Second Citizenship
April 1, 2024
Reading Time: 13 min

How to become a Norwegian citizen and move to the country of the northern lights

Norway, a country of polar lights and majestic fjords, is known as one of the best countries to live in. It is safe, prosperous, and politically stable. So, it is no wonder expats choose to move there and obtain the country’s citizenship.

Adult foreigners have 3 options to get a Norwegian passport: marriage, notification, or naturalisation. To ease the path to a passport by naturalisation, one can obtain a residence permit for self-employed persons with a company in Norway.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Explained how to obtain Norway citizenship

How to obtain Norway citizenship

How to become a Norwegian citizen and move to the country of the northern lights

5 ways to obtain Norway citizenship

1. Naturalisation. To become a citizen by naturalisation, a foreigner must live in the country for at least 8 years during the last 11 years before the application. The residence must be legal.

Other requirements are:

  • being over 12;

  • planning to continuously reside in Norway after obtaining the country’s passport;

  • achieving B1 level of the Norwegian language — people under 18 and over 67 are exempt from passing the test;

  • passing a citizenship test — minors and persons over 67 are also exempt from this test;

  • having no criminal record or has endured a waiting period, depending on the type of crime.

Children of citizens who obtained their Norwegian passport by naturalisation or marriage get citizenship. If they are over 2, they must have lived in Norway for at least 2 years prior to the application. Married children don’t qualify for citizenship under the conditions above.

Some EU countries, such as Portugal, Greece, and Spain, offer an easier path to citizenship by naturalisation. Foreigners don’t need to find a job, enter a university, or open a company to obtain a temporary residence permit. The requirement is to invest in the country’s economy.

The minimum investment depends on the country. The smallest sums are in Greece and Portugal, where one can get residency for €250,000+.

2. Birth. A child becomes a citizen at birth if their father or mother is a Norwegian citizen.

The newborn must be registered in the National Population Register of Birth to be considered a Norwegian citizen. It can be done by a doctor, a midwife, or a mother within 1 month after giving birth.

Usually, a person to whom a mother is married is considered the child’s father. This rule doesn’t apply if a couple is officially separated at the time of birth.

If a father is a Norwegian citizen and is not married to the child’s mother, paternity must be proved. To do so, the man must provide a written declaration to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service.

3. Adoption. Minor children adopted by Norwegian citizens obtain a country’s passport. It doesn’t matter whether a child was adopted in the country or abroad.

4. Marriage. Foreign spouses in an official marriage, registered partnership, or cohabitation with Norwegian citizens can obtain citizenship. The required period of residency is 5 out of 10 years prior to the application. The couple must have a joint residence and be in an official relationship for at least 7 years.

Other requirements include:

  • be and plan on remaining a resident in Norway;

  • pass Norwegian language and citizenship tests;

  • have no criminal record or have endured a waiting period, depending on the type of crime;

  • hold a residence permit with.

5. Notification. Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland citizens can obtain Norwegian citizenship on simplified terms, as per the Nordic agreement between these countries.

There are two paths to Norwegian citizenship for Nordic citizens: by submitting a notification or an application. The requirements for obtaining a passport by notification are:

  • be over 18;

  • live in Norway for the past 7 years;

  • have no criminal record during these 7 years;

  • pay an application fee of NOK 2,700, or €235.

The Nordic person obtains Norwegian citizenship by notification on the same day when they are filing an application.

Getting citizenship through an application is faster but a bit more complex. The requirements are the following:

  • be over 12;

  • live in Norway for the past 2 years and not be absent for more than 2 months a year;

  • have no criminal record;

  • understand Norwegian or Sami.

Children of Nordic citizens who have obtained a Norwegian passport get citizenship automatically.

Comparison of citizenship and residency by investment programs

Practical Guide

Comparison of citizenship and residency by investment programs

Requirements for obtaining Norway citizenship

General criteria. Every foreigner applying for Norwegian citizenship must live in Norway for a specific period, have permanent residence and an intention to stay after obtaining a passport, and demonstrate they have a sufficient level of Norwegian for day-to-day communications.

