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NORWEGIAN CITIZENSHIP

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.

Bergen, Norway
Here's how to become a Norwegian citizen. Pictured is Bergen in west Norway. Photo by Ignacio Ceballos on Unsplash

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.

READ MORE: How many foreign nationals are granted Norwegian citizenship?

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.

Residency requirements 

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.

Language skills

Citizenship applicants must meet language requirements. Depending on when you apply for Norwegian citizenship, you will need to pass an oral Norwegian language test at either A2 or B1 level, depending on when you apply.

Depending on when you apply for Norwegian citizenship, you will need to pass an oral Norwegian language test at either A2 or B1 level, depending on when you apply.

A2 refers to an elementary level of Norwegian, and B1 is considered semi-fluent.

The change to the language requirement from A2 to B1 will apply from autumn 2022 at the earliest, according to the UDI. So be sure to keep an eye out for when the rules change to make sure you don’t fall short of the requirements when you apply. 

Applications submitted before then will require the A2 level of Norwegian to pass.

Citizenship test

When you apply for a Norwegian passport, you must pass a citizenship test (statsborgerprøve), or the social studies test if you are between 18 and 67 years of age.

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.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Norway’s citizenship test

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.

Other requirements

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.

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READER QUESTIONS

Do children born in Norway automatically get citizenship?

A Norwegian passport comes with many benefits, and the country allows dual citizenship. So, what are the rules for the children of foreign nationals born in Norway? 

Do children born in Norway automatically get citizenship?

Norway opened the door to dual citizenship two years ago, meaning foreign residents could become citizens of the country without giving up their existing passport. 

Norwegian citizenship comes with a number of benefits, whether it’s the right to vote, being automatically enrolled into the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, or simply having a Norwegian passport, one of the most powerful travel documents available. 

READ MORE: 

Some may assume that because their children were born in Norway, they will be entitled to citizenship automatically. However, this isn’t the case and not all children born in Norway automatically become Norwegian citizens.  

If both parents are foreign nationals

Children who are born to two parents who are foreign nationals and who are not citizens of Norway do not automatically become citizens. 

Instead, parents will need to apply for a residence permit if the parents are from outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), register the child as an EU/EEA national if they are nationals from within the EU/EEA, or apply for a residence permit under the family immigration rules

If you are required to apply for residence for the child, you will need to do so before they turn one. 

Those who are adopted, are under 18  and have an adoption licence issued by Norwegian authorities automatically become Norwegian citizens if they were adopted after September 1st 2006. 

To be eligible for citizenship, if both parents are non-Norwegian citizens, the child will need to be over 12, live in Norway and plan on living in the Scandinavian country in the future. They will also need to have lived in Norway for five of the past seven years and held residence permits valid for more than a year each. Those over 15 will need to apply for a criminal record certificate. You must also fulfil all the permanent residency requirements while the UDI process your application. This means you must not have been outside of Norway for a total of ten months in the last five years. 

Children over 16 will need to have completed mandatory training in the Norwegian language and passed the concluding tests, or if they have received a final assessment grade in Norwegian at secondary school or upper secondary school, they can apply to the municipality for an exemption. 

You can apply here. Application fees for children under 18 are waived. There will also be an ID check to confirm your identity. 

As the applicant is under 18 the parent will be applying on the child’s behalf. 

If one parent is a Norwegian citizen

Children with one parent who is a Norwegian citizen and born after September 1st 2006 automatically become Norwegian citizens at birth.

This applies regardless of whether the child was born abroad or if the parents were married at the time. 

The rules are tighter for offspring born before September 1st 2006, though. Those born before this date are Norwegian citizens from birth if their mother was Norwegian, or their father was Norwegian and married to the mother before the birth, or if the father died before birth, was Norwegian and was married to the mother at the time of his death. 

However, those born to a Norwegian father but who aren’t automatically citizens can become citizens relatively easily by handing in a notification of Norwegian citizenship. You can do this in Norway or from abroad. 

Those born before 1979 will need to contact the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), as per the immigration directorate’s advice

If I become a Norwegian citizen after my child is born, do my children qualify for Norwegian citizenship? 

Children under 18 can also apply for citizenship if their parents have become Norwegian since the child was born or are applying for Norwegian citizenship. 

When the parent is applying for citizenship, the parent’s and child’s applications can be lodged together. Joint applications also require the parent to meet the citizenship requirements that apply to them

Under these circumstances, the child must have resided in Norway for the past two years and held residence permits that were each valid for at least one year. To qualify as having stayed in Norway for two years, the child must not have been abroad for more than two months per calendar year for two years. These rules apply to children aged between two and 18. 

The rules for children younger than two are slightly different

We moved to Norway after our child was born, what are the citizenship rules for them? 

Children under 18 and over 12 can apply for citizenship. They must live in the country full time, have a valid resident permit when they apply and whilst the application is processed.

They must have also been a full time resident of Norway for five of the last seven years. In addition to this, applicants over 15 must submit a criminal record certificate and meet the requirements for permanent residence. 

If one or both of the parents is a Nordic citizen and the child has lived in Norway for two years you can apply once you are over the age of 12.

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