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The essential documents you need to have in Norway 

Norway may be best known for its breathtaking fjords and Viking tales. But if you live here, you might say it is most notorious for a society built on bureaucracy. Here is all the essential paperwork you'll need to have.

Getting used to the paperwork and bureaucracy is a big part of getting used to life in Norway
Getting used to the paperwork and bureaucracy is a big part of getting used to life in Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

 Passport/ proof of identity

Yes, having a passport may be an obvious essential document to have. After all, you likely needed it to get into the country. However, we mainly want to remind you to keep it safe and keep track of the expiration date. Renewing a passport while in Norway will require booking an appointment with their embassy that often has long waiting times. Depending on where you live, you may have to use many hours to travel to be at the renewal appointment in person. So don’t wait until the last minute.

You may also want to consider having a Norwegian identity card in addition to your passport. A national ID card is a card with photo identification that you can use to identify yourself. In some cases, it can also come with a “right to travel” permit. 

If you want to apply for a national ID, look here

The correct working visa/permit

A big part of settling down roots in Norway is finding a job. One of the first steps is applying for a work permit. Norway does a lot digitally, and applying for a work or residence permit will likely be one of the first realistic impressions you get over how this country operates. Once you’ve decided what type of work permit you wish to apply for, you can start the process here, at the application portal within UDI’s website. 

If you are one of the lucky foreigners who have received a job contract with a company that takes care of the work permit application process for you, that definitely takes a load off your back. But you’re not entirely off the hook. Discuss your application with your Norwegian employer, or international employer based in Norway, to follow the application process and be aware of any documents and information you may need to contribute at a moment’s notice. It would also be wise to ask for a copy of your work permit acceptance in case you need it for events such as travel or buying real estate in the future.

Your birth certificate

Having your birth certificate is essential to applying for a work permit. And in some cases, you will need to show up to apply with the original document and not just a copy. Birth certificates are also necessary when applying for a new passport and residence visa as well.

A marriage certificate

A vigelselsattest, or a “marriage certificate”, is granted automatically after you are legally married in Norway. You will receive the certification digitally in your Altinn inbox shortly after the marriage. If you don’t have an Altinn inbox, the certificate will be sent to you via post, typically three days after the ceremony. 

If you were married outside of Norway, it is up to you to contact the vigsler directly to register your marriage. 

To order a copy of your marriage certificate, look here.

A job contract

Having a copy of your job contract is necessary when applying for a loan, for specific work visas, and for you as an employee. A job contract is proof of what type of position you hold. In addition, the written contract often has details about your rights as an employee that you might have been unaware of. Even if you feel like your position is secure at your company, have a paper copy of your contract for safekeeping at home. It is always convenient to have copy handy when negotiating future positions. 


Norway has modernised many of its societal systems, which means many of these essential documents you need can be found or kept digitally. The same goes for payslips. You can choose to receive a copy of your payslip via post. However, many prefer to keep track of their income with digital records. 

Payslips are, of course, great for having proof of payment. They are also necessary to have when applying for a loan from the bank or renting an apartment. However, take the time you need to carefully read through your payslips. Often, they come with a breakdown of important information such as the amount of tax you were charged, holiday pay withdrawal, and smaller retractions.

Language level verification

If you are learning Norwegian, keep track of your advancement. This means saving receipts from Norwegian classes and test certificates from Norwegian tests. For many employers, it’s not enough to see your level of Norwegian stated on your CV. They want proof. Your language level verification is also necessary to have if you’re going to apply for Norwegian citizenship. 

Vaccination pass/ health certificates

With the pandemic continuing to be a part of our lives, a Covid-19 certificate may be necessary for you to have both for matters within Norway and while travelling. If you are vaccinated, your Covid-19 certificate was automatically registered digitally and updated after taking the jabs. 

To access your digital pass, you need to have a national ID number or D-number. You can access your digital COVID-19 certificate by logging in to You can use BankID, BankID on mobile, Buypass ID on smart card, Buypass ID on mobile or Commfides e-ID.

Other vaccinations in Norway are registered in the digital SYSVAK system. You can keep an overview of your vaccinations by logging into Your GP also has access to this information. 

Vaccines given to children in Norway after 1995 have also been registered in the SYSVAK system and can be monitored by their legal parent or guardian. 

A drivers licence 

If you want to drive in Norway, you need a licence, and it needs to be valid. There is no need to stand in line at your local Statens vegvesen, or “traffic services office” to apply for and receive your driving licence. Norway now accepts the digital version that can be downloaded directly to your phone. However, be aware that the digital version of your driving licence is only valid in Norway. So you must have a physical licence if you plan on driving outside of the country. 

To exchange your foreign driving licence for a Norwegian one, there is the option to wait in line at your local traffic service office. But you can also send it in by mail. Just remember to include all necessary documents as well as the application form

Vehicle registration 

If you own a car in Norway. It must be registered. Both the seller and the buyer of a vehicle must always submit a Notification of Sale. Luckily as of February 20th of this year, this can now be done online and pay the required registration fee.

