30 Useful Things To Know Before Moving to Norway

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Moving to Norway is a desire that many people share. This post shows how to move to Norway and 30 things to know before living in Norway.  The post will also give details on the various Norwegian visas that are available and how to apply for them as a citizen of various countries.

This was originally written in 2013 and has been updated regularly since (latest update is February 2020).

Living in Norway: 30 Things To Know Before Moving to Norway

I spent four years living in Norway… a fantastic Scandinavian country that is as desirable as it is frigid.  To be honest, it was one of the greatest periods of my life and I really loved my life in Norway, even if the adjustments were sometimes harsh and difficult.

As I have moved around to various places since I look back on my time in the north and realize that it was the easiest place to adjust to as an American.  While the Norwegian immigration process can be a bit stringent, it was worth it to say that I called the country home for a few years.

This post discusses how to move to Norway, applying for a Norwegian visa or permit, what it is like to live in Norway, and thirty things to know before you make that move.

I did this as a collaborative post with Inspiring Travellers and you can see the link to their 15 things to know before moving to Norway at the end of the post!  Be sure to click it to read their thoughts as they spent time living in Stavanger.

Moving to Norway - things to know-9
What to know before moving to Norway

What to Know Before Living in Norway

There are so many things to know before relocating to Norway.  I spent quite a few years living in Norway and this post discusses things I think you should consider before making the move.

From food quality to salaries and beyond, here are 15 things I think you should know before migrating to Norway (the other 15 can be found at the very end of this post).


The beauty of Allemannsrett is that this ‘law’ means that you can pitch your tent or hike anywhere in Norway.  Granted, you can’t pitch a tent in the middle of Frognerparken in Oslo’s center, but anywhere out in nature or mountains that are not private property is an absolute go.

I can’t tell you how much I love this right and how I think it should exist everywhere in Norway!  Hotels and hostels aren’t cheap in Norway, so this gives travelers and locals another way to be out in nature at an affordable cost.

While I never took full advantage of this, it still is something I brag to others about whenever I speak about my time living in Norway.

Life in Norway sometimes contains waterfalls

Norwegian Salaries

I constantly hear from Norwegians, even when irrelevant to a conversation, “We are so lucky to get paid so well here…that is why everything is more expensive.”  This is not always true.  Granted, a housekeeper or retail shop worker gets paid drastically more than in the United States.  But skilled workers with education don’t always make more living in Norway.

One key exception is teachers.  Teacher salaries in Norway are much better than in North America and that is a real shame (for North America).  There are other careers that are valued more in Norway than in the US and other countries.

I, personally, never made the same amount of money in Norway as I would have in the US.  And the taxes are much higher in Norway.  On the other hand, medicine is socialized and many other amenities are taken care of, so it all evened out in the end.

Moving to Norway - things to know-2
Bergen, Norway – the first place in Norway I called home

If you look at the OECD Better Life Index, you will notice that based on disposable income, the average American makes astoundingly more than the average Norwegian per year.

This takes into account a lot of the wealth gaps (to my surprise, there wasn’t as large of a difference between the countries as I anticipated).  And with the cost of living being so much lower in the US, your money will go much further than it would in Norway.

This is hard for people to see… especially since many jobs (engineers, for example) are in much higher demand in Norway than they are in the US or other countries.

So while you may get paid very well to be an engineer in Norway, that does not mean that you won’t get paid equivalent or higher in another country… they just have the demand for it in Norway at the moment.

Living in Norway
Life in Norway sometimes also contains charming houses

Everyone is given a new tax card each year 

They are supposed to come automatically, but sometimes you have to order them if you don’t receive them on time.  What happens if you don’t turn yours in or are in between the processing of visas and can’t receive one until the visa processing is done?

You are taxed at 50%.  I am experiencing this right now and trust me, it is BRUTAL.  I’m told I’ll receive a lot of it back when tax time comes.  Fingers crossed.  (Update:  All was sorted in the end).

