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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? 

A mother and child in Ålesund, Norway.
Not all children in Norway become citizens automatically. Pictured is a mother and child in Ålesund, Norway. Photo by Andrei Miranchuk on Unsplash

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. 

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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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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: When will waiting times for Norwegian residence go down?

Several readers have been in touch with The Local regarding long case processing times at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Here’s what the UDI has said about when waiting times could decrease. 

Reader question: When will waiting times for Norwegian residence go down?

Question: I’ve been waiting for my residence application to be processed for more than a year, and every time I check, my waiting time increases. When will it end? 

Do you have a burning question about Norway you want answered, or maybe there’s something you are just curious about? You can get in touch here, and The Local will do its best to answer your question for you! 

Soon-to-be and existing residents in Norway face increasingly long waiting times to have their applications approved by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

The long waiting times have been a source of incredible frustration, and many have been in touch to share their experience of being left in limbo while they wait. 

In some cases, applicants are left waiting more than 18 months for their application to be processed, while others have said that the waiting time provided to them by the UDI is increasing almost every month. 

Several factors such as the pandemic, Brexit and the introduction of dual citizenship have led to increased waiting times for applicants. Some cases have even been pushed back to the queue due to a new workflow. 

“The waiting times for applications for residence permits and citizenship are still affected by the situation in 2020 and 2021 where the work with entry restrictions required a lot of resources, and where both the UDI’s and the police’s work was also affected in different ways by the Corona situation. An important factor was also the opening for dual citizenship from January 2020, which resulted in a large increase in the number of citizenship applications,” Karl Erik Sjøholt, director of residence at the UDI, told The Local. 

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When will waiting times decrease? 

This is a million-dollar question for many. The UDI has said that it has implemented several measures to reduce case processing times in the long run. Among these are increased automation and a new workflow

“The aim is to work more efficiently so that, in the long run, all applicants will experience more predictability and get their decisions faster,” the residence director of the UDI said of the new workflow. 

However, and the real kicker for those facing long waiting times, the UDI is unsure when it can expect waiting times to go down. 

“We believe that automation and other measures- will help to reduce waiting times, but it is difficult to say when. The large number of applications for asylum from Ukrainians makes it more difficult to predict waiting times,” Sjøholt informed The Local. 

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