Living in Europe | Health insurance, Medical care | Norway

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard.

Health care services are financed by the government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme and with patient charges.

Health care in Norway

As a general rule, anyone residing in Norway is entitled to health care under the National Insurance Scheme, but coverage for services may vary.

Health care services and coverage
Nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are legally entitled to coverage for necessary medical assistance under theEuropean Health Insurance Card scheme, and pay patient charges (patient fee or egenandel) according to the same rules as Norwegian nationals. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries should have travel insurance that covers medical care.

If you are employed as an adjunct professor at a Norwegian institution and will be staying in Norway for one or more shorter periods during the course of a year, you are entitled to the same health care coverage as permanent residents of Norway.
If you are an employee of a Norwegian institution during the period or an adjunct professor who will be staying in Norway for one or more shorter periods during a year, you are entitled to full health care coverage in Norway.

Coverage for individuals employed by a foreign company who are planning a research stay at a Norwegian host institution is to be provided under the social security scheme of their home country or through an insurance policy. The European Health Insurance Card scheme provides proof of coverage for EU/EEA nationals, while citizens of non-EU/EEA countries must have health insurance.

If you are not under an employment contract (in Norway or abroad) but are providing your own funding, a mobility grant or the like, you will normally not be entitled to health care coverage in Norway. You should, therefore, ensure that you have health insurance. You may apply for voluntary membership of the National Insurance Scheme, which may require you to pay national insurance contributions in Norway.
You will qualify as a resident if you intend to stay in Norway for over 12 months or choose to relocate permanently to Norway. Residents with a Norwegian national identity number are entitled to full health care coverage under Norwegian law.
  • Your main online resource for health related issues is: where you'll find more about health services and rights


The general practioner

The majority of people who reside in Norway are entitled to a regular GP. This means that you can have only one doctor to relate to who provides primary and continuing medical care. For more information see:

Anyone residing in Norway who has been issued a Norwegian national identity number is entitled to a regular GP. You can register for a GP on Bytte fastlege (Change GP) (in Norwegian) where an overview of available doctors is provided. Children under the age of 16 are entitled to use the same GP as their parents.
Individuals with a regular GP (fastlege) in Norway are to contact their doctor first. If you are staying in Norway temporarily and do not have a GP, you can go directly to an emergency department if you require medical attention. The organisation of emergency medical services differs from municipality to municipality. Emergency medical personnel or your GP can provide a referral to a hospital or specialist if necessary.
  • Your GP during opening hours
  • The out-of-hours medical service on 116 117 when your GP is unavailable and you are unable to wait
  • 113 in an emergency

Patient charges and eHealth services

You will have to pay patient charges up to a certain amount for all your health care services in Norway. How this works is explained below. In addition, you must know that Norway is developing its eHealth services rapidly and that these services now include an electronic prescription service and a summary care record.

You must pay a patient charge for most health care services in Norway. Children under the age of 16 and pregnant women are exempted from paying patient charges. The fee varies according to the health service rendered, and there is a limit to the total amount of patient charges you pay in a calendar year. Once this ceiling has been reached, you will receive a health care exemption card in the post, exempting you from paying patient charges for the rest of the calendar year for services approved for refund.
Since February 2013, everybody in Norway has the possibility to receive electronic prescriptions from doctors and pick up medicines at any pharmacy in the country. There are two online tools you should know about when moving to Norway. My Prescriptions is the first one. It allows you to get an overview of the medicines/items assigned to you if you have received one or more electronic prescriptions. Kjernejournal is the second one. It's a collection of your health records that can be used in case of urgent medical access.

Private health care and other health services

Private health care is common in Norway, even though it accounts for a small part of the total of health care services. Today, there are many private clinics that are not a direct part of the National Insurance Scheme. In addition, health services like dental treatment or visiting an optometrist are private health services normally covered by the patient. There a few special services for children, youth and pregnant women. You'll find information about those in the section about public health centres.

There are several private healthcare facilities in Norway. Common to all of them is that they are not part of the National Insurance Scheme. Therefore you must be prepared to pay a substantial amount or use a private health insurance to cover your expenses if you choose to use their services. When Norwegian use private health services it's usually because they want to avoid long wait times for GPs or specialists, and also to have additional medical back-up in the event of an emergency or conflicting medical opinion.
Dental treatment is a private health service in Norway and is normally covered by the patient, with the exception of certain types of dental disease or injury. Your dentist will assess whether you should seek reimbursement for dental treatment from the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO). For more information see:
Expenses in connection with treatment by a psychologist (i.e. a specialist in clinical psychology) may be covered in part. This will require a referral from your GP and you will normally have to pay the patient charge. You are entitled to receive coverage for an evaluation of up to three sessions by a psychologist without a referral.
Optometrists in Norway are authorised as health care personnel and have the right to refer directly to an ophthalmologist.You will have to pay a fee to use their services since they provide a private health service in Norway.

Children and youths up to the age of 20 and pregnant women receive a number of free health services from public health centres and school medical services. These services include check-ups, vaccinations, health information and guidance. The centres also engage in outreach activities. Contact your municipality for more information. Children in Norway are normally vaccinated at public health centres according to a standard vaccination programme.


Health at work

Working conditions are regulated by legislation and agreements, like the collective pay agreement. You'll find more information on that topic on the Labour inspection Authority's web site: Safety and health. It's possbile to submit a self-certification when you get sick. All about that in the next section.

In general, provided that you have been employed for at least two months, you may submit a self-certification for the first three days you are ill and absent from work without any deduction in your salary. Beginning on the fourth day of absence, a doctor’s certificate is required and you will receive sickness benefits from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). If you have been employed for less than two months, a doctor’s certificate is required from the first day of absence. A maximum of four self-certifications for three-day absences (i.e. a total of max. 12 calendar days) is permitted during a 12-month period. A number of research institutions have signed the Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (IA Agreement) under which employees are granted up to 24 calendar days of self-certified absence during a 12-month period. For more information see: