Please note that this is general advice, and may not apply to all circumstances. The content below does not constitute legal advice as each case depends on merits.
It is wise to seek professional advice that takes into account your particular circumstance.
Which industries employ expats in Norway?
Any industry where there is a shortage of skills, or where the need for employees cannot be covered within Norway. This is particularly present in the following industries:
What are the types of employment visas offered?
To work in Norway, you will as a main rule need a residence permit. There are other rules for citizens of EU/EEA-countries, and also some special rules concerning employees who are only going to work in Norway for a short time. E.gif you do not have an employer in Norway, you can work here without a residence permit for up to three months if you belong to one of the following groups:
There are also special rules for diplomats and Nordic nationals.
There are different types of residence permits for work available. Most relevant are resident permit for skilled workers – that is, workers with relevant education or training, or special qualifications – and residence permits for unskilled workers. That is, workers that are not educated, or that are to be employed in a position that do not require skilled workers.
How can I get an employment visa?
To apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker, you must have received a concrete job offer for a job that requires qualifications as a skilled worker. The job must normally be full-time, and you must be able to document that you have the required qualifications.
Unskilled workers can get a residence permit as seasonal workers, or seafarers on board foreign ship.
A seasonal work permit requires that you have reached the age of 18 years and have a concrete offer of employment as a seasonal worker. Seasonal work is work that can only be carried out during limited parts of the year due to climate variations, fluctuations in the availability of raw materials or other circumstances.
Can I apply for an employment visa on my own?
Yes, as a main rule you handle your own application.However, it is possible to let the employer apply on your behalf. In that case, you must give your employer an authorization in writing to handle the application process. You must complete the authorization section in the application form or submit a standard authorization form available at www.udi.no.
If you are applying from outside of Norway, you can hand in your application at a Norwegian embassy or consulate in your home country, or the country where you have held a residence permit for the last six months. If you are already resided in Norway, and have a legal basis for your stay, you can apply directly from here.
Who can I hire to assist me in processing my papers?
Anyone familiar with the Norwegian system like Homble Olsby Law Firm will be able to provide assistance. Your employer will also be able to assist you in the application process. However, legal questions concerning the employment contract or other circumstances in connection with your employment in Norway may arise, thus it is recommended that you also consult someone familiar with this area and Norwegian law in general.
What are the documents I need to submit?
There is a list of documents that need to be submitted when you apply for a residence permit. Regardless of whether you apply as a skilled and unskilled worker you must, in addition to the application, hand in: passport, documentation to confirm that you have a job offer, documentation which shows that you have a place to live in Norway, confirmation that you have paid the application fee.
There are additional requirements respectively for skilled and unskilled workers. A full list of the required documentation is available at www.udi.no.
When you turn up to submit your application, you must hand in copies of the required documents but also bring the originals with you for presentation.
How long do I have to wait for my papers to be processed?
The expected processing time for employment permits is currently 3 months.
If you have the right to apply from within Norway, and you submit your application on the Service center for Foreign Employees (“SUA”) your application can be processed much faster, sometimes within 10 days. This requires that your documents are correctly filled out, and that you provide all necessary information. You can read more about this on www.sua.no.
Where can I check on the status of my application?
You will be contacted by UDI (the Norwegian Directorate for Immigration) when your application has been processed. The processing time vary, depending on capacity, the complexity of your case and where it is being processed. Most applicants will receive an answer within three months after having submitted the application.
What will my proof of employment visa be?
If your application has been granted, you are entitled to a residence card. You will receive a letter in this respect, which informs you that you must visit the police to have your fingerprints and photo taken. The card will be sent to you by post in about ten days. The residence card will be the proof that you have the right to live in Norway.
What are the government fees I have to pay for while I’m on my work visa?
You have to pay an application fee to the Norwegian Government. For work permits, this is normally NOK 3000. The time you are living and working in Norway, you are liable for taxes on your income etc. pursuant to Norwegian tax legislation.
How long is the validity of the employment visa before it expires?
The permit for skilled workers is valid as long as the employment relationship lasts, but never more than three years.
