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Have long waiting times for Norwegian residency permits improved? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Have long waiting times for Norwegian residency permits improved? 
Earlier this year, The Local reported on long waiting times for Norwegian residence. So have they improved since? Pictured is a Norwegian flag. Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

The Local reported on exceptionally long waiting times for Norwegian residence earlier this year, with some applicants left waiting up to 18 months to have their cases processed. Six months later, has the situation improved? 


Earlier this year, several foreign residents and applicants for residence in Norway contacted The Local with concerns over long waiting times. 

In some cases, applicants were left waiting more than 18 months for their application to be processed, while others said that their waiting time provided by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) increased month on month. 

The UDI told The Local that the long waiting times were due to Covid-19, pandemic border rules and the adoption of dual citizenship in 2020 creating a backlog.

In addition, a change in how applications were processed meant that some older applications were pushed to the back of the queue, with those from this year being prioritised

READ MORE: Why some Norwegian residence applications take so long to process


Karl Erik Sjøholt, director of the managed migration department at the UDI, told The Local that the pandemic was still affecting waiting times. 

"There are several reasons for how applications are processed now. The situation with the coronavirus made it difficult for UDI to process applications from EU citizens and their family members within six months. Further, we have received a larger number of applications in 2022 than expected, which is also believed to be a consequence of the pandemic," he explained.

So, how has the situation developed over the last six months?

The good news is that the figures indicate that waiting times have decreased significantly since The Local contacted the directorate over long waiting times. 

At the end of March, the median waiting time for a family immigration permit to join a partner, spouse or family member was 174 days. In the six months since, the median waiting time has decreased by 30 days to 144. 

However, as this is a median, some cases will take significantly longer, while others will be processed much quicker. The difference in time will typically depend on the circumstances surrounding the application. 

Work permits saw a significant decrease in waiting times, falling from 99 to 50 days to process an application between the end of March and September. Visas to study in Norway saw the most considerable change in waiting times. As of September, the median waiting time for a study residence permit dropped by over half to 64 days. 


Still a significant backlog from 2021

It wasn’t all good news, however. The figures provided to The Local show that there were still just under 3,000 applications from 2021 that were yet to be processed. This means that thousands of applicants still face exceptionally long waiting times similar to the ones The Local reported on in April. 

The overwhelming majority of those still waiting a decision for an application submitted in 2021 were for family immigration permits. As of September 30th, some 2,707 applications for a family immigration permit were still waiting to be processed. The number of cases from 2021 waiting to be processed makes up a significant proportion of the 6,469 family immigration applications still awaiting a decision at the end of September. 

In total, over 10,000 applications had yet to receive a decision at the end of September. 


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