Immigration For Members

How long can you leave Norway for without losing permanent residency?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How long can you leave Norway for without losing permanent residency?
Here's how long you can spend outside of Norway without losing residence. Pictured is a view top of Bergen. Photo by Matthew Whall on Unsplash

While permanent residency allows you to live and work in Norway indefinitely, you risk losing this right if you spend too long outside the country.


If you have lived in Norway long enough and meet the relevant language requirements, you can choose to apply for permanent residence rather than temporary residence. 

As the name suggests, one of the main benefits of this is to be able to live and work in Norway for as long as you wish. In addition, for some temporary residence holders, a permanent card will allow greater career freedom. 

However, while the name indicates strengthened residence rights, a permanent residence permit can be revoked- meaning you will need to go back to a more conditional temporary residence card. 

When this happens, your residence period resets- meaning you’ll have to wait years before applying to be a permanent resident again. 

In extreme scenarios, you may even need to leave Norway. 


One case in which you could lose permanent residence is if you spend too long outside of Norway. 

With Norwegian permanent residence, there are several rules regarding how long you can spend outside of Norway. 

First up, you are prohibited from staying outside the country for a continuous period of two years or more. If you do, you will be notified that your permanent residence is being revoked. 

You can also not spend a total of two out of four years outside Norway. Trips under two months per calendar year do not contribute to this total, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) rules. 

Additionally, the time you can spend outside of the country resets after you have spent a continuous period of 15 months inside Norway. 

There are some exceptions to this, for example, if you were in an abusive relationship and could not return to Norway within two years. 

Those with spouse, partner or cohabitant visas are also allowed to stay more than two years abroad, according to the UDI’s guidelines. 

If you think you may be planning on staying outside of Norway for more than two years, then you can apply to the UDI to keep your permanent right of residence. You can read more about the conditions for applying to keep permanent residence while living abroad here

The deadline for applying is six months before the two-year deadline. If you apply before this deadline, you will still have two weeks to return to Norway to preserve your rights after the application was rejected, even if you have spent two years outside Norway. 



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