Permanent Residence in Norway

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How to become a permanent resident of Norway and stay in the country for good.

Becoming a permanent resident of Norway is a goal for many new arrivals.

It offers more protection than a regular work permit, which is usually linked to a specific job, but stops short of having to become a Norwegian citizen.

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

Are you ready to find out? Let's go!

How to get permanent residence in Norway: Stay for good in one of the world's happiest countries.

How to become a permanent resident of Norway

Whichever category you fall into, the application must be started on the UDI website, and an appointment made with your local police station or immigration office, where your application and documentation will be received.

During the application process, you will receive a checklist of documentation that you will be expected to hand over.

What documents are on that checklist will depend on several things.

European citizens

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.

Atlantic Road Norway

This entitles you to stay and work in Norway indefinitely, and your family members may also be eligble.

In practical terms this permanent right of residence makes very little difference to most people, as the EU/EEA registration never has to be renewed.

However, there are slightly improved protections against expulsion for those with a permanent right of residence, and I know of several Brits who have taken this option recently in order to firm up their position ahead of the great Brexit unknowns.

The process is relatively easy, although a lot of paperwork is required. This includes a transcript from the National Population Register, employment contracts, and tax returns covering the full five year period, and any supporting documentation such as a house purchase contract.

People watching out over Pipervika from Aker Brygge, Oslo

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

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.

Update: As of December 2020, the period of residency has now been extended to five years for refugees and their families. Read the full story here.

You must also have completed the mandatory tuition in the Norwegian language and social studies, and pass the relevant tests, with some minor exceptions.

Which exams you need to take will depend upon your personal circumstances. Use the tool on the UDI website to find out what applies to you.

Oslo capital of Norway

During 2017, these requirements for language ability were tightened. Applicants also cannot have been convicted of a criminal offence, or been ordered to undergo enforced psychiatric treatment or care.

New requirements from 2017

All applicants must personally fulfil the stated income requirements for the previous year.

This means the applicant must have earned a pre-tax income of at least NOK 238,784 over the previous 12 months, and cannot have received any social security payments from NAV during the same period.

Once the paperwork is completed and accepted by the police or immigration office, you will receive a phone call or email if you need to supply any additional information.

The processing time for permanent residence varies, but is typically 3-6 months.

It's important to know that any existing work or residence permits do not get automatically extended just because you are waiting for a decision on permanent residence, so it's vital to follow the usual process for extending your regular permit while applying for permanent residence.

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 “Permanent Residence in Norway”

  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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