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Moving to Norway

A Scandinavian country in northern Europe, Norway usually conjures up images of vikings, fjords, glaciers and trolls, and is traditionally known for its dramatic and breathtaking scenery. In recent years, however, expats have been moving to the 'Land of the Midnight Sun' for its booming economy, its high standard of living, excellent welfare and relatively strong job market.
 
With limited arable land and a long coastline, Norway's economy was traditionally based on fishing and shipping, until oil was discovered off its shores in the late 1960s. Thanks to rich natural resources in the form of fisheries, hydroelectric power and petroleum production, Norway has enjoyed strong economic growth. And owing to the government’s wise investments in its national oil fund, the country currently enjoys one of the world’s biggest budget surpluses.

The combination of economic success, social welfare systems and egalitarian policies has led to Norway being ranked first in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index for several years in a row. Norway is also one of the world’s richest countries and its capital, Oslo, is consistently ranked as one of the planet’s most expensive cities. Expats moving to Norway should bear this in mind when negotiating their salary package.

Norway has a population of more than 5 million; the bulk of the population lives in the southern half, while the north is sparsely populated. Oslo is the largest and most populated city, while other major cities include Stavanger on the southwest coast, Bergen on the west coast, and Trondheim on the northwest coast.

Norwegians pride themselves on their egalitarian policies and welfare state. Every person has the right to free or subsidised medical services (minus dental) and free education. Parents receive a year of paid maternity/paternity leave (also known as parental quota), and usually split the time between the mother and the father. A law passed says the father must have three months of paternity leave that can be used up until the child is eight.

Public transport in Norway is excellent and varied, with metro, tram, bus and train systems linking most urban areas. Cities are often small enough to traverse on foot, though it might be better for expats who choose to live in a suburb to have a car.

The cost of living in Norway is undeniably high but, on average, salaries are relatively high too. The standard of living for both expats and locals is also correspondingly high, yet saving money can be difficult. Salary margins are narrow between blue collar and white collar, or C-level executives.

Norwegians are on the whole very proud of their country and heritage. The Norwegian spirit is best seen on 17 May, the national holiday celebrating the establishment of the Norwegian constitution in 1814 – which, incidentally, makes it one of the oldest constitutions in the world. It is celebrated with more fanfare than is witnessed in many other countries.


Fast facts

Official name: Kingdom of Norway

Population: Around 5.2 million

Capital city: Oslo (also largest city)

Other cities: Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim

Neighbouring countries: Norway shares borders with Sweden to the east, Russia and Finland to the northeast, and Denmark across the Skagerrak Strait.

Geography: Norway consists of a rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. Much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age. 

Politcial system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Major religions: Christianity

Main languages: Norwegian (official). English is also widely understood.

Money: The Norwegian Krone (NOK) is divided into 100 ore. It is relatively easy for expats to open a bank account in Norway provided they have a national ID number (personnummer).

Tipping: Service charges range from 10 to 15 percent in most hotels and restaurants. Taxi fares are generally rounded up to the nearest krone.

Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)

Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz. Two-pin, round-prong plugs are used.

Internet domain: .no

International dialling code: +47

Emergency contacts: 112 (police), 113 (ambulance), 110 (fire)

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Public transport is efficient and easy to use, making getting around Norway very straightforward. 

Weather in Norway

Expats may be surprised to find that Norway is not bitterly cold all year round. Despite its northerly location, the coastal climate in Norway is temperate, thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream flowing along its coast. Summer occurs between late June and early August, and brings pleasantly mild days with temperatures reaching 22 °C (72°F), and sea temperatures of 64°F (18°C). 

In winter, much of Norway is snow-clad with extremely low temperatures in the north and the low-lying inland regions of the south. Temperatures drop well below zero. In contrast, the coast enjoys milder winters, although gales and rain are common. In spring, between May and mid-June, Norway is at its prettiest with everything coming to life and blossoming and melting snow swelling the waterfalls.

 

Embassy Contacts for Norway

Norwegian embassies abroad

  • Embassy of Norway, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 333 6000

  • Embassy of Norway, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7591 5500

  • Norway Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 6571

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 5700

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 364 3700

  • Royal Norwegian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 662 1800

  • Norwegian Consulate-General, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 471 2503


Foreign embassies in Norway

  • United States Embassy, Oslo: +47 21 30 85 40

  • Embassy of the United Kingdom, Oslo: +47 23 13 27 00

  • Embassy of Canada, Oslo: +47 22 99 53 00

  • Australian Embassy, Copenhagen, Denmark (also responsible for Norway): +45 70 26 36 76

  • South African Embassy, Oslo: +47 23 27 32 20

  • Irish Embassy, Oslo: +47 22 01 72 00

  • New Zealand Embassy, Stockholm, Sweden (also responsible for Norway): +46 8 400 17 270

Public Holidays in Norway

 

2021

2022

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Maundy Thursday

1 April

 14 April

Good Friday

2 April

 15 April

Easter Sunday

4 April

 17 April

Easter Monday

5 April

 18 April

Labour Day

1 May

1 May

Constitution Day

17 May

17 May

Ascension Day

13 May

 26 May

Whit Sunday

23 May

 5 June

Whit Monday

24 May

 6 June

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Norway

While relocating to a foreign country always has its highs and lows, a move to Norway is definitely something to be excited about, as the positives far outweigh any negatives. Even the rainy weather can’t dampen the high quality of life most people experience in this Scandinavian country.

Below we've listed a few pros and cons of moving to Norway.


Accommodation in Norway

+ PRO: High-quality housing

Norwegians take a lot of pride in their homes and that means the market is full of well-taken-care-of houses and apartments that make for a high standard of living. Many homes are bright with all of the modern-day conveniences that one could wish for.

- CON: High real estate prices

Renting and buying property in Norway is extremely expensive and this plays a huge part in an expat's budget if they don’t have a company covering their housing costs.

+ PRO: Furnished accommodation is available

Many rental properties come furnished with modern and clean furniture and they often look like they’re right off the pages of an IKEA catalogue. Landlords are usually willing to replace furniture the tenant isn't happy with and, should they need to buy their own, there are plenty of options.


Lifestyle in Norway

+ PRO: Plenty of outdoor activities

If one enjoys the outdoors, Norway is most definitely the place to be. Hiking, camping and fishing are all part of the Norwegian lifestyle and the opportunities are endless.

