Push for dual citizenship heats up in Norway

A new campaign spearheaded by a former Norwegian citizen who now lives in her own country as a foreigner and a British citizen permanently living in Norway hopes to convince politicians to allow dual citizenship.

Push for dual citizenship heats up in Norway
Norway is the only Nordic country that doesn't allow dual citizenship. Photo: Ole Martin Wold / NTB scanpix
The lobbying group ‘Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap’ (Yes to dual citizenship) has released a new video in which a series of Norwegians living abroad and foreigners living in Norway share why dual citizenship is important to them. 
The founders of Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap told The Local that, along with the group Norwegians Worldwide, they represent a “large and growing movement” that is beginning to win the argument on dual citizenship. 
“The political winds are definitely changing in this area due to consistent lobbying by Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap and Norwegians Worldwide,” Donna Fox and Cecilie Myhre said in an email. 
“The [political] parties are starting to understand that the argument frequently used – which is loyalty – is emotion-based and not backed by any facts or data, that dual citizenship does not threaten Norwegian culture or values, and that dual citizenship does not mean it will be easier to be a Norwegian citizen,” they continued. 
Norway is the only Nordic country and one of only a small handful of European nations that does not allow dual citizenship. In March, a parliamentary committee formally asked the government to look in to changing the policy.
Fox and Myhre hope that sharing personal stories like their own will help to win over opponents of dual citizenship. 
“Most of the focus previously has been on permanent residents seeking Norwegian citizenship, however the lobbying has raised awareness about both permanent residents and the number of Norwegians affected, including previous Norwegians living abroad and previous Norwegians living as a foreigner in Norway!” they wrote. 
The group also contends that Norway’s citizenship laws are arbitrary. Their video includes the story of Anita and Jannicke, two sisters who have an Australian father and a Norwegian mother. One was born in Norway and thus can’t share her father’s citizenship while the other was born in Australia and was automatically granted dual citizenship. 
“Although dual citizenship is permitted in Norway by exception in a limited range of circumstances, the majority of people are without this option,” Fox and Myhre wrote. “This is unfair and discriminatory. People are unable to participate in the democracy where they live and by giving up one’s birth citizenship, one is effectively either locked out of their other home country or becomes a foreigner there.”
Norwegians living abroad have been inundating politicians with pleas for dual citizenship, and Fox and Myhre are optimistic that the change will come. 
“It is in our opinion that through this persistent education on the facts around dual citizenship, common sense will prevail over irrational fear of something that doesn´t exist, and that the political parties will vote to introduce dual citizenship,” they wrote. 
In addition to their new video campaign, they will also host a dual citizenship debate on Friday at the annual political forum Arendalsuka. 
Fox and Myhre don’t have to look far for inspiration. Dual citizenship took effect in neighbouring Denmark on September 1st, 2015 after years of lobbying by expat groups and the organization Danes Worldwide, a sister group to Norwegians Worldwide. 

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Do children born in Norway automatically get citizenship?

A Norwegian passport comes with many benefits, and the country allows dual citizenship. So, what are the rules for the children of foreign nationals born in Norway? 

Do children born in Norway automatically get citizenship?

Norway opened the door to dual citizenship two years ago, meaning foreign residents could become citizens of the country without giving up their existing passport. 

Norwegian citizenship comes with a number of benefits, whether it’s the right to vote, being automatically enrolled into the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, or simply having a Norwegian passport, one of the most powerful travel documents available. 


Some may assume that because their children were born in Norway, they will be entitled to citizenship automatically. However, this isn’t the case and not all children born in Norway automatically become Norwegian citizens.  

If both parents are foreign nationals

Children who are born to two parents who are foreign nationals and who are not citizens of Norway do not automatically become citizens. 

Instead, parents will need to apply for a residence permit if the parents are from outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), register the child as an EU/EEA national if they are nationals from within the EU/EEA, or apply for a residence permit under the family immigration rules

If you are required to apply for residence for the child, you will need to do so before they turn one. 

Those who are adopted, are under 18  and have an adoption licence issued by Norwegian authorities automatically become Norwegian citizens if they were adopted after September 1st 2006. 

To be eligible for citizenship, if both parents are non-Norwegian citizens, the child will need to be over 12, live in Norway and plan on living in the Scandinavian country in the future. They will also need to have lived in Norway for five of the past seven years and held residence permits valid for more than a year each. Those over 15 will need to apply for a criminal record certificate. You must also fulfil all the permanent residency requirements while the UDI process your application. This means you must not have been outside of Norway for a total of ten months in the last five years. 

Children over 16 will need to have completed mandatory training in the Norwegian language and passed the concluding tests, or if they have received a final assessment grade in Norwegian at secondary school or upper secondary school, they can apply to the municipality for an exemption. 

You can apply here. Application fees for children under 18 are waived. There will also be an ID check to confirm your identity. 

As the applicant is under 18 the parent will be applying on the child’s behalf. 

If one parent is a Norwegian citizen

Children with one parent who is a Norwegian citizen and born after September 1st 2006 automatically become Norwegian citizens at birth.

This applies regardless of whether the child was born abroad or if the parents were married at the time. 

The rules are tighter for offspring born before September 1st 2006, though. Those born before this date are Norwegian citizens from birth if their mother was Norwegian, or their father was Norwegian and married to the mother before the birth, or if the father died before birth, was Norwegian and was married to the mother at the time of his death. 

However, those born to a Norwegian father but who aren’t automatically citizens can become citizens relatively easily by handing in a notification of Norwegian citizenship. You can do this in Norway or from abroad. 

Those born before 1979 will need to contact the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), as per the immigration directorate’s advice

If I become a Norwegian citizen after my child is born, do my children qualify for Norwegian citizenship? 

Children under 18 can also apply for citizenship if their parents have become Norwegian since the child was born or are applying for Norwegian citizenship. 

When the parent is applying for citizenship, the parent’s and child’s applications can be lodged together. Joint applications also require the parent to meet the citizenship requirements that apply to them

Under these circumstances, the child must have resided in Norway for the past two years and held residence permits that were each valid for at least one year. To qualify as having stayed in Norway for two years, the child must not have been abroad for more than two months per calendar year for two years. These rules apply to children aged between two and 18. 

The rules for children younger than two are slightly different

We moved to Norway after our child was born, what are the citizenship rules for them? 

Children under 18 and over 12 can apply for citizenship. They must live in the country full time, have a valid resident permit when they apply and whilst the application is processed.

They must have also been a full time resident of Norway for five of the last seven years. In addition to this, applicants over 15 must submit a criminal record certificate and meet the requirements for permanent residence. 

If one or both of the parents is a Nordic citizen and the child has lived in Norway for two years you can apply once you are over the age of 12.