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Digital nomads: Who can work remotely in Norway?

The digital nomad lifestyle is taking off in a number of countries in Europe. If you're considering moving to Norway as a foreigner with the intention of carrying out remote work and you want to find out more about the relevant rules – we've got you covered.

Norwegian fjord
The Local has compiled a guide to address some of the main concerns of all would-be digital nomads that dream of moving to the North. Photo by Michael Fousert / Unsplash

More and more people are embracing the perks of a digital nomad lifestyle. By leveraging modern technology, digital nomads are able to travel and work remotely, enjoying liberties that were far-fetched for the workforce of the 20th century.

While such a lifestyle can sound attractive, some countries have regulations that make life quite hard for digital nomads.

What are the key aspects of the regulatory framework for remote work in Norway? Is it a good destination for international digital nomads?

The Local has compiled a guide to address some of the main concerns of all would-be digital nomads that dream of moving to the North.

Strict requirements for remote work

Unfortunately, Norway is not exactly a “digital nomad-friendly” country when it comes to the immigration and labour rules that govern remote work.

As the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) points out on its webpage, all those planning to work remotely in Norway need to have a residence permit that gives them the right to carry out such work in the country.

As the UDI notes, with the exception of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens, all international citizens working in Norway must have a residence permit in order to have the right to (remote) work in Norway.

In a clarification published in June of 2022, the UDI pointed out that “working for a Norwegian or foreign employer off-site (e.g., from a hotel, a home, or similar)” is “considered remote work,” adding that this also applies to the self-employed in Norway or abroad.

That means that foreign nationals cannot work for their employer in their home country while in Norway on a visit or holiday, regardless of whether they’re in the country on a visa-free stay or if they have a visitor visa.

As the Norwegian immigration authorities point out, foreign nationals can only work remotely in Norway if they have a residence permit that gives them the right to do so.

There are several different types of residence permits that provide workers with the necessary rights to carry out remote work, such as a permanent residence permit, a residence permit for work where remote work is part of your job, and a residence permit for family immigration.

Best options for digital nomads interested in Norway

Both EU and EEA citizens have the right to visit and work in Norway, and they also have the option of registering as self-employed persons in the country.

In practice, this leads to some EU and EEA citizens spending short periods of time (a few weeks or months) working for foreign employers while staying in Norway without encountering any significant issues – even without the necessary permits.

However, if you stay in Norway for longer periods of time, note that such “grey area” arrangements can lead to issues related to the payment of taxes and tax residency.

So, if you’re an EU/EEA citizen looking to stay in Norway for more than just a month or two, try to get your residency permit in place as fast as possible.

If you’re not an EU citizen, digital nomad sites often recommend Norway’s independent contractor visa as the closest thing the country has to a digital nomad visa.

But what is it, who can get it, and how can you get it?

Norway’s independent contractor visa

Norway’s independent contractor visa is intended for non-EU citizens, and while it’s not officially a visa for digital nomads, they tend to recommend it as it allows self-employed professionals who want to stay in Norway for a longer period of time.

The independent contractor visa is a residence permit issued to eligible remote workers, giving them the right to work remotely in Norway for two years. The idea behind this visa was to attract international professionals to move to Norway.

Digital nomads looking to take advantage of this opportunity need to meet multiple requirements, with the most tricky one being that they need to have at least one corporate client based in Norway to be able to apply.

Norway also has a digital nomad visa program aimed at professionals who want to relocate to Svalbard, a rugged archipelago between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole.

As legal experts at LawyersNorway.eu point out, if you successfully establish yourself there, you will be able to move to other parts of Norway later on.

So, if moving to Svalbard isn’t a deal-breaker for you, then this just might be the right gateway to relocating to Norway.

How to apply for the independent contractor visa

In order to qualify for the Norwegian independent contractor visa, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

1. At least one Norwegian client: You will need at least one Norwegian corporate client to be eligible for this type of visa. Expect the authorities to require a contract with the client as proof.

2. A valid passport and an address in Norway: First off, you need to have a valid passport. You also need to have your accommodation in Norway taken care of, as you’ll be asked to provide an address. You’ll likely need to provide a tenancy contract as proof.

3. Proof of self-employment and proof of income: You will be asked to provide proof of business establishment and activity outside of Norway, and the authorities will also verify whether your income allows you to move to and live in Norway.

Note that the minimum annual income you’ll need is around 370,000 kroner, and you’ll be required to provide bank slips and/or statements to prove you earn that income each year.

To get more information on the various residence permits and work rights in Norway, consult the UDI’s website.

