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Shipping and Removals in Norway

Norway has one of the world’s biggest shipping industries, so getting one's belongings to the country is easy and safe. The issue lies in cost, which can be quite high both into and out of Norway, as postage is more expensive than in most other countries. When shipping goods to Norway, beware of customs. One won’t be taxed on moving shipments unless it's a vehicle. However, if a person resides in the country, they will be taxed on items shipped to Norway unless they are used items, certain gifts, or printed material.

When travelling to Norway, typical travel items like clothes, cameras and personal goods can be taken through customs duty-free without having to be declared, as long as the total value does not exceed a specified amount. Food and alcohol have strict limits, and surpassing those can incur import tax, as well as large fines if discovered.

When moving to or from Norway, a person should either hire a moving firm that knows the regulations or make sure that they understand what is expected. A person will have to pay for shipments that wait at the dock, and they may wait a long time for the goods to pass through customs. Insuring goods is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions about Norway

Norway is a peaceful Scandinavian country that offers expats a great lifestyle and high quality of life, so there is little to be concerned about when planning a move there. Nevertheless, expats may still have questions about what to expect. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about living in Norway.

What’s the weather like in Norway?

Norway is a northern country, which means it has long, bitterly cold and dark winters and short summers with long, sunlit days. In addition to this, some parts of Norway are also rainy almost year round. Many expats find it difficult to adjust to the lack of sunlight during Norwegian winters.

Is healthcare in Norway free?

For citizens and residents of Norway, healthcare is heavily subsidised by the government and is almost free but for a small fee payable after any visit to the doctor. After a certain limit, which changes each year, one's visits will be completely free.

Temporary residents and tourists are not entitled to this service (unless one's home country has a reciprocal agreement with Norway). Non-residents should note that medical care in Norway is expensive and won’t necessarily be covered by medical insurance. Expats should check with their insurance company before they travel, and take out additional insurance if necessary.

Do I need to buy a car in Norway?

It depends. Cities such as Oslo have excellent and affordable public transport and owning a car may be unnecessary. However, if a person has children or plans to travel often in Norway it might be a good idea to get a car. Norway has some of the strictest road traffic laws in the world and penalties can be severe, so it is recommended that a driver becomes familiar with these when renting a car. Getting a Norwegian driving licence may be the biggest obstacle.

Public holidays in Norway




New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Maundy Thursday

6 April

28 March

Good Friday

7 April

29 March

Easter Sunday

9 April

31 March

Easter Monday

10 April

1 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Constitution Day

17 May

9 May

Ascension Day

18 May

17 May

Whit Sunday

28 May

19 May

Whit Monday

29 May

20 May

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December


Embassy Contacts for Norway

Norwegian embassies abroad

  • Embassy of Norway, Washington, DC, United States: +1 202 333 6000

  • Embassy of Norway, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7591 5500

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 6571

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 5700

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 364 3700

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 662 1800

  • Norwegian Consulate-General, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 471 2503

Foreign embassies in Norway

  • United States Embassy, Oslo: +47 21 30 85 40

  • Embassy of the United Kingdom, Oslo: +47 23 13 27 00

  • Embassy of Canada, Oslo: +47 22 99 53 00

  • Australian Embassy, Copenhagen, Denmark (also responsible for Norway): +45 70 26 36 76

  • South African Embassy, Oslo: +47 23 27 32 20

  • Irish Embassy, Oslo: +47 22 01 72 00

  • New Zealand Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden (also responsible for Norway): +46 8 400 17 270

Accommodation in Norway

Expats looking for accommodation in Norway will be happy to know that there are a variety of housing options throughout the country, and generally of excellent quality across the board. Although accommodation prices in Norway can be high (as much as a third or even half of one's salary), employers often provide expats with a housing allowance in their employment contracts. Moreover, expats thinking of moving to Norway with their families can rest assured that – as with all other aspects of Norwegian society – the range of accommodation options available to them will be strikingly family friendly.

The standard of accommodation in Norway is excellent, though expats relocating from countries where houses are typically roomy might be surprised at the relative lack of space in Norwegian homes. Nevertheless, expats can expect comfortable, well-finished, well-insulated living quarters with good heating systems. Expats should ensure that the heating in their prospective lodgings – whether it be gas, electric or a wood-burning stove – works well, because it will be a necessity in winter.

Types of accommodation in Norway

At least during the initial stages of their time in Norway, most expats opt for renting property in Norway. There is a variety of accommodation options to choose, ranging from detached houses (enebolig) and terraced/row houses (rekkehus) to apartments and properties called 'tomannsbolig', which are large houses that have been subdivided for use by two families. 

Many of those intending to rent accommodation in Oslo will end up in a flat (apartment), as property prices in the Norwegian capital are high. For those on a tight budget, it is also possible to rent a private bedroom in a shared house (bofelleskap), where the kitchen and other communal areas of the property are shared with other residents. 

Furnished or unfurnished

Most rental properties in Norway are unfurnished, but even unfurnished properties are likely to have curtains and fully fitted kitchens, along with an oven, fridge, dishwasher and washing machine. Furnished apartments and houses include everything from furniture to cutlery and crockery in the kitchen. Due to the short-term nature of some expat assignments, many expats opt to live in fully furnished accommodation. For those who choose to rent unfurnished accommodation, it is possible to ship furniture to Norway; otherwise, a good range of furniture stores (including IKEA) can easily be found.

Short-term rentals

Many foreigners arriving in Norway choose to rent temporary accommodation while they settle in. This gives them the opportunity to research the best areas and suburbs to live in before making a long-term commitment. Serviced apartments and temporary accommodation are more expensive to rent but are fully equipped, with all utility bills included in the rental price.

Renting accommodation in Norway

The process of renting a property in Norway is straightforward – although expats are advised not to pin all their hopes on one specific property, as competition can be quite stiff, particularly in Oslo and other major cities. Expats often elect to have an agency do most of this legwork for them once they've decided on their budget and housing specifications.

Finding a property

Most people begin their search for a rental property via a property portal such as and Properties can also be found through word of mouth by asking friends and colleagues, especially for those who are interested in renting a hybel (studio apartment) or kollektiv (a room in a shared house). Typically, a person attends a viewing and puts their name on a waiting list if necessary, which the landlord of the property will then consider. This can be a bit of a popularity game, and if an apartment has an open showing the potential tenant should be there in person to meet the owners or their agents if they want to be considered.


Most lease agreements in Norway are signed on at least a one-year basis, and sometimes up to two or three years. The contract should include information such as the monthly rental price, deposit conditions and whether utilities will be included in the rental costs. There should be a standard contract that protects both the tenant and landlord.

References and background checks

The tenant usually needs to provide a personal reference from previous landlords, an employer or a guarantor. Expats who have recently moved to Norway usually have their employer act as a guarantor. 


