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Digital nomads: Who can work remotely in Norway?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 28 Nov, 2022 Updated Mon 28 Nov 2022 15:14 CEST
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The Local has compiled a guide to address some of the main concerns of all would-be digital nomads that dream of moving to the North. Photo by Michael Fousert / Unsplash

The digital nomad lifestyle is taking off in a number of countries in Europe. If you're considering moving to Norway as a foreigner with the intention of carrying out remote work and you want to find out more about the relevant rules – we've got you covered.

More and more people are embracing the perks of a digital nomad lifestyle. By leveraging modern technology, digital nomads are able to travel and work remotely, enjoying liberties that were far-fetched for the workforce of the 20th century.

While such a lifestyle can sound attractive, some countries have regulations that make life quite hard for digital nomads.

What are the key aspects of the regulatory framework for remote work in Norway? Is it a good destination for international digital nomads?

The Local has compiled a guide to address some of the main concerns of all would-be digital nomads that dream of moving to the North.

Strict requirements for remote work

Unfortunately, Norway is not exactly a "digital nomad-friendly" country when it comes to the immigration and labour rules that govern remote work.

As the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) points out on its webpage, all those planning to work remotely in Norway need to have a residence permit that gives them the right to carry out such work in the country.

As the UDI notes, with the exception of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens, all international citizens working in Norway must have a residence permit in order to have the right to (remote) work in Norway.

In a clarification published in June of 2022, the UDI pointed out that "working for a Norwegian or foreign employer off-site (e.g., from a hotel, a home, or similar)" is "considered remote work," adding that this also applies to the self-employed in Norway or abroad.

That means that foreign nationals cannot work for their employer in their home country while in Norway on a visit or holiday, regardless of whether they're in the country on a visa-free stay or if they have a visitor visa.

As the Norwegian immigration authorities point out, foreign nationals can only work remotely in Norway if they have a residence permit that gives them the right to do so.

There are several different types of residence permits that provide workers with the necessary rights to carry out remote work, such as a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for work where remote work is part of your job, and a residence permit for family immigration.

Best options for digital nomads interested in Norway

Both EU and EEA citizens have the right to visit and work in Norway, and they also have the option of registering as self-employed persons in the country.

In practice, this leads to some EU and EEA citizens spending short periods of time (a few weeks or months) working for foreign employers while staying in Norway without encountering any significant issues – even without the necessary permits.

However, if you stay in Norway for longer periods of time, note that such "grey area" arrangements can lead to issues related to the payment of taxes and tax residency.

So, if you're an EU/EEA citizen looking to stay in Norway for more than just a month or two, try to get your residency permit in place as fast as possible.

If you're not an EU citizen, digital nomad sites often recommend Norway's independent contractor visa as the closest thing the country has to a digital nomad visa.

But what is it, who can get it, and how can you get it?

Norway's independent contractor visa

Norway's independent contractor visa is intended for non-EU citizens, and while it's not officially a visa for digital nomads, they tend to recommend it as it allows self-employed professionals who want to stay in Norway for a longer period of time.

The independent contractor visa is a residence permit issued to eligible remote workers, giving them the right to work remotely in Norway for two years. The idea behind this visa was to attract international professionals to move to Norway.

Digital nomads looking to take advantage of this opportunity need to meet multiple requirements, with the most tricky one being that they need to have at least one corporate client based in Norway to be able to apply.

Norway also has a digital nomad visa program aimed at professionals who want to relocate to Svalbard, a rugged archipelago between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole.

As legal experts at LawyersNorway.eu point out, if you successfully establish yourself there, you will be able to move to other parts of Norway later on.

So, if moving to Svalbard isn't a deal-breaker for you, then this just might be the right gateway to relocating to Norway.

How to apply for the independent contractor visa

In order to qualify for the Norwegian independent contractor visa, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

1. At least one Norwegian client: You will need at least one Norwegian corporate client to be eligible for this type of visa. Expect the authorities to require a contract with the client as proof.

2. A valid passport and an address in Norway: First off, you need to have a valid passport. You also need to have your accommodation in Norway taken care of, as you'll be asked to provide an address. You'll likely need to provide a tenancy contract as proof.

3. Proof of self-employment and proof of income: You will be asked to provide proof of business establishment and activity outside of Norway, and the authorities will also verify whether your income allows you to move to and live in Norway.

Note that the minimum annual income you'll need is around 370,000 kroner, and you'll be required to provide bank slips and/or statements to prove you earn that income each year.

To get more information on the various residence permits and work rights in Norway, consult the UDI's website.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2022/11/28 15:14

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