Required documents. A basic list of documents includes:

  • a filled-out application form;

  • photos;

  • a copy of a passport;

  • health insurance;

  • proof of having means of supporting themselves;

  • proof of having an accommodation in Norway;

  • a CV.

The full list of required papers depends on the grounds under which you’re applying. For example, you must provide a work contract if you plan to work for a Norwegian company or an enrollment certificate if you apply for a student permit.

If you’re applying for permanent residence or citizenship, you also present temporary or permanent residency permits.

All the documents must be in either English or Norwegian.

Fees. You will have to pay fees on every step to Norway citizenship. The cost of a residence permit depends on the type of residency you’re getting. The sums are the following:

  • NOK 6,300, or €550 — for a work permit and the renewal of it;

  • NOK 5,400, or €470 — a student permit and the renewal of it for persons over 18;

  • NOK 11,900, or €1,000 — first-time application for family immigration for adults;

  • NOK 4,400, or €380 — renewal of the residence permit for family immigration.

Resident permits for minors are free of charge.

Additional expenses are required when applying with a Visa Application Centre or in another country if your home country doesn’t have a Norwegian embassy.

Applying for permanent residency costs NOK 4,000, roughly €350, for adults and is free of charge for children under 18.

The citizenship application fee is NOK 6,500, or roughly €560, for adults and NOK 0 for minors. Adult Nordic citizens getting a passport by notification pay NOK 2,700, or €240.

Is it possible to obtain Norway citizenship by investment?

Norway offers neither citizenship nor residency by investment. However, a special sole proprietor visa exists for self-employed persons with a company in Norway or abroad.

In Norwegian, it is called “selvstendig næringsdrivende med firma i Norge eller utlandet”. Based on this visa, foreigners get the status of a Norwegian resident.

If a person has a business in Norway, they get a residence permit for 1 year at once. 3 years after holding temporary residency, they can apply for a permanent residence permit and, then, for citizenship.

The proprietor’s relatives also obtain residence permits. If all the applications are filed together, the whole family gets the documents simultaneously.

If a foreigner has a company outside Norway, they get the status of a resident for 2 years, which can be extended for up to 6 years. However, it doesn’t lead to permanent residency. Family members obtain a residence permit only if the foreigner works in Norway for longer than 6 months.

Requirements for obtaining a visa for sole proprietors in Norway

Having business in Norway. An entrepreneur with a business in Norway can obtain a residence permit if it is necessary to establish and run a company there.

The applicant must live in Norway and actively participate in the operation of the business. Working for another company or doing the work remotely is prohibited. The company must be a sole proprietorship with an annual profit of at least NOK 296,550, or roughly €25,800, pre-tax.

Having a business abroad. A foreigner with a company abroad obtains the visa if they sign a contract for carrying out an assignment for a company registered in Norway. Their own business must be a sole proprietorship. The applicant must have enough skills to complete the assignment, and their remuneration can’t be less than NOK 480,900, or €42,000, per year pre-tax.

In both cases, a foreigner must have an education or a qualification in the field in which they work or run a business. They must fulfil at least one of the requirements:

  • have completed a vocational training programme of at least three years at the upper secondary school level — it is only allowed if there is a corresponding vocational training programme in Norway;

  • have a degree from a university — it can be both a bachelor’s or a master’s degree;

  • have special qualifications acquired through professional experience of at least 6 years.

How to register a sole proprietorship in Norway

Sole proprietors are self-employed persons and are considered such if they are responsible for the goods they sell, plan to earn a profit and use their own equipment.

The process of registering a sole proprietorship consists of the following steps:

  1. Decide on the specifications of the business and choose your company’s name.

  2. Apply to obtain the D-number required to register a company. It can be done through, for example, The Tax Administration

  3. Visit a tax office to get the D-number and undergo an identity check.

  4. Obtain a business address in Norway.

  5. Apply for registration at the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities and Brønnøysund Register Centre.

