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EXPLAINED: The language requirements for permanent residency in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The language requirements for permanent residency in Norway
These are the language requirements for permanent residence in Norway. Pictured is a boat at sea. Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash

Permanent residency comes with the benefit of being allowed to stay in Norway indefinitely and can act as a stepping stone towards citizenship. However, your application may be subject to language requirements.

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In Norway, residence can typically be either temporary or permanent. Permanent residency is obtained after living in the country for longer and meeting other requirements, such as language skills (more on that later). 

As the name would suggest, permanent residency allows one to live in Norway indefinitely. This means no more application fees or applying for residence permits, although you will need to renew your card every two years. 

It comes with other benefits, such as greater career freedom for those living in Norway on a work permit, as they can work in jobs and roles that don't directly require their expertise as a skilled worker. 

Holding permanent residence, or at least being eligible for it, is also a requirement when applying for Norwegian citizenship, making obtaining a permanent residence card a stepping stone to citizenship in the future. 

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However, permanent residence is subject to several conditions. One of those is a language skills requirement that will depend on one's own situation. 

As the rules can differ depending on one's own personal situation, it may be worth checking out the web portal of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to check what applies to you. 

For example, EU/EEA nationals registered as living in Norway are not subject to any language requirements. Likewise, non-EEA nationals with residence cards to live with EEA nationals registered in Norway also face no requirements. 

Generally, everyone else will need to have completed tuition and tests in Norwegian to qualify for permanent residence. 

Those with skilled worker permits, aged between 16-54, who were granted their first residence permit after January 2016, will need to have either completed Norwegian language tuition of 250 hours or more, received an assessment grade at lower or upper secondary school level, or passed Norwegian level A2 at oral, listening, reading and written presentation. In addition, you will also need to pass the final "social studies test" in Norwegian or complete 50 hours of tuition in social studies

Passing the language test at A2 and above, and passing the social studies test in Norwegian both remove the requirement to have completed the minimum study hours. 

Those who move to Norway on a family immigration permit are typically required to have completed more than 550 hours in Norwegian language classes, been awarded an assessment grade from a secondary school, or passed at A2 level in Norwegian across four areas, and meet the social studies requirements if the reference person (the person they moved to be with) is a Norwegian citizen, permanent residence or hold a family immigration permit themselves. 

Meanwhile, the family members of work permit holders are only required to undertake 250 hours or pass Norwegian language exams at A2 level and pass the social studies exam. 

Those between 55-66 will either be fully exempt from language requirements or have to pass Norwegian A2. Those over 67 are entirely exempt. 

You can check the rules that apply to those granted residence between 2015 and 2005 here.

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