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French expat: things you must think of upon your arrival in Luxembourg

Today, our French ambassador Fanny suggests her tips about the different things you must think of upon your arrival in Luxembourg.

1. What should I bring to Luxembourg from my country?

Everything is available in Luxembourg, if not in the country then you will find everything at less than 1 hour driving in the neighboring countries: Belgium, France, Germany.

2. Are there any products that are cheaper in your country?

Almost everything apart from tobacco, alcohol and fuel are cheaper in the neighboring countries as the cost of life is generally high in Luxemburg. Special attention to be given to the cost of housing (both rental and to buy) which can seem very high compared to French provincial towns.

3. Important documents to carry apart from IDs?

It is good to bring:

  • Copies of wedding certificates, recent (less than 3 months) birth certificates for all members of the family;
  • Copies of diplomas and references from previous employers if you will be looking for a new job in Luxembourg (you can read: how to obtain recognition for your diplomas in Luxembourg?)
  • Special attention must be taken in case of non-married couple such as “Pacsé”, special documents are requested. See the website guichet.lu.

4. Is the measuring system the same?  Electronic equipment? (transformers for tel ou computer)

Yes, they are the same as neighboring countries

5. Which information about Luxembourg you should look before arriving? (schooling systems, transports, driving license).

It is very important to decide before your arrival which school you would like for your children as this will influence where you shall be looking for a house or a flat. There are several private schools dispensing their trainings in French: the “Ecole Française” followed by the “Lycee Vauban”, the “Ecole Sainte Sophie”, the “Ecole Européenne”.  Be careful: the number of places in some of these schools might be limited, especially for the young kids. Furthermore, even if there are places in the school classes, it might not be warranted to have places in the after-school care or canteen organizations. It is important to check your options as early as possible before moving.

The Luxembourgish public school is also a very good possibility: the language is Luxemburgish until the age of 6, then German is introduced when pupils start reading and French is introduced later (pupils ultimately speak fluently the 3 languages). Of course, the younger the kids, the easier the integration. The organization of the public school is very good and additional trainings in German and in French are provided to foreign kids to help them reach an acceptable level. Be careful : there will always be places for the kids in the local public school but the “Maison Relais” which is the organization who will take care of them before/after school and during lunch time might be fully booked which may cause great headaches if the parents are not available. (you can read: How does the education system work in Luxembourg? and Casna helps you make the best schooling choices for your children)

6. Getting in touch with someone in Luxembourg before arriving? How can I do it?

Simply speak around you before your departure. You will discover that a lot of your friends know someone who lives or has lived in Luxembourg. Contact these friends of friends. There is a great sense of solidarity between expats!

7. Short term location: is it a good option before choosing your “quartier” or “commune”?

It is important to consider where you will work and where children will go to school (and afterschool care) before choosing where you will live (in the Grand Duchy or in the neighboring countries) as traffic can be very dense on the main roads and downtown (remember that 150 000 people commute every day to Luxemburg from neighboring countries).

It might be a good option to use a short term location if you had no time to fix everything before your arrival. When possible, we do recommend that you spend sufficient time here to get acquainted with the possibilities. Some relocation services can offer a good support to facilitate your choices. (you may also like: what temporary accomodation is available in Luxembourg?)

8. Was it difficult to find a place to stay? What can you suggest?

Yes, it was difficult to find a place to rent, especially when doing it remotely. There is a gap between supply and demand (flats or houses) and you may have to decide quickly, sometimes on the spot. There are some good local websites. Overall, housing in Luxembourg is comfortable, well equipped and well maintained. Use the help of a relocation agency if possible.

Ask your local network (if any) whether they know a family who might be leaving in the area you are targeting.

9. What about tax issues back in your country?

It is advisable to take into consideration the different tax system before moving. The income tax is taken directly from your salary. Knowing this, there are some internet websites to make simulations to help you answer the question of your salary expectation as employers always refer to gross salaries.

Tips from Fanny, French ambassador for the Just Arrived Ambassadors Club
Interview by Camilla Cuppini
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