Expats will be required to pay up to three months' rent as a deposit before moving in, so combined with the rent for the first month, up to four months’ rent may need to be found upfront. There is usually a penalty fee if the tenant backs out of the lease agreement before taking up residence in the property. The deposit will be held in a protected bank account and once the lease is concluded, the deposit is refundable, provided the property is not damaged beyond normal wear and tear.

Termination of the lease

It is important to note that a tenant can terminate a lease at any time without any reason. Typically, three months’ notice must be given in writing if intending to move out before the end of the lease.

Utilities in Norway

Utilities such as water and electricity are rarely included in the monthly rental in Norway, except in short-term accommodation. The lease will make clear whether utilities are included or not, and expats should ask about this up front in order to budget accurately. 

Most rentals will already have gas, electricity and water connected, and usually telephone and internet too, but expats will need to transfer the accounts to their name. Payment can be set up to be taken automatically from a bank.

Gas and electricity

Electricity is the main heating source for most Norwegian homes, and very few households use gas for heating or cooking. Electricity in Norway is 220V AC, 50Hz, and standard European two-pin plugs are used. Most tenants will need to pay a monthly bill for gas and electricity, which may come as a shock after a cold winter.

There is an open electricity market in Norway, which means that the customer is free to choose their energy supplier. Customers can choose to have a fixed price contact, where the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is agreed in advance, or a market price contract, where the spot price is paid. Most households have smart electricity meters which automatically send readings to the electricity provider. Detailed price information for all Norwegian energy suppliers can be found at 


The quality of tap water in Norway is good by global standards, and it is perfectly safe to drink. Like electricity, the water will already be set up upon moving in, and the tenant will just need to transfer the account into their name. There are different water companies in different regions, and bills are worked out based on consumption.

Telephone and internet

There is good fixed-line and mobile internet throughout Norway and expats can choose from a plethora of suppliers. Many expats in Norway won't bother with a fixed telephone line, and instead choose to just install a broadband connection for the internet. Well-known suppliers include Telnor and Telia.

Waste and recycling

In Norway, there are several different colours of waste bins. Different municipalities have different-coloured bins for different types of trash. For specific information, expats should refer to their municipality’s website.

Residents will need to separate their waste into different coloured bags and place these bags into the demarcated bins provided by the city. The second bin is labelled 'papir' (paper) and is for cardboard and paper. The bins will be emptied by the Agency for Waste Management. Any waste that doesn’t fit into these categories or is too big for the bags or bins should be delivered to a recycling station.

Buying property in Norway

It is possible for expats – even those from non-EU countries – to buy property in Norway. Over the last decade or so, buying property in Norway (and especially in Oslo), has become a relatively common practice for expats who are attracted to the idea of settling in a country with such an extraordinary social welfare system.

As property laws in Norway can be nuanced, it is highly advisable that expats hire a local real estate broker to oversee the process. Listings can be found online or by attending open showings, which normally take place on weekends.

Doing Business in Norway

Norway is an egalitarian society with flat hierarchies and power structures that do not keep management and employees estranged. Norwegians often work across hierarchies rather than down through the line. The leadership style is informal and is based on employee freedom with responsibility.

Despite some initial cultural differences, expats should find Norway an easy country in which to do business. Expats employed in Norway typically work in one of the country's key economic industries, such as oil and gas, fish farming, industrial fishing, mineral processing, hydroelectric power, shipping and shipbuilding. Across all sectors, it's helpful to be familiar with the dos and don'ts in the Norwegian workplace.

Fast facts

Business hours

Monday to Friday, from 8am to 4pm.

Business language

Norwegian, but English is spoken throughout with a high degree of fluency.


Business dress is determined largely by industry. The banking, finance and sales sectors are more formal and often require a suit, while technical staff may have a more casual dress code.


Many companies have a policy restricting their employees from receiving gifts. If an expat wants to give a business connection a gift, it is better to invite them out for lunch or dinner instead.

Gender equality

Norway is a fully equal society; women doing business in Norway will receive the same treatment as men.


Most Norwegians use first names in a business setting after the first introduction. Males and females shake hands as equals, but can also greet without shaking hands daily.

Business culture in Norway

Business culture in Norway tends to be relaxed and informal, and quite unstructured. Coffee breaks are regular and socialising and having fun at work are encouraged, as it is believed that cheerful employees will be more productive. Norwegians have a strong balance between work and leisure, and most people leave the office at 4pm.


The key to successfully doing business in Norway is understanding the concept of egalitarianism, a belief in the inherent equality of people. Everybody feels like they can interact directly with everybody else in this Scandinavian country. In line with this principle, Norwegians tend to establish direct contact with the person who can get things moving, rather than doing everything through the line. Egalitarianism also means that excessive displays of wealth are likely to be considered inappropriate and in bad taste.


The hierarchy is often quite flat, and decision-making models are based on consensus and compromise. Decisions may take a long time as many people's opinions have to be accounted for. Expats are expected to participate in the discussions and need to bear in mind that decision-making may be a slow process in Norway. Norwegians are generally not afraid to voice their opinions and disagree with their boss. This is another likely consequence of the country's egalitarian society, strong job protection laws and extensive social welfare system.

Management style

The Norwegian management style is based on freedom with responsibility; a leader is more likely to delegate tasks to be solved than to give detailed orders. The leader does not micromanage and will usually give the subordinate freedom to figure out how and when to solve the task as long as it is completed within the deadline. Norwegian employees are accustomed to this management style, but they also understand that it demands an inherent sense of responsibility and accountability.


Meetings in Norway will start on time and will frequently address points of business quickly, with only a few minutes of cursory small talk beforehand, which is typically done before everybody is in place. Meetings are typically conducted informally and often without any note-taking or minute-keeping.

Dos and don’ts of business in Norway

  • Do be on time for meetings and private appointments; punctuality is critical

  • Do advise of delays of more than five minutes

  • Do get down to business after only a few minutes of small talk

  • Do be honest and forthright

  • Do dress smartly when going out in the evening for planned events

  • Don't say yes if asked to do something that cannot be delivered on

  • Don't stand too close; personal space should be respected

Visas for Norway

Norway is part of the borderless Schengen area, which means that citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and some other countries will not require a visa to enter Norway for short stays.

Expats who do not require a formal visa to enter Norway could, however, still be questioned at the border about the purpose of their visit and where they're staying – this is routine and isn’t meant to antagonise travellers. The easiest thing to do is to answer the questions simply and honestly.

Various residence and work permits are available, depending on the applicant’s skill set and circumstances. All European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who move to Norway to work and live for longer than three months must register with the Norwegian police. Registration is free and only needs to be done once. If an EEA expat continues to stay in the country, they will be granted resident status after five years. EEA expats arriving in Norway without a job will also need to register and must leave the country after six months if they do not find a job.

