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Dual Citizenship Moves a Step Closer

Children on 17th May

Long-term expats living in Norway could soon finally have the option of taking dual citizenship, as Norway's Parliamentary Committee recommended the Government remove the country's ban.

Although some exceptions apply, currently to become a Norwegian citizen you must in principle renounce your previous citizenship. Norway is the only Nordic country that doesn't allow dual citizenship.

For many long-term expats, Norway is their home. They are fully integrated into the society with a Norwegian family and may have very few remaining connections with their country of birth. Yet giving up ones citizenship is a major step that many deem too big a risk.

Update! The Norwegian government has announced plans to debate dual citizenship.

The rule also works in reverse. Currently, Norwegians living abroad must renounce their Norwegian citizenship to become a citizen of their new country. If they ever return to Norway, they are treated as a foreigner.

Venstre, Norway's Liberal party, proposed last year to end the ban, which is increasingly seen as a barrier to integration. The Government will now consider removing the ban, but it is by no means certain to be removed.

What does Norwegian citizenship actually mean?

Norway passportCurrently, most foreigners living in Norway can apply for Norwegian citizenship after seven years of valid residence. Of course, many rules and regulations apply!

Becoming a Norwegian citizen means you will have the same rights in relation to the Norwegian state as other Norwegian citizens, such as the right to vote in national elections, for example.

But it also means you have the same obligations as Norwegian citizens, including military service.

Having said that, although technically compulsory, military service is not something undertaken by every Norwegian as there isn't enough capacity in the service.

Watch this space for further developments.

Photo: Wellingtons Travel

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

3 Comments

  1. Let’s analyse the key argument for refusing dual citizenship: “It ensures loyalty of the new citizens”. You should ask yourself the following: Is it better then to have hundreds of thousands of residents living inside the country as a foreigner?? Because they are not leaving, that’s guaranteed. So, if other people are meant to live inside the country, isn’t it better to have them as citizens, making them feel enganged and loyal to this country through citizenship? Having citizenship changes everything for a resident, it makes them feel part of the system. Right now they have the same obligations but not the same rights. Not to participate in democracy but forced to pay the same taxes makes them feel abused; we all pay but only the real citizens decide how taxes are spent. In the other hand, the main challenge of immigration for any country is integration, so having them as foreigners forever certainly does not help. That includes the mistake of making harder rules for them to become a citizen. The “In case of a war” factor, then most likely the “new citizens” will enroll in the army to defend the country. I really don’t see Norwegians taking gunmachines, exposing themselves to loose their legs in the battlefield; most of them will probably flee the war, how loyal is that? So in that case it would be very nice to be able to take a new citizenship abroad without giving up the Norwegian, isn’t it? Residents without citizenship will probably flee away, no reason to stay in or defend a country which marginalizes them. This would paralize the country since foreigners are everywhere: transport, healthcare, banks, services … Welcome the foreigners and they will join quickly; but reject them and they will isolate, will grow ghettos, will grow resentment, will exploit the welfare system until dry, this will send the bill soon or later. There is no way back for globalization, so welcoming and integrating ASAP is the key to succeed. Instead of displaying their national pride dressing middleage costumes in May 17th, if Norwegians cannot be proud of being the last accepting dual, at least could be proud of being the best in treatment of their immigrants, the number 1 in the world welcoming them to join, the fastest convert rate from alien to citizen, the highest feeling of loyalty among the non natives, the nr 1 benefiting of other cultures richness, the 1 having strategic links to most countries through dual citizens. Forcing others to reject their identity, their family origins, to speak our language, to dress and eat our stuff, is a mistake. Invite them nicely, and it would have much better results.

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