For members


Can you claim your Norwegian pension from another country?

If you have worked in Norway for at least three years after turning 16, you are likely to be able to claim a pension even if you now live elsewhere.

Here's how you can claim your Norwegian pension from another country. Pictured is a plant growing out of a money jar to signal investments growing.
Here's how you can claim your Norwegian pension from another country. Pictured is a plant growing out of a money jar to signal investments growing.Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

In Norway, residents are eligible for three types of pensions. The two main pensions to be aware of are pension payments from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and any pensions from employers you will have accumulated. There are also private pension savings that you invest into yourself. 

As a foreigner in Norway or a Norwegian looking to retire elsewhere, these pensions can be claimed if you no longer live in the country, but certain rules apply.

Through the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme

Anyone who has legally worked in Norway for at least three years after turning 16 is entitled to a retirement pension from the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden). This also includes those who have tax residency in the country.

For each year of employment, 18.1 percent of your wages are transferred to your pension account.

The size of your pension, which you can choose to start receiving the month before your 62nd birthday and up to age 75, will depend on several factors, such as how long you have been a tax resident of Norway and contributions to the National Insurance Scheme. To draw your pension from just before you turn 62, you will need to have accumulated a sufficient pension fund.

To receive the full Norwegian state pension or retirement pension, you will need to have resided in Norway for 40 years. For those who have not lived there for 40 years, their pension is reduced proportionally. For example, those who have lived in Norway for 25 years will receive 25 ‘fortieths’ of the full state pension.

You can read more about the specifics of retirement pensions from the state here

How to claim

The retirement pension can be claimed from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), but there are some rules. If you are moving or have moved to a country within the EEA or one with which Norway has a social security agreement, you can continue to receive your pension (unless you are a refugee or receiving a pension with a young disabled person supplement).

You will also need to fill in the application form. You can take a look at the form here

If you are moving to or living in a country outside the EEA or one that Norway doesn’t have an existing social security agreement with, then there are different rules depending on your age which you can read about here

Essentially, if you were born before 1954, it will be pretty difficult to claim your pension from another country. The main rule to be aware of is that you will need to have lived in Norway for at least 20 years.

If you were born after 1963, there are no requirements for how long you will need to have lived in Norway to draw your pension from another country.

If you were born between 1954 and 1963, you can draw your pension from a country outside the EEA, which Norway doesn’t have a social security agreement with, which would be calculated based on a mixture of the two different rules.

You can check any pension you have accumulated through the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme through NAV’s Din Pensjon portal. It also includes a basic pension calculator.

You will need an electronic ID to sign in.

How to get paid

If you still have a Norwegian bank account open, NAV will make payments there as this is the quickest and easiest option available. 

If you have a foreign account, payments can be made to a bank in your country of residence, typically in local currency. However, some fees will apply, and all payments are made using the latest exchange rate at the time of payment. 

Significant fluctuations in currency strength can also affect the size of your payments. You can read about receiving payments into a foreign account here.

You can check your pension and change your bank details with NAV here and look at payment dates here.  

Private pensions

Employees in both the public and private sectors are also covered by some form of occupational pension scheme. 

If you have worked in Norway, you will have therefore earned occupational pension through your terms of employment. For most employees, this will be paid from the age of 67.

There are two types of occupation pensions: Defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution pension plans.

A defined contribution scheme means your employer saves a percentage of your salary each month. This will appear on your payslip. This, as a minimum, is 2 percent.

A defined benefit pension will typically give you two-thirds of your salary when you retire. The sum of your pensions will be what you are entitled to through national insurance contributions and the pension you will have accumulated from your employer. This typically only applies to public sector employees.

You should contact your current and previous employers to find out what schemes you are enrolled in for more information on this. 

To determine what you may or may not be entitled to if you move away from Norway, then you will need to contact the pension company responsible for your occupational pension should you up sticks to elsewhere. If you are still working in Norway, consider moving to a pension plan that allows you to draw from the fund whether you are planning or dreaming of moving to.