- CON: Weather is hard to bear

Rain and wind often go hand in hand in coastal Norway and the winter temperatures in the interior and northern parts of the country are enough to give the hardiest of expats the shivers.  

+ PRO: Active lifestyle

Walking and cycling paths are abundant throughout Norway, allowing residents to maintain an active lifestyle. Sport teams and gyms are easy to find.

+ PRO: Clean environment

Norwegians care about the environment and their impact on it, so people try to keep their cities clean. Recycling is a part of daily life.

+ PRO: It’s beautiful

Norway is truly blessed with beautiful landscapes and it’s near impossible to not be wooed by the picturesque surroundings. Expats will want to soak it all in despite the weather.


Food in Norway

+ PRO: Good selection

While there isn't the massive amount of cuisines and diversity of eateries one may be used to in North America, for instance, it’s generally possible to find just about everything one might want or need.

- CON: Dining out is expensive

Expats will definitely be saving their nights eating out at restaurants for special occasions as an average meal for two comes with a hefty price tag.


Safety in Norway

+ PRO: Safe

Norway is a very safe country with a fairly low crime rate. Kids walk themselves to and from school and people often leave their doors unlocked. While it’s always good to take normal precautions, one generally doesn’t worry about safety issues.


Working and doing business in Norway

+ PRO: Family first

Family takes a front seat in Norway and it’s completely acceptable to leave work to pick up children and take them to football practice. There are also generous parental leave times for both mother and father when welcoming a new baby into the family.

+ PRO: Short working hours

Norwegians work 7.5 hours per day and generally no more. It’s not expected that employees will answer emails or work in the evenings or on weekends and they don't usually expect others to.

+ PRO: Holidays

If on a local working contract, expats will enjoy five weeks of holidays per year in addition to the few national holidays throughout the year.

+ PRO: Big company perks

A lot of large companies offer many perks to their employees, including company cabins, discounted fees to athletic clubs and golf courses and subsidised cafeterias at the workplace. 

- CON: Working pace

If coming from a culture with an emphasis on work, adjusting to the slower Norwegian pace can be a bit of a challenge.


Culture shock in Norway

+ PRO: Little culture shock

The Norwegian culture is fairly easy to integrate into and the fact that many Norwegians speak excellent English makes it even easier.

- CON: Locals are often misunderstood

Some complain that they find the Norwegian people a little cold and perhaps even unfriendly, but it just takes a bit of time for them to warm up to new people.


Cost of living in Norway

- CON: It’s expensive

There’s no way around it. Almost everything in Norway is expensive.


Education and schools in Norway

+ PRO: Free post-secondary education

Norway offers free college and university education to everyone, Norwegian or not.

+ PRO: High-quality public education

Norway places great importance on education and the public system reflects this.


Healthcare in Norway

+ PRO: High-quality healthcare for all

The standard of healthcare is high in Norway and it’s covered under the national system. This means that residents aren’t paying out of pocket for visits to the doctor (except the dentist) and the quality of care is as one would expect in most developed countries.

- CON: Procedures are lengthy

Because of the national system of healthcare, everyone is required to follow the procedures set up by the government. It's not possible to contact specialists without a referral from a family doctor, and wait times are occasionally a bit longer.

Safety in Norway

Norway is an exceptionally safe country for expats. Pickpocketing and petty theft do occur, but seldomly. Police patrol the streets in cars, on foot and on horseback, and do not carry weapons. There are also volunteer groups that patrol the streets at night, where heavy drinking can often end in fights.

Walking alone or at night is generally safe, but one should of course exercise caution in some areas of larger cities. In particular, women should avoid walking alone through quiet streets at night or taking shortcuts through deserted areas.

Though localised and few and far between, there have been threats and incidents of terrorism in Norway, and this cannot be ruled out.


Crime in Norway

Incidents of petty theft and robbery do occur, and normal precautions – such as locking one's house or car and keeping valuables in a safe place – should be taken. Norwegians put a high value on honesty, and are more likely to return a person's belongings if they are lost. This is slowly changing and is not as true in the big cities, but expats may still be pleasantly surprised.

Serious crime is rare, so the occasional murder or rape will get a lot of media coverage, and elicit national shock.


Road safety in Norway

Norwegian traffic laws are strict, particularly for drunk driving, and Norwegians are not known to be overly reckless drivers. Nevertheless, some road deaths do occur. In winter, especially, one should exercise caution on narrow roads and at nighttime. Headlights are mandatory, even during the day. Regulation winter tyres must be fitted in season (November to April).


Health risks in Norway

Living in Norway poses few major health risks but residents should follow guidelines and safety instructions from the authorities. The tap water is safe to drink and even swimming in lakes, rivers and the fjords is safe.

The healthcare system in Norway is among the best in the world and costs almost nothing for citizens and resident expats in Norway. Citizens and residents of the EU can apply for the EHIC (European Healthcare Insurance Card), which entitles them to access Norway’s government-subsidised medical facilities and treatment.

For emergency medical services, dial 113.

Working in Norway

Expats with a job lined up in Norway can count themselves lucky as the country is consistently identified as one of the best countries in the world in which to work.

The majority of Norwegians are said to feel satisfied and secure in their job, while most workers believe they could find another job if they wanted to. A strong, mixed economy and the welfare state have created an environment of trust, confidence and optimism within the labour force.

Norway’s work culture is generally supportive of employees and puts a strong emphasis on balancing the demands of one's work and home life. A Norwegian boss may even be concerned that an employee is working too hard or too much.


Job market in Norway

Norway has a mixed economy, meaning the government is a significant employer alongside private enterprises. Some of the largest employers in Norway include Norsk Hydro, Telenor, Orkla, Aker Solutions and Equinor. Important industries in Norway are petroleum and natural gas, mining and shipbuilding, as well as fishing.

As such, Norway’s robust economy offers many opportunities for expats, particularly in these fields, as well as engineering, IT, research, finance and teaching. Just as oil and gas is a major sector, Norway is also investing in clean energies, including hydroelectric power, and the development of green technologies is a growing field.

Many expats consider self-employment or freelancing and can find a job in fields ranging from freelance writing to web design. Foreigners considering self-employment opportunities in Norway must apply for the appropriate visa and work permit, though.

Norway's economy has remained relatively stable and has come out strong in the face of global financial crises. Average earnings are high across all professions, whether it's as a teacher, accountant, architect or receptionist.


Finding a job in Norway

With a low overall unemployment rate of around four percent, there are often many open positions in Norway. However, being a small market, it may be a challenge to find a job that perfectly fits an individual's background and profile.

Multinational firms are known to hire expats, even if they don’t speak Norwegian. Otherwise, the general feeling is that expatriate employees should be able to speak the language and have some experience in the Norwegian market. Expats with specific qualifications should find out if these are recognised in the country and, if not, may need to undergo some vocational training after arriving.

Expats have the option of going through a recruitment agency to secure a job. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration is one of the best places to start the search as it provides tips for job seekers and guidance on how to find job vacancies. Alternatively, there are listings of jobs available online via portals such as FINN.no and Manpower Norge, while having a strong LinkedIn profile is also advised.


Work culture in Norway

The work culture reflects Norwegian society at large in that it's egalitarian and there is no real hierarchy. Any employee can comment on a project while top-down communication channels are not as specific as in other countries.

Doing business in Norway is rated as easy, and while employees work hard, typical working hours are shorter than in many other destinations. Employees also benefit from the wide scope of social benefits and great working conditions, which contribute to a happy work-life balance.

Doing Business in Norway

Norway is an egalitarian society with flat hierarchies and power structures that do not keep management and employees estranged. Norwegians often work across hierarchies rather than down through the line. The leadership style is informal and is based on employee freedom with responsibility.

Despite some initial cultural differences, expats should find Norway an easy country in which to do business. The country ranks highly on international business surveys, with the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Survey for 2020 ranking Norway 9th out of 190 countries, testament to its advanced economy and transparent business practices. The country scored particularly well in the categories of resolving insolvency (5th) and enforcing contracts (3rd).

Expats employed in Norway often work in one of the country's key economic industries, such as oil and gas, fish farming, industrial fishing, mineral processing, hydroelectric power, shipping and shipbuilding. Across all sectors, it's helpful to be familiar with the dos and don'ts in the Norwegian workplace.


Fast facts

Business hours 

Monday to Friday, from 8am to 4pm.

Business language

Norwegian, but English is spoken throughout with a high degree of fluency.

Dress

Business dress is determined largely by industry. The banking, finance and sales sectors are more formal and often require a suit, while technical staff may have a more casual dress code.

Gifts

Many companies have a policy restricting their employees from receiving gifts. If an expat wants to give a business connection a gift, it is better to invite them out for lunch or dinner instead.

Gender equality

Norway is a fully equal society; women doing business in Norway will receive the same treatment as men.

Greeting

Most Norwegians use first names in a business setting after the first introduction. Males and females shake hands as equals and in no particular order but, on a daily basis, tend to greet without shaking hands.


Business culture in Norway

Business culture in Norway tends to be relaxed and informal, and sometimes a bit unstructured. Coffee breaks are regular and socialising and having fun at work are encouraged, as it is believed that cheerful employees will be more productive. Norwegians have a strong balance between work and leisure, and most people leave the office at 4pm.

Egalitarianism

The key to successfully doing business in Norway is understanding the concept of egalitarianism, a belief in the inherent equality of people. Everybody feels like they can interact directly with everybody else in this Scandinavian country, and in line with this principle, Norwegians tend to establish direct contact with the person who can get things moving, rather than doing everything through the line. Egalitarianism also means that excessive displays of wealth are likely to be considered inappropriate and in bad taste.

Decision making

The hierarchy is often quite flat, and decision-making models are based on consensus and compromise. Decisions may take a long time because of this, as many opinions need to be taken into account. Expats are expected to participate in the discussions and need to bear in mind that decision making may be a slow process in Norway. Norwegians are generally unafraid of disagreeing with a superior, another likely consequence of its egalitarian society, in combination with strong job protection and an extensive social welfare system.

Management style

The Norwegian management style is based on freedom with responsibility; a leader is more likely to delegate tasks to be solved than to give detailed orders. The leader will not follow up closely, and will usually give the subordinate freedom to figure out how and when to solve the task, as long as it is completed within the deadline. Norwegian employees are accustomed to this freedom and understand that it also demands an inherent sense of responsibility.

Meetings

Meetings in Norway will start on time and will usually address points of business quickly, with only a few minutes of cursory small talk beforehand, which is typically done before everybody is in place. Meetings are usually conducted in an informal way, and often without any note-taking or minute-keeping.


Dos and don’ts of business in Norway

  • Do be on time for meetings and private appointments; punctuality is critical

  • Do advise of delays of more than five minutes

  • Do get down to business after only a few minutes of small talk

  • Do be honest and forthright

  • Do dress smartly when going out in the evening for planned events

  • Don't say yes if asked to do something that cannot be delivered on

  • Don't stand too close; personal space should be respected

Visas for Norway

Norway is part of the borderless Schengen area, which means that citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and some other countries will not require a visa to enter Norway for short stays.

Expats who do not require a formal visa to enter Norway could, however, still be questioned at the border about the purpose of their visit and where they're staying – this is routine and isn’t meant to antagonise travellers. The easiest thing to do is to answer the questions simply and honestly.

Various residence and work permits are available, depending on the applicant’s skill set and circumstances. All European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who move to Norway to work and live for longer than three months will need to register with the Norwegian police. Registration is free and only needs to be done once. If an EEA expat continues to stay in the country, they will be granted resident status after five years. EEA expats arriving in Norway without a job will also need to register and must leave the country after six months if they do not find a job. 


Short-term visas for Norway

Citizens of the EU, the EFTA, and from countries on the Norwegian government’s designated list do not need a visa to enter the country and are entitled to a 90-day stay in the Schengen area. It is only necessary to have a passport that is valid for six months from the period of stay.

The list of countries that don’t need a visa for Norway includes the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Ireland. Citizens of countries not on the list, such as India or South Africa, need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter the country. This can be applied for at a Norwegian embassy or, in some countries, at a Swedish or Danish embassy.


Schengen visas for Norway

Expats applying for a Schengen visa will need to have all required documents, complete application forms, and make an appointment to submit their application to the Norwegian consulate or embassy in their home country. Processing times can vary, so applicants should be sure to submit their applications in good time before they plan on arriving.