Short-term visas for Norway

Citizens of the EU, the EFTA, and those from countries on the Norwegian government’s designated list do not need a visa to enter the country and are entitled to a 90-day stay in the Schengen area. It is only necessary to have a passport that is valid for six months from the period of stay.

The list of countries that don’t need a visa for Norway includes the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Ireland. Citizens of countries not on the list, such as India or South Africa, need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the country. This can be applied for at a Norwegian embassy or, in some countries, at a Swedish or Danish embassy.

Schengen visas for Norway

Expats applying for a Schengen visa will need to have all required documents, complete application forms, and make an appointment to submit their application to the Norwegian consulate or embassy in their home country. Processing times can vary, so applicants should submit their applications in good time to ensure smooth entry into Norway.

Travellers applying for a Schengen visa to travel to Norway for business purposes are required to include a letter of invitation from the Norwegian business party and one from their employer stating their duties in Norway. Conference delegates are required to produce proof of registration and accommodation.

In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents, at the discretion of the Norwegian embassy or consulate.

It is still best to bring supporting documents such as proof of accommodation after being granted a Schengen visa, just in case immigration officials want to see them.

Residence permits for Norway

Non-EU or non-EFTA expats who are interested in moving to Norway to work will need a residence permit. They cannot move to Norway without being issued a residence permit, which can only happen with a concrete offer of a job. An employer can apply on behalf of an employee for a residence permit.

*Visa requirements can change at short notice, and expats are advised to contact their nearest Norwegian consulate for the latest information.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Norway

While relocating to a foreign country always has its highs and lows, moving to Norway is definitely something to be excited about, as the positives far outweigh any negatives. Even the rainy weather can’t dampen the high quality of life most people experience in this Scandinavian country.

We've listed a few pros and cons of moving to Norway below.

Accommodation in Norway

+ PRO: Quality housing

Norwegians take a lot of pride in their homes, and that means the market is full of well-maintained houses and apartments that make for a high standard of living. Many homes are bright with all the modern-day conveniences one could wish for.

- CON: High real estate prices

Renting and buying property in Norway is extremely pricey, and this plays a huge part in an expat's budget if they don’t have a company covering their housing costs.

+ PRO: Furnished accommodation is available

Many rental properties come furnished with modern and clean furniture, and they often look like they’re right off the pages of an IKEA catalogue. Landlords are usually willing to replace furniture the tenant isn't happy with, and should they need to buy their own, there are plenty of options.

Lifestyle in Norway

+ PRO: Plenty of outdoor activities

If one enjoys the outdoors, Norway is most definitely the place to be. Hiking, camping and fishing are all part of the Norwegian lifestyle, and the opportunities are endless.

- CON: Weather is hard to bear

Rain and wind often go hand in hand in coastal Norway, and the winter temperatures in the interior and northern parts of the country are enough to give the hardiest of expats the shivers.

+ PRO: Active lifestyle

Walking and cycling paths are abundant throughout Norway, allowing residents to maintain an active lifestyle. Sports teams and gyms are easy to find.

+ PRO: Clean environment

Norwegians care about the environment and their impact on it, so people try to keep their cities clean. Recycling is a part of daily life.

+ PRO: Norway is picturesque 

Norway is truly blessed with beautiful landscapes, and it’s near impossible not to be wooed by the breathtaking surroundings. Expats will want to soak it all in, despite the weather.

Eating out in Norway

+ PRO: Good selection

While there isn't the massive amount of cuisines and diversity of eateries one may be used to in North America, for instance, it’s generally possible to find just about everything one might want or need.

- CON: Dining out is expensive

Expats will definitely be saving their nights eating out at restaurants for special occasions, as an average meal for two comes with a hefty price tag.

Safety in Norway

+ PRO: Security is not an issue

Norway is a very safe country with a fairly low crime rate. Kids walk themselves to and from school, and people often leave their doors unlocked. While it’s always good to take normal precautions, one typically doesn’t worry about safety issues.

Working and doing business in Norway

+ PRO: Family first

Family takes the front seat in Norway, and it’s completely acceptable to leave work to pick up children and take them to football practice. There are also generous parental leave times for both mothers and fathers when welcoming a new baby into the family.

+ PRO: Short working hours

Norwegians work 7.5 hours per day and generally no more. It’s not expected that employees will answer emails or work in the evenings or on weekends, and they don't usually expect others to.

+ PRO: Holidays

If on a local working contract, expats will enjoy five weeks of holidays per year, in addition to the few national holidays throughout the year.

+ PRO: Big company perks

A lot of large companies offer many perks to their employees, including company cabins, discounted fees to athletic clubs and golf courses and subsidised cafeterias at the workplace.

- CON: Working pace

If coming from a culture with an emphasis on work, adjusting to the slower Norwegian pace can be a bit of a challenge.

Culture shock in Norway

+ PRO: Little culture shock

The Norwegian culture is fairly easy to integrate into, and the fact that many Norwegians speak excellent English makes it even easier.

- CON: Locals are often misunderstood

Some complain that they find the Norwegian people a little cold and perhaps even unfriendly, but it just takes a bit of time for them to warm up to new people.

Cost of living in Norway

- CON: It’s expensive

There’s no way around it: the cost of living in Norway is extremely high. Almost everything in Norway is eye-wateringly expensive. In fact, locals often cross the border into Sweden to buy affordable groceries and items.

Education and schools in Norway

+ PRO: Free post-secondary education

Norway offers free college and university education to every legal resident. Students usually only take loans for living expenses and boarding costs.

+ PRO: Quality public education

Norway places great importance on education and the public system reflects this, with exceptional student results and an emphasis on inclusion in the public education system.

Healthcare in Norway

+ PRO: Exceptional healthcare for all

The standard of healthcare is high in Norway, and it’s covered under the national system. This means that residents aren’t paying out of pocket for visits to the doctor (except the dentist) and the quality of care is as one would expect in most developed countries.

- CON: Bureaucracy is rife in the healthcare system

Thanks to the national healthcare system, everyone is required to follow the procedures set up by the government. It's not possible to contact specialists without a referral from a family doctor, and wait times are occasionally a bit longer.

Moving to Norway

Located in Northern Europe, Norway is a Scandinavian country that usually conjures up images of Vikings, fjords, glaciers and trolls, and is known for its dramatic and breathtaking scenery. In recent years, however, expats have been moving to the 'Land of the Midnight Sun' for its booming economy, high standard of living, excellent welfare and relatively strong job market.

Living in Norway as an expat

With limited arable land and a long coastline, Norway's economy was traditionally based on fishing and shipping until oil was discovered off its shores in the late 1960s. Thanks to rich natural resources in the form of fisheries, hydroelectric power and petroleum production, Norway has enjoyed strong economic growth. And owing to the government’s wise investments in its national oil fund, the country currently enjoys one of the world’s biggest budget surpluses.