The residence permit for unskilled workers can be granted for up to six months, but is only valid when you have an employment relationship. However, you can divide the six months period in several permits for the same employer, or between different employers.
If my passport expires before my employment visa expires, what should I do?
It is important that you have a valid passport for the whole period that you are going to stay in Norway. If your passport is about to expire, you have to make sure that you obtain a new passport that is valid before the old one expires.
When my employment visa expires, how can I re-enter Norway and accept a new job?
If you are a holder of a permit for skilled workers, you can renew this without leaving Norway. In order to be granted a new permit on the same conditions, you must apply for a new permit and pay the application fee at least one month before your previous permit expires. Seasonal workers permits are not renewable. If you have held a permit for a shorter period than six months, you can apply for an extension of you permit to cover the full six months period. When you have had a permit for a total of six months, you cannot apply for a new permit until you have stayed outside of Norway for at least six months.
Is there a grace period to renew employment visa?
You must always apply for a renewal before your current permit expires. You can use the same application form as you did with the first application. Applications for renewal are subject to the same application fee.
Can I come to Norway on a tourist visa to search and apply for jobs?
If you are an EU/EEA/EFTA-citizen, you do not need to apply for a residence permit to come to Norway. If you are coming to Norway for studies or work, you only have to register yourself. Information about the registration scheme and registration form is available at www.udi.no. Please note that citizens from Croatia are still required to apply for a residence permit if they wish to study or work in Norway.
For other nationals it is generally not possible to come to Norway on a tourist visa and apply for jobs. However, if you are not subject to a visa requirement and have qualifications as a skilled worker, you can stay in Norway without a residence permit for six months to seek employment as a skilled worker.
If you are resided in Norway on a work permit, and you lose your job, you must notify the police within seven days. You can stay in Norway for up to six months to look for a new job, provided that your permit is still valid in this period. If you start in a new job, you must notify the police where you live. You cannot start to work in a different type of job than what is stated in your permit.
What happens if an employer asks me to work immediately without an employment visa?
If you are a skilled worker, your employer have an opportunity under the early employment scheme to obtain a preliminary confirmation that will allow you to enter Norway and start work before your application for a residence permit is processed. It is your employer`s responsibility to provide such confirmation, and to ensure that the requirements for early employment is met.
With a preliminary confirmation, you are entitled to an entry visa if this is required for you to enter into Norway. An entry visa will be issued by a Norwegian embassy or consulate if you provide the confirmation and are able to document your identity.
Within seven days of entering Norway, you must meet in person at the police district where your employer submitted the application, to document your identity and confirm the application. You will get a confirmation, and can start work immediately.
How do I make sure I don’t get banned from re-entry?
Always follow the rules and restrictions relevant for your residence permit. Make sure to apply for potential extensions before your current permit expires. Also, you must of course stay away from criminal offences, and in general observe the Norwegian law.
How can I transfer my employment visa from one employer to the next?
If you have a permit as a skilled worker, and work for a Norwegian employer, you can change employers without applying for a new permit. However, you must perform the same type of work. If you are to perform work of a different type, you must submit a new application for a residence permit. You cannot start your new job until a new permit is granted.
If you are an employee of an international company and a national of a WTO country, it is required that you apply for a new residence permit before you change job or employer.
The six months permit for unskilled workers can be divided between several permits for one and the same or several different employers. However, if you want to change employers after your permit have been granted you have to apply again.
Aside from obtaining an employment visa, how can I have residency in Norway?
There are no schemes for sponsored citizenship in Norway.
Aside from obtaining an employment visa, you can apply for a residence permit in Norway as a student, by family immigration or as a refugee (asylum) etc. Complete information about residence permits, asylum and different types of visas can be found on the Directorate for Immigration web-page, www.udi.no.
How can my partner / spouse or children who work and live in Norway sponsor my residency?
If your partner / spouse live and work in Norway as a skilled worker, you can apply for a family immigration permit to come to Norway and live with him/her. Your partner/spouse can also give his/her employer an authorization to apply on your behalf.
