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New laws: Here’s what changes in Norway in 2020

New laws: Here’s what changes in Norway in 2020
File photo: AFP
Several new rules and regulations came into effect in Norway on January 1st, 2020.

The new year sees new rules on areas as diverse as dual citizenship, parental guardianship and property tax.

Additionally, some Norwegian counties and municipalities have been merged, resulting in a smaller total number of both.

Read a summary of the key updates below.

Dual nationality

Dual nationality is now legal in Norway, meaning foreign residents who qualify for Norwegian nationalization can apply without having to give up their existing passport or citizenship.

Similarly, Norwegians will be able to apply for citizenship in other countries without having to renounce their Norwegian citizenship.

Parental guardianship

All parents will now automatically become joint guardians of their new-born children, regardless of whether they are married or live together. Under previous rules, the mother became the sole guardian of babies whose parents were not married or did not live together.

No more TV-license – at least, not directly

The Norwegian TV license, which funds public service broadcaster NRK, is now integrated into taxes. That means those without televisions, radios or internet access now also contribute to the cost of NRK and postal bills for TV licenses are consigned to history.

Municipal daily help for people with dementia

From January 1st, municipalities must offer assistance to relatives and help people with dementia to spend more time outside of their homes – whether visiting cafes, going for walks or another activity.

The exact nature of the daily help is set by individual municipalities – and evening activities can also be offered. Municipalities also decide who is eligible for the assistance, which is designed for those who have been diagnosed with dementia and who live at home.

Ergotherapy

Municipalities are now obliged by law to offer ergotherapy, helping those who need it to set up their homes to help them avoid falls or other injuries. This follows a 2018 law change which introduced mandatory municipal physiotherapy services.

Property tax

The limit at which municipalities can tax recreational or residential property has been reduced from seven percent to five percent of the property’s value.

Import duty

Import into Norway of goods valuing under 350 kroner were previous exempt from VAT (merverdiavgift) and other types of fees and duties relating to imports, but these will no be applied from the first krone you pay.

The implementation of this rule will take place gradually, with food and drink amongst the items encompassed from January 1st, and others – like clothes, shoes and electronics – eligible later in the year.

Stricter tax rules for online rental platforms

Companies which publish information about services like renting accommodation – think Airbnb – are obliged to provide information to Norway’s tax authorities. This information includes data on price per night and how many nights guests stay for.

That means that when people rent out their property in Norway via platforms like Airbnb, their tax liabilities will be easier to calculate.

‘Lower’ threshold for ruling in sexual discrimination cases

A new, free service will be offered to people who have been or may have been the victims of sexual harassment or discrimination, enabling them to make a legal assessment of their case without taking it to court. A discrimination board (Diskrimineringsnemda) can now assess sexual harassment cases under civil law and pass rulings on reparations and compensation. This is an alternative to a trial in criminal court.

The map of Norway looks different

There are now fewer municipalities and fewer counties in Norway, with a plan to merge several of both types of local and regional authority implemented. 119 municipalities have been merged into 47, leaving a national total of 356 municipalities. You can see the exact changes here.

A summary of changes to Norwegian law from January 1st, 2020 can also be found on the government’s website and a full list can be viewed on lovdata.no.

READ ALSO: Becoming Norwegian: What advice would you give about gaining citizenship in Norway?


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