Family

Living in Europe | Day care, schooling & family related issues | Norway

Many mobile researchers bring along a spouse or partner who needs to find a job or gain admission to higher education.
Some also bring their children or plan to have a child while in Norway. Norway is considered to be a family-friendly country. Relatively generous child and parental benefits and childcare provision make it easier to combine a career with children.

Work-life balance and welfare in Norway

What can families and individuals expect when moving to Norway to ensure that they remain happy and healthy and continue their lives as usual?

In Norway, public benefits are universal and lay the foundation for a smoothly functioning society. However, the welfare society is founded on trust, and all those who benefit from it are expected to contribute to society as well.

Benefits that you may receive in Norway include child benefit, parental benefit, unemployment benefits, sickness benefits and disability benefits.

For more information see:

Norway is well known for its work-life balance. Employers and colleagues are normally accepting when you have to leave work early to pick up your child or when you have to stay at home with a sick child. There is a common understanding of the importance of flexibility to be able to maintain a good family life and at the same time work efficiently. Many employers also give you the opportunity to work out during regular office hours, as regular exercise is important for health and work efficiency.

Most Norwegian parents take parental leave the first year after their baby is born. You are eligible for parental benefits if you have been occupationally active for at least six of the past 10 months.

Parents receive 100 per cent of their income for a period of 49 weeks or 80 per cent of their income for a period of 59 weeks.

Public health centres organise post-natal groups for parents with newborns (barselgrupper), so parents can get to know other parents with children of the same age in their neighbourhood. Members of the post-natal group meet at cafés and go for walks with their babies together, among other things.

See Norge.no, the Gateway to digital public services

Day care and schooling

If you have children and you are moving to Norway, here is some information you need to know:

Kindergartens (barnehage) are for children between the ages of one and five. The Norwegian Government aims to provide full kindergarten coverage of high quality and at a low price. Kindergartens are to provide children with good opportunities for development and activities in close cooperation with the children’s parents.

Public kindergartens are owned and run by the municipality or local government. The admission application deadline is 1 March for the following autumn and spring terms. There is a high demand for kindergartens and you may have to wait for an opening for your child to become available. Children born between 1 January and 31 August have first priority.

Norwegian kindergartens tend to focus on interplay and the development of social competencies among the children. Children spend time outdoors every day, even during winter. Your child must bring appropriate clothing for outdoor activities. Some kindergartens serve lunch, while others require your child to bring a packed lunch.

There are also many private kindergartens. Normally the same application form used for public kindergartens is used for these as well. Rates and admission requirements vary.

Research institutions may also have kindergartens for their students and employers, so it is a good idea to start with your host institution (set link to relevant internal page).

For more information see: Norge.no, the Gateway to digital public services

Primary and lower secondary education (grunnskole) in Norway is based on the principle of an equal education for all in inclusive co-educational schools where tuition is based on a single national curriculum that can be tailored to the needs of individual pupils. School is compulsory for children aged 6-15. There is no tuition fee at state schools.

The national curriculum includes core subjects, curricula for individual subjects, and principles and guidelines for primary and lower secondary education. Contact your local municipality to find out which school has openings available for your child.

Schools expect parents to play an active role in their children’s learning. Teachers maintain a close dialogue with pupils’ parents through regular parent-teacher meetings. There are also parent conferences twice a year where you are able to discuss your child’s development and progress at school.

The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training is responsible for the development of primary and secondary education and is the executive agency for the Ministry of Education and Research. You can find useful information on training and schools on their website.

Contact the individual school your child is going to attend in order to discuss potential special needs and entry into the Norwegian school system.

For more information see Norge.no, the Gateway to digital public services

Afterschool programmes at schools (SFO) are public and optional for children in Year 1–4 who need day care after school hours. Children with special needs are offered school day-care from Year 1–7. Afterschool programmes offer assistance with homework, play and educational activities and close at a certain hour by which you must pick up your child.

The application deadline is usually 1 April. However, it is also possible to enrol at other times. For more information, contact your child’s school directly and see Norge.no, the Gateway to digital public services (Choose: Schools and education > Compulsory education and filter by Family and children or search for your municipality.)

Three-year upper secondary schooling is voluntary for pupils from the age of 16. There is no tuition fee, but pupils have to cover equipment costs. Pupils may apply to up to three different programmes and are guaranteed admission to one of them. There are vocational programmes and programmes that qualify pupils for admission to higher education. Pupils who have completed vocational training courses can take supplementary courses to obtain higher education entrance qualifications.

There are requirements related to learning outcomes and curricula for upper secondary school. Pupils who have started upper secondary school abroad must document their learning outcomes and curricula. The county administration in each region approves admission to Norwegian upper secondary school for each individual pupil.

To find out about opportunities for higher education in Norway, see the Study in Norway website

Postal services and digital mailbox

Although postal services in Norway are similar to those everywhere else, the public administration is working to increase digital communication between citizens and the public sector. If you move to Norway, you will most likely be offered a digital mailbox.

A digital mailbox is a secure solution for receiving and storing important mail digitally. Letters with official decisions, health information and other sensitive information cannot be sent using regular email because it is not sufficiently secure. Public agencies can send letters in an encrypted format to be stored securely so that you are the only one with access to your mail. Although you can opt out and get all your official mail by paper, digital access will give you more flexibility. You may choose between two providers. Read more about the digital mailbox on Norge.no, the Gateway to digital public services.

Driving licences and cars

Consult the resources below for answers to questions you might have about driving licences or cars:

For questions regarding whether you can use your foreign-registered car in Norway, whether you have to pay import taxes when moving your car to Norway or whether you have to pay a motor vehicle tax in Norway, see theNorwegian Tax Administration’s website.

For questions regarding driving licences or whether you can use your driving licence from your home country in Norway, see theNorwegian Public Roads Administration’s website.
The toll stations in Norway are automatic and marked with “AutoPASS”, which means you can pass through without stopping. You will be invoiced for tolls only and not for fines. For more information see:Toll roads and how to pay

Bringing your pet to Norway

In most cases, it is possible to bring your pet to Norway. However, the costs and procedure vary depending on which country your pet is coming from.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority issues regulations for importing and exporting pets.

For questions regarding pet passports and the like, see the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s website >Travelling with pets.

Norway has achieved a disease-free status for certain diseases and has also been granted additional guarantees for specific diseases, which means that Norway can stipulate requirements in relation to a number of diseases in connection with imports. For more information see the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s website > Import of animals to Norway.