competent authority;
- where necessary, a power of attorney.
Third country nationals who wish to carry out a regulated profession in Luxembourg, namely to work as a physician, dentist, veterinary or pharmacist, the application procedure for the authorisation to stay slightly varies.
The applicant will first have to submit the application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who will respond by mail and indicate:
- that either all the conditions are met, except for the recognition of professional qualification, and that the applicant must first address the competent authorities to have the qualifications officially recognised;
- or that the conditions are not met.
In the first case, applicants must deliver the original of this letter to the competent authorities concerned who will keep the letter. After analysis of the application file, the competent authorities will inform the applicant by mail whether the professional qualification will be recognised or not, and that the license to practise will only be granted on presentation of the authorisation to stay (temporary authorisation to stay or residence permit).
Finally, the applicant must present himself with the authorisation to stay or send a copy to the competent authorities and will receive the license to practise in return.
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 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.
Only complete applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will be returned to the sender.
The time required for a response from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is generally a maximum of 3 months. If no response is received within this time, the application has been rejected.
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 he/she is 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.
Passport and visa
If he is not subject to visa requirements, the third-country national may enter Luxembourg with the authorisation to stay and a valid passport.
Third-country nationals subject to a visa obligation must, before their journey and from their country of origin, submit a type D visa application and present their temporary authorisation to stay to the Luxembourg diplomatic or consular representation in their country of origin, 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. Third-country nationals are nonetheless required to 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 the 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 the declaration of arrival as a receipt.
The copy of the declaration of arrival together with the temporary authorisation to stay are valid as a right of residence until the residence permit is issued.
The third-country national must undergo a medical check for foreigners as soon as possible which consists of:
- 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 Affairs (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) to allow the residence permit application to be processed.
Residence permit application
Self-employed third-country nationals must submit an application for a residence permit for third-country nationals to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs within 3 months of entry into 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 authority;
- 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 your name here').
When the application is approved, the applicant will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment with the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in order to have their 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 takes the form of a chip card containing the biometric data. It includes the work permit for the self-employed activity in question (provided the holder has the required business permit to carry out the activity).
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 field "observation".
Validity period and renewal
Period of validity of the residence permit
The residence permit for self-employed is valid for 3 years at the most as from the date of declaration of arrival in the commune. The residence permit is renewable on request for a new period of 3 years as long as the conditions for obtaining remain fulfilled.
As an exception, in the case of a first-time application for a residence permit as a self-employed worker, the third-country national who had long-term resident status in another EU Member State will be granted the resident permit for self-employed worker with a 5-year validity.
Beware: foreigners who intend to leave the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg for a duration of more than 6 months must return their residence permit to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and make a declaration of departure at the administration of the commune where they resided.
In order to renew a residence permit for self-employed worker, the third-country national must apply to the Immigration Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs within 2 months prior to the expiry date of the residence permit.
The application for renewal must be filed using a specific form and must be accompanied by the following documents:
- a copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
- supporting documents justifying that the conditions of access to the profession are still met (for example the business permit);
- the certificates of affiliation which list all the prior affiliations of the self-employed with the Luxembourg social security and, where applicable, those of his employees
- a copy of the personal income tax return for the previous year as well as proof that it was duly filed;
- for companies:
- a complete balance sheet of the period preceding the application, as well as proof that it was duly filed with the Trade and Companies Register (RCS);
- a copy of the corporate income tax return for the previous financial year as well as proof that it was duly filed;
- a copy of the VAT declaration, as well as proof that it was duly filed;
- 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 a lawful and uninterrupted stay in Luxembourg, third-country nationals may apply for a long-term residence permit.
Loss, theft or damage to the residence permit
In case of loss, theft or deterioration of the residence permit, a specific procedure needs to be followed.
Forms / Online services
Demande en renouvellement d'un titre de séjour pour ressortissant de pays tiers en qualité de travailleur indépendant
Liste des observations sur les titres de séjour pour ressortissants de pays tiers