Fingerprints and the FBI

fingerYes, I’m giving you the bird.

More than a month ago I made an inaugural trip to the headquarters of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan police department to have a specialist take my fingerprints. After one receives his or her “certificat,” part of the process before heading to Luxembourg involves obtaining an FBI background check, known also as a “rap sheet.” This is kind of intimidating, for me at least, considering this step entails interacting with the FBI, another federal bureaucracy, via mail. I submitted my information so that I could give myself enough time to have the rap sheet translated — remember, documents during this stage that are not already in French or German must be translated by an official translator.

I haven’t received my rap sheet yet, but this has become a nail-biter of a situation, because I’ve planned a trip to Europe (more on that to come). Even though I’ve heard that people usually get it back in the mail within a month, I’m nevertheless nervous. It’s the same feeling we all had/have/will have about waiting for whether we qualified/qualify for the “certificat.”

But I’ll remain optimistic. Hopefully it gets here with enough time to spare. In addition to worrying about the time frame, I’m also anxious because our neighborhood postal worker is, well, horrendously incompetent?

I have met most of the neighbors on my block of Capitol Hill because I’ve had to return mail to them or they’ve come to my door to hand mail to me. Why can’t U.S. government workers be as friendly and efficient as those in Luxembourg? Sigh.

Does anyone else have experiences with getting the FBI background check? I’d like to know more about how long it took from the day you sent it out to the day it arrived in the mailbox. Comment away!

Am I a criminal???

Was J. Edgar Hoover a Luxembourger?

Was J. Edgar Hoover a Luxembourger?

I just sent in a request for my criminal background check in Luxembourg. I’ve never stepped a single foot in Europe, and I don’t evade paying Uncle Sam in capital gains taxes because of this:


Hopefully my record in the Grand Duchy is clean.

Now I’m about to head out the door and get my fingerprints at the Metropolitan Police Department’s headquarters. It’s part of the FBI background check I’ll send out in the mail later today.

And then I wait to get both back … knowing the federal bureaucracies of Luxembourg and the United States, I will probably get the Luxembourg background check back significantly quicker. Also, instead of having to pay $18 for the FBI rap sheet, I’ll have paid nothing for the Luxembourg one.

According to a visitor to this blog, he received his Luxembourg criminal report covered in glitter.

“I don’t really understand why but yes the back of the piece of paper is covered in two trails of glitter.”

Vermin Supreme is pro-Luxembourg.

Luxembourg really must be an enchanting place.

More to come, and sorry to those whose emails I haven’t responded. I will get on that tonight!


My “certificat”


After almost six months of waiting, I received this letter in the mail saying that I most certainly have a Luxembourg ancestor and thus am eligible for reclamation of citizenship under Article 29.

I spent my winter break at home in Illinois, so while in the Land of Lincoln, I was hoping it might come in the mail … and it sure did.

After two flights, one from Chicago to Atlanta and the other from Atlanta to D.C., I walked through the door of my apartment in Northeast D.C. and greeted my girlfriend Sarah with the adequate amount of kisses. Shortly thereafter, I asked about the mail situation, and Sarah showed me the measly pile of post with my name on it. I had only three pieces of mail, excluding my weekly The Economist, sent to me during the almost two weeks I was away from the nation’s capital: a pay stub, an offer from Bank of America for another credit card and my brand-spanking new D.C. driver’s license, the photo of which looks like I’m under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. But sadly, there was no envelope from the Ministry of Justice.

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow? Or next week? Or next month? Who knows …

After such a long day of traveling, and the disappointment of no news from Luxembourg in my mailbox, I decided to go the bathroom. I walked in, went to the bathroom and walked out.

For the next few hours, I hung out with Sarah, as well as my two cats, whom we had left for the first extended amount of time ever. After filling my bladder once more with a pot of coffee and several glasses of water, it came upon me that I needed to return to the toilet and relieve myself once more. However, this time, I noticed something taped to the mirror that I hadn’t spotted on my first trip to the bathroom.

Yes, I neglected to wash my hands during my first trip to the bathroom, which is the reason why I did not look directly into the mirror. But the second time I went to the bathroom I did wash my hands, and that taped something on the mirror of the bathroom was a large envelope from the Luxembourg Ministry of Justice.

My heart plunged into my stomach. I yelled at Sarah, who had obviously put it there as a joke, and she laughed. I rushed out of the bathroom, this time with hands cleaned and dried, so as not to destroy the integrity of the envelope and its contents, and, with the palpable excitement of a child ripping open his presents on Christmas morning, I opened the envelope. In the few seconds between opening the envelope and pulling out the sheets of paper, I told myself: “What if this is a message saying that I need to submit more documents, or, even worse, that I do not qualify for citizenship under the reclamation process?”

But when I pulled out the papers, and saw the first sheet, I didn’t have to read the letter — I couldn’t, anyway, because I don’t read, write or speak in French — to know that this was the thing for which I had been impatiently waiting.

On the top of the document it read: “Certificat.”

“Yes,” I thought. “This is it.”

I thrust the certificate into Sarah’s hands for her to read, just to make sure the title wasn’t misleading. And sure enough, as she translated the document aloud, I found out that I can officially head on down to the Grand Duchy — with a few other documents I’ll talk about in a later post if you haven’t already heard about them — and become a citizen of Luxembourg.