  6. Pay the fee: NOK 2,656 (€231) for the online application or NOK 3,205 (€279) for the application by post.

After the company is registered, you receive an organisation number that is obligatory for selling goods and providing services.

How to get citizenship in Norway: a step-by-step procedure

Obtaining Norway citizenship by ordinary naturalisation takes at least 8 years. A foreigner is required to get a residence permit and, then, permanent residency. Citizenship is granted based on the latter.

1

1+ year

Pre-application: meet the requirement for a residence permit

It can be employment, running a company, studying, or another ground.

2

2—3 weeks

Gather documents and apply for residency

Documentation can vary depending on the country of your citizenship and the type of residence permit you’re applying for.

The application is filed with the Norwegian embassy or consulate in the country you live in.

3

3 years

Live in Norway with a residence permit

The temporary residence permit is valid for 1 year and can be extended. You must live with it for at least 3 years to turn it into permanent residency.

To be eligible, one must continue meeting the conditions for the initial residence permit, like having a work contract.

4

2—3 weeks

Apply for permanent residence

To apply for a permanent residence permit, the foreigner can only stay outside Norway for up to 7 months during the 3 years prior to the application.

The foreigner must also complete compulsory Norwegian language and social knowledge training and pass final exams.

5

After up to 8 years in total

Apply for citizenship

The required period of living in Norway depends on the grounds under which the foreigner applies for the status. For example, ordinary naturalisation requires at least 8 years of total residence in the country.

Applications are filed with the Norwegian police or a Norwegian foreign mission.

6

1 day

Citizenship ceremony

Every person who obtains Norway citizenship and is over 12 participates in the citizenship ceremony. It is an official event that takes place once or twice a year and marks the transition to Norway citizenship.

During the ceremony, a person over 18 takes an oath of allegiance.

Dual citizenship in Norway

Norway recognises dual citizenship, which means you’re not required to give up your first citizenship upon obtaining a Norwegian one.

However, some countries, like China, Iran, or India, don’t allow their citizens to have two or more passports. You will have to renounce your citizenship if you come from one of these countries.

Losing and reacquiring a Norwegian passport

A Norwegian citizen can lose their citizenship if they:

  • provide incorrect information upon application;

  • commit a criminal offence that can seriously damage Norwegian national interests, such as terrorism or drug trafficking;

  • are absent from Norway.

A person who has resided in Norway for less than 2 years and less than 7 years in other Nordic countries can lose citizenship when turning 22. However, the status can be retained if such a person files an application and proves their strong connections to Norway.

No matter what happens, minors can’t lose their citizenship until they turn 18.

Former Norwegian citizens can apply for reacquisition if they have resided in Norway for at least 2 years before submitting their application. Children over 2 years old must also live in the country for 2+ years.

7 things to consider before moving to Norway

1. Think about finances. The average salary in Norway is €3,300 net, and a single person requires around €1,100 without rent to have a good standard of living.

Oslo is the most expensive city in the country. An average one-bedroom apartment there costs €1,000—1,350, depending on the location. The price of a three-bedroom apartment is €1,550—2,000. Expenses for basic utilities are about €160—200.

The average square metre cost in Norway is €5,600—8,100, and the buyer can expect to pay a mortgage at a rate of 4%.

The food basket consisting of meat, bread, dairy products, fruit, and vegetables costs around NOK 837, or €73.

2. Choose a city. Think about where you plan to live. The majority of Norwegians reside in Oslo, the capital of Norway. Thus, it is the largest city in the country, with a population of about 1.3 million people. Oslo is also considered to have the highest quality of life in Norway, and is perfect for business people.

The 2nd and 3rd largest cities are Bergen and Trondheim. The population there is around 300,000 and 200,000, respectively. Despite being smaller than Oslo, they offer many job and business opportunities.

