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What are my rights while I wait for my Norwegian residence permit to be extended?

Many foreigners in Norway need a residence permit to live and work in the country legally. But what are your rights when your residence expires while you wait for a new card to be issued?

Pictured is Ålesund in west Norway.
These are your key rights when your Norwegian residence permits expire and you wait for a new one. Pictured is Ålesund in Norway. Photo by Andrei Ionov on Unsplash

Most of those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will need a residence permit, whether for workers, students or family members, to be a legal resident in Norway. 

The length of residence will typically depend on one’s permit, and you will need to reapply for another residence card before your old one expires if you want to continue to live, work or study in Norway. 

However, some residence permits can expire before a new one is issued, leaving some confused about their rights while waiting to hear back about their latest application. 

So, what are the rules? The Local has spoken to the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) to find out what your rights are if your permit expires while waiting for a new one. 

READ ALSO: The most common reason Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected

Can I keep working in Norway while waiting for a new permit? 

Those with renewable residence permits can continue working (and studying as the same rules apply) while they wait for an answer to their application, even if their permit expires in the meantime. 

“If they (the resident) have a renewable residence permit and they register the application on time, they can work and stay in Norway as before until they receive an answer to the application. This applies even if their residence permit expires while they wait,” Per-Jan Brekke, a senior press adviser at the UDI, told The Local. 

What if my employer asks me to document my rights while my permit is expired? 

You can document to employers and the authorities that you have applied on time by using your application for your new permit and your expired residence card. 

“Your residence card shows the date your residence permit expires. The receipt reference number shows the time when the application was registered. The first four digits of the number show the year the application was registered. The next four digits show the date (YYYYMMDD). For example, receipt numbers beginning with 20200815 show that the application was registered on August 15th 2020,” The UDI writes on its website

Applicants can find their application in the portal

The UDI can also provide written confirmation, which cannot be used to confirm residence when travelling. 

What about my other rights? 

To keep your rights while you wait for a new permit to be issued, you must register an application for renewal or permanent residence online at least seven calendar days before your current permit expires. 

If you apply within this time frame, you will continue to have the same rights to live, work and study in Norway as before- even if you have not had your appointment with the police yet. 

More specifically, this means that you will still have the right to receive support from NAV and remain listed as a resident of Norway in the National Population Register (Folkeregister). 

You can read more about your rights while waiting for a new permit on the UDI’s website here

Can I leave Norway?

Technically, you can leave Norway, but you will have a tough time travelling and may be refused entry to Norway and other countries at the border. 

“Even if they have applied in time, they may have trouble travelling in and out of Norway while waiting for a new permit. This is because they don’t have a valid residence card. Without the residence card, they can be stopped in the border control in other countries. They may also have trouble getting into Norway again when they return,” Brekke told The Local. 

“If they are staying abroad when their residence permit expires, they risk not being allowed back into Norway,” Brekke added. 

Additionally, the UDI cannot provide travellers with written confirmation that they can use to travel while they wait for their new permit. 

“We can`t write confirmations that can be used for travel and which airlines and other countries’ authorities will accept. All travels without a residence card will therefore be at your own risk,” Brekke said. 

How long are waiting times? 

The UDI advises applying as early as possible due to long police waiting times. There isn’t a catch-all expected waiting time for applications, though. 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. 

 For information on renewing a temporary residence permit, click here

You can also find information on ordering a new permanent residence card here

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For members


What are the key benefits of Norway’s family immigration permit? 

When moving to Norway, you may need a residence permit to live and work there legally. Norway’s family immigration permit has several advantages that may make it a more attractive proposition than other types of residence. 

What are the key benefits of Norway’s family immigration permit? 

The majority of those from outside the European Economic Area will need a residence permit to live in Norway legally. However, if you are an EEA national, it’s relatively straightforward due to being able to live and work in Norway freely. The only paperwork that will be required is registering with the police

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for more than one permit. For example, when moving to be with a partner or family member, you may qualify for both a work permit and a family immigration residence card. 

In many cases, the family immigration permit may be best as it comes with several benefits that other types of residence may not. 

What is the family immigration permit? 

Spouses, cohabitants, fiancées, children, parents and other family members of residents in Norway may be eligible to apply for family immigration or family reunification permits from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

In other articles, we’ve covered the rules for family and partners in more depth. You can check those out below. 


Career freedom

When moving to Norway, many may find themselves in a position where they qualify for both a work permit and a family immigration permit, but they aren’t sure which one is best. 

When granted a family immigration permit, you have the right to live and work in Norway. And unlike a work permit, you may have more career freedom. This is because you will not need a job relevant to your qualifications. 

Additionally, those with temporary work permits need to reapply 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. Those with a family immigration permit aren’t required to reapply when switching jobs. 

This makes changing your job or career in Norway a lot more hassle-free than with a work permit.

Free language lessons

You may be entitled to free Norwegian language lessons when granted a family immigration permit in Norway. 

Those who are the family members of those with permanent residence, or the family member of a Norwegian or a citizen of another Nordic country (except those that have a residence permit as a family member on the grounds of the EEA freedom of movement regulations) can get up to 600 hours of language and social studies tuition based on their residence. 

Quicker road to citizenship 

Yes. As briefly outlined above, several factors can affect how long you must spend in Norway before becoming a citizen. 

For those that are a registered partner, cohabitant, or spouse of a Norwegian citizen, then the residence length is five out of the last ten years. 

One caveat is that your combined residence and marriage period will need to have been at least seven years. This means you will have to have already been married for at least a couple of years to be eligible for Norwegian citizenship after five years of residence. 

Those who aren’t married can include the time they have lived with their partner to the combined marriage and residence requirement. Furthermore, time spent living together or abroad can count towards the residence requirement.

READ ALSO: How long does it take to get Norwegian citizenship?