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Moving to Norway > Moving to Norway

Moving to Norway

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships can be quite rewarding.

Expats in Norway - Moving to Norway

General Information About Norway

Expats who have moved to Norway live in a nordic country with a high-performing economy.

While it is advised that expats always visit a country for a long stay before moving there, it may be particularly true of a country such as a Norway. The cold climate and the reserved Norwegian culture make it quite a challenge to settle in successfully. Do yourself a favor and take a trip there before you move!

Residence Permit

Citizens of countries that are part of the EU/EEA do not need a residence permit to live in Norway. Those from outside the EU/EEA do need one.

For those that do need one, you can apply for a work permit on Norway's official site.

There are different types of permits for people in different situations.

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Learning the Norwegian Language

Learning some Norwegian will go a long way towards making friends in Norway. That being said, there are a lot of people that speak English there, and this will help make settling in that much easier. Just take the time to show your your new Norwegian friends the same amount of interest in your language as they have shown in yours!

Healthcare in Denmark

Healthcare in Denmark is accessible to expats with residency in Norway. The system as a whole often receives accolades from a broad range of reviews and rankings. However, there have been complaints

One expat who lived in Norway, but subsequently returned to the U.S., wrote the following about utilizing the public healthcare system there:

"Up side is free health care, down side is free health care....if you are o.k. with being in hospitals that have not been revamped since the 50s (or older) and dealing with medical staff that will never remember your name because you will never see the same Dr. twice, than it is great for you. I am sure some people would say Denmark is a great country to live in, but I will say as an American who did live their, I am EXTREMELY HAPPY to [be] back in the [U.S.A.]."

In an expat health report about Kongsvinger, Norway, an expat wrote:

"There is just one hospital in Kongsvinger and it is second rate at best. My sister-in-law went to have her baby, and after being placed in her room post birth, she was told point blank that if she bloodied or dampened the sheets, that she would have to change her own bed!"

Another expat in Oslo reported about her healthcare experiences:

"Don't [use the public system]. Pay for private. The laid-back laissez faire attitude that seems appealing when talking to Norwegians in coffee shops is quite the opposite when you are ill and need healthcare. There is no accountability and often gross errors."

"Overall the quality of care at Ulleval hospital and Legevakt is very bad indeed: unprofessional, discharging patients too early, missing serious illness, accidentally giving medicines that someone is allergic to, ignoring me when I am in a corridor on a hospital bed and referring to me only as "den innvandreren der" ("that immigrant there"), an ambulance missing the signs of severe concussion, very poorly trained and unprofessional ambulance personnel, no adequate triage system at the ER (legevakt). If you have a chronic illness then do not move to Norway without paying for private care."

Expats living in Norway interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Where to Live in Norway

An expat who moved to Oslo shared:

"Choose a neighborhood close to public transport. It is pricier but well worth not having to walk 20 minutes very 2 in the winter. Be open minded about flats. I have yet to see a place with more than 1 bath and double vanities don't exist. The fridges are small- overall things are smaller and it's important not to let it bother you!"

an expat who moved to Tromso wrote: "My advice would be to start looking as soon as possible or have someone help you find a place. If you live on the Island it's easy to get around by bus. If you live in Kvolya or Krokken you may need a car, but homes are cheaper to rent."

She added: she and her partner had "found our place to live off the internet site here in Norway Finn.no. We weren't concerned about neighborhood as much as we were concerned about finding a place to live. It's a University island so places go fast and there's not a lot available."

An expat who moved to Alesund wrote:

"Very nice place for vacation, fishing and etc. But life for young person like me is a drama. Don't move here, I am going back to the US," though he also shared that "I am renting a "summer house" in the forest... the housing is horrible. I pay cheap because I can't afford a better place."

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Jun 06, 2019

First Published: Jun 06, 2019

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