How To Move to Norway (First Steps, Challenges, More)

Norway is a great country to live in. It has an excellent standard of living, a great healthcare system, and it is a dream for people who love the great outdoors.

However, before you can start living in this country, you must first figure out how to move there. 

Citizens of Nordic countries can move to Norway without a residence permit. All they must do is report their move to the National Registry.

Citizens of the EU/EEA can move to Norway for up to three months without registration. All others must have a job or family in Norway. 

This article will answer common questions people have about moving to the country, including the first steps they should take, the challenges they will face, and whether the country and citizens are welcoming. 

Also, see What Is Norway Known For? to learn more.

moving to Norway
What are the first steps to move to Norway? See below

What Are the First Steps to Move to Norway?

The first steps to moving to Norway depend on one’s citizenship.

Nordic citizens can move whenever they want without additional requirements. EU/EEA citizens can move without issue but must be able to support themselves in three months. Citizens of other countries must first find a job. 

The steps a person will take to move to Norway vary depending on their current citizenship. 

Nordic citizens can move to the country whenever they want. All they need to do is register at the National Registry when they move.

If they plan to stay in Norway for over six months, they will need to visit a tax office in person after they arrive in Norway.

The tax office will register their change of address and conduct an ID check. [1] 

For immigration purposes, a person is a Nordic citizen if they are a citizen of either Finland, Denmark, Iceland, or Sweden (or, of course, Norway). [2] 

Things are slightly different for members of a European Union country or a country in the European Economic Area (EEA).

In this case, they can move to Norway without issue for three months. However, at the end of those three months, they must register with the police. 

When they do so, they must show that they have a job, are a student, or have proof that they can support themselves with their own funds.

If the person is still looking for a job, they will have another three months to find one (a maximum of six months). 

However, if a person has a family member who falls under one of the above categories, they can join them in Norway as well. [3] 

Moving to Norway is a more challenging proposition for individuals from non-Nordic, non-EU, and non-EEA countries.

Before moving, persons outside of these countries must apply for and be granted a residency permit to live or work in the country for more than 90 days (approximately three months). 

To be granted this permit, they need to have a job in Norway or, if they are self-employed, meet income criteria set by the government.

Alternatively, they need to have a close family member who is a Norwegian citizen. 

People working and living in Norway for under 90 days may not need a residency permit. However, it depends on if their specific profession is exempt from this requirement. [4]

If someone is simply planning to move to Norway without working there for under 90 days, they should be fine with a tourist visa. [5] 

Also, see Is Norway Socialist? to learn more.

Norway northern lights
What’s hard about moving to Norway? See below

What’s Hard about Moving to Norway?

The hard parts about moving to Norway are the small population and the language. The small population means it can be challenging to fit in, and one must know Norwegian to integrate into society well.

Most jobs require workers to be fluent in Norwegian, even though most people speak English.

Those planning to move to Norway need to be ready to learn a new language.

While it is possible to live in Norway without knowing the language, especially in one of the major cities, things will be easier for those who speak Norwegian. 

Speaking the language makes it easier to integrate into the culture, and it will be easier to communicate with other people.

Additionally, while some workplaces use English as their primary language, most require workers to be fluent in Norwegian. 

Finally (and perhaps most importantly), people who plan to apply for permanent residence in the country must prove their knowledge of the language. [6] 

If someone is moving to Norway for a job and their work requires it, they’ve probably already started learning the language.

However, if they’ve planned their move and haven’t started learning, it’s best to do so immediately – knowing at least the basics will be invaluable during the first few weeks and months of a person’s time in Norway. 

Aside from learning the language, the biggest challenges with moving to Norway are those associated with any change in residence.

People will be uprooting their lives and leaving behind friends and family, which is hard for anyone.

If they don’t have friends and acquaintances in the country before moving, integrating into their new environment can be a challenge. 

Also, see Why Is Norway So Rich? to learn more.

Norway red house
Does Norway welcome foreigners? See below

Does Norway Welcome Foreigners?

Norwegians are friendly to foreigners, both tourists and immigrants. They can be a little reserved but will open up once they get to know them.

Foreigners may experience a level of culture shock in the country, especially regarding the prices of essentials.

In general, Norway is welcoming to foreigners. If they don’t know Norwegian, they may experience a language barrier, and some expats may find Norwegians more reserved than they are used to.

However, most people can find friends by meeting people – sports clubs, book clubs, and movie clubs are all popular, and it’s easy to find people with similar interests. 

New arrivals can also look for expat groups to find other newcomers to the country. These ex-pat groups can help newcomers and guide them through their first weeks and months in Norway. 

Foreigners may experience a significant culture shock when it comes to prices. Things are generally much more expensive in Norway, and they will have to budget differently there. 

Additionally, they should make an effort to understand the local culture. For example, all new arrivals should know of the Norwegian social value Janteloven. [7]

This value promotes social harmony and means people shouldn’t stick out too much.

Due to this, bragging about job titles or finances is a big negative – instead, everyone should be humble and try not to step into the spotlight. [8] 

Final Thoughts

Moving to Norway depends on one’s citizenship, and Nordic citizens have it easiest. However, no matter a person’s citizenship, they should learn Norwegian before moving. 

Also, see What Is There To Do In Norway? to learn more.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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