The pension firms will also have more information on how to receive payments and what options are available.  

Depending on your employer and circumstances, you may also be entitled to an early contractual retirement pension (AFP). An AFP pension is an early retirement pension that you can receive between 62 and 67. The rules for drawing this pension while abroad are slightly different from state and private pensions. You can read more about it here.

Typically, only public-sector workers are entitled to AFP pensions. 

Those who have invested into a private pension will need to check with the relevant company for more information about countries to which they will make payments. 

Tax implications? 

One last thing to note is that if you are drawing a pension in another country, you will need to get in touch with the local tax authorities to find out any implications of receiving the pension and whether it will be considered a taxable income or not.  

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For members


How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Known just as much for its high prices as its stunning scenery, Norway doesn't have a reputation as a cheap place to live. But how much does food cost, and how does it compare to the rest of Europe? 

How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Famously known for being on the pricey side, Norway has many factors that draw foreign residents, such as the scenery, wages and work-life balance. 

However, one common complaint is the high prices. Is the cost of food and groceries as bad as everyone says? 

Unfortunately, according to the statistics, Norway lives up to its reputation for expensive food and groceries. 

Eurostat, which monitors price levels across the EU, EEA and EU candidate countries, has ranked Norway as the country with the second highest price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Out of the countries monitored by the stats agency, only Switzerland had a higher price level index. A price level index measures the price levels of a given nation relative to other countries. This means that compared to the rest of the other countries measured, food and non-alcoholic beverages in Norway are the second most expensive overall. 

According to Eurostat’s data and price level index, prices in Norway were 49 percent higher than the EU average in 2021. Norway also had the highest price for fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and ‘other food’ products. ‘Other foods’ consist of chocolates, sugars, jams etc. 

READ ALSO: Why food in Norway is so expensive

In addition, non-alcoholic beverages in Norway were also the most expensive found among 36 European countries. The price of alcoholic drinks in Norway lived up to their reputation for priciness, with the cost of alcoholic beverages being 160 percent higher than the average and the second most expensive after Iceland

Scandinavia as a whole has a reputation for high prices, so how did Norway compare in this regard? 

Finland had the lowest overall food prices out of Scandinavian countries when measured by the price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages. This was followed by Sweden, which had a score of 117, Denmark with 120 and Iceland with 139. 

This highlights that even among the Nordics, Norway is an expensive country for food. 

One noticeable trend is that the food prices in Norway are becoming less expensive compared to the European average. In 2018, food prices in Norway were 63 percent higher than the European average. Three years on, this had fallen to 49 percent. 

Even though the prices are high, is it really that expensive when considering wages? 

While food is certainly more expensive in Norway than in most countries, wages are also considerably higher. 

For example, the average monthly salary in Norway was 50,790 kroner per month in 2021. This equates to just over 5,000 euros. In 2022, the estimated monthly average wage in the EU was around 2,570 euros. However, it’s worth pointing out that large differences exist between EU countries. For example, the average monthly wage in Bulgaria was estimated to be around 852 euros, while in Denmark, it’s estimated to be about 5,979 euros (44,514 Danish kroner). 

Therefore, a more accurate way of measuring the true cost of food would be to measure how much of a household’s monthly income is spent on food. 

In Romania, food made up more than a quarter of household expenditure, making food more expensive there for households as it eats up a larger chunk of consumers’ budgets, despite lower prices than the EU average. Across 36 countries measured by Eurostat, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up around 13 percent of total consumption expenditure by households. 

In this regard, Norwegians actually spend less money on food than other European households. Food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 11.3 percent of households’ total spending in 2022, according to Statistics Norway

Typically, someone aged 31-50 years will spend between 3,100 – 3,660 kroner per month on food, according to the Consumption Research Norway’s (SIFO) Reference Budget for Consumer Expenditures

So even while Norway spends more money on food, it’s less expensive overall as it takes up a lower portion of household expenditure. fra