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CITIZENSHIP

Reader question: When do my children qualify for Norwegian citizenship? 

Norwegian citizenship comes with many benefits, especially since dual citizenship is allowed. This is what parents who moved to Norway with their children need to know about when their kids qualify for a passport. 

A child in Norway
Here's when children who moved to Norway will become eligible for citizenship. Pictured is a child in Norway. Photo by Jørgen K. Akselsen on Unsplash

QUESTION: We moved to Norway with our children. When would they be eligible to become citizens? 

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

Norway opened the door to dual citizenship two years ago, meaning foreign nationals could become Norwegian without giving up their existing citizenship. 

Norwegian citizenship comes with several benefits, whether it’s the right to live in Norway permanently, having 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. Having Norwegian citizenship also means living and moving freely across the Schengen zone for previously non-EEA nationals. 

 READ MORE: 

With so many benefits on offer, many parents will be wondering whether and when their children could take up citizenship. This will depend on several factors, such as age and the parents’ existing nationalities. 

If both parents are foreign nationals 

If both parents are foreign nationals and non-Nordic citizens, then the child must be older than 12 but under 18 for the rules for children to apply for them. 

You must be living in Norway and hold a valid residence permit, for starters. The permit must be valid for the duration of the application. You must also be living in Norway and plan on staying in the future. You will also need to have lived in Norway for five of the last seven years and held residence permits valid for longer than a year each during this time. 

You must also hold or meet the requirements for permanent residency when the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) decides on 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. 

Those over 15 will also need to order a criminal record certificate to be handed in with their application. All applicants will need to have their identity checked too. 

There is no application fee for under-18s. 

Shorter waiting times for Nordic citizens

Children who are Nordic citizens over the age of 12 can apply for citizenship after living in Norway for the last two years. They will need to have not spent more than two months per calendar year outside the country. They must also understand the Norwegian or Sami language. Nordic nationals can do this by having someone document that they understand Norwegian. The UDI uses an employer as an example, so it may be worth finding out whether documentation from a teacher would count.   

Over 15s will need the criminal record certificate too. 

If one parent is Norwegian 

Some children may automatically qualify for citizenship at birth. 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 you were born abroad or not. 

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. 

READ MORE: Do children born in Norway qualify for citizenship?

However, those born to a Norwegian father and 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. 

If I take up citizenship, will it make it easier for my children to become citizens? 

Children between the age of two and 18 can apply for citizenship in cases where they were not automatically eligible at birth, for example, if one of their parents takes up citizenship after the child was born. 

You will need to be a resident in Norway and intend on staying. You must have lived in Norway continuously for two years, which means no stays out of the country for longer than two months per calendar year. The child will also need to have held valid residence permits during this period, and they each will need to have valid for longer than a year. 

Kids over 15 will need the criminal reference certificate too. 

Children can also apply for citizenship alongside their parents under these rules, provided their parent meets the requirements

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RESIDENCY PERMITS

How do the language rules for Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence differ? 

With Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence, you can stay in Norway indefinitely, but both come with language requirements? So, what are the rules, and how do they differ between applications? 

How do the language rules for Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence differ? 

Dual citizenship has become an attractive proposition for many since Norway adopted it in 2020. A Norwegian passport comes with many perks, perhaps the main one being that you can stay in the country permanently. 

However, depending on your situation, it can take a while before you are eligible to become a Norwegian citizen. Another way of being able to live and work in Norway for as long as you wish (this mainly applies to non-EEA nationals as the freedom of movement doesn’t apply to them) is by obtaining permanent residency. 

Many will be eligible for permanent residence after three years of living legally in Norway, making it easier to obtain. 

Both Norwegian citizenship and permanent residency come with language requirements. The Norwegian language skill requirements differ between citizenship and permanent residence, however. 

READ ALSO: Which countries in Europe impose language tests for residency permits?

Permanent residence

The language rules for permanent residence can differ quite a bit depending on the type of permit you have held or the nationality and permit of the person you moved to Norway to be with. 

This can make it difficult to lay down the requirements that apply to everyone. To find out what specific language requirements for permanent residence apply to you, follow this link and fill out the information that applies to you. 

Generally, you will need to have completed tuition and tests in the Norwegian language to qualify. 

Those with skilled worker permits, aged between 16-54 who were granted their first residence permit after January 2016, will need to have either completed Norwegian language tuition of 250 hours or more, received an assessment grade at lower or upper secondary school level, or passed Norwegian level A2 at oral, listening, reading and written presentation. You will also need to pass the final “social studies test” in Norwegian or complete 50 hours of tuition in social studies

Those with a family immigration permit who moved to be with somebody who holds Norwegian citizenship will need to have completed more than 550 hours in Norwegian language classes, been awarded an assessment grade from a secondary school, or passed at A2 level in Norwegian across four areas, and meet the social studies requirements. The same applies to those who moved to be with someone who holds permanent residence or a family immigration permit. For reference, A2 is considered a basic level by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). 

If you hold a family immigration permit, and the person you moved to be with has a work permit, or self-employed person permit, then you will need 250 hours of Norwegian lessons or pass at A2 level. This is in addition to completing the social studies course or passing the exam.  

Those between 55-66 will either be fully exempt from language requirements or have to pass Norwegian A2. Those over 67 are entirely exempt. 

You can check the rules that apply to those granted residence between 2015 and 2005 here.

EU/EEA nationals registered as living in Norway are not subject to any language requirements. Likewise, non-EEA nationals with residence cards to live with EEA nationals registered in Norway also face no requirements. 

Citizenship

The rules for EU/EEA citizens and non-EEA residents are the same when it comes to citizenship, which means while those with the freedom of movement won’t need to meet any language benchmarks for permanent residence, they will need to be able to document Norwegian language skills for citizenship. 

To be eligible for citizenship, on the language side of things at least, you will need to have completed the approved tuition in the Norwegian language, passed Norwegian at a minimum of A2 level and passed either the social studies test or citizenship test in Norwegian. The citizenship and social studies tests must both be completed in Norwegian. 

From autumn 2022 at the earliest, the level of Norwegian required will be raised from A2 to B1 level. 

If you haven’t done the required tuition, with the number of hours required depending on your situation, then you can make yourself exempt by proving you have “adequate knowledge” of Norwegian or a Sami language.  

You can prove you have adequate knowledge of Norwegian and Sami by completing all four parts of Norskprøven for voksne innvandrere by Kompetanse Norge at levels A2, B1 or B2. This includes the reading test, listening test, test in written presentation and oral examination. 

You also qualify if you passed both of Kompetanse Norge’s two subtests of the Norwegian test C1: lytteprøve og skriftlig fremstilling and leseprøve og muntlig kommunikasjon.

Passing the oral and written Norskprøve 2 or 3, Språkprøven i norsk for voksne innvandrere, or Språkprøven i norsk for fremmedspråklige voksne, with at least 220 points (these tests are no longer completed), also counts. 

Completing studies in Norwegian or Sami at university or college level in Norway or abroad corresponding to 30 credits, or meeting the admission requirement for studies in Norwegian or Sami at a university or college in Norway.  

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