How to Get Permanent Residence in Norway (Updated for 2024)

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Explore the steps for securing permanent residence in Norway. It's an important step for those looking to make Norway their long-term home, but it comes with many requirements.

Moving to Norway is a goal for many people from all around the world. But for some, the relocation is just the first step toward a more stable and secure future.

David on the Havila Polaris ferry with the flag of Norway. Photo: David Nikel.
Permanent residence gives you the right to live and work in Norway indefinitely. Photo: David Nikel.

Obtaining a permanent residence permit is the key to unlocking a host of benefits, including the right to live, work, and study in Norway indefinitely. It is the last step before Norwegian citizenship, which is not something everyone wants nor needs.

The rules for permanent residence are complex and depend on many things. However, the basics are your country of citizenship and the length of time you have lived in Norway.

This guide outlines the updated criteria and application process, helping you navigate the path to permanent residency.

What Does Permanent Residence Mean?

After first publishing this article, I received a lot of questions. What rights does permanent residence give? How is it different from a work permit, or citizenship? And so on.

First things first, permanent residence is not the same thing as being a long-term resident of Norway. Some people–especially European citizens–can legally live in Norway for much of their life without being officially classed as ‘permanent residents.'

Permanent residence is a specific category of residence permit. It grants the holder, who is not a Norwegian citizen, the right to live and work in Norway indefinitely. You will also be granted extra protection against expulsion.

People watching out over Pipervika from Aker Brygge, Oslo
Many foreigners moving to Norway have the aim of obtaining permanent residence. Photo: David Nikel.

For European citizens, it's not especially necessary unless you plan on staying in Norway long-term. But for non-Europeans in Norway on a work permit, it's a good idea to apply for it as soon as you can, if you intend on staying in Norway.

National ID Card

A national ID card is an identity card that you can use when you need to identify yourself inside Norway and in other countries. It is an alternative to a passport within Norway, and can be used as a travel document in some circumstances.

However, a national ID card is not available to permanent residents. At the present time, only Norwegian citizens are able to apply for one.

Permanent Residence Application Process

UDI is the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. As with all things related to immigration, the UDI website is the main source of information and the place you'll start your application.

The process involves making an appointment with your local police station or immigration office. Although much of the application is digital, you'll need to hand over certain documentation in person.

During the online application process, you will receive a checklist of documentation to hand over at the appointment. What documents are on that checklist will depend on your own circumstances, so pay close attention to the list you receive.

Permanent Right of Residence for Europeans

People who have lived in Norway for at least five years using the EU/EEA registration scheme can apply for a permanent right of residence. This is the version of permanent residence available via the European system.

Illustration of Europe seen from space.
Many EU/EEA citizens don't bother with the permanent right of residence.

This status entitles you to stay and work in Norway indefinitely, and your family members may also be eligible. To obtain the permit, you must have been living in Norway under the terms of the EU/EEA registration scheme for at least five years.

A shorter time period applies in certain circumstances. This includes those who have taken early retirement or become an old-age pensioner during their stay in Norway, and those who have suffered a workplace accident.

In practical terms, obtaining this permanent right of residence makes very little difference to most people, as the EU/EEA registration doesn't have to be renewed.

However, there are slightly improved protections against expulsion for those with a permanent right of residence. The process is relatively easy, although a lot of paperwork is required.

This includes a transcript from the National Population Register, plus employment contracts and tax returns covering your period in Norway. Supporting documentation such as a house purchase contract is also useful.

This documentation must be presented along with the completed application at your local police station or immigration office. All being well, you'll receive the confirmation letter in the post several months later.

Permanent Residence for British Citizens

British citizens living in Norway under the terms of the EEA agreement prior to Brexit had the opportunity to apply for either permanent residence or a card to prove their post-Brexit residence rights.

British citizens who moved to Norway after the Brexit process was complete must now follow the process for non-European citizens in order to apply to permanent residence.

Permanent Residence for Non-European Citizens

The process for permanent residence is similar for non-European citizens. Although the length of time you need to have been living in Norway is less, the other requirements are greater.

You must have lived in Norway for the past three years holding valid residence permits. It's important to note that not all residence permits count towards permanent residence.

Monument in Oslo, capital of Norway.

If you came to Norway as a refugee or as a resettlement refugees, or as a family member of someone with these permits, the residence requirement is extended to five years. This rule was introduced in 2020.

There is a financial requirement too. In the 12 months prior to your application, your personal annual income must have been more than NOK 296,550. Among other requirements, applicants must also have a clean criminal record.

You must also have completed the mandatory tuition in the Norwegian language and social studies, and pass the relevant tests, with some minor exceptions. There's more information on this below.

