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Visas & Work Permits in Norway

The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

Norway visa types include skilled worker permits (this includes self-employed people seeking a visa too), student visas, family reunification visas, and many more. For example, those who successfully obtain a work permit visa will be allowed to bring their spouse, children, and cohabitants over to Norway with them via the family visa route. Family members should apply for their visa at the same time as the worker in order to receive answers on their permits together. Keep in mind that to eventually apply for a permanent resident permit in Norway as a non-EU/EEA person, you will need to have had a temporary residence permit first for a continuous three years.

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To apply for Norwegian visa for work, you will need a residence permit. The Norway visa application and process begins online on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website. Requirements for a Norway visa vary depending on the visa you are applying for. Skilled workers will need a job, and if you are self-employed, you and your business will need to meet certain income criteria. Norway visa fees for skilled workers and self-employed people cost 5,400 NOK (589 USD).

It is important to keep in mind that you need to apply for the correct visa in order to live and work in Norway legally. Unlike most European countries, Norway does not participate in the EU Blue Card scheme (inspired by the US green card).

Work Permits and Employment-Based Visas

Whether you need a work permit and employment visa for Norway depends on where you are coming from, and even the length of time you plan on working in the country. If you are coming from the EU/EEA or from one of the Nordic countries, you do not need a permit to work in Norway. For those coming from elsewhere, you will require a residence permit that allows to you work in the country. The Norway work permit visa application form can be found online on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website. The most common visa for professional expats moving to Norway is the skilled worker visa. Once your visa application has been submitted, it usually takes about one month for a response.

It is crucial you work only once you have the right residence permit. Otherwise, without it, you may be subject to imprisonment and/or fines. Be aware that, unlike most other European countries, Norway is not part of the EU Blue Card scheme.

Other visas, rules, and exceptions exist for artists, performers, musicians, seafarers, and diplomats. If you are a diplomat or NATO personnel, you and your family do not require a residence permit.

If you are a seafarer working for a Norwegian ship sailing between Norway and a foreign port, you do not need a residence permit to work in Norway. You will require one only if you are sailing in between Norwegian ports (this makes you eligible for the residence permit for skilled workers, as well as the seasonal work permit and the residence permit for unskilled Russian workers).

If you are an artist, musician, or performer, you and your support staff do not need a residence permit and can work in the country for a maximum of two weeks during a calendar year. You may need a visitor’s visa, however, and you must notify the police in writing before entering the country.

Rules for employers vary depending on whether they are hiring a foreigner from outside of the EU/EEA or within.

If you are a non-EU/EEA resident working in the country for less than three months, there are exceptions for the following occupations:

  • researchers and lecturers;
  • some employees of international companies;
  • some technical experts;
  • some commercial and business travelers;
  • some medical practitioners;
  • some religious preachers;
  • some professional athletes along with their accompanying support network;
  • some journalists, photographers, and employees of foreign media institutions;
  • personnel on aircrafts in international traffic;
  • staff on foreign trains, busses, or trucks in international traffic;
  • necessary security and maintenance crew on foreign-owned ships laid up in Norway;
  • tour guides accompanying foreign travel companies.

EU/EEA Nationals

EU/EEA citizens are entitled to move, work, and start their job right away in Norway. They must, however, register with the police no later than three months after moving to the Nordic country. This will not cost anything. These citizens must bring their employment contract and employment certificate (provided by the employer). Swedish, Danish, Finnish, and Icelandic citizens do not need to register with the police, but they must report their move to the National Registry.

If an EU/EEA citizen moves to the country without a job, they must register in the country as a job seeker. They will have six months to look for employment. If they do not find one within this time frame, they must leave the country. However, they will still have the right to move back and begin the process again shortly afterward.

Non-EU/EEA Nationals

An employer will need to provide an official offer of employment in order for the foreign, non-EU/EEA nationals to apply for their residence permit for work. Employers are also allowed to apply for this on behalf of the worker provided they are given written consent. Employees may not begin working without their residence permit. This permit is renewable and it is advisable that workers who are still working in Norway renew one to three months before their permit is set to expire. To learn more about the process for non-EU/EEA nationals, read below.

Norway Work Visa Requirements

To receive your skilled worker permit, there are specific requirements related to your education, employment situation, and other special requirements that you must meet.

