Moving and Removals to Norway
Removals to Norway obey slightly different rules to the classic European removals due to its status as EEA member. If you’re moving to Norway, there are also many things to discover about the country. Have a look at what awaits you in this land of Scandinavian beauty, to help prepare for your move.
Removals to Norway: About Norway
The most northerly country in Europe, Norway is a small country with a population of around five million.
Although on the same latitude as Greenland, Siberia and Alaska, it tends not to be quite as cold. The Gulf Stream warms up the south-west coast, but inland and the north get much colder. In the winter temperatures plunge to way below freezing. In the summer, expect long days of continuous sunlight and long, hot days even in the north!
Norway isn’t part of the EU so has retained its currency, the krone. 100 ore make a single krone, also known as NOK or KR.
Removals to Norway: Oslo
Oslo is Norway’s capital and the country’s economic, scientific, cultural and administrative centre. On its own, it contributes to a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.
The capital is in the middle of nature; Within a ten-minute boat ride, you access the lovely beaches on the Oslo Fjord islands. 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 low: under a million according to 2016 stats. The Expat and immigrant share of the population in the city stands 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. It is also an important centre for maritime industries and business in Europe.Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim the other three main cities claiming a quarter of a million or less population each.
Removals to Norway: Healthcare
Expats moving to Norway will have access to one of the highest standards of healthcare in Europe. But it’s not free. You need to pay a fee after any visit. Beyond a specific limit, you will receive a “free card” (frikort) allowing free visits for that year.
Register yourself with the National Population Register (Foke-register). 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 are significant: from up to a few weeks to see a GP; it can take 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.
Removals to Norway: Transport system
Many people who move abroad expect to drive in their new country. It’s worth considering this in more detail if you are going to be moving to Norway.
The roads are excellent and well-maintained, but the weather can have a significant effect. Driving in heavy snow and ice takes practice and makes travelling by car difficult during the winter months. Furthermore, while the south has an extensive road network, the north of the country is mountainous and the roads much smaller. They can get severely backlogged at peak periods so plan and allow extra time to get to your destination.
In direct contrast, public transport is efficient and comfortable, and there’s a variety to choose from.
Norway lies on the coast which means ferries are a common way to travel for longer journeys, either from one end of the country to the other or surrounding nations.
Each of the counties in Norway is responsible for its bus services, but you will find both local and national coverage in the main cities. There is also an extensive train network; You will see all information relating to schedules at the Norwegian State Railway. Norway also has a metro system plus trams too, with departures very regularly throughout the hour.
Public transport isn’t particularly cheap within Norway, but it’s safe, clean and reliable. To make the cost more affordable, buy some tickets in advance rather than pay for each journey.
Removals to Norway: Visa Requirements
Despite not being in the EU, Norway is part of the Schengen area which allows free travel within member states. Short-term visits are much easier for EU nationals and anyone holding a visa for a Schengen country.
Any national of an EEA country can visit Norway for up to 90 days without any visa or permit but will need a passport with at least six months duration remaining. Norwegian Border Control may still stop and question arriving visitors, even if they don’t need a visa. You know what to expect.
You will find detailed information for British expats in Norway on the UK Govt website.International visitors and those intending to stay longer will need to obtain the relevant visa or permit to enter and work in Norway. EEA nationals cannot remain in Norway for longer than six months if they do not have a job to fund their stay.
Removals to Norway: Practical tips for Newcomers
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 identification number to receive your salary, to pay your taxes, to open a business and receive 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.
Mobile Phones and Internet
Check whether your phone works in Norway, if not, buy a new SIM card with a Norwegian number. Otherwise, you’ll need an identification number that will be assigned to you once your residency permit is approved to apply for a phone contract or buy a mobile phone without a subscription to a company.
Prices are reasonable; the most prominent telecom provider is the state-owned Telenor, followed by Canal Digital and Tele2. Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime are fairly omnipresent. Telenor is the mobile phone provider owning the infrastructure in Norway. You can find more info on the Life in Norway website. Landlines are little used.
Internet cafés are few and far between because most Norwegians have their broadband at home. Libraries are your best bet for public connection.
Taxes and Administration
Are you going to be paying tax? While it’s correct taxes are high in Norway, there are compensations. You will receive free or subsidised paternity leave, employment benefits, education, pension and healthcare.
The tax year begins on January 1st. Special rules apply to 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.
Bureaucracy is alive and well in Norway. You’ll find Norwegians are organised, systematic and process-oriented. If you’ve made an effort to communicate in the local lingo, you’ll see – as in most parts of the world – people warm up to the time taken by ‘strangers’ to speak 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.
Removals to Norway: Language
Norwegian is the official language; this is a Scandinavian language which has striking similarities to Swedish and Danish. Residents from these three countries can all understand each other despite speaking a “different” lingo.English is the next most commonly spoken language which can be found widely used across the country, with German and then French also heard.
Most Norwegians born after 1960 will be fluent in English so learning the local lingo isn’t as important as in other countries. However, this is less so the case in rural areas. As with any move overseas, if you learn the national language, it can help to forge friendships with your new neighbours and make integration into the community far easier.
Removals to Norway: Moving to Norway
If you’re relocating from an EU country, the process of moving can be relatively simple, particularly when it comes to passing through customs. For international movers coming from further afield, there’s typically a bit more to arrange before your possessions arrive at your new home.
Norway isn’t part of the EU, and everyone needs to go through a more complicated process when transporting their items. Both international moving firms and European removals have to navigate customs in the same way.
Norway is part of the EEA, but not part of the customs union, so it is free to decide on its tariff. Hence why Norway removals need an expert team of experienced professionals.
Reputable International or European moving firms can help you with the paperwork in advance; You will need to fill and sign the documentation declaring your possessions, but it can be completed in advance to make the international removals process a little quicker.
Just like in many other European countries, there is a list of prohibited items, none of which should come as a surprise. However, there are also items which are permitted but only under strict conditions and supporting documentation may be requested.
Make sure you check out the process of moving to Norway in advance to avoid an unpleasant shock when your items arrive and try to pass through Customs. Whether you choose our Load and Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you moving to Norway. We shall be able to provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.