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COST OF LIVING

Cost of living: What are Norway’s best comparison sites for saving cash

With inflation pushing up the prices of most consumer products, people living in Norway are increasingly resorting to using comparison sites to make sure they get good deals – or at least that they don't get ripped off.

Cost of living: What are Norway's best comparison sites for saving cash

The cost of living crisis is exerting significant pressure on the personal finances of most Norwegian households.

According to a recent survey carried out by Norstat for the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Oslo office, 70 percent of Norwegians are worried about their personal finances.

Furthermore, 77 percent say they will likely be able to afford to spend even less in the future as prices continue to rise.

The inflationary pressure in Norway has made comparison sites, which help users compare deals and save cash, more popular than ever.

In this article, we will go through some of the best comparison sites you should use in Norway if you want to save money.

Prisjakt

The price comparison site prisjakt.no is likely the most popular – and biggest – site of this sort in Norway.

Prisjakt.no enables consumers to compare product and service prices between a number of online stores so that they know they’re not paying more than they need to.

The site shows the lowest prices at the top of its product pages, as it is not possible for stores to pay to get a better position on Prisjakt – which is a nice consumer-oriented guarantee.

Along with price comparisons, you can also find other helpful information, including shipping costs and stock status, the price history of products, and reviews.

You can also get notified when the price is reduced or when a store receives a new product in stock, which can be a great timesaver.

Things to look out for: When it comes to the downsides, some consumers complain that the company is too strict when it comes to managing store reviews – especially critical ones.

Prisguiden

While Prisjakt is often considered the top comparison site in Norway, Prisguiden is a close second and is generally considered its leading competitor.

This price comparison site has been helping Norwegian consumers find great offers for more than 20 years. They cover around 700 stores and have 9 million products from 1,200 product categories on the site.

Prisguiden offers standard options such as price alerts, product price history, and a comprehensive page with the top deals of the day and week.

Things to look out for: Some users of the site claim that the number of stores included in the overview does not enable consumers to find the best offers, while others believe the search results include too many foreign stores and suspicious sites.

Kelkoo

Founded in 2000, Kelkoo is a shopping portal that helps users search through millions of products from hundreds of online stores in order to reach a more informed purchase decision.

The portal checks product data and prices from the online stores it covers several times a day and updates its result pages.

It offers thousands of trusted brands such as Apple, Sony, Philips, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, Bosch, and Miele, as well as Norwegian household names such as Elkjøp.no, XXL.no, G-PORT / G-MAX.no, Jernia.no, and Megaflis.no.

Things to look out for: Note that the search results are not too extensive at times, and it might not be apparent which store is based in Norway and which isn’t at first glance (you’ll need to visit the pages Kelkoo.no recommends in the search results to find out).

Finansportalen

If you want to compare banking, financial, and insurance services, then Finansportalen.no is the place for you.

Finansportalen is a service offered by the Norwegian Consumer Council, which aims to give consumers the power and option to make good choices in the financial services market.

The portal offers a number of digital tools that help consumers compare banking, pension, insurance, and investment products.

Mattilbud

Sometimes shopping around is the only surefire way to save some cash. However, with all the legwork involved, it may not feel like it’s worth it.

Luckily, Norway’s Mattilbud app lets you collate and compare all the offers currently available in all of Norway’s major supermarkets.

The app shows you all the offers available in the supermarkets in your local area. Mattilbud includes prices and offers from Meny, Joker, REMA 1000, Bunnpris, Matkroken, Kiwi, Spar, Coop Prix, Coop Mega, Coop Marked, Obs, Extra and Europris.

Strømpris

Strømpris.no is another free service offered by the Norwegian Consumer Council. The site makes comparing prices and finding better electricity deals easier.

The comparison service is based on mandatory reporting from the power companies based on Norwegian regulations on reporting for power supply agreements.

That means that the companies are obliged to report their agreements to Strømpris.no by themselves.

FINN

While it’s not exactly a price comparison site, FINN.no is Norway’s biggest online marketplace. It has been on the market for roughly 23 years, and it is one of the most popular websites in the country.

According to the company’s website, on average, Norwegian spends an average of 30 hours on the site every year.

The site has a huge second-hand market, and on a typical day, there are around 300,000 listings and ads available on Finn.no at any given time. That means you’ll often find good deals on FINN – regardless of whether you are buying or selling.

Things to look out for: As is the case with most online marketplace platforms, there are also shady individuals using the site. Exercise common sense and be cautious before you commit to buying or selling anything on FINN. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you’re interested in second-hand deals, you might want to read The Local’s guide on how to buy second-hand and save money in Norway

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