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IMMIGRATION

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

To move to Norway to be with a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, some nationals will need to apply for a family immigration permit. Here's what you need to know about the process.

Bergen harbour.
These are the rules for applying for the family immigration permit for partners. Pictured is Bergen harbour. Photo by Ignacio Ceballos on Unsplash

The family immigration, or family reunification, permit is one of the most common ways for those who want to join their partners in Norway, but who do not have freedom of movement across the Schengen zone, to gain residence. 

Typically, only non-EEA citizens will need to apply for family immigration permits, as those from within the EEA can live and work in Norway freely. 

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

Married to somebody with residence in Norway 

Family immigration permits refer to two people in the application process. These are the applicant (the person who wants to move to Norway) and the reference person (the applicant’s partner). 

For those with a Norwegian husband or wife in Norway, there will be an application fee of 10,500 kroner to cover. Both of you will also need to be over 24 too. In addition, you’re marriage or partnership must have been legally entered into

You will also need to plan on living together in Norway, and the marriage must not have been a visa wedding or forced. 

The applicant must also verify their identity and must not be prohibited from entering the Schengen area. 

The reference person (i.e. the partner) must also have an income of at least 287,278 kroner per year before tax. This changes every May. But the salary requirement will not be raised or lowered if it changes after you apply. 

The applicant’s significant other will also not have received any financial assistance from NAV (økonomisk sosialhjelp) in the previous 12 months. 

If your partner isn’t from Norway or the EEA, the reference person will need to hold a valid residence permit. 

Please note that people applying for the family reunification permit to be with their partner will likely have to undergo an interview where visa officers will ask questions about their relationship to determine whether it is legitimate. 

For a checklist of the documents, you need if you are applying for your husband or wife to come and join you in Norway, click here

Fiancés

As with a spouse, you will both need to be at least 24 years old, meet the minimum income requirements, and your relationship be genuine. You must also plan on getting married in Norway within six months. 

You must not be barred from entering the Schengen area and be likely to return home if you do not get married as planned. 

If you get hitched, you must apply for your permit renewal before your current one expires. 

READ ALSO: What paperwork do you need to get married in Norway?

You do not need a family immigration permit to get married in Norway. You just need to be in the country legally for the ceremony to go ahead.  

As with other applications for those with a non-Norwegian or non-EEA national, the reference person will need to hold a valid residence permit. 

Be sure to check the list of the essential documents you’ll need to submit to the UDI for your application here

Boyfriend/girlfriend lives in Norway

As with permits given for married couples and soon-to-be-weds, you will need to be 24 and plan on living in Norway. You will also need to be allowed to enter the Schengen and have your identity confirmed. 

To be eligible, you and your partner will need to meet one of two requirements. First, you will need either have lived together for two years. If you’ve lived in Norway, you will need to have legal residence. Or you must be expecting or have a child together. 

The minimum salary requirements apply to the reference person also. 

Non-EEA nationals who are the reference person will need a valid residence permit.  

A checklist for the essential documents you will need to come to Norway to be with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be found here

How to apply

You’ll need to gather all the required documents, register an account with the UDI and complete the online application if applying from Norway. 

If you are applying from overseas, you will need to meet with the nearest Norwegian embassy or application centre. 

You will need to wait for the UDI to process your application and then make an appointment with the police in the part of Norway where you will be living to register as a resident and receive your permit. The appointment is ordered via the UDI website, and if you aren’t in Norway already, it should be done within the first week of your arrival. 

What else do I need to know? 

You need to ensure that all requirements are properly met. If they are not, the UDI will reject your application. You can check what applies to your situation here

It’s also worth pointing out that the process can be quite long when it comes to processing your application and being able to secure an appointment. 

And finally, if your family reunification visa means you are eligible for permanent residence further down the line, then you may be entitled to free language lessons. 

READ MORE: Who is entitled to free language lessons in Norway?

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IMMIGRATION

How Europe’s population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

The populations of countries across Europe are changing, with some increasing whilst others are falling. Populations are also ageing meaning the EU is having to react to changing demographics.

