EXPLAINED: How to apply for Norwegian citizenship
If you've lived in Norway a while, then obtaining citizenship will likely have crossed your mind at some point. Here's what you need to know if you are applying for a Norwegian passport.
There are several benefits to gaining Norwegian citizenship. Whether it's the shiny new passport, being allowed to stay in the country indefinitely or having the right to vote in general elections, many things make becoming a fully-fledged citizen an appealing prospect.
Additionally, it doesn't mean giving up your existing nationality either, as, in 2020, the country decided to allow dual citizenship.
Last year, 49,515 people applied for a Norwegian passport, and of these, 41,030 applications were successful. The number of people granted citizenship has more than doubled compared to 2020 when 19,469 applications were approved.
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.
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 eight or six of the last 11 years, depending on whether you have had a sufficient income while in Norway. This is a new rule that came into effect on January 1st 2022 and applies to all applications either processed or submitted after this date.
The sufficient income is around three times the minimum figure from the National Insurance Scheme. Currently, this is 319,997 kroner and can change annually.
If you have a sufficient income, the period is six years rather than eight.
The residency requirement is three of the last ten years for those with Norwegian spouses, registered partners, or cohabitants.
Citizenship applications will require the proficiency for spoken Norwegian to be B1 level for applications submitted after October 1st 2022.
B1 oral Norwegian is considered intermediate. According to the official CEFR guidelines, a speaker at the B1 level should be able to interact with Norwegian speakers on familiar topics.
In the workplace, B1 level speakers should be able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field.
However, a B1 level would not be sufficient to function fully in the workplace in Norwegian.
You can read about the rules in more detail here.
For the citizenship test, you’ll need to answer at least 24 of 36 multiple choice questions correctly to pass. Topics included in the test are history, geography, democracy, welfare, education, health and working life in Norway.
The social studies test is generally taken by people who have been through the social studies course for immigrants.
Both tests must be taken in Norwegian, either Bokmål or Nynorsk, to count towards your application. The municipalities arrange testing, but you can register through the booking system at Kompetanse Norge.
You must have held a valid residence permit (in most cases)
You can apply for citizenship 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.
People born abroad must prove their identity when applying, usually by submitting their existing passport (which may be expired). However, 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 6,500 kroner to apply if you are over 18. However, the fee is cheaper or completely waived if you are a Nordic citizen, previously held Norwegian citizenship, or are under 18 years of age.
The process is initiated via logging into the application system at this link.
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 standard requirements to be fulfilled 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 calculating 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.