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 you come from the EU/EEA or other countries.

  • If you fall in the category of an EU/EEA/EFTA national, your family members are entitled to come to Norway to live with you. There are two different schemes that come into play in this case, and which scheme is applicable depends on which citizenship your family members hold.

  • If your family members are also EU/EEA/EFTA nationals, they are covered by the registration system for EEA nationals and will be issued registration certificates.

  • If your family members are not EU/EEA/EFTA nationals, they must apply for residence cards as family members of an EEA national. The card is about the same size as a credit card, and is proof that they hold a residence permit in Norway. Unless otherwise stated on the card, it also proves that they are entitled to travel freely in the Schengen area. It is necessary to take both the card and their passport with them when traveling.

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 or Norwegian citizenship after you’ve lived in Norway for a specific number of years and fulfilled 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.

Still confused?


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 explains the conditions that you need to fulfil for the different types of permits and also helps you with clarifications that you may need during the different stages of the application process. Give it a go! 

Last modified 6 November 2023
Welcome Hub Agder is a programme operated by Inklusiv Agder AS in collaboration with the Arendal Municipality, as an integrated part of the community to welcome international talent and their families to Arendal and Agder.
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