Living in Norway
Advice for British nationals planning to live or living in Norway
If you are a British citizen or British subject you do not require a visa to enter Norway. British nationals should consult and confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Norwegian Embassy
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Norway. There is no minimum passport validity requirement, but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
British citizens need not apply for a residence permit, but must register themselves on arrival if they are planning to reside in Norway. This can be done via one of the service centres located in Oslo, Stavanger and Kirkenes or contact your local Norwegian police station for further advice.
For further information on the rules and guidelines that apply to nationals from various countries including the UK, please see the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
Nationals of countries in the EEA are free to enter Norway for up to 6 months to look for work or set up a business. If you do not manage to establish yourself within the 6 month period, but are still financially stable, you may be able to remain in Norway.
Residence in Norway
British citizens need not apply for a residence permit, but must register themselves on arrival if they are planning to reside in Norway. If you have received a firm offer of employment in Norway, you need to apply for a personal number at the local police station or via one of the service centres for foreign workers located in Oslo, Stavanger and Kirkenes.
British Nationals are free to enter Norway for up to 6 months to look for work or set up a business. If you do not manage to establish yourself within the 6 month period, but are still financially stable, you may be able to remain in Norway.
Norwegian personal numbers are issued by the local people register (Folkeregister) and must be applied for after receiving your residence permit from the police. You will also need this personal number to be able to open a bank account in Norway. For more information please see the website of the Norwegian Directorate of immigration.
Your residence in Norway must be lawful and in order to become a member of Norwegian National Insurance, you must intend to stay here for more than 12 months. If you have a strong tie to the country and will be here between 3 and 12 months, you can apply for voluntary membership.
Coming from EEA-countries
If you reside in Norway for only up to 12 months, you will not, as a general rule, become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. However, EEA-citizens are entitled to health services if they contribute to social security in their home country. When you come from an EEA-country, you must bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you to provide evidence of this entitlement.
Students who will attend a school or study for up to 12 months and who have a residence permit, can apply for voluntary membership of Norwegian National Insurance (See section Foreign Students in Norway). If you are going to stay in Norway for less than 12 months, read more under membership of Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
Foreign students in Norway
Membership of the National Insurance Scheme is the key to your entitlements from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV). You do not have to be a Norwegian citizen, registered with the National Population Register (Folkeregister) or pay taxes in Norway. What is crucial is that your residence in Norway is lawful.
For foreign students living and attending school/university in Norway, different rules apply in relation to the National Insurance Scheme as outlined below. If you are studying in Norway for less than a year, you do not, as a general rule, need to become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
When are you regarded as a student in Norway?
You are regarded as a student if you are living in Norway to attend school or university and have no income from professional employment.
You can look for rented accommodation in a local newspaper or online at the Finn lifestyle website. Estate agents (eiendomsmeglere) and larger banks both sell and let properties. There is no requirement in Norway to involve a lawyer in the selling or buying of property.
More information on finding a job in Norway may be found on the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s (NAV) website, alternatively online Finn lifestyle website or by looking at companies’ websites or the Norwegian national newspapers (i.e. Aftenposten).
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) documents that you are entitled to necessary medical treatment during temporary stays in other EEA countries or in Switzerland. You are entitled to treatment on a par with the citizens of the country where you are staying. The EHIC card replaces the earlier E 111 form. Apply or renew your EHIC via the NHS in the UK or if you are living in Norway through the Health Service Administration Center (HELFO).
Healthcare coverage in Norway
The Norwegian health care system has both public and private medical services and facilities, and it is available to all citizens who are registered as long-term residents. Public health care is basically free and is supported by the Government through the tax income scheme, while private sector health care is usually supported by patient fees.
The Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (NIS) guarantees everybody a basic level of welfare and covers regular medical consultation (there is a nominal fee that is paid by the patient), medical emergency and hospitalization. Anyone who is living and working in Norway is required to contribute through the income tax system to the NIS.
If you are unemployed and looking for work in Norway, you should carry an EHIC. This enables you to receive urgent emergency medical treatment free of charge, should you need it. This card is available from UK post offices or Department of Social Security offices.
Foreign students are automatically included in this scheme if their period of study exceeds one year.
Citizens from both EU/EEA and NON EU/EEA countries become compulsory members of NIS when they are registered as working in Norway and, therefore, they benefit from free basic medical services from their first day of work.
In cases when a person works in Norway for less than 12 months, different rules apply according to the applicant’s nationality.
Nationals from EU/EEA countries have to bring the European Health Insurance Card to cover medical expenses, while nationals outside the EU/EEA countries have to bring proof of private health insurance (or private health coverage).
Students from EU/EEA Countries
Students from this category will not become members of NIS. However, they are entitled to health care services with the same conditions as Norwegian residents and benefit from free medical emergency services and free hospitalization. Other medical expenses, such as medicines or medical tests, are not covered, but these expenses can be refunded with social security coverage from the students’ country, such as the European Health Insurance Card.
