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How to apply for a Norwegian residency permit

How to apply for a Norwegian residency permit
Photo: Tobias Bjørkli/Pexels
Legal residency enables you to live, study and work in Norway, and can provide the basis for a permanent residency permit in the future.

Article originally published February 20th, 2020.

 

A series of criteria must be fulfilled for registration as a resident of Norway, depending on your nationality.

These are broadly set out below under two main sections: rules for EU/EEA nationals and for non-EU/EEA nationals.

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EU/EEA nationals

All nationals of EU and EEA countries are entitled to work, study and live in Norway. If you are going to stay in the country for more than three months, registration is required.

If you are going to work in Norway, you can move to the country and begin working immediately, but you must register your residency within three months of arrival. You only need to register once, regardless of how long you plan to stay.

The registration process may vary according to the municipality in which you live, but generally you will need personal identification and an ansettelsesbevis, an employment certificate from your employer.

You then create a login on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) Application Portal in order to fill in the application form. You then book (using the portal) an appointment with the police or service centre for foreign workers, depending on the area where you are living, whereby you can submit your registration.

If you are looking for work, you must report to the police as a job seeker within three months of arrival. Registration is via the same route – log in to the Application Portal and attend an appointment with authorities, where you submit your application in person.

If you meet the requirements, you will be issued with a registration certificate by police.

Once registered, you are allowed to change jobs and have more than one employer – your registration remains valid. You can also bring your family to Norway. They must also register as being resident in the country.

After one year of working in Norway, you are entitled to stay for as long as you wish, even if you lose your job. You cannot have resigned from your job though and you must register as and be an active job seeker. More details in this regard can be found on the website of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, Nav.

Students from the EU or EEA who have been admitted to an accredited educational institution or Upper Secondary School can be granted residency in a similar fashion. Private medical insurance or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is required and if you bring family with you, you must be able to support them. You can work in addition to studying.

To register, you will need a valid national ID or passport along with proof of admission to the relevant educational institution, as well as documentation of health insurance.

As for EU/EEA nationals registering to work, you must create a login on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) Application Portal in order to fill in the application form. You then book (using the portal) an appointment with the police or service centre for foreign workers, depending on the area where you are living, whereby you can submit your registration in person.

Residency can also be granted if you are neither working or studying in Norway, provided you can prove that you have enough money to be self-funding while living in the country. Normally, this equates to 191,422 kroner per year before tax for a single person. If you have family members whom you support, you must have more funds than this. Money in a bank account or a pension can qualify as funding.

Registration is via the Application Portal, as outlined above.

For self-employed people from the EU or EEA, the process and rules are similar. You must “plan to engage in long-term business activities in Norway” and the business must “as a rule be your own sole proprietorship”, according to guidelines on the UDI website.

Registration is via the Application Portal, as outlined above, and you must provide documentation regarding your business. This can be in the form of combinations of contracts, budgets, invoices, tax documentation and a transcript from the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises.

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Photo: Gustav Lundborg/Pexels

Non-EU/EEA nationals

Non-EU/EEA nationals can be granted residency in Norway through a variety of routes, including by being family members of people already legally residing in the country; as well as in cases of asylum or special permits granted to au pairs. This guide will focus on the two primary categories of work immigration and study permits.

Work immigration

Rules for work immigration to Norway fall under a number of further subcategories: skilled workers, seasonal workers, job seekers as well as cultural, organisational and diplomatic stays. We will cover the former three areas.

If you have completed higher education or have completed vocational training, you can apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker in Norway. You must have already received a job offer or have your own business.

There are several ways in which you can documents that you have a qualifying level of vocational skill. These are outlined on the UDI website and include vocational educational of at least three years’ duration (for profession such as carpentry, social care or nursing) or a university degree. Vocational training must have a corresponding programme in Norway.

You must already have a job offer in place in order to qualify for residency through work immigration. Requirements placed on this offer include that it must be full-time or very close to full-time; must require the qualifications which you have; and the pay and working conditions must meet Norwegian standards.

