This is a complicated area and it's understandably easy to get confused when there’s such a wealth of information with countless “ifs” and “buts”. Every country has it’s own set of rules and regulations when it comes to applying for work and resident permits and Norway is no different.
First, there are general rules and regulations that apply to most permit holders and then there are specific conditions that depend on where you come from - EU/EEA/EFTA? Other countries?
In general, all foreign nationals can apply for a residence permit which will entitle them to work and live in Norway.
What’s different are the rules, guidelines and application procedures that apply to the different types of work permits, depending on whether these nationals are so-called EEA nationals or nationals of other countries.
You can also apply for a family immigration permit under the scope of general regulations. An important thing to note here is that you cannot apply on behalf of your family members.
You can apply for permanent residence after you’ve lived in Norway for a specific number of years and fulfil certain obligations including but not necessarily limited to participating in a Norwegian language course for example. Again what rules and regulations apply to you will depend on your permit type and from which country you come from.
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is responsible for processing applications from foreign nationals who wish to visit or live in Norway. It has come up with a useful tool that not only helps you find the type of permit that best suits you but also helps you with clarifications that you may need during the different stages of the application process. Give it a go!