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norwegian residence permit exemptions
May-Liz Rasmussen30. May 2024 4 min read

3 key Norwegian residence permit exemptions

Are you representing a foreign company conducting operations in Norway and looking to deploy your own staff? You’ve likely encountered the extensive paperwork involved. Navigating the numerous rules and regulations can be challenging, making compliance unclear and the procedures rigorous and time-consuming.

Typically, a foreign labor force in Norway requires a residence permit. However, not all employees are subject to the same procedures. In this blog post, we’ll examine the three most relevant exceptions to residence permit requirements for working in Norway. We will outline the criteria that must be met and provide examples.

The assessment of whether a residence permit is required generally considers:

  • Citizenship
  • Employer (Norwegian or foreign company)
  • Type of work performed
  • Duration of work
  • Location of work

In this blog post, we will focus specifically on the type of work performed.

Contact Magnus Legal for business legal expertise

Here are the three most relevant residence permit exemptions:

Technical experts - exemption up to three months

Foreign workers with special technical expertise who are needed for technical work connected to assembling, disassembling, inspecting, repairing, maintaining, or providing guidance on the use of machinery or technical equipment. 

The worker must have a foreign employer and the tasks should not be crucial to the business's regular operations in Norway. The need for technical expertise must not exceed three months. If the assignment requires multiple individuals or extends beyond three months, successive workers may share the task, but the total duration cannot exceed three months. The assessment of labor needs considers the contracting entity's overall requirements, not individual tasks.

Also read: Work permit in Norway for skilled workers

Example of technical experts: 

Engineers, service electronics engineers, motor mechanics, energy operators, track fitters, elevator fitters, refrigeration and heat pump fitters, consulting engineers, ICT service, employees, computer engineers, or IT consultants. 

Technical equipment in this case means: 

Machinery, containers, containers, transportation arrangements, apparatus, tools, and any other prepared objects utilized in manufacturing a product or achieving a work result. Additionally, technical equipment includes information technology-based equipment ("computer equipment"), covering tasks related to software input, removal, adjustment, or instruction, provided all other conditions are met. However, software development testing falls outside the scope of this provision, with separate guidelines provided for acceptance testing.

The definition of a machine in this case is:

Devices equipped with or intended for a drive system, composed of movable parts or components, assembled for specific uses. This definition encompasses various configurations, including devices ready for installation but requiring subsequent setup in transportation means or structures, collections of machines acting as a unit, or assemblies designed for load lifting, solely operated by human force. Notably, complete entities such as ships or cars are not considered machines, though specific components like engines fall under this definition.

The police must be notified before each entry to Norway.

Necessary guard and maintenance crew - exemption up to three months

Foreign workers who serve as essential security and maintenance crew aboard foreign-owned ships laid up in Norway. The workers must hold a designated position within the security or maintenance crew. Their role must be deemed essential for the operational integrity and security of the vessel. The work must be conducted on a ship laid up, temporarily out of operation and each worker can stay in Norway for a maximum of 90 physical days.

Examples of Maintenance crew:

Electricians, welders, technicians, painters, data engineers, and potentially cooks if required for crew sustenance.

Security and Maintenance Duties: 

Workers involved in security duties (guards) or maintaining various aspects of the ship, including moorings, exterior, interior, and machinery.

The police must be notified before each entry to Norway.

Work on mobile installation/unit - exempted/permit is not required

Foreign workers who shall perform work on a mobile installation on the Norwegian continental shelf are generally exempted from having a residence permit. The installation cannot be connected to a fixed installation and cannot be in a permanent production phase.

A mobile installation means:

A floating movable unit, that is registered in a national ship registry (flagged facility) and therefore must adhere to a maritime operational concept including classification, for example, drilling rig and well intervention unit.

The employee must present themselves for border control upon both entry to and exit from Norway. The task of border control is to ensure that foreigners traveling to Norway meet the conditions for entry. Since work on a movable facility can be considered outside Norwegian territory, additional border control is required for entry to and exit from the specific facility. In practice, this means that an employee working on the continental shelf on a movable facility should have 4 stamps in their passport during each work trip.

Also read: Foreign labor in Norway - requirements for residence permit?

Is your work type eligible for a residence permit exemption?

Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of the regulations regarding residence permit exemptions for foreigners working in Norway. However, handling the paperwork and procedures can still be demanding for most employers. Fortunately, help is available.

At Magnus Legal, we have expertise in labor immigration and can assist you with the following:

  • Evaluating whether a residence permit is required
  • Assisting with reporting obligations to the police in case of exemptions
  • Providing general guidelines and assistance before the onboarding process

We support both employers and employees throughout the entire process, from identifying staffing needs to completing the employee's work assignment in Norway.

Contact Magnus Legal for business legal expertise


May-Liz Rasmussen

May Liz's speciality is global mobility services and immigration law. She has wide experience assisting national and international clients in complying with their obligations when having activity/work in Norway. Especially residence permits (work permits) for skilled workers, evaluation of exemptions, reporting obligations, and tax returns for individuals.