Additionally, authorisation from relevant authorities (for example for healthcare) must be granted in order for you to qualify for work immigration residence.

Residency permits can be granted for between one and three years, depending on individual circumstances, and must be renewed if you are going to stay in Norway after their initial duration. After three years’ legal residence in the country, you can consider applying for permanent residency.

You can apply for residency before you arrive in Norway. That is done via the UDI Application Portal, where you can create a login and fill in the application form. If you are already in Norway, you can hand in your application in person by making an appointment with authorities through the application portal. Be careful to make sure you have all the necessary documentation regarding your identity, qualifications and employment or job offer before submitting your application. A checklist for documentation can be found here (note that this links to a page for a United States national – you can change this to your own nationality if relevant).

It is important to note that a significant fee of 6,300 kroner ($677) is payable on applications for residency, as well as renewal of permits.

Seasonal workers are defined as doing a job which can only be carried out at a specific time of the year or are standing in for a permanent employee due to holiday. You must have a job before you apply for a residence permit as a seasonal worker and your application is subject to the same fee as for skilled workers (see above).

As with skilled workers, you must already have a job offer in place and the pay and working conditions must meet normal Norwegian standards. You can have more than one employer, but must have a concrete job offer from each. Additionally, your employer must obtain approval from Nav that you can be hired because it is not possible to recruit enough workers from Norway or the EEA to do the job (the agriculture and forestry industries are notably excepted from this requirement).

You can be granted a seasonal work permit in Norway for up to six months, but cannot stay in Norway as a seasonal worker for more than six months during a 12-month period. You must apply again if you wish to return. Unlike with other forms of residency, you do not have the right to bring your family with you.

An important additional point to seasonal working is that, in some cases, you can work in Norway without a residence permit, provided you will be working for three months or less.

This depends on whether you are working within an exempted profession. Such professions include researchers, lecturers, business travellers, religious preachers, medics, athletes, journalists and photographers, tour guides and flight crews. You can find more information and check whether exemption might apply to your specific case here.

You can apply for residency before you arrive in Norway. That is done via the UDI Application Portal, where you can create a login and fill in the application form. If you are already in Norway, you can hand in your application in person by making an appointment with authorities through the application portal. Be careful to make sure you have all the necessary documentation regarding your identity and job offer before submitting your application. A checklist for documentation for seasonal workers can be found here (note that this links to a personalised page for a United States national – you can change this to your own nationality if relevant).

If you are a job seeker and therefore do not have an employment offer when moving to Norway, there are only a few, exceptional, cases in which you may get a residence permit to stay in the country while you look for work.

Some countries (listed here) have arrangements enabling their citizens to visit Norway without a visa. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you can apply for residency as a job seeker if you qualify as a skilled worker (see above) and have sufficient money to cover your expenses while in Norway. This is usually 20,521 kroner ($2,200) monthly or 123,123 kroner ($13,225) for six months and must be in a Norwegian bank account. You must also pay an application fee as with other types of residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals.

If you receive a job offer, you can then re-apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker. See above for an outline of this process.

As with other types of application, you must apply using the UDI portal and this can be done both in Norway and from abroad. A checklist for documentation for seasonal workers can be found here (note that this links to a personalised page for a United States national – you can change this to your own nationality if relevant).

Foreign nationals who have recently graduated in Norway and want to stay in the country to seek work also fall into this category. The checklist for documentation in such cases is here.

Study permits

Study permits, including renewals, are subject to an application fee of 4,900 kroner ($526).

Usually, you must be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to fund your stay in Norway while studying, and the university, college, or other educational institution must be approved by the  Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). Study permits given to university students also provide for the right to work for up to 20 hours weekly.

More information about the various education types which are eligible can be found on this page of the UDI website, and the checklist for application for university and vocational degree students is here (note that this links to a personalised page for a United States national – you can change this to your own nationality if relevant).


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