How Europe's population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

After decades of growth, the population of the European Union decreased over the past two years mostly due to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest data from the EU statistical office Eurostat show that the EU population was 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, 172,000 fewer than the previous year. On 1 January 2020, the EU had a population of 447.3 million.

This trend is because, in 2020 and 2021 the two years marked by the crippling pandemic, there have been more deaths than births and the negative natural change has been more significant than the positive net migration.

But there are major differences across countries. For example, in numerical terms, Italy is the country where the population has decreased the most, while France has recorded the largest increase.

What is happening and how is the EU reacting?

In which countries is the population growing?

In 2021, there were almost 4.1 million births and 5.3 million deaths in the EU, so the natural change was negative by 1.2 million (more broadly, there were 113,000 more deaths in 2021 than in 2020 and 531,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019, while the number of births remained almost the same).

Net migration, the number of people arriving in the EU minus those leaving, was 1.1 million, not enough to compensate.

A population growth, however, was recorded in 17 countries. Nine (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands and Sweden) had both a natural increase and positive net migration.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: Five things to know about Germany’s foreign population

In eight EU countries (the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania, Austria, Portugal and Finland), the population increased because of positive net migration, while the natural change was negative.

The largest increase in absolute terms was in France (+185,900). The highest natural increase was in Ireland (5.0 per 1,000 persons), while the biggest growth rate relative to the existing population was recorded in Luxembourg, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta (all above 8.0 per 1,000 persons).

In total, 22 EU Member States had positive net migration, with Luxembourg (13.2 per 1 000 persons), Lithuania (12.4) and Portugal (9.6) topping the list.

Births and deaths in the EU from 1961 to 2021 (Eurostat)

Where is the population declining?

On the other hand, 18 EU countries had negative rates of natural change, with deaths outnumbering births in 2021.

Ten of these recorded a population decline. In Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia population declined due to a negative natural change, while net migration was slightly positive.

In Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia, the decrease was both by negative natural change and negative net migration.

READ ALSO: Italian class sizes set to shrink as population falls further

The largest fall in population was reported in Italy, which lost over a quarter of a million (-253,100).

The most significant negative natural change was in Bulgaria (-13.1 per 1,000 persons), Latvia (-9.1), Lithuania (-8.7) and Romania (-8.2). On a proportional basis, Croatia and Bulgaria recorded the biggest population decline (-33.1 per 1,000 persons).

How is the EU responding to demographic change?

From 354.5 million in 1960, the EU population grew to 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, an increase of 92.3 million. If the growth was about 3 million persons per year in the 1960s, it slowed to about 0.7 million per year on average between 2005 and 2022, according to Eurostat.

The natural change was positive until 2011 and turned negative in 2012 when net migration became the key factor for population growth. However, in 2020 and 2021, this no longer compensated for natural change and led to a decline.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Over time, says Eurostat, the negative natural change is expected to continue given the ageing of the population if the fertility rate (total number of children born to each woman) remains low.

This poses questions for the future of the labour market and social security services, such as pensions and healthcare.

The European Commission estimates that by 2070, 30.3 per cent of the EU population will be 65 or over compared to 20.3 per cent in 2019, and 13.2 per cent is projected to be 80 or older compared to 5.8 per cent in 2019.

The number of people needing long-term care is expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2016 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 30.5 million in 2050.

READ ALSO: How foreigners are changing Switzerland

However, demographic change impacts different countries and often regions within the same country differently.

When she took on the Presidency of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen appointed Dubravka Šuica, a Croatian politician, as Commissioner for Democracy and Demography to deal with these changes.

Among measures in the discussion, in January 2021, the Commission launched a debate on Europe’s ageing society, suggesting steps for higher labour market participation, including more equality between women and men and longer working lives.

In April, the Commission proposed measures to make Europe more attractive for foreign workers, including simplifying rules for non-EU nationals who live on a long-term basis in the EU. These will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

In the fourth quarter of this year, the Commission also plans to present a communication on dealing with ‘brain drain’ and mitigate the challenges associated with population decline in regions with low birth rates and high net emigration.

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.

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