You must stay in Norway for a continuous period of time
You must have stayed in Norway for a continuous three-year period in order to be granted a permanent residence period (see exceptions below). During these three years, you must have held residence permits that form a basis for permanent residence. This applies to, among others, persons who have been granted asylum or protection, residence for strong humanitarian considerations, most family immigration permits, skilled worker permits or specialist permits. It is no longer a requirement that your stay must have been on the same grounds for the whole three-year period. This means that you can have held different types of permits, but they must all be of a type that forms a basis for permanent residence.
If you are uncertain about whether or not the permits you hold and have held form a basis for permanent residence, you can check this in the letter you received when you were granted the previous permits.
Please note! The UDI is revising the way we process applications for permanent residence permits. This means that most likely the case processing time will be much shorter than it used to be.
Therefore, it is important that you do not apply for a permanent residence permit until you believe that you have stayed in Norway with a residence permit for the required number of years. If you apply too soon, the application may be rejected.
What does it mean that my stay must be continuous?
In order for your stay to be deemed to have been continuous, you must:
- not have gaps of more than three months between permits during the last three years. There may be periods during your period of residence when you have been without a residence permit because you have submitted an application for renewal after the previous residence permit had expired. The gap is reckoned from the date when your permit expired until you submitted an application for a new residence permit.
- not have stayed outside Norway for a total of more than seven months over the last three years (see list of exceptions below).
An example to illustrate how the seven month-rule works: Mirza has held residence permits from 1 January 2007 to 1 January 2010, and therefore wants to apply for a permanent residence permit. However, Mirza has spent some time abroad during these three years. In 2007, he spent all of July, August and September abroad. He was also abroad for three months in 2008 and four months in 2009. This means that he has spent a total of ten months abroad during the last three years. Provided that Mirza does not travel any more before September 2010, Mirza can be granted a permanent residence permit in September 2010 at the earliest. It will then be more then three years since his stay abroad in 2007, and his first three-month journey will no longer be included in the calculation. Mirza therefore applies for a renewal of his permit well before 1 January 2010, and applies for a permanent residence permit in autumn 2010.
There is one exception to this seven-month rule: If you have a residence permit as a specialist or a permit as a skilled worker, you can stay outside Norway for up to 15 months during the last three years without this affecting your right to be granted permanent residence in Norway. It is a condition that private travel does not account for more than seven months. You must submit documentation that all stays abroad in excess of seven months are due to work-related travel on assignment for your employer.
What date will my period of residence be reckoned from?
The period of residence is reckoned from the date on which you received your first residence permit that forms a basis for a permanent residence permit.
- If you were granted such a permit before you entered Norway, your period of residence is deemed to have started on the date on which you reported to the police.
- If you stayed in Norway when you applied for such a permit, your period of residence is deemed to have started on the date on which you were granted such a permit.
- If you were granted asylum, your period of residence is deemed to have started on the date when you applied for asylum.
- If you are a resettlement refugee, your period of residence is deemed to have started on the date when you arrived in Norway.
Apply on time
In principle, you are only entitled to a permanent residence permit if you apply on time. This means that the application must be submitted while you hold a valid residence permit. If you submit an application for a permanent residence permit after your previous residence permit has expired, the police will consider your application an application for renewal. The police will send your application for a permanent residence permit to the Directorate of Immigration to be decided.
In order to be entitled to stay on the same conditions until your application has been finally decided, you must apply for a permanent residence permit at least one month before your residence permit expires. If you apply later than this, you may be granted residence on the same conditions until your application has been decided subject to the Directorate of Immigration’s assessment.
Good conduct requirement
The Directorate of Immigration can reject an application for a permanent residence permit if you have been sentenced for criminal offences that can result in expulsion. If you are not expelled, an additional period of residence will be required before you are eligible for a permanent residence permit. This additional period will be reckoned from the time when you met the rest of the requirements to be granted a permanent residence permit.
Requirement to complete tuition in Norwegian or Sami language and social studies
Documentation showing that tuition as described in the Introduction Act has been completed must be enclosed with the application for a permanent residence permit.
Applicants who were granted their first permit after 1 September 2005
According to the Introduction Act, foreign nationals between the ages of 16 and 55 who, after 1 September 2005, were granted a first work or residence permit that forms the basis for a permanent residence permit have a right and obligation to complete tuition in the Norwegian or Sami language and social studies.
If you were granted your first residence permit that formed a basis for permanent residence permit before 1 January 2012, you are required to complete tuition in the Norwegian or Sami Language (at least 250 hours) and social studies (at least 50 hours).
Applicants who are granted their first permit after 1 January 2012
If you were granted your first residence permit that formed a basis for permanent residence permit after January first 2012, you are required to completed tuition in the Norwegian or Sami Language (at least 550 hours) and social studies (at least 50 hours). This will only be relevant if you are applying for permanent residence permit after 1 January 2015.
Exemptions from the obligation to complete 600 hours:
Labour immigrants from countries outside the EEA/EU/ EFTA area and their family members, who are obliged to participate in 300 hours tuition without the right to education free of charge, are exempt from the increase to 600 hours.
This group will still have an obligation to complete tuition in the Norwegian or Sami Language (at least 250 hours) and social studies (at least 50 hours).
Completed tuition at the following training places have been approved:
- municipal adult education center
- training providers which the municipality has entered into an agreement with
- education and online schools that are approved according to the Adult Education Act
- Folk High Schools that are approved according to the "Folkehøgskoleloven"
- universities and colleges which are approved pursuant to the Higher Education Act, or
- private provider approved by the National Agency for Lifelong Learning (VOX).
If education in Norwegian and social studies are conducted by the municipal adult education, you must attach a certificate of participation from the community.
If the Norwegian classes are provided by an approved provider, the municipality has no obligation to register it. You must submit documentation from the provider that you have completed Norwegian classes. You must also submit documentation that you have completed 50 hours mandatory tuition in social studies.
All participants who receive tuition by a private provider on behalf of a municipality shall be registered by the municipality in the National Introduction Register (NIR).
Exemption from the tuition can be given if you apply for it. It is the municipality that decides whether you can be exempted from the Norwegian education. If you are exempt from tuition, this must be documented by the decision from the municipality.
Read more about the accreditation of providers of tuition on the website of VOX.
Exceptions from the requirements for three years' residence
Certain groups can apply for a permanent residence permit even though they do not meet the period of residence requirements as described above. This applies in the following cases, among others:
- If you have held a residence permit that forms a basis for a permanent residence permit for the last year, you may in some cases be granted a permanent residence permit. For this to happen, you must either have previously stayed in Norway for a long period of time (8-10 years), have stayed on Svalbard for a long period of time, or particularly strong grounds of reasonableness must exist. Generally, a permanent residence permit pursuant to this provision is only granted in exceptional circumstances.
- The spouse or cohabitant of a Norwegian national employed by a Norwegian embassy or consulate may be granted a permanent residence permit subject to certain conditions.
- Children born in Norway to parents resident in Norway. The parents must apply for permanent residence for the child before it is one year old. Both parents must hold a permanent residence permit or have Norwegian citizenship at that time, or have applied and meet the requirements to be granted a permanent residence permit or Norwegian citizenship.