Citizen of Norway
Citizen of Norway

How to Become a Citizen of Norway: Options for Norwegian Citizenship

If you’re wondering how to become a citizen of Norway, you’re in the right place. 

Achieving Norwegian citizenship can be an excellent way to cement your ties with one of the most popular Scandinavian countries, after you move to Norway was a resident. While there are some challenges involved in becoming an official Norway citizen, it’s worth noting that the country is extremely accepting of migrants from regions all over the world.

In fact, approximately 15% of Norway’s population is made up of expats from other countries. Additionally, since the new rules for Norwegian citizenship were introduced in 2020, would-be citizens don’t have to renounce the connection with their home country to become a fully-recognized part of the Norwegian community. You can now apply for dual citizenship too!

Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a Norwegian citizen.

Who Can Apply for Norwegian Citizenship?

There are a few rules and restrictions around who can apply to become a citizen of Norway. First, you’ll need to have lived within Norway consistently for at least 7 years, unless you’re married to a Norwegian citizen.

If you have a Norwegian spouse, you can apply for citizenship after living together for 3 years. You’ll also need to have a valid permanent residence permit, and you’ll need to prove you can speak the Norwegian language. The exact requirements to apply for Norwegian citizenship vary depending on your situation. For instance:

If you’re an adult applying for citizenship on your own:

If you’re an adult applying for citizenship after receiving a permanent residency permit, you’ll need to live in the country for 7 years before applying for citizenship. Your residency permit must be valid at the time of your application, and you’ll need to live in Norway when applying for citizenship. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of Norwegian language, culture, customs, and history, and you must pass a citizenship test. You will also need to share any criminal records you might have. If you have a criminal history, this may influence how long it takes to be approved for citizenship. 

If you’re a spouse or partner of a Norwegian citizen:

If you’re applying for citizenship as a partner or spouse of a Norwegian citizen, you will need to have lived in the country for 3 years. You’ll also need to show the duration of your time in Norway and the duration of your marriage amounts to 7 years. 

Spouses of Norwegian citizens are also required to hold permanent residence permits, and must complete Norwegian language and social studies lessons, as well as the Norwegian citizenship test. You’ll still need to provide access to any criminal records you might have. 

Children applying for Norwegian citizenship

Parents or legal guardians generally handle citizenship applications for children under the age of 18 in Norway. The requirements for citizenship which affect children will vary based on the age of the child. Children under the age of 2 will need to live in Norway at the time of their application, and have a valid residence permit. 

Children between the ages of 2 and 18 applying with the help of a guardian will need to demonstrate they’ve been a resident of Norway for at least 2 years. Children over the age of 15 need to supply criminal records, and children over the age of 12 must have the consent of their parent or guardian to apply for citizenship. These applicants will also need to have Residence Permits valid for at least 1 year or more in their name. 

Children over the age of 12 applying for citizenship alone will need to show they’ve lived in the country for at least 5 of the last 7 years. They’ll also need valid residence permits for at least 1 year during that period. Children over the age of 15 will need to present criminal records, and anyone under the age of 18 will need to have consent to apply from a parent or guardian. 

Is Dual Norwegian Citizenship an Option?

In January 2020, new rules for Norwegian citizenship introduced a dual citizenship option. This means you don’t necessarily have to give up citizenship in another country to become a citizen of Norway. However, in order to become a dual citizen, you’ll need to ensure your home country also allows for this option. 

How to Become a Citizen of Norway: The Steps Involved

Becoming a citizen of Norway often starts with moving to Norway, and applying for a temporary residence permit. After three years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. If you’re married to a Norwegian citizen, and you’ve been living in Norway, and married to that individual for at least 7 years, you can also apply to become a citizen after 3 years living in the country.

If you’re moving to Norway without a Norwegian spouse or partner, you’ll need to live within the country for 7 years before you can begin the application. The official rules for Norwegian citizenship state you must have been living in Norway for at least 7 out of the last 10 years. This means you can’t have been out of the country for more than 2 months per year either. 

If you travel outside of Norway for less than 2 months out of the year, the year will still count towards your citizenship status. However, any time spent outside of Norway will be deducted from your 7 year total. So, it’s worth keeping this in mind when calculating when you can start the application.

Throughout the time you lived in Norway, you will also need to have held residence permits, issued for periods of at least 1 year. This means if you visited Norway as a short-term tourist, this won’t count towards your required residence period. 

Once you’ve ensured you’ve logged enough time as an official Norwegian resident, you’ll be able to start the application process for citizenship on the Directorate of Immigration website. You’ll be informed on the website of the documents you’ll need to submit to process your request. The documents you’re required to provide can vary depending on your situation, but may include:

  • Your current passport and birth certificate
  • Your marriage or partnership certificate
  • Proof of residence (such as residence permits)
  • Passport pages showing when you have exited and entered Norway
  • Tax statements from the time you have lived in Norway
  • Any criminal records
  • Proof you have finished your language and social studies lessons
  • Proof you have passed the Norwegian citizenship test

Completing the Norwegian Citizenship Test

Proving you’ve been a resident of Norway for at least 7 years isn’t the only challenge associated with gaining Norwegian citizenship. You’ll also need to pass a citizenship test if you’re between the ages of 18 and 67. Proof that you have passed this test will be required to process your application. 

Depending on your immigration status, you may need to complete a number of language, history, and social studies lessons before you can start the test. Usually, the total educational requirement adds up to around 300 hours of lessons. The text will examine your knowledge of Norwegian history, and require you to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the Norwegian or Sami language. 

The citizenship test also requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of Norway’s society, laws, culture, and major historical events. Some people applying for permanent residence permits also submit to these lessons, and the citizenship test before applying for citizenship fully. If you’ve already passed the test, then you won’t need to do it again. 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Citizen of Norway?

After you’ve collected all the documents required to apply for citizenship, completed the online application form, and taken any relevant citizenship tests, you’ll be able to start the request process. There is a fee to pay to process this request, and you’ll need to hand documents to a representative face-to-face at a local police station, after making an appointment online. 

The amount of time it will take to officially become a Norwegian citizen can vary depending on a number of factors, including whether you’re applying as the spouse of a citizen, or whether you’re getting started on your own. Even after you’ve proved you’ve lived in Norway for 7 years, or have a combined Norwegian residency and marriage length of 7 years, you’ll still need to be patient.

Most people will wait a minimum of around 12 months before they hear a decision about their citizenship application. The time it takes for your application to be approved can also increase if you need to provide additional documentation. 

The Benefits of Norwegian Citizenship

While applying for Norwegian citizenship can seem like a complex process, it can be well worth the effort for many people. 

There are many benefits to starting a life in Norway. Norway is a beautiful place, brimming with amazing communities, fantastic educational opportunities, and easily accessible healthcare. What’s more, it benefits from a thriving (and growing economy), excellent family values, and great attractions. In fact, Norwegians are some of the happiest people in the world.

However, you don’t necessarily need to be a Norwegian citizen to live in Norway. You can become a resident by applying for a temporary residence permit, then upgrade that to a permanent permit after living in Norway for three years. 

Of course, achieving Norwegian citizenship does come with a few benefits. It will give you access to a Norwegian passport, which allows you to travel to around 186 countries worldwide without a visa. Plus, becoming a Norwegian citizen will give you full access to the benefits and services offered by the NAV (Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration). 

This means you can access the same unemployment benefits, injury insurance, sickness benefits, and employment schemes or pensions as other Norwegian locals. You can even use your Norwegian citizenship to influence politics, voting in parliamentary, county council, and municipal elections.

Good luck earning your Norwegian citizenship. 

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