You should keep your vehicle registration card in a safe place within your car in case you get pulled over or are involved in an accident. If you have misplaced and can’t find your current registration, you can order a new one here

Politi attest

Many positions in Norway require a background check which includes a politi attest or “police certificate”. Often, a job will write that it is a requirement in the job announcement. Usually, your employer will conduct the politi attest for you. But you can apply for one on your own, here

If you are interested in what is included in your politi attest, look here.

Proof of address

A residence certificate is necessary to have for tax purposes. You are eligible for one after you have received a residence permit. A residence certificate documents where you live and how long you have lived there. In addition, the certificate documents how long you have lived in Norway and the current municipality. If you plan on moving, you will need to send a change of address notification no later than eight days after moving. 

To order a residence certificate, look here

A D-number/personummer

Not having a personummer in Norway is like not having flour when you want to bake a cake. It’s a necessary ingredient to your integration into this country. The personummer, or “national identity number”, is assigned to those who want to stay in Norway longer than six months.

A D-number is the same as a national identity number, but it is only temporary. It is assigned to those who stay in Norway for less than six months. And to those who do not meet the criteria of receiving a national identity number.

A personummer is issued for everyone who wants to stay or settle in Norway for longer than six months. You need this number to legally work in Norway, open a bank account, and buy property. 

It is the Norwegian Tax Administration that decides if you qualify for a D-number or a personnummer. The decision is made after you receive a residence permit, and it takes around six weeks to receive your number in the mail. 

An electronic ID

Technically not an essential document. But having one can clear you of non-essential stress. 

Many of Norway’s public services require digital identification. And you must have an electronic ID that verifies your identity. 

There are five different forms of electronic ID in Norway you can use to log into digital services from Norwegian public services. These are MinID, BankID, BankID on mobile, Buypass and Commfides. 

Look here for more information about the different forms of electronic ID.

Useful vocabulary

bostedsattest – residence certificate

førerkort – driver’s licence

språk niva – language level 

vaksinasjonspass – vaccination pass

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For members


Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Applications for family residence permits in Norway can be long and arduous. These are the most common reasons why they are turned down and what you can do to avoid it. 

Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Last year, more than 15,000 people moved to Norway for family reasons. Of those, more than 4,000 were EEA citizens who registered with the police, while 10,197 permits for family immigration were granted. 

Residence permits for family reasons are generally issued to those from countries outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), while those moving to Norway to be with family are required to register with the police as living in Norway.

Family immigration permits are issued based on the applicant’s relative being a Nordic citizen or having legal residence or asylum in Norway. The applicants are usually the partner or spouse, child or parent, sibling, or in some cases, another relative of someone living in Norway.

READ ALSO: How many people move to Norway for family reasons, and where do they come from?

However, not all applications for a residence permit are accepted, and as an application fee is involved, it would be handy to know the most common reasons why applicants aren’t granted residence to be with a family member, partner or spouse. 

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has provided The Local with the most common reasons it turns down applications. 

Age requirements for the spouse or partner not being met

To move to Norway to be with a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or fiancé, several requirements will need to be met. 

Generally, the reference person (the one living in Norway) will need to earn above a certain amount of money, plan on living together, and the relationship should be genuine. If you are not married or engaged, you will need to have lived together for at least two years. 

READ MORE: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with a partner? 

In addition, the applicant and reference partner will need to be over 24 years old when applying. This applies regardless of whether you are married, engaged or live together. 

According to the UDI, the age requirements for spouses not being met is one of the most common reasons why applications for family immigration permits are turned down. 

Children do not meet the full criteria

As with all applications for residence in Norway, all the criteria outlined by the UDI must be met to be granted a permit. 

Children not meeting all the criteria needed to be with parents was also one of the more common stumbling blocks, according to the UDI. 

Applications for children to be with parents in Norway can be tricky, and a number of factors can affect the requirements. 

Typically, the child will need to undergo an identity check, and both parents must consent to the move if custody is shared, the reference person must be a Norwegian citizen or hold a valid residence permit. In addition, the parent must earn at least 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. The income from the year before must also meet this threshold. 

Parents must have also not received any help from NAV in the past 12 months either. 

If you do not meet these requirements, your application will be turned down. To read more about the criteria, you can click here.

Maintenance requirements for family members aren’t met 

Being a relative of someone living or working in Norway typically isn’t a sufficient enough reason to have a work permit application approved. A number of other requirements will need to be met, and the rules for those over 18 applying to live with relatives are much tighter than those moving to be with a relative under 18. 

Additionally, applications for relatives that aren’t the parent or child of the reference person are likely to be rejected. 

For those wishing to move to Norway to be with their family members, one of the most common issues is the maintenance or minimum income requirements being met. 

As with other residence applications, the reference person will need to earn 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. This threshold applies to all family applications. 

READ ALSO: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with family?