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Can you claim your Norwegian pension from another country?

Here's how you can claim your Norwegian pension from another country. Pictured is a plant growing out of a money jar to signal investments growing.
Here's how you can claim your Norwegian pension from another country. Pictured is a plant growing out of a money jar to signal investments growing.Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
If you have worked in Norway for at least three years after turning 16, you are likely to be able to claim a pension even if you now live elsewhere.

In Norway, residents are eligible for three types of pensions. The two main pensions to be aware of are pension payments from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and any pensions from employers you will have accumulated. There are also private pension savings that you invest into yourself. 

As a foreigner in Norway or a Norwegian looking to retire elsewhere, these pensions can be claimed if you no longer live in the country, but certain rules apply.

Through the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme

Anyone who has legally worked in Norway for at least three years after turning 16 is entitled to a retirement pension from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden). This also includes those who have tax residency in the country.

For each year of employment, 18.1 percent of your wages are transferred to your pension account.

The size of your pension, which you can choose to start receiving the month before your 62nd birthday and up to age 75, will depend on several factors, such as how long you have been a tax resident of Norway and contributions to the National Insurance Scheme. To draw your pension from just before you turn 62, you will need to have accumulated a sufficient pension fund.

To receive the full Norwegian state pension or retirement pension, you will need to have resided in Norway for 40 years. For those who have not lived there for 40 years, their pension is reduced proportionally. For example, those who have lived in Norway for 25 years will receive 25 ‘fortieths’ of the full state pension.

You can read more about the specifics of retirement pensions from the state here

How to claim

The retirement pension can be claimed from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), but there are some rules. If you are moving or have moved to a country within the EEA or one with which Norway has a social security agreement, you can continue to receive your pension (unless you are a refugee or receiving a pension with a young disabled person supplement).

You will also need to fill in the application form. You can take a look at the form here

If you are moving to or living in a country outside the EEA or one that Norway doesn’t have an existing social security agreement with, then there are different rules depending on your age which you can read about here

Essentially, if you were born before 1954, it will be pretty difficult to claim your pension from another country. The main rule to be aware of is that you will need to have lived in Norway for at least 20 years.

If you were born after 1963, there are no requirements for how long you will need to have lived in Norway to draw your pension from another country.

If you were born between 1954 and 1963, you can draw your pension from a country outside the EEA, which Norway doesn’t have a social security agreement with, which would be calculated based on a mixture of the two different rules.

You can check any pension you have accumulated through the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme through NAV’s Din Pensjon portal. It also includes a basic pension calculator.

You will need an electronic ID to sign in.

How to get paid

If you still have a Norwegian bank account open, NAV will make payments there as this is the quickest and easiest option available. 

If you have a foreign account, payments can be made to a bank in your country of residence, typically in local currency. However, some fees will apply, and all payments are made using the latest exchange rate at the time of payment. 

Significant fluctuations in currency strength can also affect the size of your payments. You can read about receiving payments into a foreign account here.

You can check your pension and change your bank details with NAV here and look at payment dates here.  

Private pensions

Employees in both the public and private sectors are also covered by some form of occupational pension scheme. 

If you have worked in Norway, you will have therefore earned occupational pension through your terms of employment. For most employees, this will be paid from the age of 67.

There are two types of occupation pensions: Defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution pension plans.

A defined contribution scheme means your employer saves a percentage of your salary each month. This will appear on your payslip. This, as a minimum, is 2 percent.

A defined benefit pension will typically give you two-thirds of your salary when you retire. The sum of your pensions will be what you are entitled to through national insurance contributions and the pension you will have accumulated from your employer. This typically only applies to public sector employees.

You should contact your current and previous employers to find out what schemes you are enrolled in for more information on this. 

To determine what you may or may not be entitled to if you move away from Norway, then you will need to contact the pension company responsible for your occupational pension should you up sticks to elsewhere. If you are still working in Norway, consider moving to a pension plan that allows you to draw from the fund whether you are planning or dreaming of moving to.

The pension firms will also have more information on how to receive payments and what options are available.  

Depending on your employer and circumstances, you may also be entitled to an early contractual retirement pension (AFP). An AFP pension is an early retirement pension that you can receive between 62 and 67. The rules for drawing this pension while abroad are slightly different from state and private pensions. You can read more about it here.

Typically, only public-sector workers are entitled to AFP pensions. 

Those who have invested into a private pension will need to check with the relevant company for more information about countries to which they will make payments. 

Tax implications? 

One last thing to note is that if you are drawing a pension in another country, you will need to get in touch with the local tax authorities to find out any implications of receiving the pension and whether it will be considered a taxable income or not.  


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