Moving to Luxembourg | Country Guides | I Love International Moving

The Ins and Outs of Moving to Luxembourg from the US – How to Settle in the Grand Duchy

Posted Country Guides / July 29, 2013
Amelia Mead

Originally from Chicago, currently everywhere, Amelia is a freelance writer working on bringing all the moving tips to you.

Anyone who’s considering moving to Luxembourg from the US should first learn a thing or two about its culture, geography, politics, and bureaucracy. To help you out, we’ve created this crash-course document that will teach you everything you need (and might want) to know. So, without further ado, let’s get started with the Grand Duchy’s humble introduction.

Things to Know Before Moving to Luxembourg

If you are pondering about relocating to the only independent duchy in the world it might be helpful to know about all the other special things that make the country so different from any other place. One of the smallest countries in the world, Luxembourg is smaller even than the tiniest US state – Rhode Island.

However, the approximate number of 633,000 residents isn’t one to neglect, as the country is the most densely populated region of the EU, although it rarely feels that way. That must be because of the openness and warmth of its population, whose diverse ways make life in the country a truly one-of-a-kind experience, given that almost half of the population is made up of expats!

Is It Worth Moving to Luxembourg?

There are a number of reasons why relocating to Luxembourg makes sense, the first being that the Grand Duchy is a founding member of the EU, along with its neighbors Belgium, France, and Germany. Other than living in a country that, despite its size, managed to become a significant political player, you’ll be able to enjoy great public amenities, a mild climate (although unfortunately rainy at times,) and breathtaking nature. And at the same time, you’re bound to appropriate some great new perspectives from learning its official languages: Luxembourgish, German, and French. So, don’t doubt your choices for a minute, ’cause you chose a perfect place to relocate efficiently.

How Does Immigration to Luxembourg Work?

You are probably wondering, can a US citizen move to Luxembourg, and if so, how? And, on that note, is it easy to move to Luxembourg, or is it more cost than worth? Given that everyone has their own reasons to move, the cost-benefit analysis is going to be your job to carry out, but we will gladly tell you all about the necessary steps and paperwork to getting your permanent residence or citizenship.

Living Here Starts With Obtaining a Residency

If you want to stay here for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to obtain a residence permit that will last you one year. You can do this by becoming a salaried worker, which isn’t always as easy as it seems when looking for a job in Europe from a long distance. Additionally, you’ll have to talk to your potential employer and help them understand why they should hire you rather than a Luxembourgish citizen. Once you obtain a position, you’ll have to declare your arrival upon moving abroad and obtain a residence permit in the following 90 days.

Luxembourg Citizenship Isn’t the Easiest to Obtain, But It’s Not the Most Difficult Either

Judging by the large expat community, one might think obtaining a citizenship permit would be easy, but it is even more difficult than getting a residency. First off, you’d have to be living abroad for at least five years, or for a period of one year continuously. You will also have to find a way to learn the official language and pass a test in Luxembourgish, obtaining an oral level of A2.

Additionally, you’ll be taking a course named “Living together in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,” which lasts a minimum of 24 hours spread across three modules. And afterward, by submitting the application for naturalization, continue your journey to becoming a full-fledged citizen. And while the process might be dull and somewhat difficult, you’ll be glad to know that you can keep the travel documents and citizenship you already have and own dual citizenship with the Luxembourgish passport in hand.

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Consider the Cost of Living Before Your Decide on Relocating to Luxembourg

Although Luxembourg wouldn’t be considered the cheapest place in the world, it is still much more affordable than living in the US. In comparison to New York costs, excluding the rent prices, the country is still about 17% less expensive than the US. So, even if you have to move on a budget, with a job and stable income, you won’t have to worry about balancing your finances on a daily basis.

How Much Do You Have to Make to Live Comfortably?

If you plan on relocating with a family of four, you should expect your monthly costs to go for about $3,754 without rent. The costs of a person relocating alone, without rent, are estimated to amount to about $1,075. Generally, including all costs associated with comfortable living, it is estimated that a person’s monthly budget should be about $2,500 since rental costs amount to about $1,500.

How Available Are Jobs in Luxembourg to a US Expat?

Unfortunately, the Luxembourgian laws make it difficult for expats to seek job opportunities before moving overseas. To qualify as a job seeker, you’ll first need to obtain a legal domicile, a social security number, and a residence permit, which is the first of the list of conditions for being able to exercise professional activities. However, once you fill out all the requirements, you will find yourself in the second-richest country globally, with one of the lowest unemployment rates.

So, statistically, you won’t be jobless for long, especially since the government is taking steps to diversify the labor force. Given that the country is a multicultural and multilingual one, you’ll find a job easily, even without learning a new language. As an English native, you’ll soon see that there are many language teaching positions for Americans in Europe. Most foreigners work in high-paying sectors such as engineering, advertising, IT, government, law, and even publishing. For some first-hand expat experiences of people who’ve decided to work and live here, check out the following video.

Choose One of the Best Places to Live In This Country

Although one of the smallest countries in the world, the Duchy still provides many amazing options when it comes to picking and choosing a spot to be moving internationally to. There are two main regions most people move to, Oesling and Guttand, and between them numerous places to settle in and build a home. Here are our top picks:

  • Luxembourg City – It is the biggest labor center in the country, and not to mention a beautiful urban area to live in. It is divided into 24 areas, out of which the most popular are Limpertsberg, Howald, Merl, and Belair, to name just a few.
  • The Moselle Valley – Any wine lovers out there shouldn’t think twice about getting right to the source – the most famous and picturesque wine region in the country. It is located at the bank of Remich, making the location a perfect place for long mornings and evening walks.
  • Mamer – Near the capital, this historical town is perfect for anyone interested in the calm European life, full of beautiful landmarks, but not troubled by traffic and the high pace of life. The town is not only mild and beautiful but also considered to be one of the country’s most prosperous spots.

