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How to apply for Norwegian citizenship

How to apply for Norwegian citizenship
A detail from a design proposal for the Norwegian passport. Photo: Torgeir Hjetland/Creative Commons
After living for a number of years in Norway and if you fulfil the legal criteria, you can consider applying to become a nationalized Norwegian.

As of January 2020, becoming a Norwegian citizen does not mean having to give up your existing passport, with the country having changed its laws to accept dual nationality.

Just under 13,200 people were granted Norwegian citizenship in 2019, an increase of 3,000 compared to the year before.

The majority of the new Norwegian nationals last year came from countries in Asia and Africa, according to the most recent figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

The rules for applying for citizenship in Norway vary according to your specific situation, including factors like your existing nationality, how long you have lived in Norway, when you came to Norway and whether you are married or the partner of a Norwegian. People who have previously been Norwegian citizens can also re-apply.

This guide will focus on citizenship for people already resident in Norway. We have previously outlined applying for temporary and permanent Norwegian residency.

Norwegian citizenship requires you to have lived in the country for a certain amount of time, but that time can differ depending on how old you are and when you came to Norway, and whether you are the spouse of a Norwegian citizen.                     

The general rule is that you must have lived in Norway for at least seven of the past ten years. For people with Norwegian spouses, registered partners or cohabitants, the residency requirement is three of the last ten years.

Citizenship applicants must also pass requirements for meeting Norwegian language and social studies standards.

You can apply within three months before reaching the prescribed number of years of residency in Norway, provided you fulfil all other requirements.

If you are over the age of 18, you must have a valid residence permit for Norway at the time of application. This can be either a temporary or permanent residency permit, but you must fulfil the requirements for permanent residency in either case. You must also actually reside in Norway and plan to stay.

Further, you must have held residence permits that were each valid for at least one year throughout the time you have spent in the country that qualifies you for citizenship.

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People born abroad must prove their identity when applying, usually by submitting their existing passport (which may be expired). If you were born in Norway and registered on the National Registry (Folkeregisteret), you do not have to submit a passport.

You must also order a criminal record certificate from the police to submit with your application. That can be done via the Norwegian police’s website. Previous convictions or fines (not parking tickets) or ongoing investigations can mean you have to wait longer before qualifying for citizenship. You can see the exact waiting times on the UDI’s website.

Conversely, people born in Norway or who came to the country before reaching the age of 18 may have shorter times to wait before they can apply for citizenship.

It costs 3,700 kroner to submit the application. The process is initiated via logging into the application system at this link.

Family members of EU/EEA citizens

People who are the partners or family members of EU or EEA (but not Norwegian) citizens who live in Norway, but are not EU/EEA citizens themselves, can also apply for Norwegian citizenship.

This requires all of the regular requirements to be fulfilled, and you must have stayed in Norway for a total of seven of the past ten years, the past three years with a right of residence, according to UDI guidelines.

This means that you must have been granted family reunification with an EU/EEA citizen in Norway throughout the entire three-year period.

During the other four years, you must have also held the right to residency in Norway or permits that were each valid for at least one year.

The UDI’s guidelines on how to calculate the required residence period for your individual case are here.

If you have a Norwegian parent, none of the above may be necessary at all. Depending on when you were born, you may already be a Norwegian citizen and will be able to declare citizenship. You can use the UDI website to check whether this applies to you.


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