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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


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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For members


The key things you need to know about Norwegian residence waiting times 

A number of readers have been in touch about long waiting times for residence in Norway. Here are some things you should know about waiting times and your application. 

The key things you need to know about Norwegian residence waiting times 

Whether you’ve already applied for residence in Norway, will reapply for a new permit, or intend on applying in the future, there will be a waiting time to have your application processed. 

Therefore, it’d be good to have an overview of all the key information you need to know about waiting times. 

How to check your waiting time

There isn’t really a catch-all expected waiting time for applications. Instead, it will depend on the permit you are applying for and your own situation. 

The Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) has guides on rough waiting times for your application times, which it updates regularly. 

The waiting time only calculates the time it takes to process your application and doesn’t take into account how long it will take you to get an appointment to hand in your documents. 

The waiting times are updated every month, so it is worth checking regularly. Additionally, it may take longer to process your case than the waiting time provided. 

You can click here to take a look at the UDI’s waiting times for various application types. 

There may be long processing times

Several applicants have gotten in touch with The Local to share their experiences of long-waiting times to have their cases processed. 

In some instances, 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. 

The UDI has said that there were several reasons why waiting times in Norway had increased, such as the pandemic, Covid entry rules implemented throughout 2020 and 2021 and the adoption of dual citizenship. 

It added that the influx of refugees from Ukraine has led to uncertainty over when waiting times could decrease. 

READ MORE: Why some Norwegian residence applications take so long to process

Newer applications may be processed quicker than older ones

At the turn of the year, the UDI changed how it handles applications. This means that applications submitted in 2022 typically have shorter waiting times than ones submitted before this year. 

The UDI has done this to decrease waiting times in the long term. However, in the short term, it has meant that some applications have been shunted back in the queue.

Where to complain 

If you have been waiting for your case to be processed longer than the waiting time, or you feel as if you have been treated unfairly by the directorate, then you can always submit a complaint. 

You can complain to the UDI directly. Alternatively, you can complain to an ombudsman. Sivilombudet, or The Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman, also handles complaints about the UDI

 Last year the ombudsman received 4,000 complaints from people who believe they had been exposed to injustice or errors from public authorities

The ombudsman noted that it saw an increase in complaints surrounding issues relating to immigration and case processing times. 

The UDI is working to reduce waiting times

Waiting times will eventually go down, the UDI has told The Local previously. It said that it was implementing some measures with the aim of slashing processing times. 

Among the measures is the aforementioned change of workflow and increased automation. 

“The aim is to work more efficiently so that, in the long run, all applicants will experience more predictability and get their decisions faster,” Karl Erik Sjøholt, director of residence at the UDI, told The Local. 

READ MORE: When will waiting times for Norwegian residence go down?