Luxembourg nationality law goes to vote in January

Luxembourg’s new nationality law, expected to enter into force on April 1, is to be voted on in January, Justice Minister Félix Braz has confirmed.

The vote on the law, which was initially expected to enter into force on January 1, 2017, was postponed several times and the last message from the government was that the vote would be taken in December, 2016, which didn’t happen.

Speaking to Wort.lu/en on Tuesday, the minister said the vote was postponed because “we need to be sure on a local level that all of the IT parts required to implement the law are ready.”

He explained that a working group composed of the Justice Ministry, City of Luxembourg, SIGI, which manages commune IT systems, and the Centre des technlogies de l’information de l’état, were working to ensure that the IT infrastructure was in place for the new law to take effect on April 1.

Minister Braz said he could not give a firm date for the vote, because the Chamber’s calendar was decided by the parliament. But, it certainly won’t be before January 9, when parliament resumes.

He advised anyone planning to apply for Luxembourg nationality under the new law to wait until April 1 before beginning the procedure.

What’s in the new nationality law?

Among the key changes to the law are the reduction of the residency requirement from seven to five years. Applicants must still pass a language test at A2 in oral expression and B1 in comprehension. They must also attend the “Living in Luxembourg” course (24 hours).

Applicants who have lived in the country for 20 or more years are asked to attend 24 hours of certified Luxembourgish language classes. They are not obliged to sit the language exam, however.

Another key component is the introduction of “Jus soli” enabling people born in Luxembourg to non-Luxembourgish parents to obtain nationality when they turn 18, provided they are resident in Luxembourg for at least five consecutive years before their 18th birthday. And one of their parents who is non-Luxembourgish has lived in Luxembourg for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the child’s birth.

People born in Luxembourg to parents who are not Luxembourgish can apply for nationality from the age of 12 on the condition that: The child has lived in Luxembourg for the five years preceding. And one of its parents lived in Luxembourg for minimum one year prior to the child’s birth.

Candidates marrying a Luxembourger can acquire the same nationality provided the partner lives in Luxembourg and that the couple has lived in Luxembourg for three consecutive years prior to the application. They must still pass the language exam and attend the Living in Luxembourg Course or pass its test.