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Norwegian citizenship For Members

EXPLAINED: Norway’s new language requirements for citizenship

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 1 Oct, 2022 Updated Sat 1 Oct 2022 09:58 CEST
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Here is what you need to know about the changes to the language requirements for Norwegian citizenship. Pictured is a Norwegian flag in Lofoten. Photo by Herbert Grambihler on Unsplash

Norway will tighten the rules for becoming a citizen soon by introducing stricter language requirements for citizenship applications. The Local explains what the new conditions mean for you. 

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Whether it’s being able to stay in Norway indefinitely, having the same rights as a citizen, or gaining the right to freedom of movement by becoming an EEA national, there are plenty of perks to taking up Norwegian citizenship. 

However, the road to becoming a Norwegian citizen is a long one, with language requirements and needing to be a resident of Norway for a set amount of time among the rules for becoming a Norwegian national. 

The requirements for becoming a Norwegian citizen will become even tighter from October 1st, when the language rules will become even stricter. 

When do the language requirements change? 

Citizenship applications will require the proficiency for spoken Norwegian to be B1 level for applications submitted after October 1st, the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) writes on its website. 

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“The Storting (Norway’s parliament) has decided to raise the requirements for proficiency in spoken Norwegian to level B1. At the same time, applicants will no longer be required to complete a Norwegian language training programme,” the UDI writes on its website. 

New language requirements apply to applications submitted after October 1st. An application is considered fully submitted after the documents as part of the application are handed to the police.

For those that register their application and submit it via the online application portal before September 24th but are unable to hand in their documents to the police before October 1st, the UDI will count their application as handed in before the new rules take effect- meaning they are required to pass the language test at A2. 

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

What do the new language requirements mean? 

B1 oral Norwegian is considered intermediate, while A2 refers to an elementary level of Norwegian when using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for grading language proficiency.

This means that you will need to pass a Norwegian language test at a higher level than before, with the test results being submitted from an approved centre as part of the application. 

Additionally, applicants will no longer be required to document Norwegian language training. Under current rules, applicants must demonstrate that they have attended Norwegian lessons or have an “adequate understanding of Norwegian”- i.e. passing language exams at A2, B1 and B2 levels. 

However, the requirement to pass the Norwegian citizenship or social studies test in Norwegian will remain. 

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What are the new rules? 

From October 1st, the new language requirements for citizenship are: 

  • You must have passed an oral test in Norwegian at level B1 at the minimum.
  • Or you must have passed an oral test in Norwegian at level A2 at the minimum if you are a stateless person, over 55 years of age and came to Norway based on an application for protection or as a resettled refugee, or over 55 years of age and receive disability benefits.
  • You must have passed the citizenship test or the Norwegian social studies test in Norwegian.

However, from October 1st, there will also be several exceptions to the new language rules. Among the exceptions are if you have received a Norwegian assessment from a Norwegian high school, have met the Norwegian or Sami requirements at university, or have met the requirements to study Norwegian or Sami at university or college level.  

Additionally, passing both the oral and written tests of the Norwegian as a second language exam (Bergenstesten) count will leave you exempt. You can get a full overview of the exemptions here

For a full overview of the citizenship rules which apply to you, click here

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Frazer Norwell 2022/10/01 09:58

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