Norwegian taxes are automated

Taxes in Norway are included in the actual price of the goods.  While this leads to a lack of transparency, in my opinion, it makes shopping easy.  And, your annual taxes are pretty much automated.  No H&R Block involvement.  Amazing.

how to move to norway
You can also have your super cute dog move to Norway (I did!)

Food quality is poor or limited

Since Norway is not part of the EU, they don’t have the same amount of imports as grocery stores in Sweden, for example.  And what you do get in the grocery stores is usually rather poor quality.  I can’t tell you how badly I miss Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Luckily, if you’re in Oslo, the Grønland markets can provide you with your foreign needs, at a lower price, and often, with better quality.  Many stores have opened in recent years that are helping solve this problem, in addition.

Don’t let Kiwi’s produce guarantee trick you into believing their quality is superior to any other store’s.  I will mention that I have seen drastic improvements in food quality since I moved here.

Perhaps the TV2 programs about the poor quality have helped? (Again, this was written in 2013 and has likely changed a bit- I no longer live in Norway, so I have no idea!)

Things that are better in Norway than many other places?  Chocolate, berries (they will blow your mind!), bread, and many other foods.  Try to buy seasonal produce.

Also, do note that if you’re visiting other parts of the country like Tromso or parts more remote that the situation could be different!

Moving to Norway - things to know-3
Chocolate in Norway is superior to just about everywhere else

Norwegians don’t complain

And if Norwegian people do complain, it is very rare.  So, when you do have a legitimate complaint with a company or its services, you will shock the lower-level employees because they don’t experience this often.

I purchased a sofa from Bohus here in Norway and had some delivery issues with it (it was going to be months late).  I was upset, naturally, and called to complain.

The employee who received my phone call was so confused about what to do or who to escalate the call to that I think I frazzled her for days.

Luckily, the problem was resolved in a professional and timely manner and I ended up having a superb customer service interaction with Bohus.

Living in Norway (and how to move there)
Living in Norway means a lot of snow- get used to it!

Norwegians think they complain… I just want to advise them to move to Germany where complaining is an art form and then they will see how easy-going they truly are.

Americans love a good complaint too, even if we don’t do it directly to your face.

If you can’t find it in Norway… it might be banned

The Norwegian government is notorious for banning things.  One of my favorite Yogi teas is banned here.  I didn’t discover this until my friend who works for customs and tolls here informed me that that is why I am unable to find it but can find every single other Yogi tea here.

Red Bull was banned here in recent years, in fact, due to caffeine levels.

living in norway

A 12oz Red Bull has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.  I think it was probably banned for other reasons, maybe like its ability to lead someone to a slow death, but the government just told the people it was caffeine-levels related.

But on a general note, if you can’t find it… before you go to extreme measures of trying to have a grocery store import it (which I have done), find out if it is even allowed in the country at all.  There may be a reason you can’t get it here.

Shipping products into Norway is no easy feat

Since Norway is not part of the EU, many places abroad won’t ship here.  I don’t think it is that they don’t want to, but many people assume that Norway is actually part of the EU.

I have found that you can often get an exception made by speaking with managers, but there have been times I was unable to get that permission granted.

In addition, you have to pay tolls and customs on products shipped to Norway that are over about a $40 (give or take depending on currency exchange at the moment).

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These taxes can often amount to more than what you paid for the product in the first place, depending on what it is.  So I have given up shopping online from abroad.  While I became bitter about it, it actually saved me a lot of money in the end and forced me to not buy things I didn’t need, so I am semi-grateful for it.

You can calculate tolls and customs costs here.

Healthcare in Norway

I actually never had a chance to experience healthcare in Norway.  Not a single time (my dog went to the vet a few times if that counts).  This is obviously a good thing.  I only know what I watch on the news or have experienced with others.

Vision and dental are not covered.  The healthcare itself is very basic and does not include holistic approaches or natural forms of medicine (chiropractors included).  Many of the hospitals look like they were built in 1903 but others are very modern.

On the contrary, everyone is entitled to coverage here.  I have found that healthcare here is more expensive for me at this point in my life than what I got in the US because I’m healthy and have no chronic issues.

But, if you’re chronically ill or have an ongoing ailment, this is the country for you.

how to move to norway - a step by step guide
Life in Norway is pretty fantastic

Every time you go to the doctor, you must pay around $40, in addition to the medicine you’re prescribed.  But, once you hit your cap (I want to say it’s around $500ish), everything is covered for the remainder of the year.

The medicine in Norway is socialized and comes out of your taxes so you never see it in the first place.

One thing I do notice a lot due to my watching and reading the news here is that a lot of the equipment and practices are extremely out of date.

I just saw a situation with a boy having to travel to Germany out of pocket because the heart procedures he was having done were from the 1970s and doing more damage than good.

He could have benefitted from a solid international health insurance plan, but having to travel that far for a procedure can give added stress.

A lot of what is done here is out-of-date, and not just in the field of medicine.  Healthcare in Norway is always evolving, usually for the better, so I think the pros of the system far outweigh the cons.  Especially for an American moving to Norway.

Banking in Norway is awesome

I love the banking system in Norway.  Everything is done easily and online, which is the same as the States, but transferring money amongst people is significantly easier here in Norway.  Of course, I’m not sitting in a country of 325 million people… but instead 5 million people which is far easier to manage, but still.

I can just type in someone’s bank account number and the money sends, regardless of which bank or establishment the person is banking with.

Bank account numbers aren’t a private thing here.  If you owe your friend $20, you can just transfer them 100kr over the internet.  Banking in Norway is so efficient and easy that it makes me sick.

Feriepenger in Norway (Holiday Money)

Everyone in the world thinks that Norway gets a month of vacation during the summer and paid to not work.  Well, this is very wrong.

I, believe it or not, got more vacation time with pay in the United States than I do here in Norway.  You see, the month Norwegians are mandated to take off in July, is unpaid.  Many jobs and offices close down so you’re forced to not work.

While this is conceptually a nice idea, it sucks for those who need the money and desire to work through July.

The way people are able to afford a month off without pay is because their company withholds money from the workers’ paychecks every month the year prior and gives them a nice, lump sum of money in June of the following year, aptly called feriepenger.

move to norway - snow

There are reasons I both like and dislike this method.  I like it because you get a month of vacation off.  I’m a traveler at heart and will happily take off a month unpaid if given the chance.

I also like that someone else is kind of managing my money because I’m lousy with money.

I dislike it because depending on the job, you are forced to take off even if you need the cash and want to work extra.  I also dislike it because it is in July.

Who really wants to leave Norway and travel abroad at the height of Norway’s most beautiful and tolerable season?  Give me a month off in December or January and I’d have a more positive response.

Also, if it is your first year at a job, you don’t receive feriepenger.  So basically, you get to take a month off unpaid.

Conformity in Norway

I haven’t talked too much about this in previous posts but really should have.  This is the absolute most conformed place I’ve ever been in the world.  The girls all dress the same.  And if someone claims they have their own style or is an original, this simply means they just have a different color of Converse sneakers than their friends, who will undoubtedly all own the same white high-top ones.  (Update- I don’t think people still rock the Converse in 2019).

bergen norway (how to move to norway)

If a trend catches on here…watch out.  The summers are filled with girls in unflattering mom-like jean shorts, solid color t-shirt, long, straight box dyed blonde hair, and Converse white high-top sneakers.

In the winter, it is all about the Canadian Goose parka (whether it be real or a knockoff) with a fur-trimmed hood.  The guys are not much different when it comes to conformity, but it is easier for me to notice on the females than the males since I’m a female myself.

Aside from style, you will also notice conformity in other manners.  Skiing is another example.  I understand this country is made for skiing and quite frankly, there is not much else to do here, but I swear, everyone does it.  There is not a lot of variety when it comes to sports.

Sure, you have gyms and some indoor soccer centers, but pretty much just everyone skis.  I guess I should have bought a pair of beginner skis when I moved to Norway and caught onto things but kids zooming past me was not something I wanted to witness and it would have crushed my pride!

