Adoption and Luxembourg Citizenship

Are you an adoptee looking to acquire Luxembourg citizenship? Citizenship through ancestry is based on the concept of filiation.

Through filiation, your legal ancestors are your adoptive parents’ ancestors, so you are definitely entitled to claim citizenship if through your adoptive parents you have a qualifying family tree back to an ancestor from Luxembourg.

Recent updates from the Luxembourg government have introduced specific procedures for individuals adopted through foreign (i.e., Non-Luxembourg) courts. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the necessary steps to ensure a smooth citizenship application process and is based on direct instructions from Luxembourg’s Ministry of Justice provided to LuxCitizenship.

Understanding the Exequatur Process

Firstly, it’s important to understand the concept of ‘exequatur‘. For adoptees, having their foreign adoption recognized in Luxembourg requires an exequatur process. This procedure involves getting the adoption decision, made by a foreign court, officially recognized by the court system in Luxembourg. An exequatur gives equivalency to the foreign court decision in Luxembourg.

Jurisdiction and Legal Representation

The exequatur process falls under the jurisdiction of either the district court of Luxembourg or Diekirch. However, it’s crucial to note that this procedure must be initiated by a Luxembourg lawyer. You can find a qualified legal representative through the official website, which lists lawyers in Luxembourg.

Mandatory vs. Optional Process

The necessity of the exequatur process depends on the availability of certain documents:

For Adoptees with a Hague Adoption Certificate (HAC): If you can produce a HAC, the exequatur process is not required. For more information about the HAC, you can visit the U.S. Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption page where you can also request an HAC to send to Luxembourg.

For Adoptees without a Hague Adoption Certificate (HAC): The exequatur process is mandatory for those who cannot provide a Hague Adoption Certificate.

Process and Personal Appearance

When undergoing the exequatur process, hiring a Luxembourg attorney is necessary. Therefore, there is no requirement for the applicant to appear in person in court in Luxembourg for the exequatur, as the lawyer can handle the entire procedure. Please note that courts have busy schedules in any country in the world and an exequatur process takes multiple months.


Adoptees seeking Luxembourg citizenship must navigate these specific procedures, especially if they lack a Hague Adoption Certificate. Hiring a knowledgeable lawyer from Luxembourg is crucial to successfully complete the exequatur process. This step ensures that the adoption decision made by a foreign court is recognized in Luxembourg, paving the way to claim citizenship.

LuxCitizenship can of course introduce its clients to a family law attorney in Luxembourg who will take care of the exequatur for you, while we take care of the application for citizenship.

Please keep in mind that this process applies to adoption, and does not apply to surrogacy which is a different legal concept. An exequatur cannot be used to recognize a child born through surrogacy in Luxembourg.