Drammen is a city located in the suburbs of Oslo. It is perfect for people who work in the capital but prefer to stay in a quieter place with a lower cost of living. Sandvika, Asker, and Moss are other towns not far from Oslo.

Mid-size regional centres like Bodø, Tromsø, Ålesund, and Kristiansand do have less-developed infrastructure but still offer enough facilities and job opportunities.

The Lofoten Islands are a spectacular place with beautiful landscapes. However, it doesn’t have good transport accessibility and can be expensive. It might be a good place for people tired of big and noisy cities who would like to experience a completely different way of living.

3. Find housing. There are several types of housing in Norway:

  • Bygård — apartment blocks built from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. They are often located in the city centre and have historical vibes;

  • post-war complexes built from the 1950s to 1960s; they are quite simple in terms of exterior but usually located not too far away from the city centre;

  • modern apartment blocks — they have all the modern facilities and usually cost rather expensive.

You can find apartments for rent on websites like rentola.no or finn.no.

4. Open a bank account. To open a bank account, a person must provide a passport, a Norwegian ID number, and a passport photo. In some cases, it might be required to bring an employment contract.

The largest banks in Norway are DnB, Nordea, SparebankenVest, Sparebanken 1, and Danske Bank. Some of them provide services and online banking in English.

5. Familiarise yourself with taxation. Income tax comprises two parts: a general one and a bracket tax. The general tax includes all types of income: from employment, capital, or pension, and its rate is 22%. The bracket tax is added to the general one and depends on the annual income.

Income-dependent bracket tax rates

Income in Norwegian Krones

Income in Euro

Tax rate

Under NOK 208,050

€18,100

No tax

NOK 208,051—292,850

€18,100—25,500

1.7%

NOK 292,851—670,000

€25,500—58,400

4%

NOK 670,001—937,900

€58,400—82,000

13.6%

NOK 937,901—1,350,000

€82,000—118,000

16.6%

Over NOK 1,350,001

Over €118,000

17.6%

The standard value-added tax is 25%. It is reduced to 15% for food and to 10% for transportation and hotel services.

The corporate tax is 22% for the majority of businesses. Some companies in the financial sector are taxed at a rate of 25%.

People working in Norway have a tax card showing an employer how much tax should be withheld from the person’s salary. One can apply for a tax card online through electronic services, or the employer can submit an application on the employee’s behalf.

Norway has signed treaties with more than 100 countries, meaning citizens of these countries are exempt from paying taxes to 2 states.

6. Adapt to transportation. Public transport in Norway consists of buses, ferries, and trams, and 101 metro stations function in Oslo. Tickets can be bought for a day, week, month, or year; the price depends on how far one travels.

For example, a monthly pass for the zone of the city centre costs NOK 897, or €78. It can be used in all types of public transport. There are reduced rates for children, students, and seniors.

Taxi costs NOK 15, or €1.3 per 1 kilometre, and NOK 100, for €8.7 for a start. The cost of 1 litre of gasoline is NOK 23, or €2.

7. Learn emergency numbers. 112 is an emergency and a police number; in a non-urgent situation, one can also call 02800. 110 is a number for fire emergencies, and 113 is for ambulances.

9 benefits of getting Norway citizenship

1. Living in Norway. Norwegian citizens can enter Norway under any circumstances and spend as much time as they want there. At the same time, they are not obliged to live in the country.

Norway allows having dual citizenship, which means a Norwegian national is not required to renounce any other citizenship they have.

2. Passport’s strength. Norwegian citizens can enter 171 countries without visas. The list of visa-free destinations includes all Schengen countries, the UK, Japan, and many others.

Norwegians can stay in the Schengen countries for an unlimited period. The allowed stay in the UK is 180 days during the year; in Japan, it is 90 days out of 180.

3. Freedom of movement in the EU and EEA. As a member of the European Economic Area, Norway grants its citizens the opportunity to study, live, and work in the EU, EEA countries, and Switzerland without a special residence permit.

