Training in the Norwegian language and social studies

Asylum seekers over the age of 18 who live in an asylum reception centre have a statutory right and obligation to participate in Norwegian language instruction.

The language programme consists of 175 hours of training and is to begin shortly after the individual arrives in Norway.

A new programme for social studies instruction was also introduced on 1 January 2022. It consists of three modules. Residents are to complete twenty-five hours at the reception centre, while those who are granted protection (asylum) are to take the remaining 50 hours after they are settled in a municipality. Persons with a right and/or obligation to participate in instruction in social studies in connection with other residence permits are required to complete 75 hours within one year of the date their permit was granted.

Training in the Norwegian language and social studies comes in addition to the information programme carried out by reception centre personnel. The new requirements apply for persons granted protection (asylum) after 1 January. More information about the new programme is available on the IMDi website.

Training in the Norwegian language and social studies for asylum seekers in reception centres – the Integration Act | IMDi (external website) (in Norwegian)

What is the reception centre’s role?

Asylum reception centre personnel play a key role in facilitating the mandatory instruction activities. Reception centres are to work closely with their municipalities and provide them with information about the programme as early as possible.

In addition, in cooperation with its municipality, each reception centre is to inform its residents about their rights and obligations regarding the programme and about the possibility of applying for exemption.

Who has the right and the obligation to participate in the programme and what does that mean?

Definition of rights and obligations and who this applies to (external website) (in Norwegian)

Possibility to apply for exemption for asylum seekers

Applications must be directed to the municipality. A municipality may grant an asylum seeker an exemption from the training requirements if the applicant:

  • has particular health-related issues or other weighty reasons
  • is participating in training in the Norwegian language in accordance with the Education Act

The municipality’s obligation

The municipality is to ensure that any asylum seekers obligated to participate in Norwegian-language training receive their instruction as soon as possible after they have been registered in a reception centre in the municipality. The municipality has an overview of who in their area belongs within group targeted for training, and the municipality will notice in the NIR register that a resident is removed from the target group if his or her application for protection (asylum) is rejected.

IMDi provides supplementary funding to municipalities for residents who are part of the training target group.


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