Travellers applying for a Schengen visa to travel to Norway for business purposes are required to include a letter of invitation from the Norwegian business party and one from their employer stating their duties in Norway. Conference delegates are required to produce proof of registration and accommodation.

In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents, at the discretion of the Norwegian embassy or consulate.

It is still best to bring supporting documents such as proof of accommodation after being granted a Schengen visa, just in case immigration officials want to see them.


Residence permits for Norway

Non-EU or non-EFTA expats who are interested in moving to Norway to work will need a residence permit. They cannot move to Norway without being issued a residence permit, which can only happen with a concrete offer of a job. An employer can apply on behalf of an employee for a residence permit. 

Work Permits for Norway

Depending on an expat’s country of origin, a work permit may be required before taking up employment in Norway, and this should be applied for at the Norwegian embassy in their home country.

There are also a number of agencies that can help facilitate the process of getting a visa or work permit for Norway from within the country.


Applying for a work permit in Norway

Generally speaking, citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries (including the UK) do not need a work permit or to apply for a residence permit in Norway for a short time.

Information about work permits and regulations for both EEA and non-EEA citizens are available directly from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) also gives information on work permits for individual countries. NAV handles all work-related issues and is a good resource when looking for a job.


Work permits for EU citizens

EEA nationals with a valid identity card or passport can legally move to Norway and look for a job without a work permit for up to six months. They must register their presence in the country as a job seeker with the police within the first three months of their arrival. If they have not found a job after six months, they are required to leave Norway. They can return soon after and begin the process again.


Work permits for non-EU citizens

Expats from countries outside of the EU and EEA will have different processes to go through depending on the kind of work they want to do. Officially, expats applying for a work permit must already have found a job.


Skilled workers in Norway

Skilled workers are required to have either completed vocational training or a university degree, depending on their profession. There has to be a corresponding qualification in Norway. Permits are only granted based on experience in exceptional circumstances.

Certain skilled workers will also have to have their qualification approved by a state organisation such as, for instance, the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (SAFH) for doctors and nurses.

Successful applicants can get a permit that is valid for one to three years at a time. After three years, a skilled worker can apply for a permanent residence permit in Norway. It is usually possible for family to apply to live with the main permit holder.

It's possible to change jobs if working for a Norwegian employer, as long as the same type of work is performed.

Cost of Living in Norway

The cost of living in Norway is high, but there is some consolation for expats in that high salaries offset some of these costs, as do the public services offered by Norway's welfare state. Expats should carefully calculate their budget for Norway before moving, and take a look at a cost of living index to gain a better idea of comparative costs of specific goods and services.

Oslo, Norway's capital city, ranked 76th out of 209 countries in Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2020. But while many things are expensive in Norway, the social benefits such as education and healthcare make up for it.

In Norway's egalitarian social system, the margin between low and high salaries is fairly narrow. Executive-level expats may find that, due to the tax structure, they won’t have much more disposable income than someone working in a trade. Making more money is not necessarily as advantageous when someone ends up paying higher taxes on that income. It is also challenging to save money in the short term, and unless new arrivals have secured a good expat relocation package, they may find that they will need two incomes to get by comfortably.


Cost of food in Norway 

There is very little that is considered 'cheap' in Norway when compared to other European prices. Expats from countries with a low cost of living may be overwhelmed at first when comparing prices to their home country. On an expat stint, it's often best to compare prices against one's earnings rather than against costs elsewhere.

Fresh seafood is generally reasonably priced, but most food is imported and there is a high VAT charge on food items. That is why many Norwegians drive over the border to Sweden on a 'harrytur', which is basically a shopping trip to stock up on food staples at a much lower cost. In fact, this cross-border industry is so big that several shopping centres have been built just over the border to accommodate Norwegian consumers.


Cost of housing and transport in Norway

Housing is expensive in Norway, but gets cheaper the further one travels from the larger cities, and accommodation is certainly more affordable outside of the capital. In cities such as Bergen and Fredrikstad, for example, rent is much cheaper than in Oslo. Owning a home provides several tax benefits, so if someone can afford it and they plan to stay in Norway long term, this is the way to go.

Cars are expensive as well, as are entertainment, eating out and local travel. However, it can be cheap to fly out of Norway on budget airlines and charter trips. Norwegians frequently take advantage of this opportunity and can often be found at any sunny and warm destination in the world, especially during the cold months from October through April.


Cost of living in Norway chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Oslo for January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 13,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NOK 10,000

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

NOK 20,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

NOK 16,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

NOK 39

Milk (1 litre)

NOK 18

Rice (1kg)

NOK 26

Loaf of white bread

NOK 30

Chicken breasts (1kg)

NOK 127

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NOK 135

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NOK 110

Coca-Cola (330ml)

NOK 30

Cappuccino 

NOK 43

Local beer (500ml)

NOK 90

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant 

NOK 900

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

NOK 0.90

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month) 

NOK 455

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

NOK 1,300

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

NOK 14

Bus/train fare in the city centre 

NOK 37

Petrol (per litre)

NOK 16

Culture Shock in Norway

There are specific areas of life where expats are likely to experience some culture shock in Norway. The cost of things, for instance: foreigners eventually get used to the prices, but often find they need to budget differently, and adopt the Norwegian tradition of driving to Sweden or taking a ferry to Germany or Denmark to purchase cheaper goods.

There is also a Norwegian social value called Janteloven, which can be difficult for expats to understand. It is similar to conformity and equality between all people. As a result, it is still considered inappropriate for people to flaunt wealth, achievements or their career status. This is slowly changing, as oil wealth and access to the world market is altering people’s views.


People in Norway

Norwegians are known for being reserved, honest, humble and straightforward people. They don’t like hierarchy in general, so an expat’s boss will be more likely to ask for their opinion than give them orders. Foreigners often find that Norwegians are difficult to get to know. They can be wary of strangers, but open up once they are familiar with someone. Once a person has been accepted and makes a Norwegian friend, they often find that they have a friend for life.

Expats may also discover that Norwegians are not outwardly social, and are unlikely to greet in shops, in the street or even in social settings until they know someone. Extroverted expats should use their skills to get to know people. Work is a good place to socialise and meet others, but new arrivals should not be surprised if they are the only ones wanting to socialise after work. Norwegians put a high priority on spending time with their families, and are likely to go home straight after work.


