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Why your Norwegian citizenship application might be rejected and how to avoid it

Norwegian citizenship comes with many benefits, however, several requirements need to be met to obtain it. The UDI has revealed the most common reasons why applications were turned down in 2021.

These a0re the most common reasons why citizenship applications were rejected in 2021. Pictured is Ålesund, west Norway. Photo by Samuel Han on Unsplash

Last year, just under 50,000 people applied for Norwegian citizenship. To obtain citizenship in Norway, you will have need to have spent the required amount of time in Norway, which can vary depending on your situation, pass a language test and pass the citizenship test.

Unfortunately, 2,357 of those applications were unsuccessful and rejected by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), which provided data on the number of rejections to The Local.

The UDI also provided information for the most common reasons why citizenship applications are rejected, so if you’re thinking of going for a Norwegian passport anytime soon, you should be aware of the most common rejections and what requirements you will need to meet.

Not passing the citizenship test or social studies test

According to the UDI, this was the most common reason a foreign national had their citizenship request turned down.

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.

Failing the language test

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 Spring 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.

Has not completed the mandatory Norwegian and social studies education 

To be eligible for citizenship, you will need to document that you have completed 300 hours of tuition in the Norwegian language with an approved provider or demonstrate that you have adequate knowledge of the Norwegian or Sami language.

Examples of proving you have adequate knowledge of the Norwegian language include passing the Bergenstest, or Norskprøve written and oral tests at levels 2 or 3.

Soon though, it will no longer be a requirement to have completed the compulsory Norwegian education. However, a rough date for implementing this change has not been set yet. 

Not meeting the requirement for residency time 

To become a Norwegian citizen, you will need to have resided in the country legally for a certain period of time. If you applied for citizenship before January 1st 2022, you will generally have to have lived in Norway for at least seven of the last ten years. The residency requirement is three of the last ten years for those with Norwegian spouses, registered partners, or cohabitants.

If you applied after January 1st 2022, then new rules apply. The residency period most people will need to have spent in Norway will instead be eight out of the last 11 years if you don’t have a sufficient income.

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.

Unable to have identity verified

Foreign nationals applying for citizenship in Norway must be able to prove their identity for obvious reasons. This usually comes in the form of providing a passport. The passport can be expired. There also cannot be any doubts from the UDI that the information in the passport is incorrect. 

Applicants from certain countries or who have previously been granted asylum are subject to different requirements

Criminal offences

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.

If you have received a fine for a criminal offence or been convicted by police, you will need to wait to apply for citizenship. This is called the “disqualification period”.

If you have been convicted abroad then this will also lead to a disqualification period too. If you are charged with a criminal offence during your application then it will be suspended. 

If a case has been dropped, or you have been issued a non-criminal fine, such as a parking ticket, then you do not need to wait.

Depending on your conviction, you will need to wait a certain period of time, depending on your punishment/ sentence to be eligible to apply for citizenship. If you try to apply within this time frame, your application will be rejected.

Not meeting the conditions for permanent residence or right of residence

If you are over the age of 18, you must have a valid residence permit for Norway at the time of application and fulfil the requirements for permanent residence to be eligible for citizenship. You must also be living in Norway and plan on staying in the country.

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For members


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. 


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.