For members


Checklist: Am I eligible for Norwegian citizenship? 

Norwegian citizenship has plenty of benefits, but it is not a quick process, and it isn’t always clear whether you meet all the requirements. Here’s what you need to know about when you can apply and the requirements you’ll need to meet. 

Pictured is Trolltunga.
Here's how you can tell when you are eligible for Norwegian citizenship? Pictured is Trolltunga.Photo by Dong Zhang on Unsplash

Who is eligible? 

The most common route to Norwegian citizenship is through being a legal resident in Norway for long enough or being born to one of two Norwegian parents. The second route isn’t guaranteed for older adults. Secondly, it isn’t possible to qualify for Norwegian citizenship through ancestry. Therefore grandparents or great-grandparents don’t count. 

As the rules for citizenship through birth mainly apply to children, we will not focus on them in this article. However, you can find much more detailed information here

Residency rules 

The residency period you’ll have to wait to become eligible for Norwegian citizenship will actually depend on a few factors. 

Typically, you will need to have been a legal resident (meaning you have had valid residence permits or met the EEA regulations for the duration of this period) of Norway for six or eight years. 

This is due to the “sufficient income” requirements which allow those who have earned above a wage threshold to qualify for citizenship sooner. A sufficient income is a total income that covers at least three times the basic amount in the National Insurance Scheme (3G).

One thing to note is that this amount can change as the minimum is adjusted. The basic amount is updated every year. As of May 2022, it was 11,477 kroner. Therefore, a sufficient income for applications submitted before May 2023 and after May 2022 would be 334,431 kroner. 

Those with a sufficient income in the last year can apply for citizenship (provided they meet the other requirements) after six years. Those without a sufficient income can apply after spending eight out of the past 11 years in Norway. 

Those with a spouse or partner in Norway can apply after five out of ten years in Norway, provided their combined time living in Norway and in a relationship is more than seven years. Time living abroad can count towards this total. 

Researchers and those with Nordic citizenship are also eligible for citizenship quicker too. 

Are you aware of the language requirements? 

As of October 2022, you must have passed an oral Norwegian test at a minimum of B1 level to be considered eligible for citizenship if you are between 18 and 67. Those over 55 are only required to pass at the A2 level. 

You can find more information about the language test requirements here.

Do you have a valid passport? 

During the process, you will be required to verify your identity. This means you will need to present your passport and any other supporting documents to a police station. 

Therefore, having a valid passport is a must. 

Have you been convicted of any criminal acts? 

Being convicted of a criminal act can disqualify a potential applicant from requiring citizenship. This is because those convicted of crimes are blocked from citizenship as they are required to serve a disqualification period.  

The length of the disqualification period depends on the severity of the punishment. The shortest period is 2.5 years. 

Applicants aged over 15 are required to order a criminal record certificate which verifies their conduct while in Norway. This shouldn’t be ordered until you have an appointment with the police, however. In addition, the certificate must be no older than three months after submitting your application documents. Without it, your application will be rejected. 

Do you hold permanent residency/ are you eligible for permanent residence? 

To be eligible for citizenship, you must be simultaneously eligible for permanent residency or already the holder of permanent residence. 

This means that if you are a permanent resident and meet all the other requirements for citizenship, you are eligible. 

However, non-permanent residents will need to familiarise themselves with the permanent residence requirements and ensure they meet all of those to remain eligible for citizenship. In addition, they will need to remain eligible for permanent residence while the application is processed. This can take as long as 18 months. 

Have you passed the social studies or citizenship test in Norwegian? 

To be eligible for Norwegian citizenship, you must have passed either the social studies test or the citizenship test in Norwegian to qualify for citizenship. 

Social studies tests are typically taken when doing the language and social studies course that some foreign residents have to do. 

The citizenship test is a separate test which can also help one become eligible to become Norwegian.

Where to check if you are eligible and other things to know

Norway’s citizenship requirements can differ slightly depending on your own situation, so the best way to identify what directly applies to you is to use the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s (UDI) web portal

Once you enter your nationality and residence type, you’ll be given more specific information about what applies to you. 

And finally, it’s worth pointing out that you will need to pay an application fee in order to apply for Norwegian citizenship

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For members


Why do some Norwegian citizenship applications take much longer than others?

Becoming eligible for Norwegian citizenship is a process which takes years. When you finally submit your documents, you could find out whether you have been successful in a couple of months or up to two years.

Why do some Norwegian citizenship applications take much longer than others?

Language tests, citizenship and social studies tests, residency requirements and a good conduct certificate are just some of the key criteria you will need to meet to be granted Norwegian citizenship.

Meeting these requirements and being granted citizenship means such benefits as having the same rights as Norwegian and EEA citizens, being able to vote in general elections and staying in Norway for as long as you like or returning after a lengthy absence with virtually no paperwork.

Once you’ve checked all the boxes that apply to you and handed your documents to the police, your paperwork will be forwarded to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

Per-Jan Brekke, a senior press advisor for the UDI, has told The Local that citizenship applications can take up to two years to process.

However, some cases receive a decision in a much shorter time, while others can take longer than two years to process.

One factor which affects how long an application will take is the applicant’s existing citizenship. Brekke used the example of applications from Syrian nationals taking longer to process.

“One of the reasons for long waiting times is that it is a challenge for Norwegian authorities to confirm the identity of persons from Syria. It has been difficult to determine the authenticity of Syrian passports since the civil war began in 2012. Consequently, the UDI has to confirm identities in other ways. Carrying out these alternative activities requires a case officer to evaluate your application,” he said.

Currently, the UDI website says that applications for citizens from (as an example) the UK, the US and Italy take 22 months to process. Meanwhile, applications for a national from Syria take 26 months.

One of the reasons citizenship cases take so long to process in the first place is that the UDI has received a large volume of applications.

“The main reason for the current long waiting times in citizenship cases is the large volume of cases that we have been unable to process quicker,” Thomas Theis-Haugan, a senior advisor to the press at the UDI, told The Local.

However, The Local has heard of citizenship cases processed in just a few months rather than up to 22 months. This is because the UDI can automatically process some applications, meaning a decision is made much quicker.

“Although some citizenship cases have much shorter waiting times since they can be automated (approximately one-third of all citizenship cases),” Theis-Haugan said.

Essentially, those who have their case processed can expect a significantly shorter wait for a decision.

On its website, the UDI states that those who do not receive an answer to their application within two months are probably not having their cases processed automatically. Applications that aren’t processed automatically are handled by a caseworker.

Those having a caseworker look over their application typically have nothing to fear or worry about, but it does mean it will take longer to receive a decision.

Unfortunately, the UDI or the police cannot tell you whether your application will be processed automatically. Additionally, you won’t receive any heads-up as to whether your case is or isn’t being processed automatically. If your request to become a Norwegian citizen is handled by a caseworker, the immigration directorate won’t be able to tell you why either.