Norwegian nationality law

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Norwegian nationality law is based on the principle of Jus sanguinis. In general, Norwegian citizenship is conferred by birth to a Norwegian parent, or by naturalisation in Norway.

Norway restricts, but does not absolutely prohibit, dual citizenship.

Birth in Norway

In general, birth in Norway does not, in itself, confer Norwegian citizenship.

Descent from a Norwegian parent

Regardless of the place of birth, a child acquires Norwegian citizenship at birth if either parent is a Norwegian citizen. Originally, citizenship was only passed on to the children of Norwegian mothers, as they were the only provable parents, but over time a presumption of paternal parentage created citizenship for the child, and eventually even excluded the maternal jus sanguinis. In more recent times, as of 1 January 1979, mothers rights to automatically pass on their Norwegian citizenship has been reestablished.citation needed The requirement that the mother and father be married to one another was abolished on 1 September 2006.citation needed

Naturalisation as a Norwegian citizen

Generally, it is possible to naturalise as a Norwegian citizen after residing in Norway seven years over the last ten years, if the applicant qualifies for permanent residence and does not have a criminal record.citation needed

Exceptions:

  • Applicants with a criminal record must wait a further "quarantine" period dependent on the crime committed before being granted citizenship.citation needed
  • Citizens of other Nordic Council countries may naturalise after only a two-year residence.
  • The spouses, homosexual partners in civil unions, and non-married cohabitant partners of Norwegian citizens may naturalise as quickly as four years. The requirement is that they have resided in Norway at least three years of the last ten and that the number of years resident and the number of years married, taken together cumulatively, equals at least seven.
  • The children (under the age of 18 years) of citizens of other Nordic Council countries may automatically receive naturalisation with their parents. The children of citizens naturalised from other countries may themselves receive citizenship if they have resided in Norway for the last two years.
  • Former Norwegian citizens may naturalise after one year's residence during the last two years.

From 1 September 2008 an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also give evidence of proficiency in either the Norwegian or Sami language, or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language requirements for university studies in Norway (i.e., demonstrate proficiency in one of the Scandinavian languages). From 1 March 2014 an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also pass an exam about Norwegian society, laws and history.

A naturalised Norwegian citizen is generally expected to prove they have lost or renounced any former citizenship(s).citation needed

Notification of Norwegian citizenship

Norwegian citizenship may be acquired by notification to the Directorate of Immigration. This is a simplified form of naturalisation exempted from application fees.

As with naturalisation, a person becoming Norwegian by notification must normally renounce any other citizenship held, unless exempted.

The following categories of persons are eligible for citizenship by notification

  • a child aged under 18 who was born before 1 September 2006 to a Norwegian father and a foreign mother who were not married (renunciation of foreign citizenship not required)
  • a child aged 12-18 adopted by a Norwegian citizen after 1 October 1999 but before 1 September 2006 (renunciation of foreign citizenship not required)
  • a citizen of another Nordic Council country who has lived in Norway for 7 years
  • a former Norwegian citizen who has, since the loss of Norwegian citizenship, only been a citizen of another Nordic Council state (no residence period is required provided the person has settled in Norway).

Norwegian citizenship by adoption

As from 1 September 2006 a child under 18 adopted by Norwegian citizens acquires Norwegian citizenship automatically. In cases where children are adopted outside Norway, the consent of the Norwegian government is required.

Loss of Norwegian citizenship

Acquisition of another citizenship

A Norwegian citizen who voluntarily acquires another citizenship automatically loses Norwegian citizenship without notification.

Norwegian permanently residing outside Norway

Norwegian citizens who acquire citizenship by birth but have resided less than 2 years in Norway or 7 years in Nordic Council countries must apply to retain Norwegian citizenship before turning 22 years of age. Applicants are not required to renounce other citizenships, but are required to demonstrate "adequate ties" to Norway. Often, frequent travel to Norway or a year of study in Norway are accepted.

Dual citizenship

In most cases, when one becomes a citizen of Norway, it is required as a principal rule that he/she renounce any other citizenship (thereby avoiding dual citizenship). In certain cases there are exceptions from this requirement, and double citizenship is allowed if... :

1. ...the legislation in the applicant’s former home country does not permit citizens to be released from their citizenship, or such release is deemed to be practically impossible.

2. ..the authorities in the former home country have rejected an application for release.

3. ...for reasons for personal safety, the applicant should not be required to contact the authorities of his or her former home country in order to apply for release.

4. ...more than one year has elapsed since Norwegian citizenship was granted or since the applicant reached the age at which it is possible to obtain release pursuant to the legislation of the former home country but the granting of release has not been documented, and the home country has provided no information as regards expected processing time. If it is known that the applicant’s former home country does not reply to applications for release from nationality, an exemption may be granted from the requirement regarding release in connection with the granting of Norwegian citizenship.

5. ...the authorities in the applicant’s former home country set unreasonably burdensome conditions for release. Whether the fee charged for release is unreasonably burdensome shall be assessed on the basis of ordinary income. If the fee exceeds four per cent of the applicant’s income, the release fee is deemed to be unreasonably burdensome. The same applies if the applicant is responsible for the care of children under 18 years of age, and the release fee, including any release fee for children, exceeds two per cent of the applicant’s income. However, a release fee of up to and including NOK 2,500 is not deemed to be unreasonably burdensome. In the case of orphans, any release fee is deemed to be unreasonably burdensome.

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