Money For Members

The key things you need to know about opening a bank account in Norway

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 18 Nov, 2022 Updated Fri 18 Nov 2022 17:16 CEST
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The essential steps in the process of opening a bank account in Norway are the same in all banks. Photo by Clay Banks / Unsplash

Having a functional Norwegian bank account makes life in the country much easier. Here are the most important things you need to know when it comes to opening such an account.

There is a host of banks that you can choose from when it comes to opening a bank account. Some of the more prominent ones are DNB, Nordea, Danske Bank, and SpareBank 1 – but you can find a host of other banks, too.

When choosing a bank, make sure to compare fees and application processing times between different banks. Also, don't forget to ask if they offer online banking services in English. Furthermore, take the time to compare the supplementary services that different banks offer, such as pension plans or investment options.

You can easily compare fees, prices, and interest rates of banks in Norway on Finansportalen, a publicly funded online comparison service.

The essential steps in the process of opening a bank account are the same – or highly similar – in all Norwegian banks. Note that the requirements differ for residents and non-residents of the country.

In this article, we'll cover the necessary steps for opening a bank account if you've just arrived in Norway.

Opening a bank account in Norway

First things first, if you want to set up a Norwegian bank account in person, you will have to book an appointment in a bank office. Most banks offer the option of opening accounts online.

However, in order to initiate the process online, you will need a "Bank ID," a personal electronic ID for secure identification and online signing, which banks issue after you show them proof of identity and D-Number or Norwegian National Identity Number.

Note that you need to set aside up to two weeks if you don't have a temporary identification number (the so-called "D-number," issued to people staying in Norway for less than six months), as it can take some time before you get it. While some banks offer the service of ordering a D-number for clients, others do not. Make sure to check whether the bank you chose offers the service.

On the other hand, if you plan to stay or work in Norway for more than six months, you can also apply for a Norwegian National Identity Number issued at the Tax Administration's offices.

Banks usually ask for the following documentation and information during the process of opening bank accounts for non-residents:

  • A D-number or a Norwegian National Identity Number
  • Proof of identity (usually a passport) and a passport-sized photo
  • An employment/work contract
  • A lease/rental contract
  • Additional information and documents based pm your individual circumstances.

Norway's largest bank, DNB, has a handy overview of requirements for people who have newly arrived in Norway. You can find it here.

Processing times

Remember that the entire process of opening a bank account in Norway as a non-resident becomes much faster if you have a Norwegian National Identity Number.

The process takes longer if you only have a D-number, as the bank needs to screen you and verify the information you provided.

Expect to wait around three or four weeks before your account is opened if you applied with a D-number.

In most cases, your contract with the bank, the debit card, and the PIN code generator will arrive at the Norwegian address you provided by mail.

How to speed up the process

As Oslo Municipality points out on its website, there are several preparatory steps you can do to speed up the process:

1. Prepare all the necessary documentation in advance. If necessary, call the bank and clarify all documentation-related issues before you start the official process of opening a bank account.

2. Reply to all bank prompts as swiftly as possible. Banks usually send several emails to clients and request confirmations and approvals during the process, so make sure you respond swiftly.

3. Follow up with the bank if the processing time seems unusually long. Mistakes happen. Follow up with the bank if you notice that things aren't progressing at a normal pace.

Note: Banks can refuse to open a bank account under several circumstances, including:

  • If you don't provide the bank with valid proof of identity or other necessary documentation.
  • If your explanation related to why you need a bank account is deemed inadequate.
  • If opening a bank account for you would break Norwegian laws or regulations.
  • If your behaviour during the application process is considered dishonest.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2022/11/18 17:16

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