The best guide for a successful relocation
Norway is part of the borderless Schengen area, which means that citizens of the EU, the EFTA and some other countries will not require a visa to visit Norway for a short stay. Citizens of countries not on this list, such as India or South Africa, will need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the country. You can apply at a Norwegian embassy, or in some countries at a Swedish or Danish embassy.
Expats who do not require a formal visa to enter Norway may still be questioned at the border about the purpose of their visit and where they're staying: this is just a routine, and isn’t meant to antagonise tourists. Simply answer the questions honestly and report to baggage claim.
There is a multitude of different residence and work permits available, depending on your skill set and circumstances. The good news is that it is possible to apply for residence status from within Norway, so it is possible to arrive on a tourist visa and look for a job while you are in the country, then apply for a residence permit, which will allow you to work legally.
If you are an EEA citizen, you can live and work in Norway for up to three months as long as you register with the Norwegian police when you arrive in the country and can prove that you won’t be a burden on Norwegian social services.
Visit visa for Norway
Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and those designated on a list drawn up by the Norwegian government do not need a visa to enter Norway, and have the right to a 90-day stay in the Schengen area. It's merely necessary to have a passport valid for six months from the date of travel.
This list of countries that don’t need a visa includes the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Ireland. Citizens from India and South Africa, among others, will need to apply for a Schengen visa at their nearest Norwegian embassy in order to gain entrance into Norway.
Schengen visa for Norway
Those who apply for a Schengen visa will need to gather the required documents, complete the visa application form, and make an appointment to submit their application to the Norwegian consulate or embassy in their home country. Processing time can vary, so be sure you submit the application in good time before you plan to leave.
All documents must be in English or Norwegian.
Documents required for Schengen visa application:
- Passport with at least two blank pages, valid for three months from the last date of travel
- Recent colour, passport-sized photo
- Round-trip air ticket or itinerary to/from Norway
- Proof of travel, health or accident insurance
- Proof of sufficient funds during travel (amount and documentation required varies)
- Proof of accommodation (hotel reservations, letters from friends, details of a tour, etc.)
- If applying for a Schengen visa to travel to Norway for business purposes, it’s necessary to include a letter of invitation from the Norwegian business party and a letter from your local employer stating your duties in Norway. If attending a conference, proof of registration and accommodation is required.
In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents, at the discretion of the Norwegian embassy or consulate.
Once granted the Schengen visa, it is still best to bring supporting documents (such as proof of accommodation) with you just in case you need to show them to immigration officials.
Other visit visas
Norway also offers a special visitor’s visa to those who for some reason are unable to apply for a Schengen visa. This visit visa grants holders entry into Norway only. It must also be applied for at an embassy before travel and is only granted in special circumstances, such as for humanitarian reasons.
An emergency visa may be granted on arrival in truly exceptional circumstances – for example, if a close family member is gravely ill in Norway and the Norwegian embassy in your country was closed that day.
Parents who have children living in Norway as students, citizens or as permanent residents can apply for a Parental Visit Visa, which is valid for nine months.
Entry visa for skilled workers
Those who have found a job in Norway and have been granted a residence permit will automatically be granted an entry visa, valid for seven days. You can also apply for this ahead of time, if you have proof that your application for a residence permit is being processed and proof that you have an offer of a job in Norway. You will need to report to a Norwegian police station within seven days of entering the country.
It is also possible to apply for a six-month visa for skilled workers if you have not yet found a job in Norway; however, you will need to prove that you have relevant skills to contribute to the Norwegian workforce.
You can find a full list of visas and permits, along with lists of required documentation and downloadable forms, at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s web site.
Norwegian Directorate of Immigration www.udi.no/Norwegian-Directorate-of-Immigration
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