Citizens from outside the EU/EEA

Photo: Erling Fløistad.
Photo: Thomas Ekström
Photo: Ragnar Våga Pedersen
Photo: Thomas Ekström.
Photo: Leif Kjøstelsen.

Recruitment from outside the EU/EEA

All foreign nationals from countries outside the EU/EEA must normally have a valid residence permit in order to work in Norway.
 
The 'early employment start' scheme is an exception to this rule. Under this scheme, the employee can start working while his/her application for a residence permit is being processed (read more in the section Early employment start).
 
Once the employee has been granted a residence permit, he/she must apply for a residence card. Police stations are responsible for issuing residence cards.

 
If the residence permit has an expiry date, the employee/employer must apply for renewal no later than one month before the permit expires. After three years in Norway, the employee will be granted a permanent residence permit. The employer is obliged to check that the employee's residence permit is in order. 
 

Application process

Documentation requirements
In order for the employee to be able to apply for a residence permit for work purposes, he/she must obtain a signed confirmation of employment from the employer in advance. The employer must fill in the UDI’s offer of employment form and send it to the employee. In addition to the offer of employment, the applicant must submit several documents listed in the checklist at udi.no the checklist at udi.no.

One of these documents is a confirmation of residence in Norway. A written lease signed by the landlord can, for example, be used as confirmation of residence. The employer can also document that temporary accommodation will be at the employee's disposal during the start-up phase.
 
The application process is a two-step process.

First step:
The employee registers and submits an application for a residence permit through the Application Portal at udi.no. This is a simple process. An application fee will be charged. At the same time, an appointment must be scheduled for the employee to submit the necessary documentation to the Norwegian embassy where the employee lives, or to the police in Norway – if the early employment start scheme is used (read more in the section Early employment start).

Second step, two options:
The employee submits documentation to the Norwegian embassy abroad. Processing time: 4-5 weeks
 
If the employee has a valid first-time residence permit in Norway, he/she can apply for early employment start. Early employment start entitles the employee to start working while his/her application is being processed.

By agreement with the employee, the employer can apply for a residence permit on behalf of the employee. In such case, the employer must be given authorisation
 

Rules for entry into Norway

As a rule, a residence permit is required for someone to stay in Norway.

Exception:
A skilled worker can enter Norway before his/her application has been processed if he/she has a visa or does not need a visa to enter Norway. People who have a passport from a country witch which Norway has an agreement, and people who have been granted a residence permit in another EU/EEA state do not need a visa to visit Norway.

UDI has a list of groups who do not need a visa to visit Norway (visa-free).
 
Early employment start
The employee cannot start working until he/she has been granted a residence permit. The employee can only start working before the residence permit has been granted if the police approve early employment start.

Applications for early employment start are only considered by the police in Norway. The police have power of decision in such cases. The scheme only applies to skilled workers with at least a three-year education from a university college or university.

Once the employee receives confirmation from the police that early employment start has been approved, he/she can start working. Such confirmation is a document issued by the police to an employer or employee that entitles the employee to start working for a specific employer before a residence permit is granted. This confirmation does not entitle the employee to change employers.

Both the employer and the employee can apply to the police for early employment start. In both situations, an application must be submitted for a residence permit for skilled workers with an employer in Norway.
 
The employee applies for early employment start him/herself 
In such cases, the employee will be staying in Norway on a first-time residence permit. A first-time residence permit can be a valid tourist visa or valid residence permit in the Schengen area. A Norwegian visa is not necessary if you have a residence permit in an EU/EEA country.

The employee submits a full application to the police, including all necessary enclosures and documents confirming his/her identity. An appointment must be scheduled with the police in advance (read more in the section Documentation requirements – the first step in the application process). He/she must request confirmation of early employment start at the same time.

Once the employee receives confirmation from the police that early employment start has been approved, he/she can start working while the application for a residence permit is being processed.
 
The employer applies for early employment start on behalf of the employee
If the employer applies for a residence permit on the employee’s behalf, the employee must give the employer written authorisation.

The employer can apply for early employment start even if the employee is still in his/her home country.

The employer fills in the application on behalf of the employee and submits it to the police together with all the necessary documents. An appointment must be scheduled with the police in advance. The application must be complete, and the employer must request early employment start at the same time.

Once the employer receives confirmation from the police, the employee will be informed that he/she can enter Norway. If necessary, the employee then contacts the Norwegian embassy to be issued an entry visa. The employee contacts the embassy in the country where he/she lives. Only Norwegian foreign service missions can issue entry visas in connection with the early employment start scheme.
 

Hiring a person who is already living in Norway and has a valid residence permit/residence card

In such cases, the employer must always check that the employee has a valid residence permit/residence card. A residence permit is often linked to one specific position with one specific employer. Therefore, it must always be checked that the employee’s residence card is relevant to employment with NIBIO.

  1. Employees who already have a residence permit as a skilled worker can change employers in Norway without applying for a new residence permit if the position is of the same type.
  2. If the employee wants to start in another type of position, he/she must apply for a residence permit. This rule applies regardless of whether the job is with the same or a different employer. The employee cannot start working until the residence permit has been granted.