Luxembourg, or to be precise the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is home to the European Court of Justice and one of the world’s wealthiest countries relative to its size. Covering less than 1,000 square miles (2,600 square kilometres) the tiny country is home to less than 700,000 people with foreign nationals accounting for almost half of this total.
Landlocked in the west of Europe and bordered by Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg is a thriving administrative and commercial centre which also attracts numerous visitors each year from within Europe and across the world.
The capital city, also called Luxembourg, has been named “European Capital of Culture” on two occasions and both the city and surrounding countryside are extremely popular with tourists. As it is such a small country many visitors often combine a visit to Luxembourg with trips to one or more of its nearby neighbours. For Europeans this is not a logistical problem as a valid passport is sufficient for most trips. Visitors from outside the European Union, Schengen Area, or who do not enjoy visa-exempt status, however, will require the appropriate form of Schengen Visa for such excursions.
Schengen Visa Requirements
Luxembourg is a member of both the Schengen Area and European Union. These two bodies operate a reciprocal visa-exemption scheme under which citizens of either enjoy visa-free access to both. This visa-exempt policy also applies to citizens of a number of countries across the globe who do not require a visa to enter either the Schengen Area or the European Union. The visa-exempt policy operates for citizens of major countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, China, some South American countries and the United Kingdom despite Britain having opted out of the EU in 2020.
Citizens of countries who do not qualify for visa-exemption, termed “world travellers” are not permitted to enter the EU or Schengen zone without having first acquired a Schengen Visa for that purpose. Which visa is required is based on certain criteria. If Luxembourg is part of a longer trip but where most time will be spent then the visa should be issued by the authorities in Luxembourg.
Similarly, if a visitor is merely using an airport in Luxembourg to make an onward connection to a non-Schengen country then a Luxembourg Air Transit Schengen Visa may be required.
Different Visas for Different Purposes
All Schengen Visas, regardless of which country is being visited, follow the 90/180 rule. This means that the visa holder is only allowed to spend a total of ninety days out of one hundred and eighty within the Schengen Area. The ninety days can be spent in one or more of the Schengen member states and can be used as one block of time or broken into smaller time periods as long as the ninety day limit is not exceeded.
World travellers applying for a Luxembourg Schengen Visa must select the most appropriate type of visa. That is the one which most closely matches the chief purpose of the visit.
There are a total of ten visa types to choose from:
Even if just passing through an airport in Luxembourg en route to another destination, an Airport Transit Visa will most likely be necessary.
The most commonly sought form of visa, the Tourism Visa covers holidays and short-stay visits to Luxembourg.
Easier to apply for and faster to process, a Business Visa is for business people who regularly visit Luxembourg for professional reasons.
Students wishing to attend courses of less than three months duration in Luxembourg should possess a Study Visa.
An Official Visit Visa is required by members of any official visiting delegation invited by a recognised organisation in Luxembourg.
World travellers participating in sporting events in Luxembourg should possess a Sports Schengen Visa.
Visit Family or Friends
A letter of invitation and proof of any relationship is required in order to receive a Visiting Family or Friends Visa.
Visiting Luxembourg for medical attention or treatment involves plenty of supporting documentation and a Medical Reasons Visa.
Attending cultural (music, art, theatre) events in Luxembourg falls under the auspices of the Cultural Schengen Visa.
If the main purpose for the stay in Luxembourg is not covered by any of these types of visa then applicants should request an Other Schengen Visa. The purpose of the visit section is left blank and the applicant should explain as succinctly as possible the reason or reasons for the visa request.
While one of these types of visa should cover almost every eventuality there are other, less common, visas that can also be applied for. These include Schengen Visas for film crews, spouses of EU citizens and visiting for religious purposes among others.
It is vital to select the type of visa that most closely matches the main reason for the application as an error at this point can result in unnecessary confusion and delays.
Applying for any type of Schengen Visa can be (and often is) a complicated process. Ensuring the correct type of visa is selected and completing the form accurately and in full is only part of the challenge. All applications must be accompanied by originals or copies of documents and the list of what is required can often be very daunting.
As a basic requirement all completed applications must be accompanied by:
- Valid, current passport with a validity of at least three months after the last date to be spent in the Schengen Area. Passport should have at least two blank pages to accommodate the visa.
- Two identical, recent, passport-approved photographs.
- Proof of adequate medical insurance coverage for the trip.
- Letter outlining the reason(s) for the visit and itinerary if outings are planned.
- Proof of adequate finances.
- Copies of any accommodation booked (hotel reservations etc.).
- Copies of flight details, or other means of travel booked, into and out of the Schengen Area.
This is just a list of the basic requirements but it should be pointed out that, in many cases, supporting documentation will also be required. Copies of recent bank statements is a common request. Students, for instance, must provide proof of any course being attended and visitors for medical purposes must supply the relevant medical records from their own doctor as well as details of the medical treatment scheduled while in Luxembourg.
Interview at a local consulate or embassy
Once the application form has been completed in full, signed and dated and all the necessary paperwork has been collected and checked it is time for the final step in the visa application process. This is the personal interview at the nearest Luxembourg embassy, consulate or designated visa processing centre.
Arranging an interview is the applicant’s responsibility and not that of the relevant authority. The interview is mandatory and is where all the necessary documents are handed in and checked. In addition, samples of the applicant’s fingerprints or biometrics are taken as part of the security protocol. Payment, in full, for the visa must also me made at the interview.
Processing the visa should take approximately two weeks according to the Schengen guidelines but this is misleading as the process will generally take anywhere from two to six weeks. It is best to lodge an application well in advance of the intended departure date (to allow for delays) but cannot (and should not) be lodged any sooner than three months in advance of travel to Luxembourg.