If you have children under the age of 18 living in Norway who you are going to live with or have access rights to, you can apply for a family immigration permit.
If your partner/spouse or children are in Norway on an unskilled-worker permit, he/she can only sponsor your residency if you are spouses, cohabitants that have or are expecting a child, or have lived together for at least two years.
In all cases, you must apply for residency in accordance with the rules for family immigration.
How can I get a job soon after my family sponsors my residency?
If you are granted family immigration with a worker, you will be entitled to work full-time as long as your permit is valid.
How can I apply for permanent residency and acquire citizenship when I get my employment visa?
Permanent residency requires that you have stayed in Norway for a continuous three-year period. During these three years, you must have held residence permits that form a basis for permanent residence.
A residence permit as a skilled worker will be an accepted permit. Residence permit as an unskilled worker, or family immigration with a worker, do not form a basis for permanent residency.
The Directorate of Immigration can reject an application for a permanent residence permit if you have been sentenced for criminal offences that can result in expulsion. More information about the requirements for citizenship is available at www.udi.no.
Does Norway have single and multiple visa entries? How do I get a multiple visa entry?
With a residence permit as a skilled worker, you are free to travel in and out of Norway as long as the permit is valid.
Visitor visas for Norway and the Schengen areaare generally granted for a single entry. If you plan to travel outside the Schengen area and return within the period covered by the visa, you must tick the ‘two or multiple entries’ box when you apply for a visa. You must also explain why you require multiple entries.
If you have a special need, you can be issued a visa that is valid for multiple entries during a period for up to five years. Such visas are only available for certain categories of applicants, e.g. business persons, truck drivers, seafarers, family members of persons with a valid residence permit in Norway, family members of Norwegian citizens living abroad, etc.
If you cannot obtain a visitor’s visa for the whole Schengen area, a national visitor’s visa that is only valid in Norway may be granted under certain special circumstances.
Can an expat’s child born in Norway acquire citizenship?
Not all children born in Norway acquire citizenship.
Children with a Norwegian mother or a Norwegian father automatically becomes a Norwegian citizen by birth. This applies whether or not the child is born in Norway, and whether or not the parents are married.
If one of the parents apply for or is granted citizenship, an application can be submitted for the child to be granted Norwegian citizenship.
Even if neither of the parents are or will become Norwegian citizens, an independent application for citizenship can be submitted for a child over the age of 12. The child must have lived in Norway for at least five of the last seven years on permits granted for at least one year at a time.
I am Norwegian currently living overseas with a foreign nationality. What are the requirements for my partner to be able to reside with me in Norway?
Spouses / partners of Norwegian citizens are entitled to a family residence permit. It is required that you are both over the age of 18 and are going to live together in Norway. If you are cohabitants, it is also a requirement that none of you is married to other people, and that you have already been living together for at least two years.
Foreign nationals that wish to marry a person living in Norway can apply for a residence permit to come here and enter into marriage (fiancé permit). The permit is valid for six months, during which the marriage must be entered into. When married, the spouse/partner can apply for a family residence permit.
Where can I find more information on work visa, residency and citizenship?
| ◄ IMMIGRATION EXPERT IN NORWAY►
STEIN KIMSÅS-OTTERBECH is Homble Olsby Law Firm's partner and employment law specialist with particular competence and experience also in company law, pension law, immigration law and litigation. He has several years of experience as a deputy judge, and extensive experience in litigation in the Employment Tribunal (No; Arbeidsretten), the ordinary courts and arbitration. Furthermore, Kimsås-Otterbech continues to advise major clients in all aspects of employment law, including business transfers and restructuring.
We focus on achieving a personal contact with our clients in order to get a constructive and open dialogue. We consider this – together with our legal competence – as the best basis for giving advices that considers both legal and commercial aspects of our clients’ businesses.
ExpatCareers.com nor the author guarantee the accuracy of the information on this page. It is recommended that particularly prior to your travels you check with the relevant government authority. Please contact us with any updates you may have. Last updated 26 February 2014.