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Why newer Norwegian residence applications are prioritised over older ones

Some residence applications in Norway have seemingly been pushed to the back of the queue, with newer ones being processed first by the UDI. So, why is this being done?

Bodø, northern Norway
The UDI has said that a new workflow has led to some newer applications being prioritised over older ones. Pictured is a cabin in Bodø. Photo by Secret Travel Guide on Unsplash

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). 

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. 

To make matters worse, some have experienced that applications submitted after theirs being prioritised while their own is seemingly pushed to the back of the queue. 

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

Are some applications being pushed to the back of the queue? 

Some applications have been pushed to the back of the queue due to a change in how the UDI handles applications. 

The UDI has changed its workflow, meaning cases processed in 2022 typically have shorter waiting times than those submitted before this year

“As of 1 January 2022, applications follow the new workflow for case processing. A key factor in the new workflow, is that applications are no longer left to wait before the initial assessment. As a result of the new workflow, many have experienced that 2022 cases have a shorter waiting time, while the waiting time for older cases has become longer,” Karl Erik Sjøholt, director of residence at the UDI, told The Local. 

One applicant who applied for a family immigration permit in 2021 said they had seen their waiting time increase twice since this change came into force, while someone they knew and who applied in 2022 saw their case processed in just over a month.

“The new system is unfair, and moreover, they (the UDI) claim they want families to reunite, but the reality is that due to long waiting times, families are splitting, and lovers are breaking up,” The applicant, who didn’t want to be named, claimed when expressing their frustration with the new system. 

Waiting times to decrease in the long run

The UDI has said that the new case processing system would lead to faster decisions for all applicants in the longer term. 

“The aim is to work more efficiently so that, in the long run, all applicants will experience more predictability and get their decisions faster,” Sjøholt from the UDI explained to The Local. 

However, the UDI is unsure when waiting times overall will 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 said. 

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Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Applications for family residence permits in Norway can be long and arduous. These are the most common reasons why they are turned down and what you can do to avoid it. 

Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected, and how to avoid it 

Last year, more than 15,000 people moved to Norway for family reasons. Of those, more than 4,000 were EEA citizens who registered with the police, while 10,197 permits for family immigration were granted. 

Residence permits for family reasons are generally issued to those from countries outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), while those moving to Norway to be with family are required to register with the police as living in Norway.

Family immigration permits are issued based on the applicant’s relative being a Nordic citizen or having legal residence or asylum in Norway. The applicants are usually the partner or spouse, child or parent, sibling, or in some cases, another relative of someone living in Norway.

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

However, not all applications for a residence permit are accepted, and as an application fee is involved, it would be handy to know the most common reasons why applicants aren’t granted residence to be with a family member, partner or spouse. 

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has provided The Local with the most common reasons it turns down applications. 

Age requirements for the spouse or partner not being met

To move to Norway to be with a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or fiancé, several requirements will need to be met. 

Generally, the reference person (the one living in Norway) will need to earn above a certain amount of money, plan on living together, and the relationship should be genuine. If you are not married or engaged, you will need to have lived together for at least two years. 

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

In addition, the applicant and reference partner will need to be over 24 years old when applying. This applies regardless of whether you are married, engaged or live together. 

According to the UDI, the age requirements for spouses not being met is one of the most common reasons why applications for family immigration permits are turned down. 

Children do not meet the full criteria

As with all applications for residence in Norway, all the criteria outlined by the UDI must be met to be granted a permit. 

Children not meeting all the criteria needed to be with parents was also one of the more common stumbling blocks, according to the UDI. 

Applications for children to be with parents in Norway can be tricky, and a number of factors can affect the requirements. 

Typically, the child will need to undergo an identity check, and both parents must consent to the move if custody is shared, the reference person must be a Norwegian citizen or hold a valid residence permit. In addition, the parent must earn at least 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. The income from the year before must also meet this threshold. 

Parents must have also not received any help from NAV in the past 12 months either. 

If you do not meet these requirements, your application will be turned down. To read more about the criteria, you can click here.

Maintenance requirements for family members aren’t met 

Being a relative of someone living or working in Norway typically isn’t a sufficient enough reason to have a work permit application approved. A number of other requirements will need to be met, and the rules for those over 18 applying to live with relatives are much tighter than those moving to be with a relative under 18. 

Additionally, applications for relatives that aren’t the parent or child of the reference person are likely to be rejected. 

For those wishing to move to Norway to be with their family members, one of the most common issues is the maintenance or minimum income requirements being met. 

As with other residence applications, the reference person will need to earn 300,988 kroner per year before taxes. This threshold applies to all family applications. 

READ ALSO: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with family?

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