The combination of economic success, social welfare systems and egalitarian policies has led to Norway being ranked first in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index for several years in a row. Norway is also one of the world’s richest countries, and its capital, Oslo, is consistently ranked as one of the planet’s most expensive cities. Expats moving to Norway should bear this in mind when negotiating their salary package.

Public transport in Norway is excellent and varied, with metro, tram, bus and train systems linking most urban areas. Cities are often small enough to traverse on foot, though it might be better for expats who choose to live in a suburb to have a car.

Norwegians are on the whole very proud of their country and heritage. The Norwegian spirit is best seen annually on 17 May, the national holiday celebrating the establishment of the Norwegian constitution in 1814 – which, incidentally, makes it one of the oldest constitutions in the world. It is celebrated with more fanfare than is witnessed in many other countries.

Cost of living in Norway

The cost of living in Norway is undeniably high but, on average, salaries are relatively high too. The standard of living for both expats and locals is also correspondingly high, yet saving money can be difficult. Salary margins are narrow between blue- and white-collar workers or C-level executives.

Owing to the housing supply shortage in Norway, accommodation will take the biggest chunk out of expats' salaries. Eating out will cost expats a pretty penny as well, and getting around is equally expensive. Taxation in Norway is also above average, leaving very little disposable income.

Expat families and children in Norway

Expats will find that Norway is the perfect country to raise a family in, as Norwegians pride themselves on their egalitarian policies and welfare state. Every person has the right to free or subsidised medical services (minus dental) and free education. Parents receive a year of paid maternity/paternity leave (also known as parental quota), and usually split the time between the mother and the father. A law passed states that fathers must have three months of paternity leave that can be used until the child is eight.

Public education in the country is of an excellent standard, while higher education is also free for all legal residents. Expat parents planning a short-term stay in Norway will be delighted to know that the country has a fair few private and international schools offering global and country-specific curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB). There will also be lots of outdoor activities to keep the tots entertained during their leisure time thanks to the abundance of green spaces and picturesque natural landscapes in Norway.

Climate in Norway

Contrary to popular belief, the weather in Norway is quite temperate. The coastal regions of the country experience mild winters and pleasant summers, though, rain and gales tend to occur during this time. The north of the country experiences freezing winters, with much of it covered in snow.

Although the country has an exorbitant cost of living, high taxation and partially extreme winters, Norway offers an unbelievable quality of life and incredible work-life balance that prioritises family time and egalitarianism, enticing many an expat into calling the country home.

Fast facts

Official name: Kingdom of Norway

Population: Around 5.5 million

Capital city: Oslo (also largest city)

Other cities: Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim

Neighbouring countries: Norway shares borders with Sweden to the east, Russia and Finland to the northeast, and Denmark across the Skagerrak Strait.

Geography: Norway consists of a rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. Much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age.

Politcial system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Major religions: Christianity

Main languages: Norwegian (official). English is also widely understood.

Money: The Norwegian Krone (NOK) is divided into 100 ore. It is relatively easy for expats to open a bank account in Norway, provided they have a national ID number (personnummer).

Tipping: Service charges range from 10 to 15 percent in most hotels and restaurants. Taxi fares are generally rounded up to the nearest krone.

Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz. Two-pin, round-prong plugs are used.

Internet domain: .no

International dialling code: +47

Emergency contacts: 112 (police), 113 (ambulance), 110 (fire)

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Public transport is efficient and easy to use, making getting around Norway very straightforward.

Keeping in Touch in Norway

Expats should have no trouble keeping in touch with family and friends back home after they arrive in Norway. The internet is fast and reliable and there are several mobile phone options, while English media is also plentiful. 

Internet in Norway

With a highly advanced and cutting-edge Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the internet in Norway has fantastic reliability and speed. Residents can get online just about everywhere, and many hotels, cafés and restaurants in the cities have WiFi for their customers. Internet connectivity is even possible in the most rural of areas in Norway.

Prices are reasonable and there are many services to choose from. The biggest telecom provider is the state-owned Telenor, while Canal Digital and Eltel are also prominent.

Most Norwegians have their own broadband internet at home, so internet cafés are sparse. Anyone needing to use the internet that does not own a laptop can go to the closest library.

Social networking sites and instant messaging services, such as Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime, are all accessible and well utilised.

Mobile phones in Norway

The vast majority of Norwegians have a mobile telephone, and texting is a common form of communication. Landlines are becoming rarer in private homes but are still used by most businesses. The main provider is Telenor, which owns the core infrastructure.

Anyone with a Norwegian identity number can apply for a phone contract or buy a mobile telephone without a subscription to a company. Expats will have an identification number assigned once their residency permit is approved.

Expats can check if their phone works in Norway when they arrive. If so, they can buy a new SIM card with a Norwegian number from mobile phone shops, some supermarkets and newsagents.

Television in Norway

Television is a good way for expats to begin to understand the Norwegian psyche, culture and language. Norway has four national television stations (NRK1, NRK2, NRK3 and NRK Super), but private companies such as TV2 and TVNorge as well as cable channels let expats see their favourite shows from back home. Although NRK is state owned and administrated by the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, there is very little television censorship. Anyone with a television has to pay a licence fee.

Many expats subscribe to cable television services, and the more channels one subscribes to the higher the price for cable services will be. Residents can also rent new release movies via their cable provider.

English media in Norway

There is a wide variety of English media in Norway. Television shows and movies are often in English, many websites have an English version, and libraries often have an English book section.

While there are obviously Norwegian channels on television, some television channels show both Norwegian and American or British shows. All shows have subtitles regardless of the language. Most television channels in Norway are in English.

Postal services in Norway

Expats can use the postal system in Norway to ship packages to their families. Although it is expensive, the Norwegian postal service is very reliable, and packages should arrive internationally within five to 10 business days.

Weather in Norway

Expats may be surprised to find that Norway is not bitterly cold all year round. Despite its northerly location, the coastal climate in Norway is temperate, thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream flowing along its coast. Summer occurs between late June and early September and brings pleasantly mild days with temperatures reaching 72°F (22°C), and sea temperatures of 64°F (18°C).

In winter, much of Norway is snow-clad, with extremely low temperatures in the north and the low-lying inland regions of the south. Temperatures drop well below zero. In contrast, the coast enjoys milder winters, although gales and rain are common. In spring, between May and mid-June, Norway is at its prettiest with everything coming to life and blossoming and melting snow swelling the waterfalls.


Relocation Companies in Norway

Expat families, multinational companies and employees moving and transferring to Norway often benefit from the comprehensive support of relocation firms. When expats are stressed about issues such as visas, finding a place to call home, negotiating leases and having their utilities hooked up and prepared for their arrival, a relocation company is likely the best solution.

