Norwegian nationality law
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.
- 1 Birth in Norway
- 2 Descent from a Norwegian parent
- 3 Naturalisation as a Norwegian citizen
- 4 Notification of Norwegian citizenship
- 5 Norwegian citizenship by adoption
- 6 Loss of Norwegian citizenship
- 7 Dual citizenship
- 8 Passports
- 9 External links
Birth in Norway
In general, birth in Norway does not, in itself, confer Norwegian citizenship.
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. The requirement that the mother and father be married to one another was abolished on 1 September 2006.
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.
- Applicants with a criminal record must wait a further "quarantine" period dependent on the crime committed before being granted citizenship.
- 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).
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
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.
In most cases, when one becomes a citizen of Norway, it is required as a principal rule that he/she renounce any other citizenship (thereby avoiding dual citizenship). In certain cases there are exceptions from this requirement, and double citizenship is allowed if... :
1. ...the legislation in the applicant’s former home country does not permit citizens to be released from their citizenship, or such release is deemed to be practically impossible.
2. ...the authorities in the former home country have rejected an application for release.
3. ...for reasons for personal safety, the applicant should not be required to contact the authorities of his or her former home country in order to apply for release.
4. ...more than one year has elapsed since Norwegian citizenship was granted or since the applicant reached the age at which it is possible to obtain release pursuant to the legislation of the former home country but the granting of release has not been documented, and the home country has provided no information as regards expected processing time. If it is known that the applicant’s former home country does not reply to applications for release from nationality, an exemption may be granted from the requirement regarding release in connection with the granting of Norwegian citizenship.
5. ...the authorities in the applicant’s former home country set unreasonably burdensome conditions for release. Whether the fee charged for release is unreasonably burdensome shall be assessed on the basis of ordinary income. If the fee exceeds four per cent of the applicant’s income, the release fee is deemed to be unreasonably burdensome. The same applies if the applicant is responsible for the care of children under 18 years of age, and the release fee, including any release fee for children, exceeds two per cent of the applicant’s income. However, a release fee of up to and including NOK 2,500 is not deemed to be unreasonably burdensome. In the case of orphans, any release fee is deemed to be unreasonably burdensome.
Norwegian passports are issued by the Norwegian Police Service and are biometric with 31 pages. The cover bears the Norwegian Lion, the national symbol of Norway, along with the words "Norway" and "Passport" in Bokmål, Nynorsk and English. Passports are valid from the date of issue for 10 years for adults over 16 years, 5 years for minors between 10 and 16 years of age, 3 years for children between 5 and 10 and 2 years for children up to the age of 5.
Travel freedom of Norwegian citizens
Visa requirements for Norwegian citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Norway. In 2015, Norwegian citizens had visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 171 countries and territories, ranking the Norwegian passport 3rd in the world according to the Visa Restrictions Index.