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The most common reason Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected

Permanent residence comes with the benefit of living and working in Norway for as long as you wish. The UDI has revealed to The Local the most common reason why people have their permanent residence applications turned down. 

These are the most common reasons why Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected. The Local, Norway's news in English.
These are the most common reasons why Norwegian permanent residence applications are rejected. Pictured is Ålesund. Photo by Mike Benna on Unsplash

Norwegian permanent residence allows someone to live and work in Norway as long as they wish. Additionally, it comes with the benefit of no longer having to reapply for residency but instead simply renewing your card every couple of years. 

For those on work permits, the benefit is even greater as those with permanent residence can switch jobs, positions and careers without requiring a new work permit to be issued. 


Last year, around 16,000 people in Norway were granted permanent residence in Norway, according to figures given to The Local by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

However, permanent residence comes with several requirements which applicants must meet. 

The UDI told The Local that around 10 percent of permanent residence applications in 2021 were rejected as the applicant didn’t fulfil the requirements. 

According to the immigration directorate, failure to meet one particular requirement was the most common reason applicants were rejected. 

“The most common reason for rejection was that the applicant did not have sufficient income. In 45 percent of the rejected cases, the applicants did not meet this requirement,” the UDI told The Local. 

What are the income requirements? 

To be granted permanent residence, applicants must meet the income requirements. This means you must have had your own income within the last 12 months, equal to or more than 278,693 kroner. 

For those on family immigration permits, this must be your own income too. Unlike the application for a temporary family immigration permit, you can’t have the person you moved to Norway to be with meet the requirements for you. 

This income can be from employment, business income, pension payments, or regular income from earned interest, rental income and insurance settlements. 

Sickness benefit, pregnancy benefit, parental benefit, retirement pension, unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, and single parent’s benefit also counts. Loans or grants received in connection with studies are also permitted. 

These incomes can all be combined to reach the minimum requirement, as outlined by the UDI. 

The rules also stipulate that you must not have received any financial assistance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). This rule excludes the benefits outlined above and doesn’t include financial aid from NAV (økonomisk sosialhjelp) which you have received for a short time (maximum of three months) to cover additional expenses which you do not typically have.

Assistance from NAV received while waiting for sickness benefit, pregnancy benefit, parental benefit, retirement pension, unemployment benefit, work assessment allowance, or support for single parents also doesn’t stop someone from qualifying for permanent residency.

Although if you have received any benefits outside of the ones detailed above, then at least 12 months will need to have passed between receiving your last payment and you applying for permanent residence to qualify fully.  

If you don’t meet this income requirement, you can still technically be granted permanent residence. If you earned less than the required amount in the 12 months before your application is submitted, you could still qualify if you had a full-time job in the 12 months leading to your application and were paid the legal minimum wage

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How long do applications for Norwegian residence take to process?

Some citizens will be required to have a residence permit to live and work in Norway legally. Here’s what you need to know about how long it could take.

How long do applications for Norwegian residence take to process?

Moving to Norway will, for many, involve going through the residence application process. Depending on the application type and your circumstances, it could be a lengthy wait.

Typically, those from outside the EEA will need to apply for a residence permit to move to Norway as a skilled worker, to be with a partner, spouse or family member or to study, as they don’t have the same freedom of movement rules as EEA residents. 

If you are applying or have applied, it may be helpful to know how long you may have to wait to hear an answer. 

The Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) has provided The Local with figures for the median waiting times for the various application types. 

At the end of September, the median waiting time for a family immigration permit was around 144 days. Meanwhile, the waiting time for a work permit was 50 days, and those applying to study in Norway waited around 64 days. 

However, these are just the median waiting times- you could be left waiting much longer or considerably shorter. 

This makes it hard to give a catch-all answer regarding application waiting times. In addition to the figures provided, the UDI has a list of waiting times for various applications on its website. These waiting times are updated every month, so they are worth checking in on regularly.

Also, if you are applying for residence and haven’t handed in your documents yet, the estimates provided don’t take into account how long it will take you to get an appointment to submit the paperwork. 

You can click here to take a look at the UDI’s waiting times for various application types. When you check your waiting time on the UDI’s website, it will ask for detailed information on your application, such as the type of permit you are applying for and where you will hand your documents in order to give you an accurate time frame. 

However, even then, the time you end up actually waiting may exceed the estimates and figures provided to The Local. For example, earlier this year, we heard from residents who had exceeded their waiting time, saw it increase every month and in some cases, went over 18 months without receiving a decision

This still may be the case for some, as there were just under 3,000 applications from 2021 that were yet to be processed. Unfortunately, this means that thousands of applicants still face exceptionally long waiting times similar to the ones The Local reported earlier this year.

When you submit an application within Norway then the police will typically process the application. If they have any doubts about the application, they will forward it to the UDI as they do not have the power to reject applications. You can click here for an overview of police processing times. 

A lot of this backlog may be attributed to a change in the workflow, which saw older applications pushed to the back of the queue at the beginning of the year

Previously, the UDI has told The Local that the change in workflow, increased automation and ensuring that applications were or less complete when submitted would decrease wait times in the long-term. 

READ MORE: Have long waiting times for Norwegian residence improved?