Almost 14% of the total population of Norway are immigrants, with one third travelling to Norway specifically to find work. Despite the notoriously high taxes and prices, the standard of living available in Norway continues to draw in people from all over the globe. The access to glorious countryside, globally renowned cultural sites, as well as summer’s mild climate and 24-hour daylight only add to the appeal.
The major cities have significant expat communities. In particular, large international businesses across the financial and energy sectors pull in foreign talent regularly.
If you’re going to Norway for work, either because you have a new job lined up already or to start a new business for yourself, you might need a visa in order to do so. Luckily, there’s no need to worry because the Norwegian authorities have a simple and intuitive process to make your application. Here is a quick guide to getting a Norwegian work visa.
Do I need a Norwegian work visa?
Your first priority should be to figure out if you need a work permit at all. In some cases, depending on your nationality and the role you’re going to take on, a permit might not be necessary.
If you’re from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) you don’t need a permit to live, work or study in Norway. However, you do need to register your stay with the local police if you’re there for more than 3 months.
Third country nationals will usually need a permit. Norwegian Immigration Authorities’ work immigration guide has a handy form where you simply enter your nationality along with the reason for your visit, and your visa options are explained.
What is the process to get a Norwegian work visa?
Migration to Norway is regulated by the Norwegian Immigration Authorities (UDI). There are various different visa routes for workers, depending on your situation. If you’re coming to Norway to work in a professional capacity or to start your own business, the skilled workers visa route is commonly used.
Norway isn’t covered by the EU Blue Card scheme which applies in many other countries in Europe.
To get a visa under the skilled workers scheme, you must be working at a professional level job, and have the relevant qualifications or licenses to carry out that work. You usually need to have a solid job offer for full time work, and a salary rate which is no less than the Norwegian average salary. If you want to come to Norway to work in a part time capacity or for multiple employers, you may still get a visa, but you’ll have to explain your situation in detail as part of the application process.
There are some exceptional cases where you don’t need a job arranged in advance of coming to Norway. This mainly applies if you’re a citizen of a country with special reciprocal visa agreements with Norway, and have a realistic prospect of securing skilled work when you arrive there. In this case you might be given a short term permit for up to six months, which gives you the time to settle in Norway and look for a role.
Once you have a job offer, and before you start to work, you can then change your permit to one that allows you to work legally.
Regardless of your visa type, your application can be submitted in person at your local Norwegian embassy, or you can give written power of attorney to your employer to make the application on your behalf.
The Norwegian work visa application fee varies according to the visa type required, but is usually in the region of 3,200 to 3,700 NOK. In some cases there are additional fees depending on where and how you submit your application. UDI’s website also has a time processing calculator for your visa application based on where and how you submitted it. On average a skilled worker visa submitted at a local embassy takes four or five weeks to process.
You can also track your application on the same site by entering your personal details.