How long does it take to meet Norway’s new language requirements for citizenship?
Norway will soon up its language requirement for Norwegian citizenship from A2 to B1. But how long does it actually take to reach the B1? Here’s what the experts say.
The language requirements for Norwegian citizenship will become stricter from October 1st. The required level will be raised from A2 to B1, in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Rules for applying for citizenship differ based on individual circumstances – including nationality, length of stay in Norway, marital status, and others – and a similar principle will be put in place for the new language requirement: citizenship applicants who aren’t able to reach the B1 level due to personal circumstances or health reasons will be exempt from the requirements.
With the new update entering into force soon, a lot of people eying Norwegian citizenship have started to contact language courses and schools to inquire about the specifics of the B1 level.
So, what is B1 level, and how good do your language skills need to be to reach that level?
B1 level language competencies
According to the official CEFR guidelines, a speaker at the B1 level should be able to interact with Norwegian speakers on familiar topics.
In the workplace, B1 level speakers should be able to read simple reports on familiar topics and write simple e-mails on subjects in their field.
However, a B1 level would not be sufficient to function fully in the workplace in Norwegian.
Officially, the following competencies apply to B1 level language speakers:
- Listening (B1): Speakers can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, and other areas of life. They can understand the main point of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.
- Reading (B1): Speakers can understand texts that consist mainly of high-frequency everyday or job-related language. They can understand the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters.
- Spoken interaction (B1): Speakers can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. They can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar, of personal interest, or pertinent to everyday life.
- Spoken production (B1): Speakers can connect phrases in a simple way to describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes, and ambitions. They can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. They can also narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe my reactions.
- Writing (B1): Speakers can write simple connected text on topics they find familiar or of personal interest. They can write personal letters describing experiences and impressions.
How long does it take to reach the B1 level?
There is no one-fits-all answer to the question of how long it actually takes to reach the B1 level – it depends on individual circumstances and factors.
“When it comes to courses, on average, you can reach the B1 level in about 18 weeks, that is, four or four and a half months. But of course, it depends on a lot of factors – if the person in question took language courses before, their length of stay in Norway, whether they use Norwegian actively, or whether they only use it during courses. All of these factors affect the necessary time to master the B1 level,” Nicoleta Stratan, the general manager at the Speak Norsk language school, told The Local in a phone call.
“Someone who has a job where they speak Norwegian or who is in an environment where people use Norwegian is, of course, ahead of the game, so to say. They will likely be able to speak more fluently. But, on average, expect to spend six weeks mastering each level – A1, A2, and B1,” Stratan added.
Stig Roar Olsen, a business adviser at Folkeunivestitetet, a course provider of separate language courses, also shared the average times of mastering the different proficiency levels.
“For A1, around 48 hours. For A2, twice as much, so 96. After you complete the A level (A1 + A2), you’re then ready to take on the B level (B1 + B2).
“Our recommendation is to practice three times the amount of the separate course time. For example, if a course entails 48 hours, we would recommend 150 hours of practice on top of the course, in different settings and situations, with different people,” Olsen told The Local.
How much does it cost to get to B1 level?
The prices of courses leading up to and including the B1 level depend on the course provider and language school. Different providers offer different prices based on the dynamics (fast-track or regular), duration (per month, set periods, etc.), and format of the course (classroom or online).
- At Speak Norsk, levels are divided into two parts (e.g., A1.1 and A1.2), and each part is priced at NOK 3,500, according to Stratan.
- At Lingu, for example, 3-month long fast-track classroom courses for the official Norwegian language test, Norskprøven, are billed at NOK 9,980 per level. That means that three levels (A1, A2, and B1) would cost students NOK 29,940. On the other hand, fast-track online courses at the A1, A2, and B1 levels are billed from NOK 2,490 per month. More information about Lingu’s course offer can be found here.
- At Folkeuniversitet, some courses are billed at NOK 6,230 per level.