Prescription drugs can be free or subsidized, depending on the type of drugs purchased. The white class is the type that is entirely free, while the blue class is subsidised.
Hospitalization and emergency medical services are free, along with any treatments and examinations related to a pregnancy.
General practitioners (GP) will usually charge a consultations fee. The typical fee is around 136 NOK during the office hours and around 229 NOK for an evening appointment.
Costs related to visits to specialists, dental care and radiology tests are entirely supported by the patients. Transport to the hospital that is not an emergency is also supported by the patient. People who suffer from special chronic diseases are exempt from these conditions.
Children under the age of 18 benefit from free dental care and psychological help, while children under the age of 12 do not have to pay for any kind of medical service.
Every person studying or working in Norway can register with a GP as long as he or she has the Norwegian identity number. GPs prescribe medicines and provide referral to specialists or hospitalisation, if necessary.
A list of local GPs is sent along with the Norwegian identity number so that the person may register with a doctor. A part of the cost of visits to GPs is supported by the patient and the NIS pays the remaining cost.
A Health Insurance receipt card is issued at the first visit to a GP. This card exempts the patient for costs exceeding 1780 NOK.
Most General Practitioners in Norway speak English. You can choose your own doctor. A consultation fee will be charged each time.
Make sure that any doctor you consult works within the Norwegian municipality scheme, otherwise you will be liable for the cost of the treatment yourself.
Dental care in Norway is run mainly through the private sector, thus it involves high costs. Youths under the age of 20, persons with mental health issues and old age pensioners receive free dental medical services.
Emergency care or ‘legevakt’ is provided at the emergency room of the hospitals and it can be used either when it has been referred by a GP, or when immediate attention is needed.
Pharmacies in Norway sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, cosmetics and products for children and are available throughout the country. You have to verify your entitlement to such coverage with the terms and conditions of your EHIC.
All medicines except prescriptions for chronic illnesses are usually paid for by the individual.
Admission to hospital is normally arranged by your doctor. For further information about health matters contact the Statens Helsetilsyn (Norwegian Board of Health).
Tourists in Norway
Before travelling to Norway for a holiday
If you are travelling from an EEA-country or Switzerland, take your EHIC with you. The card gives proof of your entitlement to emergency and necessary medical treatment covered under the National Insurance Act. You are not a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme while on holiday in Norway.
When are you no longer regarded as a tourist?
If you start work in Norway, you are no longer regarded as a tourist. If you stay in Norway longer than 12 months, other rules will apply. You will no longer be regarded as a tourist and will have to apply for a residence permit.
If you need a visa to holiday in Norway, you are no longer regarded as a tourist after its expiration. Normally a visa is issued for up to 3 months.
What can you do to become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme?
As a rule, you will not be granted membership when you are a tourist. Persons who have a family in Norway or close ties with Norway may, on application, obtain voluntary membership when staying in Norway from three to twelve months.
State pensions UK / Norway
For UK information see the information provided by the International Pension Centre.
If you work in two or more EEA/EU countries, you can combine state pension contributions paid in each state to qualify for a state pension.
In Norway useful information about your entitlements is available in English on the Norwegian government’s website, although detailed information is often only available in Norwegian.
Your social security rights in Norway under the EEA agreement are the same as those within the EU. When you start work in Norway you will contribute to the Norwegian social security system (National Insurance Scheme) and in that way gain the right to benefits.
Useful information about your entitlements is available in English on the Norwegian government’s website, although detailed information is often only available in Norwegian. For further details contact your local NAV office in the area our residing in Norway.
Consequences of not being a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
When you are not a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you are not entitled to any benefits under the National Insurance Act and you do not have to pay national insurance contributions. The most important are as follows:
- the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme does not cover the cost of health services incurred abroad
- you are not automatically entitled to health services in Norway for illness contracted during a stay abroad
- you do not earn pension rights/points under the National Insurance Act
Other consequences may affect the right to disability benefits and benefits for surviving spouse and children.
When you are a member of a social security scheme in another EEA-country, you earn your pension rights there and are entitled to have health services covered according to the regulations of that country. If you become ill while working and need medical assistance from Norway, the expenses will be covered according to the National Insurance Act.
What can you do to retain membership?
You are automatically a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme when you work on the Norwegian continental shelf. Nevertheless, you should send an application for membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme to the NAV National Office for Social Insurance Abroad in order to have membership confirmed, and obtain the necessary information.
Coverage of healthcare costs applies principally to when you have paid services via a doctor, hospital or for medication. Using health services in Norway, you will be entitled to have medical treatment covered under the National Insurance Act. For example, in Norway it means free admission to hospital and having to pay patient’s charge for medications.
Family members staying abroad more than 12 months are not members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. They do not meet the requirements for voluntary membership entitlement either.
In an EEA-country or Switzerland, the social security authorities will assess whether to enter family members onto your E106 form thus entitling them to health services according to the regulations of the country of residence.
What does it cost?
You must pay national insurance contributions to be a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. How much you have to pay will depend on your income.
