This pamphlet is from april 1999. Please read also the appendix from august 2000
Definition of terms
How to acquire norwegian nationality
Persons born before 1979 with a norwegian mother and a foreign national father
Confirmation of norwegian nationality
How to maintain your norwegian nationality
Relinquishing norwegian nationality
Norwegian legislation relating to personal names
Addresses of county governors' offices (fylkesmenn) in norway as of april 1999
APPENDIX TO INFORMATION ON NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY (August 2000)
DEFINITION OF TERMS
THE NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY ACT
The Act of 8 December 1950 relating to Norwegian Nationality contains the provisions which define Norwegian nationality and describe how Norwegian nationality is acquired.
NATIONALITY AS DETERMINED BY DESCENT
Norwegian law is based on the principle of descent, which means that children inherit their parents' nationality.
Children born in wedlock acquire Norwegian nationality at birth if the father or mother is a Norwegian national. Children born out of wedlock acquire Norwegian nationality at birth if the mother is a Norwegian national.
NATIONALITY AS DETERMINED BY DOMICILE OR COUNTRY OF BRITH
In a number of countries, nationality legislation is based on the principle of domicile or the territorial principle.
The principle of domicile means that nationality is determined by the country in which you live. The territorial principle means that nationality is determined by the country in which you were born.
Under Norwegian law you are not permitted to be a national of two countries. A Norwegian national who has applied for and been granted nationality in another state automatically loses his/her Norwegian citizenship.
Conversely: If you are a foreign national and apply for Norwegian nationality, you will be required to relinquish your previous nationality.
In certain cases, however, the Act permits you to be a national of more than one country. This applies in the following cases:
- If you acquired dual nationality at birth from your parents (example: you have a Norwegian mother and a foreign national father).
- If you were born of Norwegian parents in a country where nationality is based on the territorial principle. In such a case you may have both Norwegian nationality and nationality in the country where you were born.
- If you have applied for Norwegian nationality and it is not possible for you to relinquish your original nationality.
- If you have been granted Norwegian nationality in accordance with the provision relating to "Notification through the County Governor's Office" and "Persons born before 1979..."
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH DUAL NATIONALITY
If you have dual nationality, you have the following rights and obligations:
- You have the right to hold two passports, but as a Norwegian national you will not be able to have Norwegian permits stamped in the passport of the other country.
- You are entitled to the protection of the authorities of both countries.
- You are considered a Norwegian national, on a par with other Norwegian nationals in every respect.
Please note that it may be difficult for the Norwegian authorities to provide you with diplomatic assistance when you are in the other country where you are a national.
- You must do any compulsory military service in the country in which you reside permanently. This applies within most European countries and the United States. Normally you will not have to do military service in the other country where you are a national. If you have any questions in this connection, you may contact the Vernepliktsverket, Oslo Mil/Akershus, 0015 Oslo.
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY
Your life will most likely not change noticeably when you acquire Norwegian nationality. Below you will find a list of the most common rights and obligations associated with being a Norwegian national.
- You have the right to hold a Norwegian passport
- You have the right to vote in national elections (not just municipal elections)
- You may be a candidate in a national election
- You are entitled to the protection of the Norwegian authorities
- You must do compulsory military service in Norway
It should be pointed out that certain job positions are reserved for Norwegian nationals. This applies to a number of positions in the police and the Norwegian legal system, as well as top administrative positions in other public sectors.
In most other spheres, however, there is little difference between the rights of Norwegians and foreign nationals. For example, the right to national insurance, social security and other benefits depends on how long you have lived in this country and is not dependent on your nationality status.
To stay in Norway for more than three months, all foreign nationals, with the exception of Nordic nationals, must obtain special permission.
HOW TO ACQUIRE NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY
There are several ways in which non-Norwegian nationals may acquire Norwegian nationality:
- By application to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration
- By notification through the County Governor's Office
- By application to the County Governor's Office
- By birth
APPLICATIONS TO THE DIRECTORATE OF IMMIGRATION
This procedure should be used by persons who have a residence or work permit that qualifies them for permanent settlement in Norway, or by persons who already have a settlement permit*. This means, for example, that you have been granted asylum, that you have been granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, or that you have been granted status as a specialist.
*A settlement permit entitles you to live in Norway on a permanent basis and to work in this country. Check your passport to see what kind of permit you have.
The Directorate of Immigration may grant you Norwegian nationality if you satisfy the following criteria. You:
- are over 18 years of age,
- have lived in Norway for the past seven years consecutively,
- have a record of good conduct (i.e. you have not been convicted of any crime),
- do not owe more than NOK 20,000 in connection with maintenance payments.
You will find additional details regarding these criteria below. As a general rule, you must satisfy the requirement that you have documented your identity.
