The Norwegian Government confirms that it supports the concept of double citizenship, and that proposals will be presented before the end of the year.
Immigration and Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug announced on Wednesday that the Government is in favour of a change in the Citizens' Act that would allow for dual citizenship. Proposals to introduce a system of dual citizenship (known as dobbelt statsborgerskap) have been discussed for many years, but took a big step forward one year ago when Norway’s Parliamentary Committee recommended the Government remove the country’s ban, and then Norway's governing Høyre party announced their support.
Norway is today the only country in the Nordic region, and one of the few in Europe that does not allow dual citizenship. Although there are some exceptions, the roadblock has given many people some very difficult decisions to make about their very identity.
The amended law will be celebrated by foreign nationals in Norway who may have been nervous about renouncing their citizenship in order to take Norwegian citizenship. But it’s not just foreigners in Norway who stand to benefit. Norwegian families who live all around the world are celebrating too.
“We have been waiting for a long time!” says Hanne K. Aaberg, Secretary General of the organisation Norwegians Worldwide. “We are very pleased that the government will change an outdated and unfair legislation that has major consequences for Norwegian families around the world. This is a highlight for us and we look forward to everyone who is affected by the ban on double citizenship.”
“Many Norwegians move in and out of Norway several times throughout their lives, with the consequence that family members may have different citizenship. It creates problems and makes it difficult to move home.”
“Norwegians abroad make up an important and unrecognized resource for Norwegian society. Allowing dual citizenship is a fundamental issue for Norway's relationship with all Norwegians living and working abroad. Norwegians who retain their Norwegian citizenship maintain a strong bond to Norway, and can also participate as full-fledged citizens in the country they work and live in.”
Proposals to be debated
Of course there is still a long road ahead before any proposal comes into effect. Once the Government’s proposal is presented later this year, it will be examined, debated and amended before it gets anywhere near a vote. One key element will be whether someone can reclaim Norwegian citizenship if they had previously been forced to give it up.
There is also the issue of the minority Government. The largest party in Parliament, the Labour Party, have not been supportive of a change to dual citizenship in the past, so we can expect some heated debate when the proposals are presented later this year.
Read about the current requirements to become a Norwegian citizen.