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What are the rules for getting permanent residency as a Brit in Norway?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
What are the rules for getting permanent residency as a Brit in Norway?
The website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration informs British people living in Norway that the deadline for applying for post-Brexit residency has passed. Photo: Richard Orange

Brits living in Norway before the end of 2020 were given temporary residency under the Brexit regulations. But what rules apply if they now want to extend this to permanent residency?


What status do Britons have under the withdrawal agreement? 

UK citizens living in Norway before the end of 2020 who applied to stay under the Brexit regulations before the deadline of December 31st 2021, were given temporary residency if they had lived in Norway for less than five years.

The Brexit permit they received then gave them the right to live and work in Norway for five years, the idea that this would be long enough for everyone to be able to qualify for permanent residency.  

Those who had already lived in Norway for more than five years, and so had "permanent right of residence" under EU/EEA regulations, were asked to apply for, and usually given, a permanent residence permit on their first application. 

So, what rules are UK citizens' applications for permanent residency handled under? 

Many who received temporary residency under the Brexit agreement will now be eligible to apply for permanent residence, but knowing which rules apply to these applications can be complicated. 

"As a main rule, they must fulfil the requirements pursuant to the EEA-regulations, which means that they can obtain a permanent residence permit after five years," a spokesperson for the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration told The Local. 


"However, if they meet the requirements pursuant to the Norwegian Immigration Act section 62, they may apply for a permanent residence already after three years." 

Here are the main requirements under each set of rules: 

Eligible after five years under EEA rules 

To qualify, UK citizens need to have had a right of residence throughout the five-year period, meaning they must have been either employed, self-employed, a student, lived here with sufficient funds, or been in Norway as a family member of someone who meets one of these criteria.

Under the EU's Freedom of Movement directive -- which also applies to EEA countries like Norway -- applicants can leave their country of residence for up to six months in each year without losing their residency status.  


Eligible after three years under non-EEA rules

UK citizens living in Norway under the withdrawal agreement can, however, apply for permanent residency after only three years if they meet the slightly tougher requirements for non-EEA citizens outlined in the Norwegian Immigration Act, Section 62

These include: 

  • Language and social studies testsThe UK citizen needs to have completed the mandatory tuition in Norwegian language and social studies, and also pass the language and social studies tests. However, those who are registered under the EEA rules will not have been registered for mandatory training. Instead those who can document that they have passed the Norwegian language test: oral, listening, reading and written presentation, at minimum A2 level are exempt from the mandatory tuition in the Norwegian language. The same rule applies to those who have passed the social studies test in Norwegian. 
  • Stricter on stays outside Norway. UK citizens can only have spent a maximum of seven months outside of Norway over the entire three-year period (compared to six months each year under EEA rules).  
  • Tougher income requirement. UK citizens must have had an income of at least 296,550 kroner in the 12 months before applying for permanent residency. This can include pensions, sickness benefits and unemployment benefits. Those who have earned less than this can still be eligible if they have held a full-time job paying at least the Norwegian legal minimum wage for the last 12 months. Applicants must submit a document stating that they have not received assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). 
  • No convictions or compulsory psychiatric treatment. The applicant cannot have been convicted of a criminal offence or been ordered to undergo enforced psychiatric treatment or care.

READ MORE: The language requirements for permanent residency in Norway



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