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Norway Explained For Members

Are the children of foreigners in Norway subject to compulsory military service?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected] • 14 Mar, 2023 Updated Tue 14 Mar 2023 14:21 CEST
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As per Norway's Conscription and Service in the Armed Forces Act, the key factor that decides the service obligation is the citizenship of the person in question. Photo by Diego González on Unsplash

Norway is one of several countries in Europe that has compulsory military service in peacetime conditions. However, does that apply to children in Norway with foreign parents?

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If you moved to Norway from another country and you plan to start a family here, you'll likely be interested in whether your children will have to carry out military service.

After all, Norway has compulsory military service ingrained in its Constitution, which states:

"As a general rule, every subject of the State is equally bound to serve in defence of their country for a specific period of time..."

Generally speaking, you become subject to conscription during the year you reach 19 years of age, and service includes a period of initial service, refresher training, and possible additional service in peacetime.

But do these rules and obligations apply to children in Norway with one or two parents who are foreigners?

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Foreign nationals in Norway and military service obligations

As per Norway's Conscription and Service in the Armed Forces Act, the key factor that decides the service obligation is the citizenship of the person in question.

You'll be subject to conscription if you're a Norwegian citizen and fit for service in the Armed Forces from the year you turn 19.

The requirement applies to both men and women (although women born before January 1st, 1997, are excluded from conscription). If your child has one Norwegian parent and was born in the country, they are likely a Norwegian citizen already. 

Every 19-year-old individual, regardless of gender, must attend a muster at a military facility. Out of the entire group, each year, approximately one-sixth are selected to serve in the military without compensation for a period ranging from one year to 19 months. Generally, those without an interest in military service won't be asked to serve. However, if they do receive a call up, this will be mandatory. 

Norwegian citizens who are also citizens of another country are subject to conscription in Norway as long as they are resident here and as long as there is no agreement in place with the other government that prevent such service.

Furthermore, Norwegian citizens who are also – or have been – citizens of a country with which Norway is at war are exempt from service in the Armed Forces.

Foreign nationals who reside in Norway and have a permanent connection to Norway may be required to carry out military service if no agreement with the country of which they are citizens prevents this.

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Therefore the children of foreigners in Norway who have not taken up citizenship are less likely to get called up. 

Some exemptions

However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Foreign nationals are exempt from service in the Armed Forces when Norway is at war with the country of which they are citizens.

Also, as the relevant regulation states, conscription does not apply to ordained priests in the Church of Norway and priests and religious officials in registered spiritual and religious communities who have not served in the Armed Forces.

Furthermore, the King of Norway can issue regulations on conditions for and exemptions from conscription.

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Conclusion

So, will your children be subject to conscription in Norway if you're a foreign national?

The most likely answer is – yes, they will if they're a Norwegian citizen residing in this country. 

As the Norwegian Armed Forces point out on their website, Norway has vast land areas and a long coastline, and, therefore, conscripts are considered an essential part of the country's defence.

If you have any questions about military service, you can contact the Norwegian Armed Forces directly.

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Robin-Ivan Capar 2023/03/14 14:21

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