As a single port of call, relocation businesses offer a wide range of services to expats, no matter how big or small. Moving to Norway may come with its fair share of culture shocks – as well as budget shocks. Adjusting to the high cost of living and understanding the country's official languages of Norwegian and Sami could take some time. To ease this burden, relocation companies provide cultural training, orientation and various settling-in services.

Here's a selection of relocation and mobility companies that can make the move to Norway easier.

Relocation companies in Norway

Local companies

relocation Norway

Relocations AS

With offices in Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen, Relocation AS is Norway's largest and most respected relocation company, offering services throughout the country. Most of their staff have lived and worked in a different country, and have first-hand knowledge of the emotional and practical challenges connected with settling in a new culture. The company has in-house legal expertise and real-estate experience, and staff with experience of working in HR-departments within international companies. The combination of such relevant and varied backgrounds makes them reliable and resourceful partners.


International companies

crown relocation company

Crown Relocations

Crown Relocations provides moving, destination and immigration services as well as family support to assist people relocating internationally. With experts working in Norway, and over 50 other countries worldwide, they provide the support, guidance, care and the personal attention needed to ensure a successful and seamless move for you and your family.



NuCompass Mobility

NuCompass is an international firm with over 50 years of experience helping companies relocate. Expert-led services help organisations, employees and their families effectively manage their relocations to Norway. With effective technological solutions, NuCompass offers individualised support throughout the moving process, tailored to each client's needs.



K2 Corporate Mobility

K2 Corporate Mobility provides personalised relocation programmes to assist domestic and international transfers, both short-term and long-term. Operating globally with streamlined, efficient and tailored services, K2 Corporate Mobility can manage the move to and from Norway.


Banking, Money and Taxes in Norway

Banking in Norway is fairly straightforward, although new arrivals will have questions about money matters and paying taxes. Given the country’s high level of technological advancement, most transactions take place online and with cards.

Expats moving to the country must get a national ID number, which makes it possible to open accounts and carry out transactions.

Money in Norway

The official Norwegian currency is the Norwegian Krone (kroner in plural), or NOK, which is divided into 100 øre – however, øre only exist digitally. It has become one of the world’s most stable and powerful currencies.

The Krone is available in the following denominations:

  • Notes: NOK 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000

  • Coins: NOK 1, 5, 10, and 20

New arrivals who want to get hold of local cash can exchange foreign currency at the airport and hotels, but rates are likely more favourable in banks. Note that most exchanges are done by card, and having cash is not a necessity.

Norway has limits on how much currency can be brought into or taken out of the country, and travellers should be aware of this.

Banking in Norway

Norway hosts a handful of large commercial banks, while regional and savings banks are also available. Among the main banks are Bank Norwegian, DNB ASA and Handelsbanken.

Banking hours in Norway are generally 9am to 3pm. People often find that once they have their Norwegian bank card, they very rarely need to set foot inside a bank branch. Online banking is common and is used for just about any transaction. Mobile banking is also commonplace, but it can take some time for expats to master, especially as the systems are mostly in Norwegian.

Opening a bank account

Expats need to open a local bank account if they plan to live and work in Norway. To do so, they need to get an 11-digit identity number. This national ID number, which every resident and citizen must have, is necessary to get paid, pay taxes, open a business and receive social benefits such as healthcare services, unemployment compensation and parental leave.

Norway's identity numbers are either a D number or a national identity number. Expats staying in Norway for less than six months but are liable to pay tax should obtain a D number, which can be provided by various organisations, such as banks and the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV).

Expats moving to Norway for more than six months will obtain a national identity number. The process of getting an identity number is normally done alongside visa and residence applications. Norwegian embassies abroad and the Norwegian Tax Administration provide further details.

It can take some time for the national ID number to come through, so expats should begin this process as soon as possible. But once obtained, opening a bank account is straightforward. Expats will need this identity number and their passport, and different banks may require additional documents such as an employment contract.

Expats will most likely open a current account, though they can open various other types of accounts too.

ATMs and credit cards

Most financial transactions in Norway are conducted with a debit card issued by a local bank. ATMs are easily accessible, but cash is becoming rare in this highly technological society. Cheques are rarely used and are considered archaic.

Credit cards are accepted, and getting a credit card is easy for anyone with a local bank account, but Norwegians don’t use them often unless they have major purchases. Most Norwegians use their normal bank card instead. However, local and foreign credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Eurocard, Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club International are the most common.

Taxes in Norway

While it’s true that taxes are exceptionally high in Norway, expats can rest assured that this money goes towards public services and free (or subsidised) healthcare, education and pension and employee benefits.

All citizens and expats working in Norway are liable to pay taxes. Foreigners who have stayed less than 183 days over 12 months are considered non-residents, but must pay income tax on certain types of income earned in the country. Resident taxpayers – those who have been in the country for over 183 days – are taxed on their worldwide income.

Expats should also note that there are double taxation agreements with member states of the European Economic Area, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US, among other countries. We recommend expats obtain more information from their local tax office (ligningskontor).

Norwegian employers deduct tax from employees before they are paid. Once a person has found employment in Norway, they are responsible for obtaining a tax card from the local tax office. An expat’s employer and local tax office can help with this process, providing all necessary information on how to apply and what must be enclosed with the application.

Declaring personal taxes is an organised, systematic and simple process. Once an expat is listed in the Norwegian system, they will receive a tax declaration or tax return with the tax authority’s details and estimates of their income, assets and debt. As tax regulations are subject to change and these processes may seem complicated at first, we recommend the services of a tax consultant.

Articles about Norway

Transport and Driving in Norway

The public transport system in Norway is efficient and comprehensive, with most of the country covered by trains, bus services and ferry lines. As such, expats will find getting around in Norway easy and free of hassles.
Since much of Norway is located on the coast, ferries are sometimes the fastest form of transport. The Hurtigruten ferry service follows the entire coastline from north to south and is good for a touristic and leisurely look at expats' new home country. From Oslo, regular ferries take passengers to Denmark, Sweden and Germany. There are also ferry lines from the south of Norway to the UK.

Public transport in Norway

Cities such as Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim have excellent public transport systems. The larger cities have regular and reliable bus, tram and train routes that take commuters wherever they need to go. Buses and trams depart every five, 10 or 15 minutes, depending on the time of day and route. Outside normal hours, they leave every 20 or 30 minutes within the city limits.

Long-distance trains and buses have schedules for each city, which are easy to find online, and all train information can be accessed on the Norwegian State Railway, Vy (formerly NSB) website. Public transport is costly, but there are cost-effective options for long-term use that cover several forms of transport, such as season tickets.


The country's main railway station is the Oslo Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon), which is the central point for rail travel within the country. Vy offers domestic services around the country, while international trains travel to Gothenburg, Stockholm (via Karlstad), northern Sweden and down to Malmö.


Oslo's central station is also located next to the main bus station, where all express and international buses depart and arrive, and the city can be reached by bus from most of Europe. Norway's respective counties are responsible for administrating their individual public bus services, while a number of private local and international companies run long-distance bus services.

