Following months of successful drive-through Covid testing, starting next year, the Grand Duchy will offer a pilot drive-through citizenship program.
Centers will be set up near Luxembourg City, where most people seeking citizenship live, although one center will be one located in Wiltz because, according to rumors, there is at least one non-Luxembourger living in the north of the country.
“It’s quite painless,” said Jackie McNamara, who was part of a group of test subjects. “You just drive into the citizenship tent, roll down your window, and a person scans your QR code, asks some questions in your own language, and boom, you’ve got a passport.”
But the process of getting citizenship isn’t totally painless, she cautions.
“You do have to demonstrate knowledge of the country and its history,” she said. “You have to name Luxembourg’s national supermarket chain and know which year Fischer was created, stuff like that.”
In the past, most applicants for citizenship had to demonstrate an A2 level of Luxembourgish, but such a requirement will no longer be feasible, officials say, given the need to quickly get people through the drive-through tents.
“With the help of linguists, we’ve developed a new level that is better suited to the needs of applicants, many of whom will never utter another word of Luxembourgish after they get the passport anyway,” said Marie-Yvette Bourger, who’s overseeing the new program. “We call this level A1.1.1.”
“Basically, you just need to know two or three useful expressions like, ‘oh, rain again’ and ‘sorry, did you say 38 euros for a men’s haircut?’,” she said. ”Oh, and you have to be able to ask your elderly neighbor about her chihuahua’s jaw surgery.”
“Just everyday, useful Luxembourgish,” she added.
Officials say they are optimistic that the new program will be a success, predicting that up to 10,000 people will be able to get citizenship each day, meaning that within a year, everyone living in Luxembourg will be Luxembourgish – a first for any EU country.
“Eventually, we plan on setting up a citizenship tent at the airport and at all the borders, to catch the new arrivals,” said Bourger.