For members


What’s the difference between temporary and permanent residence in Norway? 

In Norway, residency comes in two forms, permanent and temporary. Here we explain the difference between the two, whose eligible and what rights they come with. 

Pictured is a Norwegian flag and a mountain background.
This is what you need to know about temporary and permanent residence. Pictured is a Norwegian flag. Photo by Herbert Grambihler on Unsplash

When people first move to Norway, they will be granted a resident’s permit or register their move with the authorities, depending on where they come from. Eventually, they will be eligible to apply for permanent residence. 

Whether you are granted permanent residence or not will depend on whether you have met the requirements while holding temporary permits and your own personal circumstances. 

Temporary residency – EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals have the right to live, work and study in Norway, as do job seekers, those with their own funds and some family members of EU/EEA nationals. 

Furthermore, they do not need a permit. Instead, they must register with the police if they intend to live in Norway for longer than three months. 

When registering with the police, they must be employed, self-employed, a posted worker, a student, or have enough funds to support themselves.

The family members of those from the EEA who are also EEA citizens can register as moving to be with family in Norway. 

Meanwhile, the family members of EEA nationals who are not from within the EEA themselves will need to apply for a residence card.

Once registered with the police, they will receive a document confirming that they are registered as living in Norway. EEA citizens do not have to re-register if the reason they are living in Norway changes. 

Temporary residence- Non-EEA citizens

The process is more complicated for non-EEA nationals, and there are, generally, two reasons you can be granted a temporary residence permit. These are for work or to be with family. However, permits are also available for au pairs and studying

For those looking to work in Norway, you can apply for a skilled or seasonal worker permit. However, seasonal workers usually are only granted permits for very short stints.  

To qualify for the skilled worker permit, you’ll need to have completed higher education or obtained vocational training that took at least three years at upper secondary school level or higher—for example, electricians or carpenters. In addition, you will need to have received a full-time job offer that meets Norwegian pay and working condition requirements. 

The job you are offered must also require your qualifications as a skilled worker. These work permits run for between one and three years. Those with degrees are normally given three-year-long permits, while those with vocational education are typically given year-long permits. You may also need to reapply if you move into a job that’s a different position to the one you applied for, even if it’s with the same employer.

READ ALSO: Why your Norwegian work permit application might be rejected and how to avoid it

Those with partners, spouses, and children in Norway can also apply to work in the country. Other family members can apply, but it is typically rare that they are granted residence. The rules can vary greatly depending on the applicant’s nationality, the nationality of the person they are applying to be with, and their relationship with the person. Generally speaking, the person they are applying to be with will need to be a legal resident, meet income requirements and be of a certain age. 

READ ALSO: Why your Norwegian family immigration application may be rejected and how to avoid it 

Family immigration permits are generally valid for a year, and people must apply for a renewal three months before their current one expires. 

Those with family immigration permits are allowed to work and may be entitled to healthcare through the National Insurance Scheme.

Additionally, some people granted residence for family immigration can receive free Norwegian language lessons

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can revoke permits for several reasons, such as people providing wrong or misleading information, having spent too long outside of Norway, or breaching their visa conditions. 

Permanent residence

Permanent residency enables foreign nationals to live and work in Norway indefinitely. It also gives extra protection against expulsion from Norway. 

The rules for permanent residency have a lot to do with individual situations.

You can apply for permanent residence after living legally in Norway for at least three years.

Before the application, you will need to be considered a “continuous” resident of Norway. This means you must not have spent more than six months outside the country per year during the previous three years. You will also need to meet language requirements, fulfil an income requirement and not have received financial assistance from NAV in the last year. You can read the complete set of requirements based on the applicant being a citizen of the United Kingdom here

A foreign worker with permanent residence has a little more flexibility. If they choose to change occupations or take a break to study, they can do so freely without applying for a different type of residency permit. 

You can also spend longer outside Norway without losing your residence rights with permanent residence; however, if you plan on spending a continuous period of two years, or two years in four years, you will need to apply to be exempt from losing your permanent residence

EEA citizens are issued a certificate of permanent residence rather than a card

Those with a family from the EEA who have gained permanent residence retain the right to stay in Norway indefinitely in the event the residence holder dies or the parties break up or divorce. 

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For members


The most common reason Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected

Permanent residence comes with the benefit of living and working in Norway for as long as you wish. The UDI has revealed to The Local the most common reason why people have their permanent residence applications turned down. 

The most common reason Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected

Norwegian permanent residence allows someone to live and work in Norway as long as they wish. Additionally, it comes with the benefit of no longer having to reapply for residency but instead simply renewing your card every couple of years. 

For those on work permits, the benefit is even greater as those with permanent residence can switch jobs, positions and careers without requiring a new work permit to be issued. 


Last year, around 16,000 people in Norway were granted permanent residence in Norway, according to figures given to The Local by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

However, permanent residence comes with several requirements which applicants must meet. 

The UDI told The Local that around 10 percent of permanent residence applications in 2021 were rejected as the applicant didn’t fulfil the requirements. 

According to the immigration directorate, failure to meet one particular requirement was the most common reason applicants were rejected. 

“The most common reason for rejection was that the applicant did not have sufficient income. In 45 percent of the rejected cases, the applicants did not meet this requirement,” the UDI told The Local. 

What are the income requirements? 

To be granted permanent residence, applicants must meet the income requirements. This means you must have had your own income within the last 12 months, equal to or more than 278,693 kroner. 

For those on family immigration permits, this must be your own income too. Unlike the application for a temporary family immigration permit, you can’t have the person you moved to Norway to be with meet the requirements for you. 

This income can be from employment, business income, pension payments, or regular income from earned interest, rental income and insurance settlements. 

Sickness benefit, pregnancy benefit, parental benefit, retirement pension, unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, and single parent’s benefit also counts. Loans or grants received in connection with studies are also permitted. 

These incomes can all be combined to reach the minimum requirement, as outlined by the UDI. 

The rules also stipulate that you must not have received any financial assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). This rule excludes the benefits outlined above and doesn’t include financial aid from NAV (økonomisk sosialhjelp) which you have received for a short time (maximum of three months) to cover additional expenses which you do not typically have.

Assistance from NAV received while waiting for sickness benefit, pregnancy benefit, parental benefit, retirement pension, unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, or support for single parents also doesn’t stop someone from qualifying for permanent residency.

Although if you have received any benefits outside of the ones detailed above, then at least 12 months will need to have passed between receiving your last payment and you applying for permanent residence to qualify fully.  

If you don’t meet this income requirement, you can still technically be granted permanent residence. If you earned less than the required amount in the 12 months before your application is submitted, you could still qualify if you had a full-time job in the 12 months leading to your application and were paid the legal minimum wage