If you are granted Norwegian citizenship, that means that you are no longer a foreign national. You are Norwegian, with all the rights and obligations that this entails.
There are several conditions you have to meet in order to become a Norwegian citizen. One of them is that, as a rule, the applicant should have lived in Norway with a permit for at least seven years. This is what we call the period of stay condition. There are several exceptions from this general rule.
On the Directorate of Immigration's (UDI) website (external link), you can can find information about other conditions for becoming a Norwegian citizen. Below you can find information about how we assess some of the conditions.
We reverse relatively few of the UDI’s decisions; just under 15 per cent. The most common reason for us not reversing the UDI's decision is that the applicant’s identity is unclear. This means that we are not sure who the applicant is. The reason for this is often that the applicant has provided different information about his or her identity in another country and has not submitted reliable documentation.
What do we consider?
In order for a person to be granted Norwegian citizenship, his or her identity must be clarified, meaning that we have to know who the applicant is. In many cases, this is the most important issue to assess. That is why we usually require the applicant to submit a passport. The main rule is that the applicant has to submit a passport, or other identity documents, that we can trust to be correct. For some people this will not be possible because the documents are not reliable enough, for example for citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia.
In such cases, two things in particular are important when we assess the identity as clarified or not: the documents the applicant has submitted, and the applicant’s information about who he or she is. If there is more than a 50 per cent probability that an applicant has provided correct information about his or her identity, we will consider the identity to be clarified.
Special rules concerning identity apply to e.g. persons born in Norway or persons who came to Norway as children and have one parent whose identity is clarified. We do not consider many such cases.
An important reason for not believing information about a person's identity is if they provided different information in another country. In such cases, the applicant has often provided a different name and date of birth to the authorities of another European country.
Another reason could be that the applicant has submitted false or forged documents. It may also be the case that an age examination has concluded that the applicant is older than he or she said. In other cases, we doubt whether the applicant has stated the correct nationality, for example because the applicant doesn’t know much about the country he or she claims to be from.
We cannot give a clear answer to what it takes to substantiate who the applicant is if he or she has given rise to doubt. It varies from case to case depending on how serious the doubt is and what documents the applicant has submitted. If the applicant has created doubt about his or her identity and does not have reliable documents, it could be very difficult to substantiate their identity.
There are several conditions that a person must meet in order to become a Norwegian citizen. One of them is that, as a rule, the applicant should have lived in Norway with a permit for at least seven years. This is what we call the period of stay condition. There are several exceptions from this general rule.
Another condition that we often consider is the requirement for completed tuition in the Norwegian language. As a rule, the applicant has to document that he or she has attended a sufficient number of hours of Norwegian language tuition. The number of hours required varies. For many, it is also a requirement to have attended 50 hours of tuition in social studies. We can make exceptions from this rule. For example, the applicant can submit a certificate documenting that he or she has passed written and oral Norwegian at a Norwegian lower or upper secondary school. We will not reverse the UDI’s decision based solely on the applicant’s Norwegian language proficiency. As a rule, a requirement applies for people who applied for citizenship after 1 January 2017 to have passed an oral Norwegian language test and a social studies test given in Norwegian.
If an applicant has been convicted of a criminal offence or been fined by the police, the applicant may have to wait for a while before he or she can be granted Norwegian citizenship. This waiting time is called a waiting period. The duration of the waiting period will depend on the penal sanction imposed on the applicant. We do not assess whether the sanction is appropriate, but calculate the waiting period on the basis of the sanction imposed on the applicant.
As a rule, we will require you to be released from your home country citizenship. This means that you will have to contact the authorities of your home country to renounce your former citizenship. We always consider whether to make exceptions from this rule.
We can, for example, make exceptions if it is impossible to be released from the citizenship or if it is not safe to contact the authorities of the home country. Many people request exceptions because they could lose rights in their home country. For example, some applicants state that they will lose the right to own property, inherit or receive a pension. UNE does not grant exceptions from the requirement for release in such cases. We rarely reverse decisions in cases where release from citizenship is an issue.
Most rejections will not be reversed by UNE. The most common reasons for us reversing a decision are that new documentation is submitted or that a condition has been met after the UDI made its decision. For example, documentation can be submitted to show that the applicant can be exempt from the requirement for Norwegian language tuition. In other cases, the period of stay is long enough when we make a decision in the case, even though it was not when the UDI made its decision. In a small number of cases, our assessment of the information or documentation provided by the applicant differs from the UDI's. This may, for example, be information about identity.
We can reverse the UDI's decision in any case if there are particularly strong grounds for so doing. This happens very rarely. Applicants will often ask to be exempt from one of the conditions because they are well integrated, speak Norwegian well and have lived here for a long time. We do not consider this particularly strong grounds, as they apply to many who apply for Norwegian citizenship.
What happens after we make a decision depends on whether or not we reversed the UDI’s decision. If we did not reverse the UDI's decision, you can remain in Norway for as long as your residence permit is valid. You can also submit another application for Norwegian citizenship if you meet the conditions at a later date.
If we reverse the UDI's decision, the case will normally be returned to the UDI. The reason for this is that the UDI must consider the requirement for release from the home country citizenship. If this requirement is met, the UDI will grant the applicant Norwegian citizenship. In a small number of case, UNE will grant Norwegian citizenship. This only happens when the UDI has already considered the release requirement or if you are stateless.