Welcome to Norway with wild reindeer, polar bears, and 240,000 islands and a Norwegian coastline that stretches over 64,000 miles to explore.
If you’re moving to Norway for your working life then northern Norway, sitting above the Arctic Circle with its Northern Lights dancing in the sky, and 24 hours of sunshine will give you all the daylight you need.
Of course not only is the midnight sun an incredible experience, but it also leaves more hours for fishing, boating, climbing and exploring.
Did you know it’s also known as the land of the 1,000 lakes? Norway’s inviting and deep and dark fjords are natural wonders.
And it doesn’t stop there – Norway is the home of skiing, the word “ski” is derived from Old Norse roughly translating to “split a piece of wood.
You can even ski in the middle of summer! If you need courage before skiing off one of the jaw-dropping mountains in the highest ski resort Galdoppigen Sommerskisenter, then the national drink is Aquavit, a potato-based spirit flavoured with herbs.
It’s very potent; fear got its hold? Then use beer as a chaser!
Our articles and blogs on Moving to Norway
will give you essential information and advice, alongside tips and tales to ensure your European move is a delight and a doddle.
In this article we’ve given you:
6 Essential Tips for saving money and time when choosing your removal company.
We’ve given you a flavour of the capital, Oslo, alongside 4 crucial keys to unlocking a successful move to Norway.
We’ve shed light on health and wellbeing considerations together with 3 necessary practical steps for your move.
6 Essential Tips moving to Norway
A hassle free move is everyone’s dream, so here are our top tips for saving money and preventing stress.
Health & Wellbeing:
- It seems we all want to make our move in the warm weather.
If you want to ensure you get the date and time most convenient for you, book your International Moving Company early on in your plans, because their timetable will become fully booked in the summer months.
If you have a family, the best times to move might well be in the holidays, however moving quotes will be higher and waiting times longer.
- You’ll definitely lower the price by taking your children out of school and choosing a date in a lower demand month.
- Consider a mid-week removal. What is so special about weekends anyway!
- And the same goes for your accommodation if you’re up for negotiating a lease beginning mid-month you’ll find better prices from your moving company.
- Check out your journey plan with your removal company beforehand, they’ll be full of local knowledge.
You can incur extra fuel costs due to transport/road/traffic points, heavy traffic times, narrow lanes, hill stops and starts.
- Are you moving pets? Check out jabs, pet passport requirements and update microchip details.
Current medicines and favourite (comfort) foods might not be easily available in Norway (or maybe under a different brand name, check beforehand online) best to travel with a few month’s worth of these brands when you move, giving you time to source equivalent in Norway.
What all this planning will definitely do is ensure an easier settling in period with favourite foods and medicines to hand.
You’ll be glad that you did and by the way, the same goes for your children’s favourite foods/medicines!
Expats moving to Norway can be satisfied that they’re supported by one of the highest standard of healthcare systems in Europe.
But it’s not free. You’ll be expected to pay a fee after any visit.
Once you’ve reached a specific limit, you’re entitled to a “free card” (frikort) allowing free visits for the duration of that year.
Register yourself with the National Population Register (Foke-register) where you will be assigned a GP (General Practitioner) within the Norwegian public system. As a resident, you can change to another GP yourself.
However, you can only do this twice annually.
If you want to see a specialist, you’ll need a referral from your GP.
Waiting times to see your GP can be extensive – up to a few weeks with several months to see a specialist.
You can, of course, opt to go privately, where, compared to UK and US standards, Norway has competitively priced diagnostic facilities and high-quality specialists available without a long waiting list.
Dentistry consists mainly of private practices.
4 Crucial Keys to unlocking a successful International Move to Norway
- You’ll need to learn the language.
There are many dialects too.
Check out Oslo Summer School at the University of Oslo.
Universities throughout Norway offer language courses and depending upon your visa type the course can be free.
Consider subscribing to cable television services, it’s a good way for Expats to begin to understand the Norwegian psyche, culture and language.
- Choose a neighbourhood close to public transport. Well worth it in the cold winter weather.
Be aware that housing is expensive. It’s cheaper the further you travel from the city.