Office culture in Norway

Foreigners may find Norwegian working hours surprisingly lax and flexible, and very family- and sun-friendly. Norwegians work hard and are effective during work hours, and Norwegian companies expect employees to work between 8am and 4pm. On the rare warm and sunny days of the year, some companies close up shop at 3pm to allow their employees time to be with their families, play sports and be outdoors.

Employees with children can usually leave by 3.30pm or 4pm to pick them up from day care, without the need for an excuse or explanation. If one’s children are sick, it's also often possible to stay home for a few days to take care of them. These general rules apply to the public sector and most private sector companies, but not all of them. Also, certain jobs do not allow for this kind of work balance, such as consultants and senior management positions.


Language in Norway

Norway has two official languages: Norsk and Sami (spoken by the indigenous Sami of the north, and only recognised as an official language in certain areas of the country). English speakers have an advantage, since most Norwegians speak some English and anyone born after 1960 is probably quite proficient, if not fluent. English may be widely spoken in the cities, but it's less so in the rural areas and towns. Expatriates won’t necessarily need to learn Norwegian (unless they want to become a citizen), but it will certainly be useful in adapting to life in Norway.

Both Nynorsk and Bokmål are used in public administration, schools, churches, and on radio and television, and all Norwegians understand both languages. Strong local cultures are reflected in the language, and Norwegian is characterised by these numerous dialects.


Weather in Norway

One major challenge for those moving to Norway from warmer climates is coping with the cold weather and long, dark winters. About 10 percent of the population suffers from some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and most foreigners find the winter months tiring at best, and unbearable at worst. The best way to handle the winter season is to wear proper clothing, get a sunlamp at home and the office, take a mid-winter trip to a warmer climate, and practise winter sports such as skiing. 


Food in Norway

Depending on a foreigner’s taste in food, they may find Norwegian cuisine takes some getting used to. Staple foods are fish and rice or potatoes. Lunch is usually eaten during a half-hour lunch break, and consists of cold spreads of fish, meat, eggs or vegetables on slices of bread, often accompanied by a glass of milk. There is more variety than this in most cafeterias and restaurants, but don’t be surprised to find colleagues eating these open-faced sandwiches every day.

Norwegian delicacies include pinnekjøtt (dried meat eaten at Christmas), lutefisk (dried whitefish prepared with lye), rakfisk (salted, fermented fish), risgrøt or riskrem (rice porridge), ribbe (fatty pork eaten around Christmas) and smalahove (sheep’s head). 


Religion in Norway

Though Norway’s government is officially linked to the Church of Norway (a Lutheran church), the country is highly secular. Religion and personal faith are not common topics of discussion. There are many churches and a few temples and mosques, but there remains controversy over other religious faiths and practices, such as wearing the hijab.


Alcohol in Norway

Norwegians, especially teenagers, see alcohol as an integral part of social life – sometimes to an extreme. Expats shouldn’t be surprised if they come across vociferous and friendly alcoholics or drunken youths on public transport or in the streets after business hours and on weekends.

Accommodation in Norway

Expats looking for accommodation in Norway will be happy to know that there are a variety of housing options throughout the country, and generally of excellent quality across the board. 

Although accommodation prices in Norway can be high (as much as a third or even a half of one's salary), employers often provide expats with a housing allowance in their employment contracts.

Moreover, expats thinking of relocating to Norway with their families can rest assured that – as with all other aspects of Norwegian society – the range of accommodation options available to them is strikingly family friendly.


Types of accommodation in Norway

At least during the initial stages of their time in Norway, most expats will probably opt for renting property in Norway. Expatriates have a variety of accommodation options to choose from, including flats, luxury apartments and small houses.

Those intending to rent accommodation in Oslo will probably end up in a flat (apartment), as property prices in the Norwegian capital are exorbitant. Expats who have grown accustomed to shared housing should be aware that this isn't really an option in Norway – the closest thing is tomannsbolig, which are large houses that have been subdivided for use by two families.

Flats and apartments in Norway are available as furnished or unfurnished options, with the former obviously being slightly more expensive. If an expat chooses to take the unfurnished route, it is possible to ship furniture to Norway; otherwise, a good range of furniture stores (including IKEA) can easily be found.


Renting accommodation in Norway 

The process of renting a property in Norway is straightforward – although, expats are advised not to pin all their hopes on one specific property, as competition can be quite stiff. Typically, a person attends a showing, puts their name on a waiting list, which the landlord of the property will then consider, and waits to (hopefully) be contacted at a later point. This can be a bit of a popularity game, and if an apartment has an open showing, the potential tenant must be there to meet the owners if they want to be considered at all. Expats often elect to have an agency do most of this legwork for them, once they've decided on their budget and housing specifications.

Most lease agreements in Norway are signed on at least a one-year basis, and sometimes up to two or three years. Expats will be required to pay up to three months' rent upfront as a deposit before moving in and will be subject to a penalty fee if they back out of the lease agreement before taking up residence in the property.


Standard of accommodation in Norway

The standard of accommodation in Norway is excellent, though expats relocating from countries where houses are generally spacious might be surprised at the relative lack of space in Norwegian homes.

Nevertheless, expats can expect comfortable, well-finished, well-insulated living quarters with good heating systems. Expats should ensure that the heating in their prospective lodgings – whether it is gas, electric or a wood-burning stove – works well because it will be a necessity in winter.

Home security is basically a non-issue in Norway, with many expats reporting that they don't even feel the need to lock their doors. An incredibly small minority of houses in Norway will be fitted with alarm systems – expat tenants shouldn't panic if their dream rental doesn't have one, as they will likely not need it.

Healthcare in Norway

The healthcare system in Norway is one of the best in the world. There are both public and private facilities – public services are subsidised by the government and are either free or cost only a small fee, while private healthcare is funded by patient fees and is much more costly.


Public healthcare in Norway

Every citizen and resident of Norway is entitled to healthcare, including students who will be in the country for more than one year. The quality of public healthcare in Norway is excellent. It is not free, as generally thought, but heavily subsidised by the government and supported by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden, NIS).

