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In what circumstances is a visa required for business visitors?
A visa is required for business visitors not holding a passport issued by one of the countries referred to in Article 1(2) of Regulation 539/2001 of March 15 2001.
What restrictions are imposed on business visitors in terms of the work that they may undertake and their period of stay in your jurisdiction?
First, any business presence is limited to three months per calendar year.
Secondly, permitted activities include meeting professional partners, prospecting and developing professional contacts, negotiating and signing contracts, attending fairs and exhibitions, attending boards of directors meetings and general assembly of companies. The enumeration is exhaustive; the provision does not entail the wording ‘such as’.
Thirdly, in case of a major incident a company situated out of the European Union may send workers to Luxembourg at very short notice in order to ensure business continuity.
In its opinion of October 27 2016, the State Council upheld the notion of a need for ‘business continuity’, and stressed the necessity to bring further clarification. In the case at hand, Laurent Solazzi from the Ministry of Economy suggested that the companies concerned were merely Tier IV data centres (Digital Letzebuerg, February 8 2017).
The law stipulates that the company sending employees to Luxembourg must lodge an application for prior clearance with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Where the duration of the activity in Luxembourg does not exceed three months in a calendar year, the exemption laid down by Article 35(2) of the Immigration Law of August 28 2008 applies (ie, authorisation for work is not required). However, the ‘major incident’ must be dully established.
Where the duration of the activity exceeds three months in a calendar year, a residence permit for a salaried worker valid one year will be granted.
Lastly, Luxembourg law provides for an exemption from the work authorisation requirement for intra-company transfers (maximum three months in a calendar year) with the exception of sub-contracting activities. Such activities qualify neither under ‘business activities’ nor as equivalent to short-term mobility under the intra-company permit.
Application and entry
How are business visitor visas obtained and what is the typical turnaround time?
Visa applications must be lodged at least 15 calendar days before the intended date of entry.
The application must be lodged at the Luxembourg diplomatic mission (or mission having jurisdiction to receive such applications) in the country of residence or in the country of nationality of the applicant.
Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?
Luxembourg is bound by the EU common visa policy for:
- transit through the country;
- intended stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period; and
- transit through the international transit areas of airports located in the country.
The list of visa waiver countries is set out in EU Regulation 539/2001.
Visa facilitation agreements concluded by the European Union are binding on Luxembourg.
Fast track and free of charge visas are issued to third-country nationals and family members of EU nationals, to accompany or join the applicant.
Visas for business continuity activities are granted as soon after application as possible.
What rules and procedures apply for visitors seeking to undertake short-term training in your jurisdiction?
The concept of ‘training’ is provided for by the Immigration Law of August 29 2008, in the following contexts:
- Intra-corporate transfer (Article 47(3)(f): ‘trainee employee’ means a person with a university degree who is transferred to a host entity for career development purposes or in order to obtain training in business techniques or methods, and is paid during the transfer; and
- Entry of third-country nationals for training in the sense of Article 61: ‘trainee’ means a third-country national who is pursuing a course of study in a third country, that leads to a secondary or higher-education degree and who is admitted to the territory of Luxembourg for a mandatory non-remunerated training programme, under a hosting agreement entered with the host company in Luxembourg.
In what circumstances is a transit visa required to pass through your jurisdiction? How is it obtained?
Nationals of third countries listed in Annex IV of the Visa Code (Regulation 810/2009) are required to hold an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit areas of airports situated on the territory of Luxembourg.
The categories of person exempt from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa are laid down by Article 3(5) of the Visa Code.
Airport transit visas are issued on the ground of Article 26 of the Visa Code.
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