Reader Question: Are foreigners in Norway allowed to vote? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Reader Question: Are foreigners in Norway allowed to vote? 
Here's who can vote in Norway. File Photo: The Norwegian Parliament is pictured in Downton Oslo. Photo by Kyree Lien / AFP)

Voting is a crucial part of the democratic process. But can foreigners in Norway have their say at the ballot box, and which elections are they allowed to vote in? 


Question: Are foreign residents allowed to vote in Norwegian elections? 

Taking part in elections is one of the main ways that the electorate can have their political voices heard. 

On the other hand, being unable to cast your vote in a country where you pay taxes and make national insurance contributions can leave foreign residents feeling marginalised and disenfranchised. 

So, can foreign residents in Norway have their say and vote in local and general elections? 

Do you have a burning question about Norway you want answered, or maybe there’s something you are just curious about? You can get in touch here, and The Local will do its best to answer your question for you! 


Who can vote in Norway? 

There are four types of election in Norway, parliamentary (stortingsvalg), municipal (kommunestyrevalg), county council elections (fylkestingsvalg), and to choose representatives for the Sami Parliament (Sametinget). 

In parliamentary elections, only Norwegian citizens who turn 18 by the end of the year can vote. 

Norwegian citizens who have been abroad for more than ten years also need to apply to be able to vote. 

Dual citizens are allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. 

Only those who are part of the Sami population and on the Sami electoral register are allowed to vote in those elections. However, Sami from other Nordic countries can cast their ballot if they are registered as living in Norway on June 30th of the election year. 

However, foreigners can vote in local elections. To vote in a municipal or county council election, you will need to either be a Nordic citizen registered as living in Norway or a foreign citizen who has been living in Norway for at least three consecutive years before the date of the election. 

Voters will receive an election card in the post. It is sent to the address listed in the National Population Register. 

Until recently, foreign residents without ties to the Norwegian mainland could vote in local elections, sit on the council, and serve as elected representatives under the Svalbard Treaty. 

However, the current government will apply the same rules for the mainland to Svalbard ahead of the next set of local elections in 2023. 

READ MORE: Norwegian islands lose quarter of voters as foreigners frozen out of local elections



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