Entitlement to other benefits
The right to benefits from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme while living abroad depends on membership. In order to be entitled to a benefit, you must fulfil certain conditions, be a member of that section of Norwegian National Insurance that gives entitlement to the benefit, and satisfy the special requirements of the benefit for you to receive it abroad.
Unemployed in Norway
If you become unemployed in Norway, you should register with the local job centre. You may qualify for Norwegian unemployment benefit, but will not be entitled to any equivalent of Income Support in Norway.
Transferring UK Unemployment Benefit
If you are entitled to unemployment benefit in the UK and have been claiming this for at least four weeks, you may continue to receive it for up to six months whilst you look for work in Norway. You should inform the DSS office where you sign on, of your intention to look for work in Norway well in advance of your date of departure.
Your local DSS will advise the DSS Overseas Branch who will send you, before your departure, a form to be handed to your job centre in Norway as soon as possible after your arrival here. This form secures the payment of your unemployment benefit in Norway.
Useful information about your entitlements is available in English on the Norwegian government’s website, although detailed information is often only available in Norwegian.
Working on the Norwegian continental shelf
If you work on the Norwegian continental shelf, you are a compulsory member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. You must pay national insurance contributions to Norway and you will be entitled to benefits under the National Insurance Act. You must perform work on the Norwegian continental shelf, there is no requirement for you to be paid by a Norwegian employer and there is no requirement for you to be resident in Norway.
What happens when you start working on the Norwegian continental shelf?
You are a compulsory member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme when you work on the Norwegian continental shelf. You must pay national insurance contributions to Norway even if you do not pay taxes to Norway. You can apply to maintain membership of the insurance scheme you normally belong to, and receive exemption from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme when you: Are resident in another EEA-country or Switzerland, Are posted by an employer in your country of residence or have been be working less than five years on the Norwegian continental shelf
For more information about life certificates for UK state pensions and private pension providers see the British Embassy Oslo’s notarial and documentary services guide.
The Norwegian tax system is based on the principle that everybody should pay tax according to their means.
For more information on the Norwegian system, as an employee or an employer, please see guidance on the Norwegian Tax Administration’s website.
Driving licences and vehicles
For general information visit the Statens vegvesen website.
Foreign driving licences in Norway
The validity of a foreign driving licence in Norway depends on whether the driving licence in question is issued inside or outside the European Union. Norway adopts the European Union’s legislation on driving licences through the EEA-agreement. Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences hence entered into force in Norway on 19 January 2013.
Driving licences issued in the EU/EEA are valid for driving in Norway as long as it is valid in the country it was issued. However, please note that heavy categories are valid only for 5 years from the date you took up residency in Norway.
Driving licences issued outside the EU/EEA are valid for driving in Norway for up to 3 months after entering Norway. This also applies if you take up ‘normal residence’ in Norway. The minimum age required to drive is 18 years.
If you are coming to live in Norway you should visit the Statens vegvesen website which includes a list of local offices that will be able to provide information on swapping your British licence for a Norwegian one. All major towns in Norway have a car/driver licensing office.
State education in Norway comprises of the compulsory barneskolen, ages 6 – 13, and ungdomsskolen, ages 13 – 16. Optional further (videregående) education is available, including vocational training. Higher education is available at universities and polytechnics.
For further information contact the Norwegian Ministry of Education
There are several English-speaking schools across Norway as well as schools offering the International Baccalaureate. Further information on English-speaking schools in Norway is available from The European Council for International Schools.
Teachers seeking employment at these schools are also advised to contact The British Council.
Schools in Norway offering International Baccalaureate: The world-wide IB exams system is administered by the International Baccalaureate Office in Geneva.
In Norway, you can also contact the Ministry of Education and Research or the relevant upper secondary school (videregående skole) for further details.
Compatibility of qualifications
Professional Qualifications: The EEA agreement guarantees the mutual regulation of qualifications in regulated professions. There may be specific requirements, e.g. a certain language ability for some fields of work. There are fewer regulated professions in Norway than in the UK, and each profession has a national association which ensures qualifications are properly recognised. Information about the comparability of professional qualifications is available from the following department;
Academic Qualifications: For details of the equivalent of your academic qualifications, contact the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).
The way of life, social customs and laws governing, for example, personal and business relationships, driving, buying and selling and personal freedom, can be quite different in Norway from what you are used to. You may find yourself disadvantaged if you do not speak the local language.
For tourist information see the Visit Norway website. See the ‘useful facts’ section for Cultural information on Norway.
Norwegian government departments
Information about most of the Norwegian government departments and ministries is available on the official government website.
Det Kgl. Utenriksdepartementet
Telephone +47 23 95 00 00
Education & Research
Telephone +47 22 24 90 90
Telephone +47 22 24 90 90
Health and Care Services
Helse - og omsorgsdepartementet
Telephone +47 22 24 90 90
Justice and Public Security
Justis - og beredskapsepartementet
Telephone +47 22 24 90 90
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Norwegian authorities.
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the Embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain further information must contact the relevant local authority.