Norway is a country where many foreigners want to move to work. However, they need to know that it is the northernmost state in Europe, that the weather is not the best (to put it mildly) and that the Norwegian language is not really easy to learn (actually, I should say the Norwegian languages, because there are two: Bokmål and the Nynorsk). The first, more widely spoken, is used by 85% of Norwegians, the second by the remaining 15%.
These negative sides are largely offset by the quality of services, social justice, widespread legality, health care system, protection of workers’ rights and unemployment benefits in Norway.
The excellent social system, unspoiled landscapes and relaxed lifestyle are just a few reasons to move to Norway.
Norway, together with Sweden and Finland, occupies the Scandinavian peninsula and is somewhat larger in area than Germany, but has only slightly more than 5 million inhabitants.
Move to Norway
Norway is not a member of the EU, but is part of the Schengen area and citizens from EU countries can enter the country without a visa.
For a stay of up to 3 months, no formalities are required, while for a stay of more than 3 months, you must apply for a residence permit by registering online at UDI (Norwegian Immigration Service). You will also need to contact your local police station, which will issue you a personal identification number (fødselsnummer).
The residence permit is issued upon presentation of some documents proving the following:
- your profession (or other reason)
- your residence
- your health insurance coverage
The residence permit is used to access social security, open a bank account or purchase a Norwegian SIM.
Also, citizens of about 100 nations do not need a visa to visit Norway for tourism, business, transit and medical reasons. It is possible to stay for a maximum of 3 months. On the government website you can see the list of countries that do not require a visa. If your country is not on the list, you will need to apply for a visitor visa.
If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a visa. The type of visa depends on the purpose of your stay.
- Family immigration visa, may be applied for by spouses, cohabitants or children of persons living in Norway
- Study permit, must be applied for by students from a country outside the EU/EEA who wish to study in Norway
- Medical visa, must be applied for by citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA who wish to receive medical treatment in Norway for more than 90 days
- Visitor visa, must be applied for by persons from some countries outside the EU/EEA
- Work permit, can usually be applied for by people who have a job in Norway
- Au pair visa, must be applied for by persons who want to work as an au pair in Norway
Move to Norway, useful resources
- UDI, is responsible for processing applications to visiti or move to Norway
- Living and working in Norway, a NAV guide
- Norway, Norwegian Foreign Service’s emabssies and permanente mission around the world
- Guide to living in Norway, general information about living in Norway
- Official website, find all the information about moving to Norway
Moving to Norway, finding accommodation
Initially, you will stay in a hostel or in a room that you have booked in advance. Then, once you are in Norway, you can look for permanent accommodation.
There are several ways to find accommodation:
- 1.Local newspapers
- 2.Real estate agencies
- 3.Rental websites
- Finn, the most popular website (in Norwegian)
- Hybell, (in Norwegian)
- Gulesider, (yellow pages)
- NEF, the Norwegian Association of Real Estate Agents
The cost of rent in Norway is quite high. When you sign the contract, you must pay a deposit of two months’ rent.
You can find fully furnished apartments, where there is everything (including dishes), which, of course, costs more. Or cheaper solutions: empty apartments. You need to know that you can find any used furniture at a good price on local classifieds websites.
In any case, the cheapest solution, at least in the beginning, is definitely a shared apartment. Here are two websites for finding a room:
- iRoommates, (in English)
- Kangaroom, (in English)
I would like to give one last tip to all European citizens who want to go to Norway to look for a job: Do not go with €1,000 in your pocket, that’s not enough. Make sure you have at least €3,000-4,000. When you consider that you will have to spend at least €2,000 on rent (€500 per month plus 3 months deposit) and add to that the very high cost of living, you will realize that you need a lot of money.
In any case, as soon as you arrive in Norway, I advise you to go to Caritas to get all the information and help.
Moving to Norway, conclusion
If you want to move, keep in mind that Norway is twice as long as Italy. Therefore, living in Milan is not the same as living in Palermo, and living in Norway is not the same as living in Oslo or Trondheim.
Trondheim is a student city where there is a lot of life during school hours. It is a small city where it is very cold in the winter, much colder than Oslo.
Bergen (the second largest city) is a very characteristic city by the sea. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts thousands of tourists every year with its cobbled streets and picturesque wooden houses. It is also one of the main starting points for cruises and excursions along the fjords.
In summer Norwegian weather is acceptable, but in winter the long dark days favor latent depression.
Norwegians are correct, honest and down-to-earth people, certainly much more reserved than Latin peoples, but the inhabitants of smaller towns are nicer than the inhabitants of Oslo.
The country’s wealth comes mainly from raw materials, oil and gas, and this makes it a relatively quiet and traditional nation, suitable for those who want to live a quiet life.