You should submit your application for Norwegian nationality to the police or the lensman in the community where you live, using the GP-7053 application form which you can obtain from the police, who will also be able to tell you what other papers and documents will be needed.
The police will check your application to ensure that it is complete, and will then send it to the Directorate of Immigration which will decide the case. Should your application be rejected, you may appeal your case to the Directorate of Immigration, however, the Ministry of Justice has the final decision on appeals cases.
Applications are computer registered and the applicant has the right to inspect documents and records in the case.
Minimum age limit of 18 years
As a general rule, you must have reached the age of majority in order to apply for Norwegian nationality. The age of majority is 18 years.
- Children who are included in their parents' application for Norwegian nationality.
- Children of parents who have previously applied for and been granted nationality.
- Adoptive children, provided the adoption has been or can be approved in Norway.
Seven years' consecutive residence in Norway
As a general rule, you must have lived in Norway for a period of seven consecutive years. You must also be a permanent resident in this country when you submit your application for Norwegian nationality, and if it is granted. As a general rule, the time of residence is counted from the time you were registered by the police or the Population Registry, or from the point in time when you can in some other way document your residence in Norway.
- If you are married to a Norwegian national, the period of time you have been married added to the period of time you have lived in Norway must amount to a total of eight years. You must have lived in Norway for two of those years. Example: If you have been married to a Norwegian national for four years and have lived in Norway throughout this period, the total period in keeping with this rule is counted as eight years (note, however, that the ordinary seven-year rule may be more advantageous in some cases).
- If you are a Nordic national, you will be granted Norwegian nationality if you have lived in the country for two years. See page 11 concerning Nordic citizens and notification through the county governor.
- If you have previously been a Norwegian national, you may re-acquire your Norwegian nationality after you have:
- lived two years in Norway, if you were under 18 years of age when you left the country.
- lived one year in Norway, if you were over 18 years of age when you left the country.
- If you came to Norway as a foreign national under 18 years of age, you may acquire Norwegian nationality after having lived less than seven years in Norway. For children under 12 years of age on arrival, or who were born in Norway, no period of residence is required. The period of residence required increases with the age of the child. For a child between 12 and 13 years of age, one years' residence in Norway is required. For a child between 13 and 14 years of age, two years' residence is required, and between 14 and 15 years of age, three years' residence is required. This applies only to the groups specified under "Exceptions to the minimum age limit of 18 years"
Note: Students cannot acquire Norwegian nationality even if they have been in Norway for seven years.
If you have been convicted of or fined for a crime, your application may be rejected. You must then wait a certain number of years before the granting of Norwegian nationality can be considered, and you must submit a new application. Rejection of the application and the waiting period before you can re-apply depends on the seriousness of the crime for which you have been convicted or fined.
If you are being investigated for a criminal offence, processing of your application will be stopped. Once the result of the investigation is clear, your application will be taken under consideration again.
If you use false documents when you apply for Norwegian nationality, this could mean that the application will be rejected, and that you will have to wait before you can re-apply.
Maintenance payment debt
If you are under obligation to pay maintenance, i.e. you have to pay a fixed amount each month to your children or your former spouse, and you have not paid the required amount, your application for Norwegian nationality will be rejected. Maintenance payments are often required in the case of divorce, or of children born to unmarried parents. If you owe a considerable amount, currently approximately NOK 20,000, your application will be rejected.
There are exceptions to the above rules for granting Norwegian nationality:
- If special grounds make it particularly important for you to acquire Norwegian nationality, it may be granted after six years of residence in Norway.
- You may also be granted Norwegian nationality even if you are not residing in Norway when your application is submitted when there are special grounds for this. This applies in particular to adoptive children with Norwegian parents.
NOTIFICATION THROUGH THE COUNTY GOVERNOR'S OFFICE
Read also the appendix from august 2000
If you have lived in Norway since you turned 16 years of age or younger and for at least a total of five years, you may notify the county governor that you wish to become a Norwegian national. You must submit this notification after reaching the age of 21 and before the age of 23. You do not need to relinquish any foreign nationality you might have.
If you are between 18 and 21 years of age, you may notify the county governor that you wish to become a Norwegian national. You must have resided in Norway for a total of ten years, and you must have permanently resided here the last five years when you apply. Furthermore, you must either be stateless or relinquish any other foreign nationality you might have.
If you acquired Norwegian nationality at birth and lived in Norway until the age of 18, but have since then lost your Norwegian nationality, you may regain your Norwegian nationality by notifying the County Governor's office. You must have lived in Norway again for two years and you must relinquish your foreign nationality.
