To be entitled to services from The National Insurance Scheme (NAV) in Norway you must have a compulsory membership, or you must be accepted as a voluntary member upon application. Examples of services provided through the National Insurance Scheme in Norway are; treatments by a doctor, psychologist, sick pay, child benefit and pension.
Your membership is not determined by whether you are a Norwegian citizen, registered in the National Population Register or pay tax to Norway. If you are granted membership in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you will have the same rights and obligations as a Norwegian citizen.
According to the internal Norwegian Social Security Act, the following persons are compulsory members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme:
- Persons who stay in Norway for more than 12 months. When you move to Norway to stay for at least 12 months, you become a member from the date of entry to Norway.
- Persons who work in Norway or on the Norwegian continental shelf.
- Persons who are citizens of Norway or an EEA country and work on a Norwegian vessel. Note that you do not have a compulsory membership if you work in catering on a tourist ship registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register NIS.
- Persons who are citizens of Norway or an EEA country and employed abroad in the service of the Norwegian state.
- Persons who are citizens of Norway or an EEA country and receive funding from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund to study abroad. You are exempted if you study in a Nordic country or EU/EEA. In these cases, you must be a member of the social security scheme in the country where you are considered to be a resident.
National Insurance contribution
Membership in the National Insurance Scheme means that you must pay National Insurance contribution to Norway if you have income from a pension or from work.
The level of payment is 8 %, which is calculated from your personal gross income and/or pension.
In most cases also the employer is obligated to pay National Insurance contribution to Norway:
- if the employee is a member of the National Insurance Scheme in Norway, and
- if the employer has a permanent establishment in Norway, or
- if the employer has signed a contract in Norway
The employer’s part of the National Insurance contribution is 14,1% of the employee's gross income.
For self-employed personnel, the level of National Insurance payment is 11,2%.
Make sure you include all deductions and earnings on your annual income tax return to Norway. Free guide: Individual income tax return to Norway
Norway has signed National Insurance agreements with many countries. These agreements regulate your National Insurance membership, specifically which country that will be providing you with coverage. Generally, you should only be covered by National Insurance in one country, to avoid double payment.
The agreements state that you can be exempt from paying National Insurance to Norway if you can document that you are a member of the National Insurance Scheme in your home country for the period you stay in Norway.
It is important to note that most foreign-flagged ships are outside the jurisdiction of the Internal Norwegian National Insurance Act even if the operations take place on the Norwegian continental shelf. In these cases, no National Insurance charge can be levied upon the employer nor the employee.
Please note that there are special rules for citizens of Canada and USA. For these countries, you will only be granted a partial exemption.
Norway has signed National Insurance agreements with the following countries:
- EEA countries
- Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden)
- United States
For citizens of European countries, it is the A1 form that proves that you pay social contributions in another EU country.
The A1 form must be submitted to the National Insurance Authorities in Norway (NAV). NAV will validate the exemption and inform the Tax Authorities not to levy any National Insurance fee when calculating your tax.
Also read: A brief guide to your Norwegian tax return
How to make payment to the National Insurance Scheme
National Insurance contribution is usually deducted from your pay or pension through your tax deduction.
If you do not pay taxes in Norway, but you are a member or have rights under the Norwegian National Insurance Act, NAV determines and collects national insurance contributions. The amount will be collected by the authorities based on your submitted tax return.
More information about the Norwegian tax report system – a-melding
When does the membership end?
Work or long-term stays abroad can end your membership in the National Insurance Scheme.
A consequence of not being a member is that you no longer have rights pursuant to the National Insurance Act. When your membership ends, you are no longer obligated to pay national insurance contribution to Norway.
Voluntary membership during stays in Norway
If you do not fulfil the above-mentioned terms for compulsory membership in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you may be entitled to a voluntary membership if you:
- stay in Norway between 3 and 12 months
- have strong ties to Norway
To be granted membership, you must apply to the National Insurance Authorities in Norway (NAV.).
Voluntary membership during stays outside of Norway
Being a Norwegian citizen and paying taxes and National Insurance will not automatically uphold your membership if you leave Norway and start working abroad.
If your assignment exceeds 12 months, you will as a general rule no longer be a member of the National Insurance Scheme in Norway. The same applies if you stay abroad for more than 6 months for 2 years.
To continue your membership in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you must apply for voluntary membership.
You may be entitled to a voluntary membership if you:
- have been a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme for a minimum of three years during the last five calendar years
- are temporarily posted to another country for work
- you have a close relation to the Norwegian society
The contribution rates for voluntary membership vary based on whether the employer has a duty to report income from work to Norwegian tax authorities and on whether you are a member of the health and pension section of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
Visit our website to find out how we can assist with your tax return to Norway.
Article first published 5 April 2018. Updated March 2022.