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

Norway's immigration rules can be pretty confusing at the best of times. Here are the rules you need to know about if you want to move to Norway to be with loved ones. 

A house and waterfall in Norway.
These are the rules for moving to Norway to be with family. Pictured is a house and waterfall. Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

If you want to move to Norway to be with family members, there are a couple of ways you can do it. 

If you are an EEA national, it’s relatively straightforward due to being able to live and work in Norway freely. The only paperwork that will be required is registering with the police

However, if you are a non-EEA citizen, moving to be with your loved ones can be more complicated. 

What is the Family Immigration permit?

Spouses, cohabitants, fiancées, children, parents and other family members of residents in Norway may be eligible to apply for family immigration or family reunification permits from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). We’ve already covered the rules for partners, so we will be focusing on family in this article. 

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

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 person you are moving to Norway to be with). 

For those over 18 applying to be with family in Norway, there will be an application fee of 10,500 kroner to cover.

You will typically be required to present your identity and not be barred from entering the Schengen zone. The reference person will also typically need to have a minimum income of 287,278 kroner. 

Additionally, it’s worth noting that being a relative in Norway typically isn’t a sufficient enough reason for a permit to be granted, and specific requirements will need to be met regardless of the relation.  

Applying to be with a Norwegian child

A parent who has sole parental responsibility for a child who is a Norwegian citizen can apply for a permit for family immigration to live with their child in Norway

If you are married or live with the child’s other parent, you cannot apply for this type of permit. Instead, you will need to apply under the rules for spouses and cohabitants. 

To be eligible for this type of permit, you will need to have parental responsibility for the child, and the child will need to live with you full time, or you will need to have held residence in Norway for the past year and have shared custody with access rights. 

The other rules that make one eligible typically refer to somebody who is already a resident. 

Child isn’t a Nordic or EEA citizen 

The rules for those whose children are not Nordic or EEA citizens are similar. However, one key difference is that having sole responsibility only makes you eligible if your child has been granted asylum in Norway.

Child or grandchildren is an EEA citizen

If your child or grandchild is an EEA citizen registered in Norway, you can move to be with them if you can document your identity, aren’t prohibited from entering the Schengen, and you will need to be supported financially by the reference person. 

The reference person must have moved to Norway as an employee, be self-employed, or live with sufficient funds. In addition, the child will need to meet the registration requirements and be able to show that you can support both themselves and the parent/ grandparent. 

Moving to be with adult children

Generally speaking, it is more difficult to move to be with a child over the age of 18. You will need to be over 60, not have a spouse or partner, and cannot have any parents, children or grandchildren in your home country. This is in addition to the reference person’s identification and minimum income requirements. 

If your child is over 18, you can also apply for a visitation permit. The reference person must be a resident in Norway, hold a valid permit, have an income of 287,278 kroner per year and not received financial assistance from NAV.

If the reference person doesn’t meet the income requirements, then their spouse or person they live with will need to. 

Under 18’s moving to be with parents 

If your parent is a non-EEA national, you will need to do the passport check, and your other parent will need to consent to you moving to Norway if they have joint custody. The reference person will need a residence permit that forms the basis for a permanent residence permit, if they don’t have permanent residence already. They will also need to meet the minimum income requirements. 

The rules are the same regardless of whether the person is a Nordic or non-EEA citizen.

Moving to be with a parent when over 18

If you have parents in Norway who are Norwegian or non-EEA citizens, then you will need to either be between the age of 18 and 21, not have a spouse or cohabitant and previously held a residence permit in Norway for several years, or have your parents and siblings live in Norway and support you. You may also move to Norway if your whole family is doing so or you have serious health problems.

The rules for the minimum income and having a home apply to reference people in this case. 

Other family members

In many cases, those applying under the “other family” bracket will only have their applications approved when strong humanitarian reasons are considered. However, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) doesn’t list any particular requirements or guidelines. 

Skilled worker permit

Another route to move to Norway to be with family would be to secure a skilled worker visa. 

To be granted a residence permit for work, you’ll most likely need to have been offered a job first, and the type of permit you apply for will depend on your line of work. 

You can qualify as a skilled worker if you have completed higher education or vocational training. A skilled worker must also have shown they have work experience in their specific field before applying for the skilled worker permit. 

READ MORE: How to get a work permit in Norway

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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?