Social security when staying abroad

Leaving Europe | Departure conditions/formalities | Norway

Before leaving Norway you should find out if you will remain a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and what your entitlements will be. In most cases it is a good idea to take out private insurance as well.

In many cases, you will be covered under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme during your stay abroad, but this depends on your work situation and your ties to Norway during the period of your stay. A number of factors are involved, making it difficult to provide a full overview of actual coverage for individuals. General rules are provided below for the following categories of researchers:

In order to retain insurance coverage through your employer, your terms of employment must remain the same during the entire period of your stay abroad.

Even with coverage under the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme or the social security scheme of another country, it is advisable to take out a private insurance policy to cover costs associated with repatriation in case of death, or transport in connection with the illness/death of a member of your immediate family, as well as to cover expenses for medicines or the like which are not covered under the National Insurance Scheme. You need to assess your own insurance needs and contact relevant insurance companies.

If you are not a member of the National Insurance Scheme during the period of your stay abroad, you should investigate your options for private insurance in your host country. Norwegian insurance companies normally require you to be a member of the National Insurance Scheme before they will sell you insurance. Check whether the coverage you have will be valid during your time abroad. Be aware that most travel insurance policies only cover the first 45 days of a stay. The same conditions often apply to credit card insurance coverage.

If you rent out your home in Norway, many insurance companies will require you to replace your home insurance policy with a landlord insurance policy for the period in question. Remember to retain your household contents insurance if you will be renting out your home furnished. This provides coverage for your personal property, but not for the property of the renter. You must take out household contents insurance for the home you are renting abroad with a company in your host country.

If you are travelling to an EU/EEA country, remember to take along your European Health Insurance Card. If you are travelling to a non-EU/EEA country and are eligible to retain your membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you will receive a proof of membership.

If there is a social security agreement between Norway and your host country, the name of the agent administering the scheme in your host country will be printed on the document. Contact this agent for information about which health institutions you should use in the host country.

If there is no social security agreement with the country of your stay, you will have to cover the outlay for health care expenses yourself, save the receipts and apply to the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (Helfo) for a refund within six months of returning to Norway. If you have any questions, please call Helfo for private citizens at 815 70 030 in Norway or +47 21 07 46 00 from abroad. In certain cases, the Norwegian diplomatic missions may provide a payment guarantee to cover very high emergency medical costs.

There is unfortunately no certificate of insurance coverage under the Basic Collective Agreement. Contact your employer in Norway if you believe you are in a situation covered under this agreement.

Private insurance policies issue proof of insurance certificates which you should take along with you, together with a description of the policy in English.

Reimbursement of health care expenses is most relevant in connection with stays in non-EU/EEA countries, and you must be a member of the National Insurance Scheme to qualify. Under certain conditions, expenses incurred in EU/EEA countries may also be refunded according to Norwegian rules. Health services that are covered by legislation other than the Norwegian National Insurance Act do not qualify for refunds while you are abroad. These include vaccinations, dental care and regular medical check-ups.


Your Norwegian employer is responsible for covering the outlay for medical expenses and then applying for a subsequent refund from HELFO. In addition, you, the researcher, must submit a letter of invitation from your host institution and documentation from your Norwegian employer confirming that you are earning income in Norway during the period of your stay abroad.

For more information see: