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How do Norway's new e-ID plans affect foreign residents?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
How do Norway's new e-ID plans affect foreign residents?
People living in Norway can usually choose between different electronic IDs to log on to online public services. Pictured is a BankID token. Photo by: The Local Norway

The Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has presented a new national strategy for the secure digital ID system e-ID. Here's how it could affect foreigners living in Norway.

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Norway is a highly digitalised society, and most interactions with state entities (such as health services, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, and the Tax Administration) and banks can be carried out online.

However, to access the aforementioned services, users must first prove their identity via an electronic ID (e-ID).

Different electronic IDs can be used to log on to online public services, including MinID, BankID, BankID app, BankID on mobile, Buypass ID, or Commfides.

However, if you don't have an e-ID, life in Norway can quickly become complicated.

New efforts aimed at those who can't get BankID

Generally speaking, foreigners living in Norway shouldn't – and usually don't – have problems getting an e-ID.

"International citizens in Norway can, for the most part, use an e-ID with a high level of security - BankID is the most widely used - or an e-ID with a substantial security level - MinID - which is publicly issued," State Secretary Gunn Karin Gjul at the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development told The Local.

No system is perfect, however, and some people always fall through the cracks, which means they encounter trouble getting an e-ID that meets their needs.

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This is something that the ministry says it is trying to address in its new e-ID strategy.

"For those who cannot be issued a BankID, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, together with the Norwegian Digitalisation Agency, will investigate whether there is a need for a new e-ID means.

"If a new e-ID means, or an existing e-ID means with expanded functionality, is proposed for further development, one of the most important aspects will be digital inclusion for groups of people that have issues acquiring or using an e-ID today. Another important measure in the strategy is investigating solutions for representing others digitally," Gjul said.

No new e-ID for public services - for now

At the moment, no new e-ID for accessing public services is being launched, but Norwegian authorities want to ensure that everyone who needs an e-ID with a high level of security can get one in the future.

"Currently, there is no new public e-ID. One of the measures in the new strategy is to investigate how we can ensure that everyone who needs it can obtain an e-ID with a high level of security.

"In the further process, it may therefore be an alternative to regulate the current e-IDs in a different way, or that a new e-ID is created under public authority, or by the market actors in cooperation with relevant public authorities," Gjul said.

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Action plan

When it comes to the timeline for preparing the new e-ID strategy and its potential implementation, the first step is expected to be an action plan.

"The Ministry is now working on an action plan, which is scheduled to be published in the second or third quarter of 2023. The action plan will further detail measures that will be prioritised and the public and private actors involved.

"This will be done in collaboration with the relevant parties. We will also take into account the proposed amendments to the e-IDAS regulation and the e-ID Wallet (EUID Wallet)," Gjul said.

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