Education Requirements and Qualifications

You must have at least one of the following education qualifications:

  • completed vocational training program of at least three years at upper secondary school level
  • completed education or degree from a university / university college
  • special qualifications that you have obtained through long work experience
Employment Requirements
  • must have a concrete job offer from a Norwegian employer
  • job must be full-time
  • position must require qualifications as a skilled worker and you must meet these qualifications
  • pay and working conditions must not be poorer than what is normal in Norway
Other Requirements and Documents
  • valid passport
  • completed visa application form
  • two recent passport photos
  • details of your CV and qualifications
  • proof of your job offer and salary
  • proof of accommodation in Norway
  • license if your job is a regulated profession and requires authorization or recognition
  • pay Norway’s visa cost which is 5,400 NOK (589 USD)

All your documents need to be presented in either English or Norwegian. Otherwise, they will need to be officially translated and certified. InterNations GO!’s Settling-In Services can arrange the professional services of translators.

Family Visa

Skilled workers are allowed to bring their immediate family members along with them, as long as they can support them. This includes spouses, children (including foster), parents, full siblings, and fiancés. To bring your spouse to the country, you need to earn 306,700 NOK (33,653 USD).

The easiest way to bring a family member is to have them apply for their own visa at the same time as you. This way everyone will receive an answer to their visa applications at the same time. The answer usually comes within three months.

Employers can also apply on behalf of an employee’s family as long as they are given written authorization from the family members.

The cost for a first-time family immigration visa is 10,500 NOK (1,152 USD). For adults who already have a family immigration permit (e.g., fiancés, married), they pay 2,600 NOK (285 USD). For children under 18, the application cost is free.

Business Visa

Business travelers looking for a business visa, even if just for a day, need to apply for a residence permit for work (such as the skilled worker visa outlined above). The business visa is reserved for those attending a business meeting (this excludes things like workshops or similar sessions). Even in this case, they will be issued a visitor’s visa.

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Self-Employment Visas

Norway’s self-employment visas fall under the skilled worker visa described previously and has two different avenues: self-employed persons with a company in Norway and self-employed workers with a company abroad. The education requirements and qualifications for both are the same as those mentioned above:

  • completed vocational training program of at least three years at an upper secondary school level
  • completed education or degree from a university / university college
  • special qualifications that you have obtained through long work experience

However, requirements relating to the employment differ slightly:

Self-Employed Persons with a Company in Norway

  • must have plans to engage in long-term business activities in Norway
  • business concerned must be your own sole proprietorship; cannot be a limited company; you must work only in this business and cannot take other work
  • work you will be doing must require your qualifications as a skilled worker
  • business must give you a profit of at least 246, 246 NOK (27,025 USD) annually before taxes
  • business permits from public authorities if required
Rights and Obligations
  • permit will be granted for one year at a time
  • after three years, you can apply for a permanent resident permit
  • you can bring family members with you; they should apply for their family immigration visa at the same time as you so you receive answers about your applications together

Self-Employed Persons with a Company Abroad

  • must be self-employed with a contract with an established business abroad to carry out an assignment in Norway for one specific enterprise
  • the business in Norway must have a registered address in the Nordic country
  • renumeration must not be poorer than what is normal in Norway
  • work you will be doing must require your qualifications as a skilled worker
  • license if your job is a regulated profession and requires authorization or recognition
Rights and Obligations
  • you can be granted this permit for two years at a time, for up to six years
  • if your assignment lasts for more than six months, your spouse/cohabitant and children can move to Norway with you; they should apply for their family immigration visa at the same time as you so you receive answers on your applications together

How to Apply

The visa application process for a self-employed permit in Norway is pretty streamlined and straightforward. Bear in mind that all workers wishing to be self-employed in Norway must be at least 18 years of age. Students are prohibited from being self-employed.

Regardless of which self-employed route you take, the cost is the same as the skilled worker residence permit for work: 5,400 NOK (593 USD). The application form can be found online on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website. First-time applicants can submit their application at a Norwegian embassy/consulate. Documents required may include:

  • proof of education, qualifications, and work experience;
  • copy of your passport;
  • passport photos;
  • detailed description of the business including name and address;
  • financial and business plans;
  • necessary permits;
  • proof of accommodation in Norway;
  • payment of application fee.

Permits may be renewed a month before expiration.

If you need help applying for or renewing your self-employment visa, consider contacting InterNations GO! for more information on our Visa Solutions. Our experts help you succeed by introducing you and your family to the most suitable visa and work permit option, and the required documentation to obtain them. Our visa professionals guide you through the application process, the completion of application forms, and ensure that you apply for the visa needed for this transition.

