Norwegian citizenship For Members

'It's not an easy journey': The challenges of getting Norwegian citizenship

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
'It's not an easy journey': The challenges of getting Norwegian citizenship
The Local's readers have shared their tips and experience of applying for Norwegian citizenship. Pictured is the Norwegian flag in the sunlight. Photo by Maryan Ivasyk on Unsplash

It’s a long road to Norwegian citizenship. Thankfully, The Local’s readers have shared their insights on what to expect from the process and their motivations for applying.


The number of people applying for Norwegian citizenship has increased sharply since Norway allowed dual citizenship in 2020, and application levels have remained high since.

The possibility of taking up Norwegian citizenship without having to relinquish one’s current nationality has led to a significant increase in the number of potential applicants wondering what the process is like.

Thankfully, some of Norway’s newer, or future, citizens recently took the time to fill out a survey that we ran on the process, so a huge thanks to those who participated.

When it came to the reasons for applying in the first place, the reasons were more varied than just the appeal of dual citizenship.

Lindsay, originally from the UK but who has lived in Norway for more than 14 years, said it was partially about restoring some rights lost due to Brexit.

“Following Brexit, I have lost my right to move/work across Europe. I feared that my job would move to Copenhagen, and I wanted to be prepared. I was tired of the long passport queue at Schiphol Airport and endless passport stamping as I travelled home to visit family in the UK,” she responded.

Eduardo, from Mexico, also wanted to secure more rights. In his case, he wanted more flexibility compared to permanent residence.

“To have more rights and be able to live in Norway regardless of the time I spend abroad. With PR (permanent residence), you lose it if you live abroad for more than two years. Citizenship will allow me to accept a job outside of Norway and come back after a few years without problems,” he said.

Others said they saw Norway as their long-term home and that becoming Norwegian felt natural after so many years in the country.


The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) got top marks from readers for making the requirements easy to understand.

“The requirements were clear and straightforward. I took language lessons to prepare me specifically for the exams, and I learned the citizenship information off by heart. Documenting my travels in the 14 years since I moved here took a bit more time to collate,” Lindsay wrote.

However, those applying should also be warned that the application can be pretty lengthy, and some found collecting all the paperwork to be quite challenging.

“I cannot say it has been an easy journey, but I am sure it will be worth it. The paperwork, requirements and hoop jumping feel endless at times. And the language and social studies requirements are frustrating,”  said Yvette, who lives in Bergen. 

She added that the social studies and language tests made sense from an integration point of view.

Plenty of others also pointed to the language requirements as one of the more challenging aspects of the application.

“Learning a new language while working full time. The waiting time is bad, but from what I understand, that’s now the norm worldwide,” a reader living in Asker said when asked about the most challenging aspect.


Applicants typically need to pass an oral Norwegian exam at the B1 level, ranked as 'intermediate' under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The Local has spoken to language schools about how long it can take to meet the language requirements with lessons.

Bearing in mind that everyone’s capacity to learn languages is different, the schools said that reaching the required level would take around four and a half months of lessons, or 48 classroom hours, on top of 150 hours of independent practice.

When it comes to waiting times, the median waiting time as of early 2024 was 404 days. However, the directorate’s website estimates waiting times of 24 months on average.

READ ALSO: How long does it take to get Norwegian citizenship in 2024?

The waiting times meant Lindsay lost her job when her employer moved her role out of the country and wasn’t prepared to wait for her application to come through.

“It took me 19 months to get to the top of the pile. I lost my job in the process, as I had feared, my role moved to Copenhagen and my company were not prepared to wait for my citizenship to come through, and I was not prepared to abandon my application,” she said.


The cost of applying was another hurdle mentioned frequently. The application costs 6,500 kroner at the time of writing – however, language courses, social studies and citizenship exams all add to the overall cost.

Thankfully, if the thought of applying suddenly has you feeling overwhelmed, applicants also shared their tips.

“Start learning Norwegian immediately,” Yvette said.

“Take your time and be patient. This isn’t going to happen overnight, and you need to put in the effort,” the reader from Asker responded.

One reader, who has lived in Bergen for 11 years but didn’t leave a name, said being as thorough as possible would help.

“Make sure you have the correct documentation, check and check again. Be organised, rather have more than what is needed and make multiple copies of everything you hand in,” they said.

Meanwhile, Lindsay said that she wished she had applied even sooner.

“Go for it. As a Brit, I believe it makes me more attractive for roles in Norway. I wish I had prepared and applied as soon as the dual citizenship permission was in place,” she said.


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