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IMMIGRATION

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. 

Lofoten in Norway
There are a few things you should know about waiting times in Norway. Pictured is Lofoten in Norway. Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash

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?

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For members

NORWAY AND SWEDEN

‘Party Swedes, go home’: Do Swedish immigrants get a bad rep in Norway?

They might be close neighbours with a seemingly shared culture and identity, but Swedish immigrants have not always found it easy to settle in Norway, and have often been the butt of jokes and even abuse, explains Xander Brett.

'Party Swedes, go home': Do Swedish immigrants get a bad rep in Norway?

In May 2008, a wall on St Olavs gate street, Oslo, was graffitied. Scrawled across it, the words: ‘Partysvensker go home!’. The slogan, asking ‘party Swedes’ to leave Norway, played with neo-Nazi chants of the 1980s and 90s.

But, with free movement of people and a shared Nordic identity, Swedes in Norway had a history of being treated as ‘different immigrants’, or often simply not as immigrants at all.

The slogan, therefore, was generally interpreted as something benign and humorous. That was until a later addition to the wall, in 2009, that asked, ‘men Norge är ju svenskt?’ (But isn’t Norway Swedish anyway?’).

Rebecca Jafari, writing for Norwegian tabloid Dagsavisen, picked up on the debate. ‘They work hard,’ she wrote, ‘are service minded, rarely engage in crime, and pay taxes. Yet Swedes are subject to bullying by their neighbours.’

In 2014, the problems faced by some young Swedish immigrants in Norway were depicted by director Ronnie Sandahl, who named his latest feature film Svenskjævel (Swedish Devil).

The movie follows 23-year-old Dino as she arrives in Oslo to seek a life of affluence and happiness, only to be thrown into a cycle of odd jobs and partying.

It was a journey that seemed to document the life of an archetypal ‘partysvensk’, and it was held up as an example of the treatment awaiting young Swedes moving over the border.

By the late 2000s, Swedes had grown to be Norway’s second largest immigrant community (after Poles). The unique combination of high youth unemployment back home, versus a strong labour market further west, saw them flood into higher salaried jobs from hospitality to engineering.

At the same time, Norwegians continued to flock the other way, heading over the border to take advantage of Sweden’s low prices. Travelling along the border, the vast supermarkets are clear to see, erected just a few kilometres into Swedish territory, their car parks full of Norwegian registration plates.

Academic Ida Tolgensbakk wrote a 2015 study that examined how young Swedish workers were treated on arrival in Norway. She says the term ‘partysvensker’ is generally used more humorously than other immigrant chants, but that doesn’t mean everyone on the receiving end finds it fun.

“Some find it funny,” she tells The Local, “interpreting it as a sign of equality and closeness. Others find it stigmatising and racist.”

Tolgensbakk based her research on interviews, fieldwork, and a media study. She says Norwegians and Swedes have a long history of mutual jokes dating back to the 1970s.

“Swedes made jokes about Norwegians and vice-versa. However, at that point, there was no significant migration between the two countries, so it was merely neighbourly banter. The meaning changed when one neighbour became a minority in another,” she explains. 

Norway had been independent for years, but there was, perhaps, some lingering unease among Swedes about being the butt of jokes in a country they ruled until 1905.

In 2013, researching for Swedish daily Aftonbladet, journalists Jerker Ivarsson and Victor Stenquist went ‘on location in Oslo to meet Swedish workers aged 20 to 30.

Two-thirds of Swedish immigrants they spoke to had settled in Oslo, and it was to this carefree age group the term ‘partysvensker’ seemed to apply to. However, the then 23-year-old bartender Sarah Thegerström told them ‘partysvensker’ was far from a joke and spoke of the all-too-common bullying experiences of Swedes in her profession (she, apparently, was the victim of frequent anti-Swedish abuse from drunken customers herself).

Writing for Nyheter 24, meanwhile, Haviet Kok was in Norway when he took a phone call from his landlord. Kok says he was harassed by a Norwegian passer-by who had heard his Swedish accent and swore and pleaded that he and his compatriots cross back over the border.

Despite their infrequency, Tolgensbakk, author of the 2015 report, admits these experiences are far from non-existent. Many of the respondents to her study found it difficult to get to know their Norwegian neighbours, and she says they were often naïve in their belief that their culture was identical.

“If you look at the three Scandinavian nations from abroad,” she tells The Local, “you’d think we’re the same country: our histories are intertwined, our languages mutually intelligible. But when you get up close, there are noticeable pegs that separate us. We have our own peculiarities, and that can be confusing if you expect everything to be the same.”

For his part, migration researcher Jan Horgen Friberg says that in the social hierarchy of Norway’s immigrant groups, Swedes are at the top. “Although they may face negative stereotypes,” he says to The Local, “I think the term ‘racism’ is drawing it way too far.”

Along with reports of jokes, banter, even abuse, and struggles to settle in – which are not just limited to Swedes in Norway, there are, of course, many positive experiences of Swedes moving across the border.

Tea Lovcalic, who moved to Norway from Lund in southern Sweden, is perhaps just one of many Swedes who settle smoothly into life in Norway.

She says she felt included straight away.

“The experience was positive and welcoming, both in the workplace and out.”

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