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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.