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Moving to Norway

Moving to Norway is the ideal thing to do for expats who like fjords, reindeer, and harsh winters — among other things. However, the captivating scenery is not all that Norway has to offer. In our InterNations Expat Guide you will learn all about moving to Norway: the visa requirements, public transportation system, and more.

At a Glance:

  • Due to its fjords, mountains, and glaciers Norway is considered one of the most beautiful European countries.
  • Norway has a thriving economy and is a major player on the European and global economic stages.
  • Non-EU nationals need a “skilled worker”’s visa to live and work in Norway, requiring documentation on employment, residence, and nationality.
  • A well-developed public transportation network allows travel around the great landscapes of Norway. Good options include buses, trains, and airplanes.


Expats who feel right at home in Scandinavia and don’t mind the cold, dark winters will not regret moving to Norway. This country has a breathtaking wilderness in store for you as well as a vibrant urban scene. In addition to this, the impressive social welfare system makes for a high quality of life — something expats moving to Norway will no doubt benefit from.

Arctic Tundra and Fjords

Norway is part of Northern Europe, more specifically Scandinavia, between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, sharing borders with Sweden on the eastern side and Finland and Russia in the north. Once you have moved to Norway, you will see the wide, treeless plains of the Arctic tundra in the northern regions and a coastline which is indented by deep fjords. The country’s natural landscape is also distinguished by its high plateaus and rugged mountains, as well as scattered plains and fertile valleys.

Warm Summers, Cold Winters, and Natural Spectacles

If you prefer temperatures which allow you to wear shorts and flip-flops all year round, then moving to Norway may not be your best choice. Norwegian winters can be bitterly cold, particularly in the inland areas, and Finnmark, a county in the extreme northeast, is the coldest part. Here, the lowest temperature ever recorded was -51.4⁰C in Karasjok. The coast enjoys comparatively mild winters with frequent snow or rain.

However, moving to Norway will still bring you those beautiful, long summer days you have always dreamed of. In contrast to the icy winters, even Norway’s most northern reaches can be very warm, with a record high temperature of 34°C in Siccajavri, Finnmark, during the summer months.

Aside from the stunning Norwegian landscape, you can witness natural spectacles upon your move to Norway. The midnight sun is one of the perks of experiencing a Norwegian summer at the Arctic Circle. You can enjoy 24 hours of daylight there, making for endless summer days.

Another phenomenon, which is best observed between autumn and spring, are the northern lights. Alta, Finnmark’s largest town, has been nicknamed “The Town of the Northern Lights”. It is home to the world’s first northern lights observatory. These green bands of light are the source of many Sami legends and a popular spectacle attracting both tourists and expats in Norway.

Norway's Economy: Prosperity and Stability

Norway’s competitive economy stems from open global cooperation and entrepreneurial ventures. It benefits from the country’s abundance of natural resources, such as hydropower, crude oil, fish, forests, and minerals. Assets from hydrocarbon production and a large part of petroleum revenues are collected in the National Wealth Fund. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, Norway has the world’s largest fund, with oil-and-gas-based funds comprising more than half of the total asset value.

Moreover, Norway is a country contributing significantly to the EU budget, despite voting twice against becoming a member state. As a country within the European Economic Area, Norway plays a significant role in Europe’s economy while having most rights of the EU single market. As the Norwegian economy is strong, the government is able to finance many welfare benefits, such as healthcare, for legal residents.

Norway: A Welfare State

It is widely recognized that Norway is an extremely expensive country, with high rents and mortgages, transportation costs, and expenses for everyday essentials. This is, however, offset by a combination of high salaries, excellent public services, and an overall superb quality of life.

In the Expat Insider 2017 survey conducted by InterNations, the Quality of Life Index found Norway ranked an impressive 2nd out of 65 countries regarding safety and security. Ranking criteria included peacefulness, political stability, and personal safety.

Expats who move to Norway will experience firsthand a developed welfare state and enjoy the advantages of a fair and safe society. Thanks to the comparatively high taxes, Norway provides free or heavily subsidized healthcare, which is of great quality and accessible to all residents, as well as pension and further benefits. In terms of employment, the state provides services including a generous pension scheme, plenty of parental leave, and sickness pay for those working in Norway.

After moving to Norway, you will be required to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), allowing you access to these healthcare and public services, and pension rights. Further details regarding the healthcare system in Norway can be found in our handy guide to Living in Norway.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

David Hicks

"Thanks to my network on InterNations, I already had some contact persons to ask for support on coming to Oslo. "

Amelie Barreau

"Enjoying the great spirit of our InterNations’ Oslo Community for the last few months, I am absolutely convinced of the vision to bring people from different nations together."

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