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NEW YEAR

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

Several new rules and regulations came into effect in Norway on January 1st, 2020.

New laws: Here’s what changes in Norway in 2020
File photo: AFP

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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For members

HEALTH

How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 

A trip to the dentist can be painful in more ways than one, especially for your bank account, so how much will it set you back in Norway and how do you get an appointment?

How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 
Many dread a trip to the dentist. Photo by Yusuf Belek on Unsplash

Is dental work free in Norway?

Norway’s robust and comprehensive public healthcare system is accessible through the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme. Because it is so comprehensive, many make the assumption that all health issues, including dental problems, are covered by the scheme.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as, generally, dental care is not covered by the public healthcare system. Instead, you will have to go to a private practitioner should you have an issue with your teeth or if it’s time for a checkup. 

If you’d like to learn more about what is covered by the National Health Insurance, you can look at our guide on how the scheme works and common problems foreigners run into here.

How much does it cost?

The bad news is that, much like most other things in Norway, a trip to the dentists will set you back a fair amount, and unlike the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme, there is no exemption card, or frikort, after you have paid a certain amount. 

READ MORE: Seven things foreigners in Norway should know about the health system

On the bright side, dental treatment is free for children under 18, and if you are aged between 19 and 20, you will only need to stump up 25 percent of the total bill. 

In most cases, everyone over the age of 21 will be expected to pay the whole bill, apart from a few exceptions, which you can read about here

The cost of dentistry can be reimbursed or subsidised if you meet any of the 15 conditions that will entitle you to claim support from The Norwegian Health Economics Administration or Helfo.

Helfo is responsible for making payments from the National Insurance Scheme to healthcare providers and reimbursing individuals for vital healthcare services not covered by the insurance scheme. 

The list of conditions includes essential work, such as having an oral tumour removed, for example. You can take a look at the 15 conditions for which you claim help from Helfo here.

You can also apply to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) for financial assistance relating to dental work.

How much you are eligible to receive from NAV will depend entirely on your situation. 

Below you can take a look at the rough cost of some common dental work in Norway. 

  • Examination/appointment- 600 kroner 
  • Examination/appointment with tartar removal and x rays- 1,000 kroner 
  • Small filling- 900 kroner 
  • Medium sized filling 1,400- kroner 
  • Large filling- 1,500 kroner 
  • Tooth surgically removed- 2,000 kroner 
  • Root canal filling 3,800 kroner
  • Crown- 7,000 kroner

How to book an appointment

Booking an appointment in Norway is as simple as contacting your nearest dentist. Before you book, you can typically check the price list of the dentist you will be visiting to get a rough idea of how much the visit could cost you too. 

The majority of dentists in Norway will speak good English. You can also visit an entirely English speaking dentist surgery, where all the staff will speak English, in the big cities such as Oslo if you haven’t quite gotten to grips with Norwegian yet. 

You can search for a dentist using this tool which will show you your nearest dentist in the town, city or county you live in. 

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