Patients will be expected to pay a fee after any visit, but once they reach a specific limit, they are entitled to an exemption card (frikort) and will not have to pay any more within that calendar year. Patients just have to show their exemption card when they visit any medical facility. These cannot be used at private practices.

Expats who are registered in the National Population Register (Folkeregister) will automatically be assigned a general practitioner (GP) within the public system. Residents can find another one themselves, but can change doctors only twice annually. 

Patients have to visit their GP in order to get a reference to see a specialist. They may, however, have to wait for a few weeks to see a doctor unless they have an emergency, and up to several months to see a specialist. Some people prefer to go private in order to avoid long waiting times or to see specific specialists.


Private healthcare in Norway

There are several private healthcare facilities in Norway, many of which cater to the medical tourism market. Norway has high-quality specialists and diagnostic facilities which are competitively priced by UK and US standards.

Increasingly, Norwegian residents are choosing to take out private health insurance in addition to the NIS. This is partly to avoid long wait times for GPs and other specialists, and also to have an additional medical back-up in the event of an emergency or conflicting medical opinion. Since, without a doctor's referral, a patient cannot get an appointment with a specialist under the public system.

GPs who are not affiliated with government hospitals are usually private. They do not have the long waiting lists of public GPs and are therefore in increasing demand. In addition, most dentists are part of private practices, as dentistry is for the most part not covered by the NIS.


Pharmacies and medicines in Norway

Prescription medicine falls into two categories, white and blue class, and is respectively either free or subsidised. Subsidised medicine only carries a nominal fee.

Pharmacies are ubiquitous, and there will always be at least one pharmacy open in each district (schedules are available at any pharmacy). Prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics are all available at Norwegian pharmacies.


Emergency services in Norway

Emergency services and transport are free under the NIS. Response time is fast and emergency care is very good.

  • Ambulance: 113

Education and Schools in Norway

Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged six to 16. Education is guaranteed by the Norwegian state and is thus free at public schools. However, most schooling actually begins when the child turns one and is placed in a barnehage, or daycare. 

It is important to apply for a spot in the barnehage as soon as possible, as many have long waiting lists. A child’s barnehage is tied to their residential neighbourhood. The government gives residents Kontantstøtte (family allowance) until children are three to help pay for barnehage.

The school year in Norway runs from late August to mid-June the following year. The juleferie (Christmas holiday) from mid-December to early January divides the Norwegian school year into two terms. Children also have a vinterferie (winter break) and a påskeferie (Easter break). The school day usually finishes at 3pm and parents are free to leave work to pick up children from school.


Public schools in Norway

Citizens and legal residents of Norway have access to free public schooling. The Norwegian school system can be divided into three parts: elementary school (Barneskole, ages six to 13), lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole, ages 13 to 16), and upper secondary school (Videregående skole, ages 16 to 19). The marks they achieve in Ungdomskkole will determine whether they are accepted into their high school of choice.

Upper secondary school (similar to high school) is optional and lasts for three years. However, few jobs are available for this age group and changes in local education laws have made upper secondary school mostly unavoidable in practice.

Students graduating from their Videregående studies are called Russ in Norwegian. Russetid (the graduation period) is anticipated for years and celebrated with wild parties and festivities. Russ students are recognisable by their mono-coloured red or blue overalls.


Private and international schools in Norway 

Perhaps surprisingly for a country with such a large expat population, few schools teach international curricula in Norway. However, there are now a number of international schools in Oslo, in addition to the more ubiquitous public schools.

Until 2005, private secondary schools were illegal in Norway unless they offered a religious or pedagogic alternative to the public school system, which meant that the only private schools taught from a religious (mainly Christian) background or were Waldorf, Montessori or Danielsen schools. Secular international senior schools opened only after the law changed, although some more established schools have offered international curricula in lower grades for decades.

International schools generally offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), although there are also French- and German-curriculum schools and those which offer the British IGCSE at middle school level.

Fees for international schools are often prohibitively expensive and space can be limited, so parents should apply as early as possible to ensure a place for their child at their school of choice.


Tertiary education in Norway

Videregående (high school) graduates can apply to go to university. There is no tuition fee at Norwegian state-run universities. Students usually apply for a student loan to cover room and board and other living expenses, which doesn’t have to be paid back until they have a salaried job. Norwegians and those with permanent residency apply for admission through the Norwegian College and University Admissions Service.

Citizens of Nordic countries do not need a study permit to study in Norway. Citizens of other countries in the EU or EEA will need to apply for a study permit in person at a Norwegian Embassy.


Special needs education in Norway

Inclusive education is of fundamental importance in Norwegian primary and secondary education. It means that all children and young people are entitled to the same level and standard of education, regardless of ability. 

Norway spends significant resources on providing special educational support and special needs education. The aim of the Norwegian government is to improve adapted tuition in schools, the goal of which is to improve learning outcomes for all pupils so that fewer of them require special needs education. Of course, If there is a need to deviate from the normal curriculum, a decision on special needs education is required.

Pupils may access special needs provision within ordinary study programmes, within an adapted or alternative study programme in school, or in workplace training.


Tutoring in Norway

As in most Scandinavian countries, education is highly valued in Norway, and parents make regular use of private tuition to bolster their children's learning. Expats also often employ tutors, whether for Norwegian language lessons, extra help with certain subjects or simply to build some confidence in an unfamiliar environment.

Regardless of age, tutoring can be massively beneficial. Some of the top tutoring companies in Norway include Superprof and Varsity Tutors. 

Transport and Driving in Norway

The public transport system in Norway is efficient and comprehensive, with most of the country being covered by trains, bus services and ferry lines. As such, expats will find getting around in Norway to be easy and hassle-free.
 
Since so much of Norway is located on the coast, ferries are sometimes the fastest form of transport. The Hurtigruten follows the entire coastline from north to south, and is good for a touristic and leisurely look at expats' new home country. From Oslo, regular ferries take passengers to Denmark, Sweden and Germany. There are also ferry lines from the south of Norway to the UK.


Public transport in Norway

Cities such as Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim have excellent public transport systems. There are reliable bus, metro and tram routes that run regularly and take commuters wherever they need to go in the larger cities. Buses and trams depart every five, 10 or 15 minutes, depending on the time of day and route. Outside of normal hours, they leave every 20 or 30 minutes within the city limits.

Longer-distance trains and buses have their own schedules, which are easy to find online for each city, and all train information can be accessed on the Norwegian State Railway's (NSB) website. Public transport is costly but there are cost-effective options for long-term use that cover several forms of transportation.

Trains

The country's main train station is the Oslo Central Station (Oslo Sentralstasjon), which is the central point for rail travel within the country. NSB offers domestic services around the country, while international trains travel to Gothenburg, Stockholm (via Karlstad), northern Sweden and down to Malmö.

Buses

Oslo's central station is also located next to the main bus station, where all express and international buses depart and arrive, and the city can be reached by bus from most of Europe. The country's respective counties are responsible for administrating their own public bus services, while a number of private local and international companies run long-distance bus services.


Driving in Norway

While some expats buy cars in Norway, it’s important to understand driving in the country's winter conditions before taking to the roads.

Major roads in Norway are good, but once one leaves the south, the sparsely populated areas and rough, mountainous terrain mean that major roads are few and often only consist of two lanes.

On weekends and holidays, these roads back up with traffic for hours, so it’s good to plan for delays. Norwegians drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Depending on where their driving licence was issued, an expat can use their home country licence in Norway, but may have to eventually exchange it for a Norwegian licence. When exchanging their foreign driving licence, it must be sent in to the Department of Motor Vehicles (Vegvesen), with an application for exchange. Foreigners may also be required to take a driving test, which requires substantial fees. European Economic Area (EEA) residents can use their home country driver's licence provided it is valid.

Expats thinking of getting their driver’s licence in Norway should consider avoiding the hassle. With the excellent public transport options in the country, there is no real need for an expatriate to own or drive a car unless they have children.

Those who are still intent on doing it should expect to spend a lot of time and money. Besides learning basic skills, drivers must also learn to drive on ice and to handle snowy conditions.

Regulations on cars and driving are strict. Fines are based on the offender's salary (the state has this information); so, the richer the driver is, the sorrier they will be for speeding. Norway has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving, with exorbitant fines and prison sentences for offenders.

The country uses a points system (prikkbelastning) to handle traffic offenders. Two points are issued for most violations, except in the smallest speeding cases.

If eight points or more are issued during a three-year period, the driving licence is temporarily revoked, usually for six months.

Each point is deleted when three years have passed since the violation took place. When driving privileges are restored after the six-month ban, the points which caused the suspension are deleted.


Domestic flights in Norway

Regular flights service Norway and its surrounding areas. There are a number of local airlines in Norway, including Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air and Wideroe, along with several other charter companies. Many international airlines fly into Norway as well.

Keeping in Touch in Norway

Expats should have no trouble keeping in touch with family and friends back home after they arrive in Norway. The internet is fast and reliable, and there are several mobile phone options, while English media is also plentiful. 


Internet in Norway

With a highly advanced and cutting-edge Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the internet in Norway has fantastic reliability and speed. Residents can get online just about everywhere and most hotels, cafés and restaurants in the cities have WiFi for their customers. Internet connectivity is even possible in the most rural of areas in Norway.

Prices are reasonable and there are many services to choose from. The biggest telecom provider is state-owned Telenor, while Canal Digital and Tele2 are also prominent.

Most Norwegians have their own broadband internet at home, so internet cafés are sparse. Anyone needing to use the internet that does not own a laptop can go to the closest library.

Social networking sites and instant messaging services, such as Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime, are all accessible and well used.


Mobile phones in Norway

The vast majority of Norwegians have a mobile phone and texting is a common form of communication. Landlines are becoming rarer in private homes, but are still used by most businesses. The main provider is Telenor, which owns the core infrastructure.

Anyone with a Norwegian identity number can apply for a phone contract or buy a mobile phone without a subscription to a company. Expats will have an identity number assigned once their residency permit is approved.

Expats can check if their phone works in Norway when they arrive. If so, they can buy a new SIM card with a Norwegian number from mobile phone shops, some supermarkets and newsagents.


Television in Norway

Television is a good way for expats to begin to understand the Norwegian psyche, culture and language. Norway has four national television stations (NRK1, NRK2, NRK Super and NRK3), but private companies such as TV2 and TVNorge as well as cable channels let expats see their favourite shows from back home. Although NRK is state-owned and under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Church affairs, there is very little censorship on television. Anyone with a television has to pay a licence fee.

Many expats subscribe to cable television services, and the more channels someone subscribes to, the higher the price for cable services will be. Residents can also rent new release movies via their cable provider.


English media in Norway

There is a wide variety of English media in Norway. Television shows and movies are often in English, many websites have an English version, and libraries often have an English book section.

While there are obviously Norwegian channels on television, some channels show both Norwegian and American or British shows. All shows have subtitles regardless of the language. Most television channels in Norway are in English.


Postal services in Norway

Expats can use the postal system in Norway to ship packages to their family. Although it is expensive, the Norwegian postal service is very reliable and packages should arrive internationally within five to 10 business days.

Shipping and Removals in Norway

Norway has one of the world’s biggest shipping industries, so getting one's belongings to the country is easy and safe. The issue lies in cost, which can be quite high, both into and out of Norway, as postage is more expensive than in most other countries. When shipping goods to Norway, beware of customs. One won’t be taxed on moving shipment unless it's a vehicle. However, if a person resides in the country, they will be taxed on items shipped to Norway; unless they are used items, certain gifts, or printed material. 

When travelling to Norway, typical travel items like clothes, cameras and personal goods can be taken through customs duty-free, without having to be declared, as long as the total value does not exceed a specified amount. Food and alcohol have strict limits, and surpassing those can incur import tax, as well as large fines if discovered.

When moving to or from Norway, a person should either hire a moving firm that knows the regulations or make sure that they understand what is expected. A person will have to pay for shipments that wait at the dock, and they may wait a long time for the goods to pass through customs. Insuring goods is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions about Norway

Norway is a peaceful Scandinavian country that offers expats a great lifestyle and high quality of life, so there is little to be concerned about when planning a move there. Nevertheless, expats may still have questions about what to expect. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about living in Norway.

What’s the weather like in Norway?

Norway is a northern country, which means it has long, bitterly cold and dark winters and short summers with long, sunlit days. In addition this, some parts of Norway are also rainy almost year round. Many expats find it difficult to adjust to the lack of sunlight during Norwegian winters.

Is healthcare in Norway free?

No. For citizens and residents of Norway, healthcare is heavily subsidised by the government and is almost free but for a small fee payable after any visit to the doctor. After a certain limit, which changes each year, one's visits will be completely free.

Temporary residents and tourists are not entitled to this service (unless one's home country has a reciprocal agreement with Norway). Non-residents should note that medical care in Norway is expensive and won’t necessarily be covered by medical insurance. Expats should check with their insurance company before they travel, and take out additional insurance if necessary.

Do I need to buy a car in Norway?

It depends. Cities such as Oslo have excellent and affordable public transport and owning a car may be unnecessary. However, if a person has children or plans to travel often in Norway it might be a good idea to get a car. Norway has some of the strictest road traffic laws in the world and penalties can be severe, so it is recommended that a driver becomes familiar with these when renting a car. Getting a Norwegian driver’s licence may be the biggest obstacle.

Articles about Norway

Banking, Money and Taxes in Norway

Banking in Norway is fairly straightforward, although new arrivals will have questions about money matters and paying tax. Given the country’s high level of technological advancement, most transactions take place online and with cards.

Expats moving to the country must get a national ID number, which makes it possible to open accounts and carry out transactions. 


Money in Norway

The official Norwegian currency is the Norwegian Krone (kroner in plural), or NOK, which is divided into 100 øre – however, øre only exist online. It has become one of the world’s most stable and powerful currencies.

The Krone is available in the following denominations:

  • Notes: NOK 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000

  • Coins: 1, 5, 10, and 20

New arrivals who want to get hold of local cash can exchange foreign currency at the airport and hotels, but rates are likely more favourable in banks. Note that most exchanges are done by card, and having cash is not a necessity.

Norway has limits on how much currency can be brought into or taken out of the country, and travellers should be aware of this.


Banking in Norway

Norway hosts a handful of large commercial banks, while regional and savings banks are also available. Among the main banks are Bank Norwegian, DNB ASA and Handelsbanken.

Banking hours in Norway are generally 9am to 3pm. People often find that once they have their Norwegian bank card, they very rarely need to set foot inside a bank branch. Online banking is common and is used for just about any transaction. Mobile banking is also commonplace but it can take some time for expats to master, especially as the systems are mostly in Norwegian.

Opening a bank account

Expats need to open a local bank account if they plan to live and work in Norway. To do so, they need to get an 11-digit identity number. This national ID number, which every resident and citizen must have, is necessary to get paid, pay taxes, open a business and receive social benefits such as healthcare services, unemployment compensation and parental leave.

Norway's identity numbers are either a D number or a national identity number. Expats staying in Norway for less than six months but are liable to pay tax should obtain a D number, which can be provided by various organisations, such as banks and Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). 

Expats moving to Norway for more than six months will obtain the national identity number. The process of getting an identity number is normally done alongside visa and residence applications. Norwegian embassies abroad and the Norwegian Tax Administration provide further details.

It can take some time for the national ID number to come through so expats should begin this process as soon as possible. But once obtained, opening a bank account is straightforward. Expats will need this identity number and their passport, and different banks may require additional documents such as an employment contract.

Expats will most likely open a current account, though they can open various other types of accounts too.

ATMs and credit cards

Most financial transactions in Norway are conducted with a debit card issued by a local bank. ATMs are easily accessible, but cash is becoming rare in this highly technological society. Cheques are rarely used and are considered archaic.

Credit cards are accepted and getting a credit card is easy for anyone with a local bank account, but Norwegians don’t use them often unless they have major purchases. Most Norwegians use their normal bank card instead. However, local and foreign credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Eurocard, Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club International are the most common.


Taxes in Norway

While it’s true that taxes are exceptionally high in Norway, expats can rest assured that this money goes towards public services, and to free (or subsidised) healthcare, education, and pension and employee benefits.

All citizens and expats working in Norway are liable to pay tax. Foreigners who have stayed less than 183 days over 12 months are considered non-residents but must pay income tax on certain types of income earned in the country. Resident taxpayers – those who have been in the country for over 183 days – are taxed on their worldwide income.

Expats should also note that there are double taxation agreements with member states of the European Economic Area, Australia, Canada, the UK and the US, among other countries. We recommend expats obtain more information from their local tax office (ligningskontor).

Norwegian employers deduct tax from employees before they are paid. Once a person has found employment in Norway, they are responsible for obtaining a tax card from the local tax office. An expat’s employer and local tax office can help with this process, providing all necessary information on how to apply and what must be enclosed with the application.

Declaring personal taxes is an organised, systematic and simple process. Once an expat is listed in the Norwegian system, they will receive a tax declaration or tax return with the tax authority’s details and estimates of their income, assets and debt. As tax regulations are subject to change and these processes may seem complicated at first, we recommend the services of a tax consultant.

Expat Experiences in Norway

When considering a move to a new city, there is nothing more useful than hearing real-life stories and experiences from other expats who have lived there. We'd love to hear about your expat experiences. Please contact us if you live or have lived in Norway and would like to share your story.


Selina, a British expat in Bergen, travelled to Norway on a university exchange programme and stayed to teach. She's loving just about everything in her new hometown. Read her advice on where to live, her experience of the great healthcare and good public transport, and other aspects of expat life in Bergen.

Laura, an American expat in Norway, moved with her Norwegian husband and kids from bustling New York City to a small town just outside Oslo. The kids are settling in well, and she's loving the small town life. Read about her expat experiences living near Oslo.

Evelyn, an American expat in Norway, moved from rural Kentucky to Norway after a penpal romance blossomed into love and marriage. She's loving the scenery and clean, crisp air in Skien, where she's settled with her Norwegian husband and American cat. Read about her new expat life in Norway.

Jay, a Canadian expat living in Stavanger, is a teacher who has moved with her husband to West Africa and now to Norway. Although she misses the tropical weather in West Africa, she's loving her beautiful new Scandinavian home and isn't ready to return to Canada just yet. Read about her expat experiences in Norway.

Gisèle, a Central American expat living in Norway, has embraced this Scandinavian nation's egalitarian principles. Read her tips on making friends and her insights into a work culture where ambition has no place in her account of life in Norway.