Luxembourg to fast-track nationality process
(ks/ml/JB) Foreign residents will no longer have to have lived in the country for seven years in order to adopt Luxembourgish nationality under a proposed new law.
The draft nationality law plans to lower the residency threshold to just three years for residents who have completed the "Contrat d'accueil et d'intégration" (CAI), people aged under 18, refugees and the homeless and five years for all other residents.
For foreigners whose residency in Luxembourg has been interrupted by moving abroad for certain periods, the new criteria asks for five years' cumulative residency stating applicants must have lived in Luxembourg the year leading up to the date the application is submitted.
With regard to language criteria, currently applicants must achieve level B1 in Luxembourgish listening comprehension and A2 in speaking. Under the new law, all requirements will be scaled down to level A2. This means that successful candidates must be able to understand frequently used phrases and expressions for example when shopping or at work. In addition, they must be able to convey simple information.
Foreign residents who have lived in the country for eight or more years and completed 100 hours of Luxembourg language courses within two years are exempted from the language test.
The law proposes that compulsory civics courses be extended from six to 24 hours, and that applicants be able to choose between taking the course or sitting a civics exam.
Nationality by marriage
Foreign residents may gain citizenship on the basis of marrying a Luxembourg national, the draft suggests.
However, the applicant must prove that he or she has mastered one of the three national languages of the country. If the spouse lives abroad, the couple must have been married for three years before making the nationality application.
The so-called land tenure will be extended under the proposal, which means that children of foreign nationals who were born in Luxembourg will automatically receive dual Luxembourg nationality on their 18 birthday provided they meet certain criteria.
For this to be the case, at least one parent must have lived in the Grand Duchy in the year preceding the child's birth. This mechanism aims to prevent so-called "birth tourism".
The young person must also have lived in Luxembourg in the 12 months prior to their 18th birthday. On the wishes of the parents and the child, a request may be made from when the child turns 12 onwards. The regulation should also apply to children who were born before the law comes into force.
The draft law forbids anyone convicted for a sentence of one year or more from applying for nationality, unless the sentence dates back 15 years or more.
The same applies to those who receive a minimum two-year suspended sentence.
The government will discuss the preliminary draft law project in the near future with the opposition parties.
Changes may still be incorporated before the draft law is introduced into Parliament. According to Justice Minister Felix Braz the government wants to establish a broad consensus.
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