Driving in Norway

Norwegians drive on the right-hand side of the road. While some expats buy cars in Norway, it’s important to understand driving in the country's winter conditions before taking to the roads.

Major roads in Norway are good, but this changes once one leaves the south. The sparsely populated areas and rough, mountainous terrain mean that major roads are few and often only consist of two lanes. On weekends and holidays, these roads back up with traffic for hours, so it’s good to plan for delays.

Depending on where their driving licence was issued, an expat can use their home country licence in Norway, but may have to eventually exchange it for a Norwegian licence. When exchanging their foreign driving licence, it must be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (Vegvesen), with an application for exchange. Foreigners may also be required to take a driving test, which requires substantial fees. European Economic Area (EEA) residents can use their home country driving licence provided it is valid.

Expats thinking of getting their driving licence in Norway should consider avoiding the hassle. With the excellent public transport options in the country, there is no real need for an expatriate to own or drive a car unless they have children.

Those who are still intent on doing it should expect to spend a lot of time and money. Besides learning basic skills, drivers must also learn to drive on ice and handle snowy conditions.

Regulations on cars and driving are strict. Fines are based on the offender's salary (the state has this information); so, the richer the driver is, the sorrier they will be for speeding. Norway has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving, with exorbitant fines and prison sentences for offenders.

The country uses a points system (prikkbelastning) to handle traffic offenders. Two points are issued for most violations, except in the smallest speeding cases.

If eight or more points are issued during a three-year period, the driving licence is temporarily revoked, usually for six months. Each point is deleted when three years have passed since the violation took place. Following the restoration of driving privileges after the six-month ban, one's driving record gets cleared.

Domestic flights in Norway

Regular flights service Norway and its surrounding areas. There are a few local airlines in Norway, including Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Widerøe, along with several other charter companies. Many international airlines fly into Norway as well.

Education and Schools in Norway

Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged six to 16. Education is guaranteed by the Norwegian state and is thus free at public schools. Be that as it may, most schooling actually begins when the child turns one and is placed in a barnehage, or day care.

It is important to apply for a spot in the barnehage as soon as possible, as many have long waiting lists. A child’s barnehage is tied to their residential neighbourhood. The government gives residents Kontantstøtte (family allowance) until children are three to help pay for barnehage.

The school year in Norway runs from late August to mid-June the following year. The juleferie (Christmas holiday) from mid-December to early January divides the Norwegian school year into two terms. Children also have a vinterferie (winter break) and a påskeferie (Easter break). The school day usually finishes at 3pm and parents are free to leave work to pick up their children from school.

Public schools in Norway

Citizens and legal residents of Norway have access to free public schooling. The Norwegian school system can be divided into three parts: elementary school (Barneskole, ages six to 13), lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole, ages 13 to 16), and upper secondary school (Videregående skole, ages 16 to 19). The marks they achieve in Ungdomskkole will determine whether they are accepted into their high school of choice.

Upper secondary school (similar to high school) is optional and lasts for three years. However, few jobs are available for this age group, and changes in local education laws have made upper secondary school mostly unavoidable in practice.

Students graduating from their Videregående studies are called Russ in Norwegian. Russetid (the graduation period) is anticipated for years and celebrated with wild parties and festivities. Russ students are recognisable by their mono-coloured red or blue overalls.

Private and international schools in Norway

Perhaps surprisingly for a country with such a large expat population, few schools teach international curricula in Norway. That said, there are now a number of international schools in Oslo, in addition to the more ubiquitous public schools.

Until 2005, private secondary schools were illegal in Norway unless they offered a religious or pedagogic alternative to the public school system, which meant that the only private schools taught from a religious (mainly Christian) background or were Waldorf, Montessori or Danielsen schools. Secular international senior schools opened only after the law changed, although some more established schools have offered international curricula in lower grades for decades.

International schools generally offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), although there are also French- and German-curriculum schools and those which offer the British IGCSE at the middle school level.

Fees for international schools are often prohibitively expensive and space can be limited, so parents should apply as early as possible to ensure a place for their child at their school of choice.

Tertiary education in Norway

Videregående (high school) graduates can apply to go to university. There is no tuition fee at Norwegian state-run universities. Students usually apply for a student loan to cover room, boarding and other living expenses, which doesn’t have to be paid back until they have a salaried job. Norwegians and those with permanent residency apply for admission through the Norwegian College and University Admissions Service.

Citizens of Nordic countries do not need a study permit to study in Norway. Citizens of other countries in the EU or EEA will need to apply for a study permit in person at a Norwegian Embassy.

Special-needs education in Norway

Inclusive education is of fundamental importance in Norwegian primary and secondary education. It means that all children and young people are entitled to the same level and standard of education, regardless of ability.

Norway spends significant resources on providing special educational support and special-needs education. The aim of the Norwegian government is to improve adapted tuition in schools to improve learning outcomes for all pupils so that fewer of them require special-needs education. Of course, if there is a need to deviate from the normal curriculum, a decision on special-needs education is required.

Pupils may access special-needs provisions within ordinary study programmes, adapted or alternative study programmes in school or in workplace training.

Tutoring in Norway

As in most Scandinavian countries, education is highly valued in Norway, and parents regularly use private tuition to bolster their children's learning. Expats also often employ tutors, whether for Norwegian language lessons, extra help with certain subjects or simply to build some confidence in an unfamiliar environment.

Regardless of age, tutoring can be massively beneficial. Some top tutoring companies in Norway include Superprof and Varsity Tutors.

Healthcare in Norway

The healthcare system in Norway is one of the best in the world. There are both public and private facilities – public services are subsidised by the government and are either free or only cost a small fee, while private healthcare is funded by patient fees and is much more costly.

Public healthcare in Norway

Every citizen and resident of Norway is entitled to healthcare, including students who will be in the country for more than one year. The quality of public healthcare in Norway is excellent. It is not free, as is generally thought, but heavily subsidised by the government and supported by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden, NIS).

Patients will be expected to pay a fee after any visit, but once they reach a specific limit, they are entitled to an exemption card (frikort) and will not have to pay any more within that calendar year. Patients just have to show their exemption card when they visit any medical facility. These cannot be used at private practices.

Expats who are registered in the National Population Register (Folkeregister) will automatically be assigned a general practitioner (GP) within the public system. Residents can find another one themselves but can only change doctors twice a year.

Patients have to visit their GP to get a reference to see a specialist. They may, however, have to wait for a few weeks to see a doctor unless they have an emergency, and up to several months to see a specialist. Some people prefer to go private to avoid long waiting times or to see specific specialists.

Private healthcare in Norway

There are several private healthcare facilities in Norway, many of which cater to the medical tourism market. Norway has high-quality specialists and diagnostic facilities which are competitively priced by UK and US standards.

