Work permits For Members

EXPLAINED: The rules for moving to Norway for work

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The rules for moving to Norway for work
The rules for moving to Norway as an EEA national and a non-EEA national are quite different. Pictured is a bridge into the barcode district of Oslo. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Known for its high wages, Norway attracts thousands of foreign workers each year. The rules for moving to the country can differ depending on which part of the world you come from. 


Around 27,000 people were granted a work permit to move to Norway or registered as moving for employment under the EEA regulations last year

Of those, 16,970 moved under the EEA regulations, and 10,698 were granted work permits. However, the figures aren't clear about how many of those were granted work permits for the first time and how many were for foreign nationals renewing. 

When it comes to moving to Norway for work, there are two separate categories one can fall under. Moving to Norway under the EEA regulations applies to, as the name suggests, EEA nationals. 

Meanwhile, non-EEA nationals can also move to work but need to do so under stricter regulations and will typically require a work permit. 

READ ALSO: Is Norway's immigration process easier for EEA nationals?

Moving to Norway for work as an EEA national 

As mentioned before, citizens who are EEA nationals can move to Norway for work under slightly more lenient rules than those from other countries. 

Both employed and self-employed workers can move to Norway under the EEA regulations, as can job seekers. 

Employees working for a Norwegian company who will live in Norway for more than three months must register with the police. To register as an EEA national, you will need to have a job. You can change jobs and have more than one job. You can also bring your family to Norway, and they can register under the EEA regulations. 

Nationals covered by the regulations can move to Norway and start work straight away, but need to register within three months of moving. They only need to register once. Registration is free, and police will issue a registration certificate. 


If you lose your job, you can remain in Norway while you look for another one, either for six months or indefinitely – depending on how long you have been in Norway. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has a full overview of the rules on its website. 

Those who are self-employed must plan to engage in long-term business activities in Norway, and the business must be a sole proprietorship. The UDI has more in-depth guidelines available on its website

The directorate also has an overview of the rules for posted workers and job seekers

Work permits for non-EEA residents

The most common method for most non-EEA nationals to be cleared for work in Norway is the skilled worker permit. Applicants are required to pay a fee. There are also education requirements which must be met. 

Applicants will need to have completed a vocational training program for at least three years at the equivalent of Norway's upper secondary school level. There must also be a corresponding program in Norway. 

Alternatively, they will need to have a degree or special qualifications and skills acquired through long-professional experience. In cases where applicants are relying on skills acquired, it can take a lot to have an application approved. 


You will also need a concrete job offer from an employer in Norway. The job offer must be full-time or 80 percent of a full-time position. The job will also need to make use of your qualifications as a skilled worker. The pay and working conditions must also align with the norm in Norway. Your family will be able to move to Norway with you. 

Those with job offers generally won't be allowed to start work until the permit is granted. Furthermore, you may also need to reapply for a work permit when switching jobs.

Should you lose your job, you will be required to inform the police. Norway's immigration directorate has more detailed information on moving to Norway with a skilled worker permit. More info on coming to Norway as a job seeker or seasonal worker can be found on the directorate's website.  

Other ways to move to Norway for work and other things to consider

When moving to Norway for work, there are other considerations, such as obtaining an identity number so you can be registered in public systems and a Norwegian bank account to have your salary paid into. These will be just as essential as the clearance to work. 


There are also other ways people can move to Norway for work. Family immigration permits allow holders to work and don't have the same strict qualifications requirements as a work permit – allowing for more flexibility. However, the rules for family immigration come with several strict guidelines for both the person moving to Norway and the person they are moving to be with. 

Typically, family immigration only applies to spouses, cohabitants and children under 18 or the parents of kids under 18. 

Also, the non-EEA family members of EEA nationals can come to Norway under the EEA guidelines. These guidelines only apply to spouses and cohabitants. Those who aren't married will need to have lived together for at least two years. 


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