Once you are in Norway, you will most likely be in need of Settling-In Services. For example, as a self-employed person, you will need to follow specific instructions to register with the Norwegian Tax Administration. With our help, you can get assistance registering this as well as so much more including signing up with the national health services; setting up utilities; obtaining a driver’s license; buying a car; and finding insurance solutions. We advise you on the best banking options, including accounts with multiple currencies and international transfer alternatives. We arrange professional services like doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, and translators who speak your language.

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Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent

If you require assistance with either a Norwegian temporary or permanent residency application, consider contacting InterNations GO! for information on our Visa Solutions services. Even with a job secured at your future destination, obtaining the appropriate visa is difficult. Our experts help you succeed by introducing you and your family to the most suitable visa and work permit options, and the required documentation to obtain them. Our visa professionals guide you through the application process, the completion of application forms, and ensure that you apply for the visa you need.

How to Obtain Temporary Residency in Norway

If you are wondering how to apply for a temporary resident permit, know that there are several different avenues including a residence permit for work and a family immigration permit (both covered above). The skilled worker permit allows you to bring family along as mentioned. Other routes include a resident permit for students (study permit). The latter is the one we will cover in this section. For information on the aforementioned, refer to the section above.

Be advised that applications for a temporary resident permit can be found online on the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website.

Requirements and Fees

Requirements for a study permit vary depending on whether you are going to school at the higher education level, upper secondary school, folk high school, or a religious school. The cost of a study permit is 5,300 NOK (580 USD) if over 18 or free for students under 18.

University / college / vocational school requirements:

  • must have been admitted to an accredited university college, university, or vocational school full-time
  • at least 121,220 NOK (13,262 USD) to live on annually
  • enough money to cover tuition fees
  • proof of accommodation
  • circumstances in your home country must indicate that it is likely that you can return home when you have finished your studies

Upper secondary school requirements: 

  • must have been admitted full-time to either the Norwegian College of Elite Sport, Barrat Due Institute of Music, or the Bårdar Academy
  • must have enough money to live on
  • proof of accommodation
  • circumstances in your home country must indicate that it is likely that you can return home when you have finished your studies
  • must be planning to attend an International Baccalaureate program

Folk high school requirements:  

  • must have been admitted to an approved folk high school
  • at least 104,500 NOK (11,411 USD) for the 2019–2020 school year
  • circumstances in your home country must indicate that it is likely that you can return home when you have finished your studies

Religious school requirements: 

  • must have been admitted to the school, full-time
  • at least 110,200 NOK (12,031 USD) to live on annually
  • enough money to cover tuition fees
  • proof of accommodation
  • circumstances in your home country must indicate that it is likely that you can return home when you have finished your studies
Family Visa

Those who successfully obtain a temporary residence permit for Norway (with some exceptions such as certain student permits) can usually bring their children, spouse, and cohabitants with them to Norway through the family immigration visa. Requirements for spouses include:

If you are cohabitants, requirements for both include:

  • intent to live together in Norway;
  • one of the following:
    • lived together for at least two years and not married to someone else
    • have or are expecting a child together

If you have children wanting to move to Norway to be with you (including foster kids) you need a minimum of 264,264 NOK (28,939 USD) before taxes per year. People granted asylum or residency on humanitarian grounds may be exempt from this income requirement.

All applicants must have their passport.

How to Obtain Permanent Residency in Norway

If you are wondering how to become a Norwegian permanent residence as a non-EU/EEA person, you first need a temporary residence permit (see above). If you have lived in Norway continuously for three years, you are then eligible for a permanent residence permit in the country. On the other hand, EU/EEA citizens can apply for permanent right of residence after they have lived in the country for five years.

The Norwegian permanent resident application is done in person. You should book your appointment with the police three months before your current residence permit expires through the online Application Portal. It can take up to eight months to receive an answer.

They are many permanent resident benefits in Norway. They include being able to live, work, and study in the country indefinitely. You also receive extra protection against expulsion, and family members may be eligible to join in Norway. Read more about this in the Family Visa section below.

Norway’s Permanent Resident Visa Requirements
Norway’s Permanent Resident Fees
  • for adults—3,100 NOK (340 USD)
  • for children under 18—0 NOK (0 USD)
Family Visa

Successful permanent residence applicants can bring along their family via the family reunification process described above. Norway’s fiancé visa process has particular requirements:

  • both partners must be at least 24 years old
  • intent to get married in Norway within six months
  • neither partner can be currently married to other people
  • intent to live together in Norway
  • must not have been forced to get engaged; engagement must be genuine
  • applicant’s passport
  • person in Norway must have an income of at least 264,264 NOK (28,939 USD) before taxes per year

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: November 08, 2019
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