Language Requirements for Permanent Residence

If you're a skilled worker, self-employed, or here via family immigration with such a person, the language and social studies tuition requirements vary based on when your first residence permit was issued.

The information is too complicated to cover in detail here, because a lot of it changes based on your personal circumstances.

However, in most cases, you must complete a certain amount of Norwegian language tuition or pass all four parts of the Norwegian language test at level A2 or above. You'll also likely need to have taken a social studies course.

Note that these requirements apply for non-EU/EEA citizens applying for permanent residence. There is no language requirement applied to European citizens applying for a permanent right of residence.

In order to establish what's required for you and your own personal circumstances, check the UDI website.

Processing Times

The processing time for permanent residence varies, but at present applications are taking a long time. Typically, it will likely take at least 12 months. Yes, it really does take that long.

Because of this long waiting time, it's important to understand that any existing permits are not impacted by your application.

That means you will still have to apply for the renewal of a work permit, for example. Follow the usual process for permit renewals to avoid any complications.


We have pulled together this information based on official sources and personal experience. However, we do not have any insider knowledge. We cannot help in individual cases and have no expertise beyond the information shared above.

Any questions about permanent residence should be directed to UDI. If you require legal help, consider engaging the services of an immigration lawyer.

About 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 professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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53 thoughts on “How to Get Permanent Residence in Norway (Updated for 2024)”

  1. If both Grandparents were from Norway does that give you a leg up on becoming a resident in Norway? I consider myself a natural Norwegian and proud..I was born in Minnesota 68 years ago and I am thinking about moving to Norway..

  2. Yes, I sounded out Norwegian citizenship twenty years ago.
    My father was a Norwegian born citizen living in Norway.
    No dice….have to live in Norway along with other restrictions.
    I thought it would be cute to have dual citizenship,but no go.

  3. 1)
    the study period is counted within this 3/5 year period?
    for example, if i work for 1 year after 2 years of study am i eligible to apply?

    2) the language is mandatory or count as an extra point? which level B1/B2… ?

    • 1.) Student period is not counted, as its not residence permit based on work and no tax is paid. It must be residence permit based on work for 3 years.

      2.) Language
      B1 speaking level is required for citizenship.

    • Yes but it’s the sponsors income which takes three regulatory requirements so for example your husband has to earn above that amount and not have received social security benefits.

  4. Sir,
    The study period is counted within these total 3 year period? I mean, does study residence permit count towards permanent residence?

      • Hei I am a Brit who moved to Norway 5 years ago, January 2015. I applied for permenant residency in Jan this year. I have been permenantly employed during this time, have a Norwegian samboer and own a house here. My online application was very quick and easy, I got an appointment with UDI within a couple of weeks. Having got photocopies of all my work contracts, mortgage details and everything else asked for on the website I turned up for the interview. The lady was very helpful and only looked at my passport, she said they didn’t need any other documentation as they had it all on computer anyway and could access all the data they needed. I was told that my application would take no more than 4 weeks and my permenant residency letter would arrive in the post. In reality my right to permenant residency arrived within 2 weeks of my interview. Total time from my online application to receiving permenant residency letter, no more than 6 weeks.

  5. Hi,

    as per UDI When the reference person is under 18 years old there is an exemption from the income requirements. my son and I doesn’t know anyone there as his father is avoiding us? where to start from here if I applied for family immigration.

  6. I have submitted ly perpers to get permanent right of residence (for the basis of my husband who is EU national).
    I am waithing for the decision and my residence permit ran out 13.may. I need to go to denmark on 1st of june for a baptism. Can I still travel arond the schengen area (taking DFDS) while waiting for my new permit and what papers can I show boarder police. Thank you

  7. very useful and informative. and David, are those permanent residential’s kids are entitled to pay a local tuition fee same level as a Norway citizen’s kids? … have planned to immigrate to Oslo but not started yet : )

    • Study is free in Norway until unless you applied for private school. For skill workers you have to pay for Norwegian courses but not for family immigrants.

  8. I and my husband are both US citizens, if I gives birth in Norway does my child will be a Norway resident? Because I want to move to Norway some day. My husband is a US Army active duty now but he worked for NATO in Iraqi’s war 2003, does this status gives any chance to my children becomes a residen by birth?

  9. I have lived the last 15 years in Norway but hold American citzen passport-
    I also worked and owned my own business in Norway
    But I have a difficulty writing and speaking the language is since I suffered a stroke. I but am not considered handicapped though. I can read and understand
    Norwegian still

    • Magny, as long as you have resident permit your husband is your sponsor but if you want o have permanent resident you must have your own income.

  10. I have been visiting Norway since 2008, visiting my son in law, daughter and granddaughter for periods of 3 months each time . I have made several trips with my husband.
    I have no one in Malaysia and would love to stay with my daughter and family in our old age! We are senior citizens.
    Is there any possibility please!

