Forced marriage and child marriage
Forced marriages and child marriages are criminal offences
- It is a punishable offence to marry someone who is under the age of 16 years old.
- It is a punishable offence to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under the age of 16 years old.
- It is a punishable offence to force or pressure someone into marriage.
- The person who forces someone to marry risks imprisonment for up to six years. This applies even if the marriage was entered into abroad. Foreign nationals who are convicted of this crime can also be expelled from Norway.
- If you are a victim of forced marriage, you can be divorced without being separated first. You can also apply to have the marriage annulled. You must apply for this within six months of being free from the forced marriage, and no later than five years after you entered into the marriage. If the marriage is annulled, you are registered as unmarried, not as divorced.
Are you a victim of forced marriage?
- If you are a victim of forced marriage, you can get help. You can be provided with safe accommodation at an emergency shelter, get help from child welfare services, receive guidance and legal assistance to report it to the police and have the marriage annulled.
- A forced marriage, or a child marriage, will as a general rule not be approved as grounds for family reunification as a spouse.
- UDI can reject an application for family immigration if we believe that you or your spouse is a victim or forced marriage, or if you provide us with such information.
- You are the one to decide if the applicant is going to come to Norway on family immigration with you. If you do not want the applicant to come to Norway, it is important that you let us know. UDI will then reject the application. You do not need to give any reason for why you do not want the applicant to come to Norway.
- If you have come to Norway after being granted family immigration with your spouse, you can apply for a residence permit in Norway for yourself if your marriage is annulled because it was a forced marriage.
- If you have come to Norway after being granted family immigration with your spouse or cohabitant, you can apply for a residence permit for you and your children if you are subjected to violence/abuse in the relationship.
- If you fear that you will be forced to marry in your home country, you can apply for protection (asylum) in Norway.
Do you fear that you will be forced to marry abroad?
- If you fear that you will be forced to marry against your will while you are abroad, you should not leave. It can be difficult for Norwegian authorities to help you abroad. You should seek help if you fear that you will be forced to marry abroad. You can contact the police at any time to get help, also at the airport.
- If you fear that someone will force you to go, you can hand in your passport to the police.
- If you fear that you are going to be married against your will, and you are below the age of 18 years old, you should contact child welfare services.
- If you travel abroad, you should first tell someone you trust where you are going and how they can contact you. Give this person (for example, a teacher) a copy of your passport and ask them to contact the police if you do not return to Norway by the agreed time. You can also notify the Norwegian embassy about your situation.
- Write down the phone number of the nearest Norwegian embassy (external website) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' emergency hotline (+47) 23 95 13 00.
Who can help you if you fear being married against your will?
- The police: (+47) 02800 (emergency phone number: 112), if you wish to report someone to the police, if you are in danger or if you need advice.
- Child welfare services in your municipality or Alarmtelefonen (emergency hotline) for children and young people (external website) Phone: 116 111 (*from abroad: 00 47 95 41 17 55), email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A doctor, school nurse or a school counsellor
- An emergency shelter where you live (external website), to get help and a safe place to stay
- UDI or the police district where you live can help you to apply for a residence permit or give you information about forced marriage when you apply for family immigration.
- The asylum reception centre where you live
- Your representative / legal guardian
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' emergency hotline (+47) 23 95 13 00 or your nearest Norwegian embassy or consulate (external website).
- The Expert Team for the Prevention of Negative Social Control and Honour-Related Violence (external website) can provide advice and guidance. You can contact the expert team by email email@example.com or phone (+47) 478 09 050.
- The Norwegian Red Cross's forced marriage and female genital mutilation helpline (external website) can provide advice and guidance. You can contact them by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (+47) 815 55 201
Further information for helpers
Resources in Norwegian:
- The Expert Team for the Prevention of Negative Social Control and Honour-Related Violence (external website). Phone (+47) 478 09 050 or send an email to email@example.com
- Tvangsekteskap og æresrelatert vold – en veileder til barneverntjenesten ("Forced marriage and honour-related crimes– a guide for the children welfare service") (Bufetat – the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs) (external website)
- Arbeid mot tvangsekteskap - en veileder ("Work to prevent forced marriage - a guide") (external website)
- Negativ sosial kontroll og æresrelatert vold: Beredskapsbrev 2023 ("Government letter to public authorities and schools about the importance of preventing negative social control and honour-related violence") (external website)
- Government brochure about conventions and legislation relating to forced marriage (external website)
- Frihet fra negativ sosial kontroll og æresrelatert vold 2021-2024 (Government Action Plan "Freedom from negative social control and honour-related violence”) (external website)
- Concerns about children and forced marriages during the summer holidays (external website)
Resources available in English and other languages: