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RESIDENCY PERMITS

What are the key advantages of becoming a permanent resident in Norway? 

While it comes with a few requirements, permanent residence in Norway also comes with several perks.

Pictured are houses on Trondheim.
Permanent residency in Norway comes with a few advantages. Pictured is Trondheim. Photo by Prometheus Design on Unsplash

In Norway, residency comes in two forms, permanent and temporary. When people first move to Norway, they will be granted a temporary 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. 

Permanent residence comes with a few requirements, such as language proficiency, not spending too long out of Norway in previous years, and meeting income requirements. You can find out what requirements apply to you when applying for permanent residence here

Despite the rigorous requirements, permanent residence is a fantastic option for most and has several advantages.

You can stay indefinitely 

The clue may be in the name, but permanent residence allows you to stay in Norway indefinitely. The obvious perk to this is it means no more applying for and renewing visas. This also means, apart from a potential citizenship application and the cost of obtaining permanent residence, no more application fees. 

Permanent residence also grants you extra protection against expulsion from Norway, and those with 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.

Less hassle if you want to switch jobs

A resident who previously held work permits will have much more career flexibility with permanent residence. 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. 

Meanwhile, those with temporary work permits need to reapply if when moving into a job that’s a different position to the one you were granted a permit for, even if it’s with the same employer.

This can make a career change on a skilled worker permit difficult as the permit is awarded for a job that requires your specific qualifications or education as a skilled worker. For example, you wouldn’t be able to move from accounting to graphic design on a skilled worker permit, whereas you could with permanent residence. 

However, this is less of a perk for EEA citizens as they can stay in Norway without re-registering with the police as their reason for living in the country. 

You can spend longer out of the country without losing your residence rights

When granted a temporary residence permit, you are typically told how long you can spend outside the country without losing your residence rights. 

Typically, this would be a continuous absence of around six months, however, it may be longer or shorter depending on your own situation. 

If you are granted permanent residence, you can spend a continuous period of two or two out of four years outside of Norway without losing your status as a permanent resident. 

You can apply to become exempt from losing your permanent residence if you spend longer than this outside of Norway

It can help you along your way to obtaining citizenship

Norwegian citizenship has become a popular choice for many long-term residents after the country relaxed its rules to allow dual citizenship in 2020. 

To qualify for citizenship, you will need to either hold permanent residence or qualify for a permanent residence permit by the time the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) decides on your case. 

Already holding permanent residence will mean you’ll pass this requirement. If you apply in time, you’ll also meet some or all of the language requirements for citizenship.

However, this won’t be the case for long, as from autumn 2022, at the earliest, the language requirement for citizenship will be raised from A2 to B1. A2 refers to an elementary level of Norwegian, and B1 is considered semi-fluent.  

Additionally, the process of gathering all the paperwork required to apply for permanent residence will also prepare you for the citizenship application. 

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RESIDENCY PERMITS

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. 

READ MORE: 

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

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