This “certificat” also means I won’t be neglecting the blog anymore, and I really mean it this time. I will write about my personal experiences, now that I have personal experiences about which to write. I can also talk about planning my trip to Luxembourg, as well as some other countries I’d like to tour, some of which, including the United Kingdom, are home to friends and family.

The most hilarious thing about this project is that when I become a citizen of Luxembourg and the European Union, it will be the first time that I’ve ever been to Europe.


One last note: Congratulations to Wes, another kick-ass Midwesterner of Luxembourg descent, who also received his “certificat” in the mail this week.

One last last note: This is my 100th post!

The week in Luxembourg news

Every Sunday, I’m going to throw together some links to news from the week that will help you keep up with things going on in the Grand Duchy.

Luxembourg gets first openly gay prime minister.

Eco-friendly mall to open in Metz.

Grand Duke Henri to attend Nelson Mandela funeral.

Who will succeed Viviane Reding at the European Commission?

Bikes outsell cars in most EU countries, except Luxembourg and Belgium.

Schèine Chreschtdaag an e gudde Rutsch!

Santa Claus holding a Luxembourg flag is shown. | Photo: ¡A Europa!

Photo: ¡A Europa!

MOIEN, y’all!

I never took time out during the Thanksgiving holiday to articulate the reasons why I’m thankful for my Luxembourg heritage, but I will express thanks to all of you who use this blog as a means to update fellow applicants with the information they need for smooth sailing as we traverse the various stages of this exciting dual-citizenship project. I am amazed at how many people I have met through this blog, from Georgia and Kansas to Belgium and Luxembourg itself (special shout-out to Tom, whose coffee-table book, as well as excellent conversations, on Luxembourg has taught me myriad things about the Grand Duchy). Also, please never hesitate to use the comment feeds of any post to start a conversation. It’s great to see the back-and-forth question-and-answers from those who are just starting and those who have finished. It certainly helps me in putting together blogs when I come to the next stage in the application process.

Nothing from Luxembourg has arrived in the mail for me, unfortunately, but I don’t expect anything to come until at least mid-December. Perhaps as a birthday present from the Luxembourg government, I will receive the document certifying my ancestral heritage for the certificate de nationalité near Christmas? I can only hope, and the moment I unseal the envelope and read the good news, I will update this here blog and send out emails to those of you who so kindly keep up with me via email.

In the mean time, I will try my best to update this blog with cultural, historical and topical tidbits about the Grand Duchy of which we’ve become so fond.

I might have misled you with the title of this blog, which translates from Luxembourgish to “Merry Christmas” in English. Instead of yuletide pleasures, I wanted instead to discuss the recent transition in Luxembourg’s head of government. After serving 19 years as the head of the country, now former Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is out, and Xavier Bettel, whose swearing-in ceremony was on Wednesday, will serve as prime minister. Bettel, formerly the mayor of Luxembourg City, is the country’s first openly gay head of state.

Bettel’s government is a coalition among three parties in the Chamber of Deputies, which is Luxembourg’s version of Congress. Leader of the Democratic Party, Bettel’s faction joined the Socialists and Greens to form a government, the first not to led by Juncker’s Christian Social People’s Party since 1979. The Chamber of Deputies seats 60 representative, 32 of which comprise the coalition government. Juncker’s party still holds the greatest number of seats per party at 23.

Among the new prime minster’s policy initiatives are same-sex marriage rights and maintaining Luxembourg’s AAA credit rating, according to a report from Aljazeera. Even though the country is 95 percent Catholic, a recent poll shows that a whopping 83 percent of Luxembourgers support gay marriage, so most likely he’ll have very few obstacles in getting gay marriage legalized. The country already recognizes civil unions.

He has spent his first week in office reaching out to his counterparts from other countries in Europe, and my favorite Kanzlerin, Angela Merkel, called him to congratulate him on becoming prime minister.

So now you know a little bit more of Luxembourg’s new head of government. And once you become a Luxembourger, you can call him your prime minister.


A request for information

Luxembourg is shown. |


Hello, everyone who reads/stumbles upon this blog.

I wanted to send out two questions to those who have already gone through the application process, become dual-citizens and completed the passport stage.

1) When going to the Ministry of Justice to officially become a citizen of Luxembourg, how long does it take from walking in the door to leaving a dual-citizen?

2) Can the passport application be completed while at the Ministry, or can this be completed via mail? Also, what does this exactly entail?

I have heard conflicting information from multiple sources, and I haven’t had the time to call anyone in Luxembourg to seek clarification. Anyone who has already completed these processes, please feel free to comment on this blog or email me personally at Your answers will not only help me but also several others who follow this blog.

Äddi! (and thanks!)

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye?

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

This might be the end of Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.

From Deutsche Welle:

Juncker, who has served for 18 years, called an early election in July amid accusations he failed to adequately monitor the actions of the State Intelligence Service (SREL). His Christian Socialist Party – in power since 1974 – won 23 seats in Sunday’s elections, ahead of 13 each for the Liberal Party and the Socialist Party and six for the Greens Party.

The royal palace responded on Friday by calling Liberal leader Xavier Bettel to a meeting with Grand Duke Henri, who urged Bettel to form a coalition with the Socialists and the Greens in a bid to reach a slim 32-seat majority in the 60-seat parliament.