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`s charges.
Which health care services am I entitled to in Norway?
Where do I find necessary medical assistance?
Do I have to pay a patient charge?
Where do I find a GP?
Where do I find a dentist?
Where do I find a psychologist?
How do I get medicines?
Which health services are available for children?
Am I qualified for any benefits if I become ill?
Health care services
Check whether you have coverage for health-care related expenses. As a general rule, anyone residing in Norway is entitled to health care under the National Insurance Scheme, but coverage for services may vary. Use of health care services is voluntary.
Stays of up to 90 days
Nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are legally entitled to coverage for necessary medical assistance under the European Health Insurance Card scheme, and pay patient charges (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.
Stays of 3–12 months
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 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.
Stays of over 12 months
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.
Contact your General Practitioner (GP) or a local emergency department.
Necessary medical assistance
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. Click here for an overview of emergency departments (in Norwegian). Emergency medical personnel or your GP can provide a referral to a hospital or specialist if necessary.
In case of emergency, contact the Emergency Medical Communication Centre (EMCC, tel: 113).
You must pay a patient charge (in Norwegian) 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.
Registration via MinFastlege
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 MinFastlege (“My 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.
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 (in Norwegian) for dental treatment from the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO). Dentists are listed on Gule Sider (“Yellow Pages”), and individuals can choose for themselves. Fees for dental services vary. Examples may be found on the Norwegian Consumer Council’s website Hva koster tannlegen? (“How much does dental treatment cost?”, in Norwegian).
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 (in Norwegian). You are entitled to receive coverage for an evaluation of up to three sessions by a psychologist without a referral.
Medicines and pharmaceuticals
Most medicines are only sold in pharmacies and require a prescription. You will only need to pay the patient charge for preapproved prescription medicines (blå resept) (in Norwegian).
Pharmacy chains located throughout Norway:
- Apotek 1 (in Norwegian)
- Boots Apotek (in Norwegian)
- Ditt Apotek (in Norwegian)
- Vitusapotek (in Norwegian)
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 (in Norwegian).
Illness and self-certification
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. There will be no deduction in your salary for these days. 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 also 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.
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