For members


What are the key benefits of Norway’s family immigration permit? 

When moving to Norway, you may need a residence permit to live and work there legally. Norway’s family immigration permit has several advantages that may make it a more attractive proposition than other types of residence. 

Lofoten in Norway.
Thinking of moving to Norway? A family immigration permit comes with a number of benefits. Pictured: Lofoten in Norway. Photo by Johny Goerend on Unsplash

The majority of those from outside the European Economic Area will need a residence permit to live in Norway legally. However, if you are an EEA national, it’s relatively straightforward due to being able to live and work in Norway freely. The only paperwork that will be required is registering with the police

Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for more than one permit. For example, when moving to be with a partner or family member, you may qualify for both a work permit and a family immigration residence card. 

In many cases, the family immigration permit may be best as it comes with several benefits that other types of residence may not. 

What is the family immigration permit? 

Spouses, cohabitants, fiancées, children, parents and other family members of residents in Norway may be eligible to apply for family immigration or family reunification permits from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

In other articles, we’ve covered the rules for family and partners in more depth. You can check those out below. 


Career freedom

When moving to Norway, many may find themselves in a position where they qualify for both a work permit and a family immigration permit, but they aren’t sure which one is best. 

When granted a family immigration permit, you have the right to live and work in Norway. And unlike a work permit, you may have more career freedom. This is because you will not need a job relevant to your qualifications. 

Additionally, those with temporary work permits need to reapply when moving into a job that’s a different position to the one you were granted a permit for, even if it’s with the same employer. Those with a family immigration permit aren’t required to reapply when switching jobs. 

This makes changing your job or career in Norway a lot more hassle-free than with a work permit.

Free language lessons

You may be entitled to free Norwegian language lessons when granted a family immigration permit in Norway. 

Those who are the family members of those with permanent residence, or the family member of a Norwegian or a citizen of another Nordic country (except those that have a residence permit as a family member on the grounds of the EEA freedom of movement regulations) can get up to 600 hours of language and social studies tuition based on their residence. 

Quicker road to citizenship 

Yes. As briefly outlined above, several factors can affect how long you must spend in Norway before becoming a citizen. 

For those that are a registered partner, cohabitant, or spouse of a Norwegian citizen, then the residence length is five out of the last ten years. 

One caveat is that your combined residence and marriage period will need to have been at least seven years. This means you will have to have already been married for at least a couple of years to be eligible for Norwegian citizenship after five years of residence. 

Those who aren’t married can include the time they have lived with their partner to the combined marriage and residence requirement. Furthermore, time spent living together or abroad can count towards the residence requirement.

READ ALSO: How long does it take to get Norwegian citizenship?

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For members


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?