Work Permit in Norway

Is it possible for a foreigner to sign a contract and start work in Norway for a Norwegian employer, without a work permit?

Well, it depends on the person’s competence, citizenship and the type and length of work.  

The employer that seconds an employee to Norway must consider if the employee needs a work permit or not.

EU/EEA citizens

The work permit is linked to the resident permit, and basically all EU/EEA citizen can reside and work in Norway. EU/EEA citizens can move to Norway and start to work straight away; however, if they are planning to stay in Norway for more than 3 months, they must register with the police. On the other hand, if they commute to their home country during these 3 months, there isn’t an obligation to register, since a new 3 months period will start.

How to register and get a registration certificate

  • Complete an online registration through UDI’s application portal 

  • Book an appointment at the police station recommended in the portal

  • Documents to bring with you to the police station:

- A valid identity card or passport  
- Employment certificate or employment contract
- If you are going to work for a recruitment agency, you must also bring documentation of at least one specific assignment

The registration is free.

The police will provide the employee with a registration certificate which does not need to be renewed, regardless of how long the person lives in Norway since they only register once.

For more information about doing business in Norway – download our free practical guide here

Citizens from the Nordic countries

Citizens from the Nordic countries can work in Norway without registering with the police, but they must report a move to the National Registry.

Citizens from outside the EU/EEA

Employees from outside the EU/EEA must, as a main rule, apply for resident/work permit before arriving Norway.

In order to apply for a residence permit for work purposes, the employee must have a concrete offer of employment from a specific employer in Norway. There are special requirements related to education/qualifications and the employment relationship. There might also be other special requirements that need to be taken into consideration before starting the process.

As a primary rule, the employee is not allowed to start working until he or she has been granted a residence permit.  

Possibility for exemption?  

If the contract is less than 3 months, there might be a possibility. It depends on the occupation. If the employee qualifies for an exemption, it’s important to be aware that there are special reporting routines that need to be fulfilled.

How to apply for a work permit


  • Complete an online application through UDI’s application portalThe portal provides information on the specific documentation that must be provided and brought to the Embassy/Consulate/police station. The application fee is NOK 5.400 and must be paid before the submission is completed.
  • Book an appointment at the Embassy/Consulate/police recommended in the portal. The employee can give their employer in Norway a written power of attorney to apply and act on behalf of them during the process. The employer can then complete and submit the online application and also meet at the police station in Norway to hand in all necessary documentation, on behalf of the employee.
  • UDI or the police contact the employee as soon as they have an answer to the application. They will also inform the embassy (if the application has been submitted there). If a work permit has been granted, they will instruct the embassy to provide the employee with an entry visa (D visa) making them able to enter Norway (if required).
  • Book an appointment at the police station for an ID check. If the application has been submitted by the employer, the employee must bring all original documents and show them to the police at this appointment.

How long will it take to receive an answer to the application?  

The waiting time depends on whether it is a first-time application or if it’s a renewal. It also depends on the workload at the UDI/police. UDI will not give any priority, and it’s difficult to provide an exact time to expect an answer. Updated estimated processing time be provided by UDI/police through their portal.

Also read: Do the right things when doing business in Norway

The residence permit has an expiry date

The employee must apply for renewal no later than one month before the permit expires, to retain all their rights. We recommend that the employee applies for renewal two to three month before the permit expires.  

Employing someone who already lives in Norway

It is the employer’s responsibility to check that foreign employees hold a valid residence permit.

Even though the employee already lives in Norway, it’s necessary to check whether he or she has a valid residence permit. The residence card states what type of residence permit the worker has. Some permits can be connected to a special employer, and some permits can be connected to special skills/work title. In most cases, it’s connected to a specific offer of employment/employer.

Employers who employ foreign workers who do not have the right type of residence permit can be punished by fines or imprisonment.

More information: Business in Norway - Avoid sanctions and penalty charges

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