The Country Provides Great Quality Amenities at a Low Price or Free of Charge

It is important to know can anyone move to Luxembourg and where to live once you do, but even more important, one should know about the services and amenities the system offers. And when it comes to the Grand Duchy, you would rightfully expect a royal treatment and service with both healthcare and education, as well as transport.

The Healthcare System Is One of the Best in Europe

First off, it is worth noting that the Luxembourgian healthcare system is one of the best in entire Europe. And although state-provided healthcare is not completely without costs, it is much more affordable than what you might be used to back home. Basically, almost all Luxembourg’s citizens are covered by the state system, which provides a range of benefits and services without costs. However, for some forms of treatment, patients might be required to contribute financially and do it upfront. Once you move, you’ll be required to register with an insurance fund, and afterward, you’ll be registered under the public medical care system.

Education Is Widely Accessible in Terms of Cost and Language Too

The quality of education here is much higher than in most other nations. Statistics show that over 77% of people have obtained at least an upper secondary education. And given that most schools are state-run and free of charge, it’s no wonder so many people have access to it.

Education is obligatory from the age of 4 up to the age of 16, and most studies range between the widely spoken languages (Luxembourgish, French, and German). At the University level, English is also a teaching language, so most US citizens deciding to obtain their degree won’t have to break the language barrier to do so.

Not Only Is the Transport System Amazing, But It’s Also Free of Charge

Did you know that Luxembourg is the first country ever to provide its commuters with free public transportation? It doesn’t matter if you are a traveler, a citizen, or a resident – you’ll still be able to use all modes of transport free of charge. The government decided at the beginning of March 2020 that this motion will apply to all the trains, trams, and buses in hopes that this will lower the traffic congestions and provide environmental benefits to people who live there. So, while you are able to hire an overseas shipping company to help you in shipping your vehicle overseas, there is no need to do so since the public transport will take you wherever you want to go – and it won’t cost you a dime either.

What to See While You’re Getting Used to the Move?

If you want to really feel like you belong, you’ll first have to go through all the tourist motions. After all, being a tourist is always fun, even in the cities you’ve lived in for years. And when you’ve just had an international moving company relocate you, it’s also the best way to let go of all that relocation stress. So, here are some of the top picks when it comes to Luxembourgish tourist attractions:

  • The old quarter of the Capital – An UNESCO World Heritage Site for more than twenty years, this site is definitely worth a visit. And not only is the fortress acknowledged today, but it used to be one of the most impregnable castles, that is until it was dismantled in the late 1800s. Today, it is a charming experience, filled with greenery, cobbled streets, and even beautiful homes to ponder.
  • The Walls of the Corniche – Another sight located in the capital is what is often considered to be the most beautiful balcony in entire Europe. Built-in the side of a mountain, these walls provide a wonderful walk with a view over the mesmerizing river valley that will take your breath away.
  • Bourscheid Castle – If you want to experience a Disney-like castle, the village of Bourscheid is the one to visit. The fairy-tale castle stands at the peak of 490 ft in height. Constructed in the 10th century, it is one of the most interesting and memorable tourist attractions the country offers.
  • Berdorf – This is one of the main tourist attractions in the country, and it’s no wonder since the views it provides are truly breathtaking. With plentiful walking and hiking trails, the significant acres of forest will help you calm down even the strongest relocation anxiety.

Before You Become an Expat, Get Familiar With the Local Customs and Manners

The Western feel of the country won’t induce much of a culture shock for an American expat, yet local etiquette and manners should be taken into consideration, especially due to their formal nature. As a foreigner who’ll surely find themselves in a range of formal situations, you should be prepared for a slow pace of human relationships. Most people meet and greet each other formally and in a reserved manner until a closer relationship takes place. And while close friends will kiss each other on the cheek three times, the most common way of greeting is a handshake. So, until you are addressed on a first-name basis, keep your distance and your cool, and let the relationship evolve at its own Luxembourgish pace.

Dinner Side Manners Are Formal, But Luxembourgish Food Is Divine

If you are invited for dinner at someone’s place, you should get some quality chocolates for the host and hostess. And get ready, because the dinner may seem like a test at times, due to all the manners and formalities guests are expected to keep up with. And while you are watching out for your elbows on the table, and whether you started eating before the hostess, here are some dishes you might expect to be on the menu:

  • A thick soup with beans, potatoes, and bacon known as bouneschlupp,
  • A butter-fried trout f’rell am reisleck,
  • Crispy potato cake gromperekichelcher which is the most famous street food,
  • Marinated hare known as huesenziwwi, served with noodles or cabbage.

Now That You Have All the Crucial Information, It’s Time to Plan Your Move to the Grand Duchy

Since you’ve taken out the time to get introduced to your future place of residence, the only thing left to do is plan your move. This grandiose task is much easier with an overseas moving company by your side. Just make sure to obtain relocation insurance before you start packing up your inventory to ship it to your new home or a storage unit. And once all the boring and tiresome relocation tasks are done, you’ll be able to call yourself a Luxembourgian with glee and honor.

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