If you are going to work as a cook and prepare ethnic food, you need a residence permit as an ethnic cook. You must be a skilled worker on a high level as an ethic cook.
Your employer must be an ethnic restaurant and must, as a main rule, serve food from one country only. In some cases, UDI can accept that the restaurant serves food from two or more countries.
If you are going to work as a cook and not prepare ethnic food, you may apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker.
Who can be granted residence permit as an ethnic cook?
You must a specialist in your occupation
- You must have education and/or professional experience of a total duration of at least 10 years.
- During at least half of the time of the professional experience you must have worked at a restaurant or hotel on a high level.
- Please note that, in principle, an ethic cook permit is only granted in exceptional circumstances and that thorough documentation is required.
- If you have education and/or professional experience from China or Thailand, you must have additional documentation.
What requirements apply to the employment relationship?
- You must have received a concrete offer of employment from an employer in Norway.
- As a rule, you must have received an offer of full-time employment for one employer.
- If your employer runs more than one eating place, the employer must inform at which restaurant you are going to work at. A residence permit is linked to this specific restaurant and to this specific employer, and does not provide the right to work at other restaurants within the same company.
- The pay and working conditions must not be poorer than those stipulated in the applicable collective agreement or pay scale for the industry. This means that you must be paid in accordance with ‘Riksavtalen for hotell og restaurant’ (National collective agreement for hotel and restaurant workers), see www.fellesforbundet.no.
What requirements apply to your employer?
The eating place that you are going to work at must be an ethnic restaurant.
- A restaurant that offers food from one country only is considered as an ethnic restaurant.
- A restaurant that offers food from two or more countries can also be considered an ethnic restaurant.
The food cultures and traditions of these countries must, as a main rule, be related to each other.
You can also get a permit to work at a catering company, under the same requirements as for an ethnic restaurant.
How to applyCheck where to hand in your application
- If you are outside Norway you hand in your application at a Norwegian embassy or consulate in your home country or the country where you have held a residence permit for the last six months. In some countries you will hand in the application at the Swedish or Danish embassy instead. Check here where to hand in the application.
- If you are in Norway, you can apply from here if you have held another type of permit for the past nine months. You can also apply from Norway if you have skilled worker qualifications. You must be in Norway legally, and you cannot be an asylum seeker.
Learn more about who can apply from Norway
Find out if you should apply online
You should register your application online if you apply from Norway or through a Norwegian embassy You cannot register your application online if you hand in the application at a Swedish or Danish embassy.
If you hand in the application at a Swedish or Danish embassy you must fill in a form on paper and hand it in at the embassy. You can find the form here. The form is also used for renewing a permit
What must you enclose with the application?
Both applicants who register their applications online and those who hand in a paper version need to hand in their passport and other necessary documentation.
- If you apply online, you will at the same time book an appointment for handing in your documents to the police or an embassy. You will not have to wait in line when you turn up for your appointment.
- If are not applying online you need to contact the embassy to find out when to hand in the documents along with the application form.
When you have visited the embassy or police station and handed in your passport and other necessary documentation we will start to process your application.
In addition to the completed application form (online or paper version), you must enclose:
- a copy of your passport
- a passport photo/ photo that meets specific requirements
- an offer of employment form signed by yourself and your employer. If you apply for a renewal, the employment offer form must be completed again and be signed by yourself and your employer.
- a print-out of key information about your employer from the website of the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities
- documentation of work experience containing information on the period you worked at the employer (specified with dates). Original documentation must be presented to the police, embassy or consulate, and must contain:
1. detailed information about the tasks you performed, and about your function and responsibility
2. information about the standard of the hotel or restaurant, by [term] information about menu, character and size, for instance the number of employees
- for applicants with experience from China:
1. If you have education and/or work experience from China, you must also have a craft certificate from Labour Bureau or Commercial Bureau in a provincial capital or Beijing, Shanghai or Tianjin. The craft certificate must prove that you either are “Senior Technical Cook (NVQ Level 1)” or “Technical Cook (NVQ Level 2)”.
2. If you have education and/or work experience from Hong Kong, you must also have documentation proving that you are either “Executive Chef” or “Sous Chef”.
- for applicants with experience from Thailand:
1. If you have education and/or work experience from Thailand, you must also have a valid certificate from an official Skill Development Center or Skill Development Institute. The certificate may also be issued by another institution given that the Department of Labour in Thailand has given an approval for this purpose. The certificate must prove that you have “Level 2 in National Skill Standard Testing of Thai Cooks”.
- documentation from the eating place you are going to work at: license to serve food, documentation on financial profitability, menu and a short description of the concept of the eating place
- for applicants who are going to work at a catering company: approval of the place to prepare food, documentation on financial profitability, menu and a short description of the scope of the enterprise (number of assignments)
- information about accommodation
- if your employer applies on your behalf, an authorisation form must also be enclosed [sett inn link til
- You must pay a fee
You must also enclose translations of the documents into Norwegian or English by an authorised translator with the application.
Please note: The documentation requirements vary from country to country and may change over time. You should therefore check what the requirements are with the Norwegian embassy or consulate in the country from which you are applying.
Your employer can apply on your behalf
Your employer can also apply for a residence permit on your behalf if you authorise him/her in writing. You can do this by filling in the authorisation section in the application form, by completing an authorisation form or by providing some other form of written authorisation. In the latter case, the application must be submitted to the police district in which your employer has his/her registered business address.
Change of jobs or employers
If you change jobs (position) or employers, you must submit a new application for a residence permit.
Can your family move to Norway?
Your family can apply for residence permits in Norway for the period during which you will be working here. Such applications are processed in accordance with the regulations for family immigration. Please note that the employer can not apply on behalf of family members.
How long will it take to process the application?
See the list of the UDI’s expected case processing times at www.udi.no/case-processing-times.
Residence card to document your permit
If your application is granted, you must get yourself a residence card. This is a proof that you have the right to live in Norway. You will receive a letter which informs you that you must visit the police to have your fingerprints and photo taken. About ten days later the card will be sent to you by post.
Read more about residence cards
The content of the permit
- The permit applies to a specific job and a specific employer. Therefore, you cannot work in another job or for another employer than stated in the permit.
- Permits can be granted for one year at a time, but never for longer than the duration of the employment relationship.
- The permit entitles you to repeated entry into Norway for the duration of the permit.
- The permit forms the basis for a permanent residence permit.
Is the permit renewable?
The permit is renewable. To be entitled to stay on the same conditions until your permit has been processed, you must apply for renewal of the residence permit one month at the latest one month before the previous permit expires.
Read more about renewing residence permits
You register the application at the Application Portal Norway, where you book an appointment for handing in the necessary documents to the police where you live.
You can appeal a rejection
You can appeal the decision. Read more about how to appeal a decision.
For more information, contact the police, your nearest Norwegian embassy or consulate or the UDI’s Information Service. You can find more information about the regulations that apply for ethnic cooks at the website UDIregelverk.