4. High quality of life. Norway ranks in the top 10 countries with the highest quality of life, according to Numbeo. The rating assesses such criteria as safety, healthcare, and pollution indexes.

Norway has a developed economy with a high GDP per capita, which has risen by 1,5% compared to five years prior to the COVID‑19 pandemic. The country’s main export commodities are oil, gas, seafood, and products from energy-intensive industries.

Norway’s government cares about the environment and is working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing Norwegian nature, and preventing pollution.

The country is also considered one of the world’s happiest states. Citizens enjoy access to clean environments, excellent public facilities, and a strong sense of community.

5. Access to the healthcare system. According to CEOWorld Magazine’s Health Care Index, Norway is on the top 10 healthcare list. Factors considered include healthcare infrastructure, professionals and their competencies, cost, and medicine availability.

Due to the quality of healthcare, life expectancy in Norway is 83 years, which is one of the highest rates in the world. For example, in Hong Kong, a country with the highest life expectancy in the world, people, on average, live around 86 years.

Norwegians can get a European Healthcare Card that allows them to access state-provided healthcare in all EU countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, under the same conditions as locals.

6. Equality and inclusion. Norwegian society is structured around principles of equality, with strong protections against discrimination and an emphasis on including all citizens in the social fabric.

7. Access to education. Norwegian citizens can study in Norwegian and EEA countries’ public universities for free. They are also not required to obtain student residence permits to be full-time students.

Six Norwegian universities are among the top 1,500 universities in the world, according to the QS World Ranking 2024. The leading institution is the University of Oslo.

Other higher educational institutions on the list are the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Tromsø, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and the University of Stavanger.

Diplomas of Norwegian universities are recognised in the EU, the US, and many other countries worldwide.

8. Safety. Norway is among the top 35 safest countries in the world, according to Numbeo. It is known for its low crime rate and political stability. The country is safer than Sweden, the UK, Estonia, and many other European states.

9. Tranquillity and natural beauty. Norway is a country rich in forests, glaciers, and rivers. It is also home to a rare type of landscape called fjords.

Norwegians value tranquillity and like to remain close to nature. They often engage in outdoor activities, such as hiking.

Norway citizenship

Polar lights are one of the Norwegian wonders. It can usually be seen in winter and early spring

Countries to obtain citizenship in the EU faster and easier

Obtaining Norway citizenship might be expensive and take a long time. If you would like to become a European citizen or resident, there are simpler options.

Malta citizenship by naturalisation through exceptional services by direct investment is granted to foreigners who obtained a residence permit and have lived in Malta for 1 or 3 years.

To be eligible, the person must:

  • make a contribution of €600,000+ to the National Development and Social Fund;

  • make a charitable donation of €10,000;

  • rent real estate for €16,000 annually or buy it for €700,000+ for at least 5 years.

With Maltese citizenship, the foreigner obtains the following benefits:

  • travelling to the EU anytime;

  • gaining profit from investing in real estate;

  • living in an English-speaking country;

  • enjoying the pleasant climate and closeness of the warm Mediterranean Sea.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Some European countries have Golden Visa programmes that ease the path to obtaining a residence permit. After holding the document for several years, one can obtain European citizenship.

The Portugal Golden Visa can be obtained by investing at least €250,000 in the country’s economy. There are several options: purchase of investment fund units, supporting arts and restoring cultural heritage, investment in research activities, business investment, and the creation of jobs.

The benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa program are:

  • obtainment of citizenship in 5 years;

  • legal residence in a country with a low cost of living;

  • return of the investment.

The Greece Golden Visa. Foreigners obtain the Golden Visa if they invest in real estate, rent a hotel or tourist residence for 10 years, buy a land plot for construction and agriculture, have a timeshare for 10 years, inherit real estate, or receive it as a gift. All of these options require a minimum investment of €250,000.

The foreigner can also purchase securities or open a bank deposit. In this case, the sum increases to €400,000+.

