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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. 

These are the most common reasons why Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected. The Local, Norway's news in English.
These are the most common reasons why Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected. Pictured is Ålesund. Photo by Mike Benna on Unsplash

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

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For members


How do the language rules for Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence differ? 

With Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence, you can stay in Norway indefinitely, but both come with language requirements? So, what are the rules, and how do they differ between applications? 

How do the language rules for Norwegian citizenship and permanent residence differ? 

Dual citizenship has become an attractive proposition for many since Norway adopted it in 2020. A Norwegian passport comes with many perks, perhaps the main one being that you can stay in the country permanently. 

However, depending on your situation, it can take a while before you are eligible to become a Norwegian citizen. Another way of being able to live and work in Norway for as long as you wish (this mainly applies to non-EEA nationals as the freedom of movement doesn’t apply to them) is by obtaining permanent residency. 

Many will be eligible for permanent residence after three years of living legally in Norway, making it easier to obtain. 

Both Norwegian citizenship and permanent residency come with language requirements. The Norwegian language skill requirements differ between citizenship and permanent residence, however. 

READ ALSO: Which countries in Europe impose language tests for residency permits?

Permanent residence

The language rules for permanent residence can differ quite a bit depending on the type of permit you have held or the nationality and permit of the person you moved to Norway to be with. 

This can make it difficult to lay down the requirements that apply to everyone. To find out what specific language requirements for permanent residence apply to you, follow this link and fill out the information that applies to you. 

Generally, you will need to have completed tuition and tests in the Norwegian language to qualify. 

Those with skilled worker permits, aged between 16-54 who were granted their first residence permit after January 2016, will need to have either completed Norwegian language tuition of 250 hours or more, received an assessment grade at lower or upper secondary school level, or passed Norwegian level A2 at oral, listening, reading and written presentation. You will also need to pass the final “social studies test” in Norwegian or complete 50 hours of tuition in social studies

Those with a family immigration permit who moved to be with somebody who holds Norwegian citizenship will need to have completed more than 550 hours in Norwegian language classes, been awarded an assessment grade from a secondary school, or passed at A2 level in Norwegian across four areas, and meet the social studies requirements. The same applies to those who moved to be with someone who holds permanent residence or a family immigration permit. For reference, A2 is considered a basic level by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). 

If you hold a family immigration permit, and the person you moved to be with has a work permit, or self-employed person permit, then you will need 250 hours of Norwegian lessons or pass at A2 level. This is in addition to completing the social studies course or passing the exam.  

Those between 55-66 will either be fully exempt from language requirements or have to pass Norwegian A2. Those over 67 are entirely exempt. 

You can check the rules that apply to those granted residence between 2015 and 2005 here.

EU/EEA nationals registered as living in Norway are not subject to any language requirements. Likewise, non-EEA nationals with residence cards to live with EEA nationals registered in Norway also face no requirements. 


The rules for EU/EEA citizens and non-EEA residents are the same when it comes to citizenship, which means while those with the freedom of movement won’t need to meet any language benchmarks for permanent residence, they will need to be able to document Norwegian language skills for citizenship. 

To be eligible for citizenship, on the language side of things at least, you will need to have completed the approved tuition in the Norwegian language, passed Norwegian at a minimum of A2 level and passed either the social studies test or citizenship test in Norwegian. The citizenship and social studies tests must both be completed in Norwegian. 

From autumn 2022 at the earliest, the level of Norwegian required will be raised from A2 to B1 level. 

If you haven’t done the required tuition, with the number of hours required depending on your situation, then you can make yourself exempt by proving you have “adequate knowledge” of Norwegian or a Sami language.  

You can prove you have adequate knowledge of Norwegian and Sami by completing all four parts of Norskprøven for voksne innvandrere by Kompetanse Norge at levels A2, B1 or B2. This includes the reading test, listening test, test in written presentation and oral examination. 

You also qualify if you passed both of Kompetanse Norge’s two subtests of the Norwegian test C1: lytteprøve og skriftlig fremstilling and leseprøve og muntlig kommunikasjon.

Passing the oral and written Norskprøve 2 or 3, Språkprøven i norsk for voksne innvandrere, or Språkprøven i norsk for fremmedspråklige voksne, with at least 220 points (these tests are no longer completed), also counts. 

Completing studies in Norwegian or Sami at university or college level in Norway or abroad corresponding to 30 credits, or meeting the admission requirement for studies in Norwegian or Sami at a university or college in Norway.