If you are a Nordic national by birth, you may apply for Norwegian nationality by notifying the County Governor's Office if you have reached the age of 18, have lived in Norway for seven years and have no criminal record. Also see page 8 where it is stated that a residence period of two years is required of Nordic citizens to apply for Norwegian nationality. This, however, is an application to the Directorate of Immigration which requires more thorough processing.
If you have lost your Norwegian nationality and after this only been a national of another Nordic country, you may notify the county governor that you wish to regain your Norwegian nationality. It is sufficient that you have settled in Norway.
If you are granted Norwegian nationality in accordance with these rules, your unmarried child will also acquire Norwegian nationality, provided he or she lives in Norway and is under 18 years of age. The parents must either have been married when the child was born, or married at a later date. They must share parental responsibility for the child.
If you satisfy the above criteria and wish to apply for Norwegian nationality, you must use the GP-7099 notification form which may be obtained from the County Governor's Office in your county.
APPLICATIONS TO THE COUNTY GOVERNO'S OFFICE
Read also the appendix from august 2000
If two Norwegian nationals residing in Norway adopt a child, they may apply to the County Governor's Office for Norwegian nationality for the child. The child must be under 12 years of age. Nationality may be granted on condition that the child also resides in Norway, and that the adoption order has been issued or approved by the Norwegian authorities. Please note that it may take a long time to obtain an adoption order after the child has arrived in the country.
If the criteria for obtaining Norwegian nationality through the County Governor's Office are not satisfied, an application may be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration.
You must submit your application on form GP-7053, which may be obtained from the County Governor's Office or the police.
The application must be submitted to the police.
ACQUISITION OF NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY AT BIRTH
A child automatically acquires Norwegian nationality when
- the mother is a Norwegian national
- you (the mother) are married with a Norwegian man
ACQUISITION OF NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY WHEN THE PARENTS ARE NOT MARRIED
Read also the appendix from august 2000
A child automatically acquires Norwegian nationality when
- you (the mother) are not married with the child's father, who is a Norwegian national, and you and the child's father marry before the child reaches the age of 18. The child must be unmarried.
Unmarried parents may thus apply for Norwegian nationality for the child provided the father is Norwegian. See below.
Application procedure and criteria
The application must be sent to the police, who will send it to the Directorate of Immigration for processing. The following criteria must be satisfied for a child to be granted Norwegian nationality in such a case:
- the father must take part in the daily care of the child,
- the child must live in Norway on a permanent basis,
- the child must relinquish any other nationality s/he may have, if this is possible,
- the mother of the child must give her consent,
- if the child has reached the age of 12, s/he must give his/her consent.
PERSONS BORN BEFORE 1979 WITH A NORWEGIAN MOTHER AND A FOREIGN NATIONAL FATHER
Until 1979 children who were born to Norwegian mothers married to a foreign national did not acquire Norwegian nationality. To give these children the same rights as children born after 1979, a scheme has been introduced whereby the children of Norwegian mothers may acquire Norwegian nationality. Persons born before 1979 are no longer children, i.e. under 18 years of age, but in special cases the Directorate of Immigration may make an exception to the 18-years-of-age requirement. The notification is to be submitted to the County Governor's Office, if the mother is living in Norway, and to the Directorate of Immigration if she is living abroad. In these cases dual nationality is accepted.
Notification must be submitted on the GP-7100 form, which may be obtained from the County Governor's Office, or from a Norwegian foreign service mission (embassy/general consulate/consulate) abroad.
CONFIRMATION OF NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY
A passport serves as proof of Norwegian nationality. Passports are issued by the police in your community or by a Norwegian foreign service mission if you live abroad.
As a rule you will not need written confirmation or a certificate to prove that you are a Norwegian national. If you should still wish to have this, you may contact the Directorate of Immigration for written confirmation that you are a Norwegian national.
HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY
If you have Norwegian nationality and were born and are living abroad, you will lose you Norwegian nationality when you reach the age of 22 if you have always lived abroad and have not applied for permission to keep your Norwegian nationality.
However, you may apply for permission to keep your Norwegian nationality. If the parent from who you have your Norwegian nationality was also born and is living abroad, a deciding factor will be your connection to Norway. The application will be decided by the Directorate of Immigration. You must send the application to a Norwegian foreign service mission before you reach 22 years of age. Consult the rules listed in your passport.
RELINQUISHING NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY
If you live outside Norway on a permanent basis and you have or will be granted nationality of another country, you may apply to the Directorate of Immigration to be released from you Norwegian nationality. If your application is rejected, you may appeal the decision to the Ministry of Justice.
If you live permanently in Norway you may not relinquish your Norwegian nationality.
NORWEGIAN LEGISLATION RELATING TO PERSONAL NAMES
In the certificate of naturalization your name will be written as it is registered in the Population Registry.
