For members


How many international students choose Norway for their studies?

Several factors, such as no tuition fees at public universities for some students, make Norway an attractive proposition for prospective students. Figures have revealed how many come to Norway for their education.

Pictured is notes being taken in a library.
Here's how many foreign students are studying in Norway. Pictured is notes being taken in a library. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A high quality of life and free tuition at public universities for most students means Norway is a great place to live and study.

The attractiveness of Norway as a study destination may fade in the coming years as students from outside the EEA and Switzerland will have to pay tuition from the autumn term of 2023.

However, that hasn’t stopped large numbers of students from choosing Norway to live in alongside their studies, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

Just under 11,000 people registered in Norway as studying under the EEA registration scheme or were granted an education permit for those from outside the EEA.

Slightly more non-EEA nationals came to Norway for education purposes than those using the EEA registration scheme. However, when only including students and post-doc candidates, the number of education permits dropped to just over 4,000.

Students from the Philippines, China and the USA were the largest group of nationals to be granted permits. Nearly twice as many Filipinos were granted study permits than those from the US or China. Nationals from Pakistan and Iran were the next largest groups to be given permits for education permits.

In 2022, around 92 percent of applications for a residence permit for educational purposes were granted.

When it came to EEA nationals, German, French and Italian citizens were the biggest groups to register a move to Norway for education purposes. Some 1,556 Germans registered in Norway for education purposes, and around half of Germans who moved to Norway in 2022 did so for their studies.

Those from the Netherlands and Belgium were the next largest groups to come to Norway for tuition. In both cases, more nationals from these countries came to Norway to study than they did for any other reason, such as work or to be with family.

While non-EEA students will be required to pay tuition in Norway, the rules for those from within the EEA remain the same- allowing them to study for free at public universities.

The number of those coming to Norway to study from outside the EEA increased between 2021 and 2022. However, these numbers are likely to go down again due to the tuition rules.

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For members


The key things you need to know about Norway’s student visa

If you want to study in Norway and you're not from a country that is a member of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you will likely need a student visa. Here's what you need to know.

The key things you need to know about Norway's student visa

The student visa – officially called a residence permit for studies or a study permit – allows you to enrol in various types of education in Norway, from upper secondary education and folk high schools to universities and vocational schools.

In any case, if you’re from a country outside the EU or the EEA and want to study in Norway, you will likely need to get a study permit.

In this article, we will focus on the key things you need to know if you’re applying for a study permit to go to a university or college in Norway.

For the rules that apply if you’re looking to enrol in other study programs in the country, kindly consult the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

There are different rules in place for different non-EU/EEA countries. The UDI has a helpful wizard that allows you to quickly figure out which study permit requirements apply to your individual circumstances, available here.

General requirements (US applicant example)

For the purposes of this article, we will go through the rules that apply to study permit applications for prospective students from the United States who wish to enrol in a Norwegian university or college.

The basic things you need to know are that you will have to pay an application fee (you can find a list of fees that currently apply here), that the authorities will check whether you have been admitted to a college or university (admission is a prerequisite), that you need to have a place to live during your studies, and that you need to study full-time.

As you probably know, Norway is a notoriously expensive country. Therefore, there are also strict rules in place about the money you need to have to live in Norway during your studies. The minimum for a school year is 128,887 kroner, while those studying for only one semester need to have 58,585 kroner for the autumn semester and 70,302 kroner for the spring semester.

Also, note that some students from outside the EEA and Switzerland will be required to pay tuition in Norway from the autumn of 2023.

The source of the funds can vary – from student loans and grants to own funds. You’ll need to present proof of funds by submitting, for example, a bank statement from a Norwegian bank account or the deposit account of your educational institution.

If you have managed to secure a part-time job in Norway (congratulations!), the expected income maybe be included towards the requirement.

Note: If you don’t have a bank account in Norway, you can use the bank account at the institution where you will study if you make the necessary arrangements with it beforehand. Just make sure to contact them early on in the process.

Remember that your desired place of study must be included on the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education’s (NOKUT) list of accredited universities. You can check the full list of such approved institutions here.

How to apply

You can apply for a study permit from abroad or hand in your application in Norway.

If you’re applying from Norway, you’ll need to follow the UDI’s wizard to pinpoint the exact application requirements that apply to your case, as these differ based on a broad range of factors (e.g., do you already have qualifications as a skilled worker and have legal stay in Norway, did you have a residence permit in Norway for the last nine months, etc.).

However, if you’re applying from abroad, the process is somewhat straightforward.

First, you’ll need to print out the UDI’s checklist and gather the necessary documents. You can find the list here.

Secondly, you’ll need to fill in your application – the application form can be found on the immigration authority’s website here. Note that you’ll need to sign in to the UDI portal before accessing the page.

Lastly, you’ll have to hand in the application and documents in person a the Visa Application Centres or an embassy. You can find more information about handing in applications on the Norwegian government’s website, here.

What rights and obligations does a study permit entail?

If granted a study permit in Norway, you will also automatically get permission to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week, including remote work, in addition to your studies and full-time during holidays.

However, you will not be allowed to run your own business or be self-employed in the country.

Furthermore, once you get a study permit, your spouse or cohabitant and children will usually be able to apply to come and live with you in Norway.

Just note that the immigration authorities are unlikely to process your family’s applications simultaneously with your study application – it might take a while.

Also, if you decide to apply for a permanent residence permit down the road, note that the period you have spent in Norway with a study permit does not count towards the necessary time minimum for permanent residence.