Increasingly, Norwegian residents are choosing to take out private health insurance in addition to the NIS. This is partly to avoid long wait times for GPs and other specialists, and also to have a medical backup in the event of an emergency or conflicting medical opinions. Without a doctor's referral, a patient cannot get an appointment with a specialist under the public system.

GPs who are not affiliated with government hospitals are usually private. They do not have the long waiting lists of public GPs and are therefore in increasing demand. In addition, most dentists are part of private practices, as dentistry is for the most part not covered by the NIS.

Health insurance in Norway

Expats moving to Norway may opt for private health insurance to supplement the NIS and ensure access to services such as dentistry and mental health treatment. Private health insurance also reduces waiting times for specialist appointments and procedures, but this comes at a cost. Fortunately, some employers may offer private healthcare as part of the employment package.

Expats should be aware that private health insurance in Norway does not cover acute cases or emergency hospitalisations, therefore, registering with the NIS is still important. The cost of the insurance premiums will depend on factors such as an expat's age, sex and level of coverage.

Pharmacies and medicines in Norway

Prescription medicine falls into two categories, white and blue class, and is respectively either free or subsidised. Subsidised medicine only carries a nominal fee.

Pharmacies are ubiquitous, and there will always be at least one pharmacy open in each district (schedules are available at any pharmacy). Prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics are all available at Norwegian pharmacies.

Emergency services in Norway

Emergency services and transport are free under the NIS. Response time is fast, and emergency care is typically excellent.

  • Ambulance: 113

A Brief History of Norway

Early history and the Viking Age

  • 8th century: Norway has a rich history, dating back to the Viking Age when numerous tribes inhabit the land. The Vikings are known for their seafaring and trading abilities, and they established settlements in many parts of Europe and beyond, including England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Russia and Iceland.
  • 793 AD: The first recorded Viking raid takes place in Lindisfarne, England.
  • 872: A collection of small kingdoms ruled by petty kings, Norway is unified under the rule of King Harald Fairhair. This event is considered the beginning of Norway's national history and the start of its development into a unified state.
  • 1000 AD: Olaf Tryggvason becomes Norway's first Christian king, bringing Christianity to the country.

The Kalmar Union, Danish–Norwegian rule and cession to Sweden

  • 1397: The Kalmar Union joins Denmark, Norway and Sweden under a single monarch. The union aims to establish peace and cooperation between the three kingdoms, but it also subordinates Norway to Danish rule.
  • 1397–1521: Sweden repeatedly leaves and rejoins the union, and eventually separates to become the Kingdom of Sweden.
  • 1520s: The Protestant Reformation leads to the establishment of the Church of Norway as a separate entity from the Roman Catholic Church, further distinguishing Norway from Denmark.
  • 1537: Denmark invades and annexes Norway, effectively subjugating it to Danish rule for the next three centuries.
  • 1814: Norway is ceded to Sweden as part of the Treaty of Kiel. The Norwegian Constitution is signed, establishing Norway as a separate kingdom and granting greater political rights to citizens.

Independence and modernisation

  • 1905: Norway's peaceful separation from Sweden is facilitated by the Norwegian government's negotiations with the Swedish king, leading to Norway's independence and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, with the Danish Prince Carl elected as King Haakon VII.
  • 1913: Norway introduces universal suffrage for women. Norwegian women begin to play a greater role in politics.
  • 1940: Norway is invaded by German forces during World War II, leading to significant hardship and loss of life for Norwegians.
  • 1945–1962: After the war, the Labour Party led by Einar Gerhardsen establishes a comprehensive welfare state that remains a hallmark of Norwegian society. The government's policies and the discovery of significant natural resources lead to rapid economic growth and modernisation.
  • 1949: Norway joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • 1969: The discovery of large oil reserves in the North Sea initiates the transformation of the Norwegian economy and solidifies its position as a major oil producer.
  • 1972: Norway votes to join the European Economic Community (EEC), which later becomes the European Union (EU), but ultimately decides not to join after the rejection of membership in a referendum.
  • 1990s: Norway becomes a leader in environmental initiatives and sustainable development, investing in renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric, wind and solar power.
  • 1994: Norwegians reject membership of the European Union in a referendum for a second time, by a margin of about 5 percent. 

Contemporary Norway

  • 2000s: Norway experiences a period of prosperity and stability, but is hit hard by the global financial crisis of 2008.
  • 2011: Norway suffers one of the worst terrorist attacks in its history, when a far-right extremist bombs government buildings in Oslo and carries out a mass shooting on the island of Utøya, killing 77 people.
  • 2015: Norway is ranked as the most prosperous country in the world by the Legatum Prosperity Index, and it continues to lead in environmental and social policies.
  • 2016: The Lutheran Church – to which three-quarters of Norwegians belong – adopts a new liturgy allowing gay couples to marry in church weddings.
  • 2019: The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, also known as the Oil Fund, reaches a value of more 1 trillion US dollars, making it the world's largest sovereign wealth fund.
  • 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic reaches Norway, leading to widespread lockdowns, economic disruption and significant loss of life. The Norwegian government implements strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, including border closures and social distancing rules.

Working in Norway

Expats with a job lined up in Norway can count themselves lucky, as the country is consistently identified as one of the best countries in the world to work in.

The majority of Norwegians are said to feel satisfied and secure in their job, while most workers believe they could find another job if they wanted to. A strong, mixed economy and welfare state have created an environment of trust, confidence and optimism within the labour force.

Norway’s work culture is generally supportive of employees and puts a strong emphasis on good work-life balance. A Norwegian boss may even be concerned that an employee is working too hard or too much.

Job market in Norway

Norway has a mixed economy, meaning the government is a significant employer alongside private enterprises. Some of the largest employers in Norway, include Norsk Hydro, Telenor, Orkla, Aker Solutions and Equinor. Important industries in Norway are petroleum and natural gas, mining and shipbuilding, as well as fishing.

As such, Norway’s robust economy offers many opportunities for expats, particularly in these fields, as well as engineering, IT, research, finance and teaching. Just as oil and gas is a major sector, Norway is also investing in clean energies, including hydroelectric power, and the development of green technologies is a growing field.

Many expats considering self-employment or freelancing can find a job in fields ranging from freelance writing to web design. Foreigners considering self-employment opportunities in Norway must apply for the appropriate visa and work permit, though.

Norway's economy has remained relatively stable and has come out strong in the face of global financial crises. Average earnings are high across all professions, whether it's as a teacher, accountant, architect or receptionist.

Finding a job in Norway

With an overall low unemployment rate of a little over three percent, there are often many open positions in Norway. That said, it being a small market, it may be a challenge to find a job that perfectly fits an individual's background and profile.

Multinational firms are known to hire expats even if they don’t speak Norwegian. Otherwise, the general feeling is that expatriate employees should be able to speak the language and have some experience in the Norwegian market. Expats with specific qualifications should find out if these are recognised in the country and, if not, may need to undergo some vocational training after arriving.