If you can afford to own your own home, then it will provide several tax benefits.
If you’re planning to stay in Norway long-term then seriously consider this option.
- Cost of living is high Norway ranks higher than most other European Cities.
To offset the high cost of living, the standard of public services are also high.
Research the cost of living index before moving and negotiate a very generous Expat relocation package if you’re moving due to work.
- Opening a Bank account requires a national ID number, which does take time and should be a number one priority on arrival.
You’ll need this identity number for getting paid, paying taxes, opening a business and receiving social benefits such as unemployment benefits, parental leave and medical services.
Remember to take a queue number when you walk into any bank and bring your passport and a copy of your passport too.
3 necessary practical steps for moving to Norway
The most popular City is Oslo
- What’s vital as an Expat in a foreign country?
Maintaining connections with friends and family.
There’s plenty of English speaking media in Norway. The Internet is fast, fantastic and reliable.
Internet cafés are few and far between because most Norwegians have their own broadband at home.
Libraries are your best bet for public connection.
Prices are reasonable, the biggest telecom provider is the state-owned Telenor, followed by Canal Digital and Tele2. Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime are well used.
Telenor is the mobile phone provider owning the infrastructure in Norway.
Landlines are little used.
Top Tip: Expats check whether your own phone works in Norway, if not, buy a new SIM card with a Norwegian number.
Otherwise, you’ll need an identity number that will be assigned to you once your residency permit is approved in order to apply for a phone contract or buy a mobile phone without a subscription to a company.
- Are you going to be paying tax?
While it’s true taxes are high in Norway, there are compensations.
The economy is strong in Norway that means you will receive free or subsidised paternity leave, employment benefits, education, pension and healthcare.
The tax year begins on January 1st special rules apply for those who have lived less than six months in Norway.
Foreign citizens are given a discount on taxes for the first two years of residence.
There are double taxation agreements with the UK, the US and other countries.
Check out details through your local tax office (ligningskontor).
Your employer and local tax office will help you obtain a tax card.
Once listed in the Norwegian system, you’ll receive a tax declaration with details and estimates of income, assets and debt on a yearly basis.
- Most important Top Tip: Bureaucracy is alive and well in Norway.
Of course, it is, the planet thrives on systems!
You’ll find Norwegians are organised, systematic and process oriented.
If you’ve taken the effort to communicate in their language you’ll find – as in most parts of the world – people do warm up to the time taken by ‘strangers’ to speak in their native tongue.
Ensure you have multiple copies of passports, photos, birth certificates, proof of your Norwegian address and all necessary permits before your move to Norway.
This goes for you, your family and your pets.
, it’s Norway’s capital and the country’s economic, scientific, cultural and administrative centre, contributing a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.
The capital is truly situated in the middle of nature because within a ten-minute boat ride you are transported to lovely beaches on the Oslo Fjord islands, and in winter, Oslo boasts eight ski centres and hundreds of miles of cross-country trails.
Even the nearest park for a quick working lunch is never more than a few blocks away.
The population for a capital boasting one of the highest living standards is exceedingly low with under a million according to 2016 stats with the Expat and immigrant share of the population in the city standing at more than 25%.
Large numbers of American and British Expats work in the oil, gas and shipping industries.
Oslo is the home of the royal family and the seat of the Norwegian government.
It’s also a hub for Norwegian trade, banking and industry, and it’s other claim to fame is as an important centre for maritime industries and trade in Europe.
Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim the other three main cities claiming a quarter of a million or less population each.
For whatever reason you intend to make this international move to Norway, it’s wise to accept that although you will have moments of stress, there’s absolutely no need for your blood pressure to rise if you’re prepared to put some time into planning.
And we’re always here to help!
Now it’s up to how you approach the move because it can either be a hassle or a doddle…plan small steps, factor in time and space to meet with current friends and enjoy time together, ensure all the family takes part in planning time for this activity.
Put in place a plan for the 12 months after the move, where you can explore and enjoy your new country.
So many ‘hit the ground running’ taking little regard for their longer-term wellbeing and family bonding processes.