If you wish one or more names to be written in a different way than what is registered, you must contact the Population Registry. The same applies if you wish to change your name or the order of your names.
If you are from a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country, you may be registered in the Population Registry with two family names (your father's family name or your mother's family name). When you apply for Norwegian nationality you must choose which of the two names you wish to have as the family name.
The names which are entered on the certificate of naturalization will be registered by the Norwegian authorities as your first name, middle name, if any, and family name.
If you would like more information concerning nationality, you may write or call:
The Directorate of Immigration
Postboks 8108 Dep.
Tel.: +47 23 35 15 00
Information may also be obtained from the County Governor's Office (see the list of county governor's offices on the last page of this brochure). Other agencies that can offer guidance and counselling with regard to Norwegian nationality are:
(Law Students Legal Information Service)
St. Olavsgt. 29
Tel.: + 47 22 85 18 50
Juridisk Rådgivning for Kvinner (JURK)
(Legal Advice for Women)
Postboks 6756 St. Olavs plass
Tel.: + 47 22 85 19 00
Kontoret for fri rettshjelp
(Office for Free Legal Aid)
Boks 8809 Youngstorget
Tel.: + 47 22 42 52 60
The free legal aid scheme:
Persons with income and assets below a predetermined level may apply to the country governor (fylkesmannen) for free legal aid. If you contact a lawyer or the county governor directly, you can have your situation assessed to ascertain whether you are entitled to free legal aid.
ADRESSES OF COUNTY GOVERNORS' OFFICES (FYLKESMENN) IN NORWAY AS OF APRIL 1999
Fylkesmannen i Oslo og Akershus
Postboks 8111 Dep
tlf: 22 00 35 00
Fylkesmannen i Hedmark
Parkgaten 64, Fylkeshuset
tlf: 62 54 40 00
Fylkesmannen i Buskerud
tlf: 32 26 6600
Fylkesmannen i Telemark
Statens Hus, Gjerpensgt. 20
tlf: 35 58 61 10
Fylkesmannen i Vest-Agder
4605 KRISTIANSAND S
tlf: 38 17 60 00
Fylkesmannen i Hordaland
tlf: 55 23 72 30
Fylkesmannen i Møre og Romsdal
tlf: 71 25 80 00
Fylkesmannen i Nord-Trøndelag
tlf: 74 16 80 00
Fylkesmannen i Troms
tlf: 77 64 20 00Fylkesmannen i Østfold
tlf: 69 24 70 00
Fylkesmannen i Oppland
Statsetatens hus, Storgt. 170
tlf: 61 26 60 06
Fylkesmannen i Vestfold
Postboks 2076, Postterminalen
tlf: 33 37 10 00
Fylkesmannen i Aust-Agder
tlf: 37 01 73 00
Fylkesmannen i Rogaland
tlf: 51 56 87 00
Fylkesmannen i Sogn og Fjordane
tlf: 57 65 50 00
Fylkesmannen i Sør-Trøndelag
tlf: 73 94 90 11
Fylkesmannen i Nordland
Moloveien 10 og 12
tlf: 75 53 15 00
Fylkesmannen i Finnmark
tlf: 78 95 03 00
Postboks 8108 Dep.
+ 47 23 35 15 00
This brochure is available in the following languages: Norwegian and English
This brochure has been revised in April 1999.
APPENDIX TO INFORMATION ON NORWEGIAN NATIONALITY (August 2000)
The Act of 8 December 1950 relating to Norwegian Nationality has been amended.
Nationality for children adopted after 1 October 1999
Children adopted by a Norwegian national may on further specified terms acquire Norwegian
nationality. As for children adopted abroad, it is a condition that the Governmental Office for Youth and Adoption has consented to the adoption in advance.
The child is below 12 years of age on adoption
The child will automatically receive Norwegian nationality on adoption.
The child is between 12 and 18 years of age on adoption
The person or persons having the parental responsibility may submit a notification to the effect that they want the child to become a Norwegian national. The child must be below 18 years of age and give its written consent to the notification being sent. The notification is to
be submitted to the County Governor or to the nearest Norwegian foreign service mission. A separate form, GP-7099/2 has been prepared, which may be obtained by application to the police or to the foreign service mission.
Children born out of wedlock with a Norwegian father.
Children below the age of 18 years with parents who are not, nor have been, married to each other, may acquire Norwegian nationality. The person or persons having the parental responsibility is/are to notify the County Governor or the nearest foreign service mission to this effect. The father must have been a Norwegian national when the child was born and have assumed paternity, or paternity must have been established by judgment. As for the notification procedure, what has been stated above regarding adoptive children between 12 and 18 years of age applies. In addition, as a general rule, it will be required that the notification be handed in personally. The requirement concerning a written consent applies only to children who have reached the age of 12 years.