Expats have the option of going through a recruitment agency to secure a job. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration is one of the best places to start the search, as it provides tips for jobseekers and guidance on how to find job vacancies. Alternatively, there are listings of jobs available online via portals such as and Manpower Norge, while having a strong LinkedIn profile is also advised.

Work culture in Norway

The work culture reflects Norwegian society at large in that it's egalitarian and there is no real hierarchy. Any employee can comment on a project, while top-down communication channels are not as specific as in other countries.

Doing business in Norway is rated as easy, and while employees work hard, typical working hours are shorter than in many other destinations. Employees also benefit from the wide scope of social benefits and great working conditions, which contribute to a happy work-life balance.

Work Permits for Norway

Depending on an expat’s country of origin, a residence permit for work (previously called a work permit) may be required before taking up employment in Norway, and this should be applied for at the Norwegian embassy in their home country.

There are also a number of agencies that can help facilitate the process of getting a visa or work permit for Norway from within the country.

Applying for a work permit in Norway

Generally speaking, citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries (including the UK) do not need a work permit or to apply for a residence permit in Norway for a short time.

Information about work permits and regulations for both EEA and non-EEA citizens are available directly from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) also gives information on work permits for individual countries. NAV handles all work-related issues and is a good resource when looking for work.

Work permits for EU citizens

EEA nationals with a valid identity card or passport can legally move to Norway and look for a job without a work permit for up to six months. They must register their presence in the country as a job seeker with the police within the first three months of their arrival. If they have not found a job after six months, they are required to leave Norway. They can return soon after and begin the process again.

Work permits for non-EU citizens

Expats from countries outside the EU and EEA will have different processes to go through depending on the kind of work they want to do. Officially, expats applying for a residence permit for work must already have found a job.

Skilled workers in Norway

Skilled workers are required to have either completed vocational training or a university degree, depending on their profession. There has to be a corresponding qualification in Norway. Permits are only granted based on experience in exceptional circumstances.

Certain skilled workers will also have to have their qualifications approved by a state organisation such as, for instance, the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (SAFH) for doctors and nurses.

Successful applicants can get a permit that is valid for one to three years at a time. After three years, a skilled worker can apply for a permanent residence permit in Norway. It is usually possible for family to apply to live with the main permit holder.

It's possible to change jobs if working for a Norwegian employer, as long as the same type of work is performed.

*Visa and work permit regulations may change at short notice, and expats should contact their nearest Norwegian consulate or the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration for the latest information.

Culture Shock in Norway

There are specific areas of life where expats are likely to experience some culture shock in Norway. The cost of things, for instance: foreigners eventually get used to the prices, but often find they need to budget differently and adopt the Norwegian tradition of driving to Sweden or taking a ferry to Germany or Denmark to purchase cheaper goods.

There is also a Norwegian social value called Janteloven, which can be difficult for expats to understand. It is similar to conformity and equality between all people. As a result, it is still considered inappropriate for people to flaunt their wealth, achievements or career status. This is slowly changing, as oil wealth and access to the world market are altering people’s views.

People in Norway

Norwegians are known for being reserved, honest, humble and straightforward people. They don’t like hierarchy in general, so an expat’s boss will be more likely to ask for their opinion than give them orders. Foreigners often find that Norwegians are difficult to get to know. They can be wary of strangers, but open up once they are familiar with someone. Once a person has been accepted and makes a Norwegian friend, they often find that they have a friend for life.

Expats may also discover that Norwegians are not outwardly social and are unlikely to greet in shops, in the street or even in social settings until they know someone. Extroverted expats should use their skills to get to know people. Work is a good place to socialise and meet others, but new arrivals should not be surprised if they are the only ones who want to socialise after work. Norwegians put a high priority on spending time with their families and are likely to go home straight after work.

Office culture in Norway

Foreigners may find Norwegian working hours surprisingly lax and flexible, and very family- and sun-friendly. Norwegians work hard and are effective during work hours, and Norwegian companies expect employees to work between 8am and 4pm. On the rare warm and sunny days of the year, some companies close up shop at 3pm to allow their employees time to be with their families, play sports and be outdoors.

Employees with children can usually leave by 3.30pm or 4pm to pick them up from day care without the need for an excuse or explanation. If one’s children are sick, it's also often possible to stay home for a few days to take care of them. These general rules apply to the public sector and most private sector companies, but not all of them. Also, certain jobs do not allow for this kind of work balance, such as consultancy and senior management positions.

Language in Norway

Norway has two official languages: Norsk and Sami (spoken by the indigenous Sami of the north and only recognised as an official language in certain areas of the country). English speakers have an advantage, since most Norwegians speak some English and anyone born after 1960 is probably quite proficient, if not fluent. English may be widely spoken in the cities, but it's less so in the rural areas and towns. Expatriates won’t necessarily need to learn Norwegian (unless they want to become a citizen), but it will certainly be useful in adapting to life in Norway.

Both Nynorsk and Bokmål are used in public administration, schools, churches, and on radio and television, and all Norwegians understand both languages. Strong local cultures are reflected in the language, and Norwegian is characterised by these numerous dialects.

Weather in Norway

One major challenge for those moving to Norway from warmer climates is coping with the cold weather and long, dark winters. About 10 percent of the population suffers from some form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and most foreigners find the winter months tiring at best and unbearable at worst. The best way to handle the winter is to wear proper clothing, get a sunlamp at home and the office, take a mid-winter trip to a warmer climate, and practise winter sports such as skiing.

Food in Norway

Depending on a foreigner’s taste in food, they may find Norwegian cuisine takes some getting used to. Staple foods are fish and rice or potatoes. Lunch is usually eaten during a half-hour lunch break, and consists of cold spreads of fish, meat, eggs or vegetables on slices of bread, often accompanied by a glass of milk. There is more variety than this in most cafeterias and restaurants, but don’t be surprised to find colleagues eating these open-faced sandwiches every day.

Norwegian delicacies include pinnekjøtt (dried meat eaten at Christmas), lutefisk (dried whitefish prepared with lye), rakfisk (salted, fermented fish), risgrøt or riskrem (rice porridge), ribbe (fatty pork eaten around Christmas) and smalahove (sheep’s head).

Religion in Norway

Though Norway’s government is officially linked to the Church of Norway (a Lutheran church), the country is highly secular. Religion and personal faith are not common topics of discussion. There are many churches and a few temples and mosques, but there remains controversy over other religious faiths and practices, such as wearing the hijab.

Alcohol in Norway

Norwegians, especially teenagers, see alcohol as an integral part of social life – sometimes to an extreme. Expats shouldn’t be surprised if they come across vociferous and friendly alcoholics or drunken youths on public transport or in the streets after business hours and on weekends.