Starting March 31st, 2024, the real estate investments are rising to €400,000—800,000. However, there will be a grace period until September 30th, 2024.

A Greek residence permit allows one to optimise taxes, obtain citizenship in 7 years, and move to Greece.

The Spain Golden Visa is granted to foreigners who:

  • purchase real estate for €500,000+;

  • open a bank deposit — €1,000,000+;

  • buy shares of Spanish companies or units of investment funds for €1,000,000+;

  • purchase government bonds for €2,000,000+;

  • invest in a business — no minimum sum.

The Spanish Golden Visa programme is beneficial because one can obtain a residence permit in 5 months without passing the Spanish language test and move to a country of rich culture and natural beauty.

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Practical Guide

Ultimate comparison of Golden Visa programs

Key takeouts

  1. Foreigners can obtain Norway citizenship by naturalisation, marriage, or notification. Children can also get a passport by birth or adoption.

  2. The benefits of Norwegian citizenship are passport strength, freedom of movement in the EU and EEA, high quality of life, safety and stability, and access to high-class healthcare and education.

  3. To get citizenship, one must obtain a residence permit or permanent residency. A temporary residence permit is usually granted to employers of Norwegian companies, students, and relatives of Norwegian nationals.

  4. Self-employed persons can also obtain a residence permit if they have a company in Norway or abroad.

  5. Portugal, Greece, and Spain grant residence permits for investment that can later be turned into permanent residency and EU citizenship.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

How to obtain a residence permit in Europe?

Practical Guide

How to obtain a residence permit in Europe?

Frequently asked questions

  • How do you become a citizen of Norway?

    There are several ways to become a Norwegian:

    • by naturalisation;

    • by marriage;

    • by notification — applies to Nordic citizens.

    Children can obtain citizenship by birth or adoption.

    To be eligible for a passport by naturalisation, a foreigner must have lived in Norway for at least 8 out of the past 11 years before applying.

  • Can a US citizen get dual citizenship in Norway?

    Yes, the US and Norway allow their citizens to have multiple passports. It means you’re not required to renounce your American citizenship upon obtaining a Norwegian one.

  • Does a baby born in Norway get citizenship?

    A child gets Norway citizenship by the right of blood, so to speak, if at least one of their parents is Norwegian.

    Children of foreigners born in Norway don’t obtain citizenship.

  • What are the benefits of being a Norwegian citizen?

    Some benefits of Norway citizenship are:

    • passport’s strength;

    • freedom of movement in the EU and EEA.

    • high quality of life;

    • safety and stability;

    • access to high-class healthcare and education;

    • equality and inclusion.

  • Can I claim citizenship by descent?

    No, Norway doesn’t give citizenship to people with Norwegian ancestry. However, every person with at least one Norwegian parent is entitled to citizenship by birth. This rule also works if parents lose their citizenship but are Norwegian at the time of a child’s birth.

  • Does Norway allow dual citizenship?

    Yes, Norwegian citizens can have two or more citizenship. However, other countries may require renouncing any other citizenship.

  • Is it easy to become a resident of Norway?

    It is not easy to become a Norwegian resident. A person must have specific grounds, such as signing a work contract with a Norwegian employer or studying at a Norwegian university.

    Self-employed people can get residency if they own a company in Norway.

  • Is it difficult to get permanent residency in Norway?

    After obtaining a residence permit, it is relatively simple to get permanent residency. The requirements are the following:

    • live in Norway for 3 years and not be absent for more than 7 months during the whole period;

    • be self-sufficient for the last 12 months before the submission of the application;

    • complete compulsory Norwegian language and social knowledge training and pass final exams.

  • Do you have to speak Norwegian to become a Norwegian citizen?

    Yes, applicants for Norwegian citizenship must pass the Norwegian language test.

  • Can I live in Norway if I marry a Norwegian?

    Yes, you can obtain a residence permit in Norway if you are married to a Norwegian national.

    7 years after marriage and 5 years after living together in Norway, you can apply for citizenship.