  11. How good are the chances for a mexican to get residence?? Everyone says that marriage makes it more easier, alas im not into that.

  12. Hi, “and cannot have received any social security payments from NAV during the same period.”, does the child benefit count as an NAV payment?

  13. My daughter is from the US and has lived in Norway 10+ years. She married a Norwegian and has become a citizen. I now have two Norwegian granddaughters. I visit every year and would love to stay. I’m retired…is this possible?

  14. I married a norwegian for more than 2 years already. But i am still in living in my country phils.and my husbnd is in norway because of our respective jobs. What is the best visa i should apply so i can visit my husband anytime. Thank you in advance for your response to my querry

  15. Hello I’m planning to apply for permanent residence but I don’t have work only my husband working he earn every year like 400.000 kroner every year I’m still allowed to apply for permanent residence or I’m deny for that?

    • Hi, just wondering about my situation. I am married to Danish living in Norway for 15 years. We have a baby soon and planning to gave birth in Norway. I have a residence card family member.
      My question is, do I still need to complete the Norwegian course and social studies class as part of the requirements in applying for permanent residence card in Norway or am I excepted?
      Your help is very much appreciated.

  16. I am a Nigerian and I am applying for a postgraduate study in the university of Bergen. I have a wife and an infant here. If I finish the course in Norway and get a job there, how and when can I bring my small family over?

  17. hi guys,

    I really need to know if language course and social studies class are mandatory in applying for permanent residence in Norway?
    I am married to a Danish but living in Norway.

    Please help!

  18. Do the family member of Nordic citizens have a different treatment when it comes to the requirements of obtaining the Norwegian residence permit and to its length? … I am a non-EU national married to a Finnish citizen (Nordic citizen) after we had lived for 2 years in Finland and we moved to Sweden, I received the Swedish Permanent residence permit for a Nordic law or Swedish law for Nordic citizens and their family members which states that if a non-EU is married to a Nordic citizen and lived together in Nordic citizen’s home country, the non-EU will receive a Permanent residence permit of Sweden.
    Does this Nordic law apply in Norway? If yes or not, can you please state for me which differences would a non-EU married to a Nordic citizen moving to Norway have? Thank you and I am sorry for my big detailed explanation and questions ….

  19. Hi,

    Is the transcript from the National Population Register the same as Residence Certificate? I was checking the National Population Register and there are options to order different kinds of certificates. But the exact word
    “transcript” can’t be found in those choices.

    Hope you can help clarify. Thank you in advance.

  20. We lived in Norway for 6 years. My husband works and has a perm res. I am a stay at home wife.
    How is this situation treated with lack of “my” income and husband already resident?

  21. How can one apply for asylum in Norway. I have an associate who’s scared of her life because the police and public are persecuting her. Her life is threatened and we discussed the possibility of seeking asylum in Norway. Please help run us through on what needs to be done

  22. Am new in Norway but my husband has lived in Norway for four years now and his a footballer and i gave birth 5 months ago but I need a job to make money for my self,how do I get one

    • Hello
      Am playing football in Norway and I will be using 3 years in August 2021 and am I entitled to apply for permanent resident permit

  23. Is there any case to combine your student visa and skilled work visa to get permanent residence? To be specific, for instant id someone stays in Norway for 4 years as a student with a student visa, and later get a job and changed his/her ground to a skilled worker, and has been working for two years. Can it be possible to count the 4 years as one year to combine with two years of working to get three years requirement?

  24. I want to know the list of Institutes from which the Norwegian classes are valid while applying for the permanent residence as while applying for it they have the convention of fixed number of completed classes of language from few institutes.

  25. My wife and I want to move to Norway from the US, as I understand it, there is a residence permit and a permanent residence permit, is that correct? I am having trouble finding the correct on, everything I read sounds like I need to be in Norway to start the application….

    • Yes. There are many kinds of residence permit such as a work permit, study permit, etc. Permanent residence is only available to people who have held residence permits for a certain number of years. All the options for the different kinds of residence permit are on http://www.udi.no.

  26. Hi I am working in Norway From 2 years as a skilled worker.I have daughter she will be 21 years old moved with me when she was 18 years old.I am going to apply next year permanent residency as skilled worker so my question is still my daughter not married living with me her residence visa always come family visa.do you think when she will be 21 years old or more she can apply family visa and apply permanent residency with me .

  27. Hi, i work for a german company and i have a three year contract as an expat in norway. Will expat contracts help to get my permanent residency in norway after 3 years?
    Im holding non EU residency now!

    ( I have studied for two years and the worked 1year as a full time employee in Norway between 2017-2020 too)


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