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Norwegian nationality law

Norwegian Citizenship Act
Coat of arms of Norway.svg
Parliament of Norway
Enacted byGovernment of Norway
Status: Current legislation

Norwegian nationality law is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. In general, Norwegian citizenship is conferred by birth to a Norwegian parent, or by naturalisation in Norway.

Norway restricts, but does not absolutely prohibit, dual citizenship.

Birth in Norway

In general, birth in Norway does not, in itself, confer Norwegian citizenship as its law uses jus sanguinis policy. Exceptions are made for stateless people and foundlings.

Descent from a Norwegian parent

Regardless of the place of birth, a child acquires Norwegian citizenship at birth if either parent is a Norwegian citizen. Originally, citizenship was only passed on to the children of Norwegian mothers, as they were the only provable parents, but over time a presumption of paternal parentage created citizenship for the child, and eventually even excluded the maternal jus sanguinis. In more recent times, as of 1 January 1979, mothers' rights to automatically pass on their Norwegian citizenship has been reestablished.[citation needed] The requirement that the mother and father be married to one another was abolished on 1 September 2006.[citation needed]

Naturalisation as a Norwegian citizen

Generally, it is possible to naturalise as a Norwegian citizen after residing in Norway seven years over the last ten years, if the applicant qualifies for permanent residence and does not have a criminal record.[1]


  • Applicants with a criminal record must wait a further "quarantine" period dependent on the crime committed before being granted citizenship.[2]
  • Citizens of other Nordic Council countries may naturalise after only a two-year residence.
  • The spouses, homosexual partners in civil unions, and non-married cohabitant partners of Norwegian citizens may naturalise as quickly as four years. The requirement is that they have resided in Norway at least three years of the last ten and that the number of years resident and the number of years married, taken together cumulatively, equals at least seven.
  • The children (under the age of 18 years) of citizens of other Nordic Council countries may automatically receive naturalisation with their parents. The children of citizens naturalised from other countries may themselves receive citizenship if they have resided in Norway for the last two years.
  • Former Norwegian citizens may naturalise after one year's residence during the last two years.

From 1 September 2008 an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also give evidence of proficiency in either the Norwegian or the Sami language, or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language requirements for university studies in Norway (i.e., demonstrate proficiency in one of the Scandinavian languages). From 1 March 2014 an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also pass an exam about Norwegian society, laws and history.

A naturalised Norwegian citizen is generally expected to prove they have lost or renounced any former citizenship(s).[3]

Notification of Norwegian citizenship

Norwegian citizenship may be acquired by notification to the Directorate of Immigration. This is a simplified form of naturalisation exempted from application fees.

As with naturalisation, a person becoming Norwegian by notification must normally renounce any other citizenship held, unless exempted.

The following categories of persons are eligible for citizenship by notification

  • a child aged under 18 who was born before 1 September 2006 to a Norwegian father and a foreign mother who were not married (renunciation of foreign citizenship not required)
  • a child aged 12-18 adopted by a Norwegian citizen after 1 October 1999 but before 1 September 2006 (renunciation of foreign citizenship not required)
  • a citizen of another Nordic Council country who has lived in Norway for 7 years
  • a former Norwegian citizen who has, since the loss of Norwegian citizenship, only been a citizen of another Nordic Council state (no residence period is required provided the person has settled in Norway).

Norwegian citizenship by adoption

As from 1 September 2006 a child under 18 adopted by Norwegian citizens acquires Norwegian citizenship automatically. In cases where children are adopted outside Norway, the consent of the Norwegian government is required.

Loss of Norwegian citizenship

Identity fraud

Foreigners who have acquired Norwegian citizenship may lose it if they are found to have lied about their origins, such was the case of about 100 Somalis who along with their children born in Norway lost their citizenship and right of residence after it turned out they were from neighbouring countries.[4] This is considered an affront to Norwegian society which is built on trust.[4]

Acquisition of another citizenship

A Norwegian citizen who voluntarily acquires another citizenship automatically loses Norwegian citizenship without notification. This applies even if the foreign citizenship is acquired by registration through jus sanguinis instead of naturalization, and regardless of the person's age or current residence.

This clause has created difficulties for children who are born to an Australian parent and a Norwegian parent outside Australia, because Australian nationality law explicitly states that a child born outside Australia does not automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth, instead the Australian parent must voluntarily register the child's birth to Australian missions abroad in order to confer Australian citizenship to the child. In this case, Norwegian citizenship is automatically lost when the Australian parent registered the child's birth to Australian authorities. This applies even when the child was born on Norwegian soil, and also applies when the other parent is a citizen of a country with a similar nationality law to Australia's, e.g. New Zealand.

However, Australian nationality law also dictates that the child automatically acquires Australian citizenship when the child is born inside Australian territory and has at least one parent who was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of birth. In this case, the Norwegian citizenship is not lost because Australian citizenship is conferred on birth. Also, Norwegian citizenship is not considered lost when a child was born to a Norwegian parent and a parent with a foreign citizenship whose country explicitly states that the child acquires that country's citizenship automatically upon birth, e.g. Italy, therefore the parents can notify the other country's authorities about the birth without the risk of losing the child's Norwegian citizenship.

Norwegian permanently residing outside Norway

Norwegian citizens who acquire citizenship by birth but have resided less than 2 years in Norway or 7 years in Nordic Council countries must apply to retain Norwegian citizenship before turning 22 years of age. Applicants are not required to renounce other citizenships, but are required to demonstrate "adequate ties" to Norway. Often, frequent travel to Norway or a year of study in Norway are accepted.

Dual citizenship

When one naturalises as a citizen of Norway, it is required as a principal rule that they renounce any other citizenship. The only exceptions to this rule is:

  • Countries where the voluntary renunciation of citizenship is prohibited due to lack of legislation, not attaining renounceable age, refused, or impracticable due to some burdensome conditions (such as military service or exorbitant fees for release), or that country doesn't provide confirmation of the release of citizenship.
  • Personal safety reasons, where applicants or their family face persecution from their homeland.

Dual citizenship is soon to be allowed in Norway, following approved changes by the Norwegian Parliament. The new rules will be introduced on 1 January 2020. [1]

Travel freedom of Norwegian citizens

Visa requirements for Norwegian citizens
  Freedom of movement
  Visa on arrival
  Visa may be obtained either online or on arrival
  Visa required prior to arrival

As of 1 January 2018, Norwegian citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 173 countries and territories, ranking the Norwegian passport 3rd in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley visa restrictions index.[5]


  1. ^ "Citizenship for people who hold a residence permit in Norway". The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Waiting times for Norwegian citizenship for convicted persons and people who have been fined". The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Release from previous citizenship". The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b NRK. "Mistenker over 100 somaliere for id-juks – kan frata norsk statsborgerskap". NRK (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  5. ^ "Global Ranking - Visa Restriction Index 2017" (PDF). Henley & Partners. Retrieved 14 March 2017.

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