Visa and work permits
On 1 January 2010 a new Immigration Act came into force in Norway. The new Act simplifies registration procedures for EU/EEA/EFTA nationals and makes it easier for skilled workers from countries outside the EU/EEA/EFTA to apply for employment in Norway.
Registration requirements for EU/EEA/EFTA citizens are outlined below, together with information about the most relevant permits for researchers from countries outside the EU/EEA/EFTA. Links are also provided to the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) where more detailed information may be found.
If you are an EEA national (citizen of an EU/EEA/EFTA country) and have a valid identity card or passport, you do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days in Norway. This also applies to members of your family who are themselves EEA nationals. Family members from countries outside the EU/EEA/EFTA must have a valid passport and must be able to document that they are supported by you.
Nationals of countries that have visa exemption agreements with Norway are also not required to obtain a visa for stays of up to 90 days in Norway. See here for a list of countries with which Norway has visa exemption agreements.
If you are an EEA national (citizen of an EU/EEA/EFTA country), you no longer need to apply for a residence permit, but you must register in Norway. You can make a preliminary registration online.
EEA nationals do not need a work permit.
This also applies to family members who are themselves EEA nationals. Family members who are not EEA nationals must have a valid passport and must be able to document that they are a member of your household or that they are supported by you.
EEA nationals may apply for permanent residence after five years of continuous legal residence in Norway.
Skilled workers may also apply for work and residence permits. Most researchers fall under this category. Residence permits granted to skilled workers may form the basis for permanent residence in Norway.
The term skilled worker covers the following categories:
• University college or university education. The requirement is a completed degree or study programme. Examples include degrees in nursing or engineering, Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees.
• Special qualifications. You must have gained expertise through professional experience of a certain duration, possibly in combination with other training (courses and the like). If there is a formal education programme in the field in question, your level of achievement must be approximately equivalent to the level of such a programme. Please note that, in principle, skilled worker permits are only granted on the basis of special qualifications in exceptional circumstances and that extensive documentation is required.
• Specialist training equivalent to upper-secondary education. You must have completed vocational training for a specific occupation. The education must, as a minimum, correspond to an upper-secondary education, i.e. have a duration of at least three years. If you were educated abroad, you must have achieved the same level of expertise as you would have achieved had you been educated in Norway. Examples include vocational education for joiners, plumbers or auxiliary nurses.
• Craft certificate. A craft certificate taken abroad must have resulted in the same level of expertise as a Norwegian craft certificate.
In order to apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker, you must complete the application form for a residence permit in Norway.
As a rule, you should submit your application to a Norwegian embassy or consulate in your home country or in the country where you have held a residence permit for the past six months. You may apply from Norway if you are a skilled worker and are legally resident in Norway. Please note that this does not apply to asylum seekers. If you apply from Norway, you must submit your application either to the local police station or at a Service Centre for Foreign Workers.
Skilled workers who wish to come to Norway before they have been granted a residence permit can apply for an entry visa. You are eligible for such a visa if you are a skilled worker and have received a concrete offer of employment from an employer in Norway.
The entry visa does not entitle you to work in Norway, but it does entitle you to stay in Norway while you wait for your application for a residence permit to be processed. Read more about entry visa for skilled workers here.
You may be granted a residence permit in Norway as a researcher if you are to carry out research at a university, independent research institute or similar institution and can finance the stay with your own funds. Please note that this permit does not give you the right to permanent residence in Norway. Read more about the criteria for obtaining this type of permit.
EEA nationals may apply for permanent residence after five years of continuous legal residence in Norway. Applications for the document certifying permanent legal residence may be submitted to a police station or a Service Centre for Foreign Workers. Members of your family may also be entitled to permanent residence, regardless of their citizenship. Read more about permanent right of residence.
Nationals of countries outside the EEA may also be granted permanent residence. You must have resided in Norway for a continuous period of three years during which you have held permits that form a basis for permanent residence, and you must have completed tuition in the Norwegian language. Read more.