Immigration For Members

How will a breakup affect your Norwegian family immigration residence rights?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
How will a breakup affect your Norwegian family immigration residence rights?
Here's what happens to your residence rights if you and your partner separate. Pictured is a Norwegian flag. Photo by Herbert Grambihler on Unsplash

One of the most common residence permit types is the Norwegian family immigration permit, which allows non-EEA nationals the right to move to Norway to be with a spouse or partner. But what happens to your residence rights if you separate?


To legally live and work in Norway, those from outside the EEA will typically need a Norwegian residence permit. These are granted by Norway’s immigration authority, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), for several reasons. 

These range from working in Norway to studying or moving to the country to be with a family member or a partner. To be granted a family immigration permit to move to the country to be with a partner, several conditions will need to be met, such as the age requirements, needing to have been in a relationship for a set amount of time and payment of an application fee. 

READ MORE: What are the rules for moving to Norway to be with a partner?

Over 11,486 applicants were granted a first-time permit for family immigration last year, meaning they are either coming to Norway to reunite with a partner, spouse, or close family member. 


However, with the permit being granted on the condition that you are moving to Norway to be with the person you are in a relationship with, what happens if your marriage breaks down or you and your partner separate? 

Will you lose your residence rights and have to leave Norway? The answer, according to the UDI, will depend on your situation. 

“When a person with a family immigration permit with a spouse/cohabitant/registered partner separates, they do not lose the right to stay in Norway immediately but must inform the UDI about the change in status as soon as possible. They will have the right to stay in Norway until UDI has made a decision of revocation,” a spokesperson for the UDI informed The Local. 

This means that when you report the separation to immigration services, the UDI will look into your case on an individual basis and decide whether you will be able to stay in Norway. 

The person in question will also be able to stay in the country provided they meet the conditions for a different type of permit. This can be for, say, work or education. Sometimes, this may be easier said than done, as work permits are not granted for any job. 

Typically, they are granted to skilled workers for a role that requires education or training that makes them qualified for that specific role. You can read more about the specifics of a work permit here. 

Another family immigration permit is another option for those with a child in Norway. Then they will need to renew their family immigration permit for one that sees the applicant live in Norway to be with a child. 

This applies to those with a child in Norway who either have custody for or partial custody with visitation rights. You can read more about applying to be with a child in Norway here

If you do not meet the requirements for other permits, then the UDI will assess whether you are eligible for a work permit on other grounds, such as having a solid connection to Norway, or if there are humanitarian considerations in you are case or you are a national protected against deportation to your home country. 


Typically, the UDI does not renew the permits of those who have divorced or separated from their partners, so this route only seems possible in exceptional circumstances. 

Those at risk of losing their permit are notified about the review and if their residence rights are being revoked. Should the UDI decide that your residence rights are being withdrawn, the UDI will invite the person in question to write a reply and explain their view of the case, and whether there is anything the UDI hasn’t considered. 

Legal assistance is provided to write the reply, and fees are covered by the state, regardless of whether the decision is overturned or not. 

If a permit is revoked, the decision can also be appealed, and the person in question will have access to legal assistance. Should the appeal fail, then you may be issued a deadline to leave Norway. You can read more about the revocation of a residence permit here


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