A lot of what was mentioned above was pertaining to when this post was originally written in 2013.  I am sure there are different brands being rocked now and that there is a movement toward individuality. I still travel back there frequently and I am noticing subtle changes.

how to move to norway

Everything costs money in Norway

Wanna play tennis?  Good luck finding a court that you don’t have to pay for.  Own a TV?  You must pay yearly taxes on it.  Fortunately, recycling is free.  So is hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  There are many things to do in Bergen that don’t necessarily require money, fortunately… so long as you like nature.

Norwegians are masterminds when it comes to saving

Americans could use some tips on this.  While I think many Norwegians buy and build homes way too young without much money in the bank, the majority seem super good at saving.  It boggles my mind and I really need to start learning from them.

Traveling in Norway takes time and patience

Public transportation in Norway deserves a huge thumbs up.  It is incredible.  But you know those beautiful fjords?  They make getting places kind of a nightmare. Some of my favorite Bergen day trips ended up as overnighters as a result!

Places that should really only take two hours to get to often take five hours to get to because one has to take the long way around the fjord or wait on a ferry to get across.

Don’t let maps fool you into thinking places are closer than they are.  These kinds of situations tend to happen more in western Norway than on the east side.

how to relocate to norway

Transportation in Norway is expensive.  Even when I think I am getting a hell of a deal… I’m kind of getting screwed over.  To go round trip from Oslo to Bergen (7 hours) via train with the absolute cheapest ticket possible is still over $100.  For a 2-minute ride on Oslo’s public transportation system…you will pay around $5.

The ‘Flytoget’, or airport train, from Oslo’s international airport to the city center will run a person 170kr, or $30.  EACH WAY.

There are ways to avoid this, but the average traveler or person new to Oslo doesn’t think about it when they step off of an airplane here.  Again, these are 2013 prices and have inevitably been adjusted with currency rates since.

So, You Want to Live and Work in Norway?

Is Norway the right country for you?  Have you done proper research?  Have you given thought to the changes you will need to make to successfully move to Norway?

There are so many questions to ask before uprooting yourself to Scandinavia.  I advise making a list of everyday things that matter to you and things that don’t matter as much.  See where Norway fits in this all.

how to move to norway

I like to go out and socialize and drink with friends.  I don’t care about family or schools at this point in my life.  So, perhaps Norway was not the best country for me at the time as I was going out and paying expensive bills but could not take advantage of how wonderfully the country treats children and families.

Everyone is different- just do your research to ensure Norway is a great place to live for you.

How to Move to Norway

Now, the part you have been waiting for.  I know you’re asking yourself, “How can I move to Norway?”  This next part details the visas available as well as some how-to information pertaining to becoming an expat in Norway.

Types of Visas to Live in Norway

Family Immigration Visa Options

In general, there are two types of Family Immigration Visas for Norway.  Family Reunification, and Standard Family Immigration.  In almost every case, there is an applicant and a reference person.  The applicant is the person that applies for the visa, and the reference person the one that sends a written invitation to the applicant.

Spouses and registered partners

When you’re applying for this type of permit, you must have valid ID papers.  Passports are universally accepted and they’ll be fine in almost every case.  It’s important for the couple to prove that they have plans for living and working in Norway and that their marriage has to be valid in their home country.

Cohabitants in Norway

Norway supports visas for couples that aren’t married.  The prime requirement is that both have to be at least 24 years of age and they have to have plans to live and work in the country.  Proper identification is required as always, and in some cases, the couple might need to prove when and where they have lived together previously.

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Fiancee Visa

It’s very important to know that this permit is not required to get married in Norway.  However, those that apply for it have to prove that the marriage offer is genuine and is not merely a matter of convenience.

When the couple marries, the applicant needs to apply for a family immigration permit before this permit ends.  In the case of the marriage not happening as planned, the applicant needs to return to their home country.

There are several other types and stipulations on how to get a visa to live in Norway based on family reunification, but these are some of the most commonly asked scenarios on my site, so I felt compelled to include them.  You can see additional information here.

Become an Au Pair in Norway

Young women or girls between the ages of 18 and 30 can apply to be an Au Pair in Norway. The purpose of the stay must always be a cultural exchange and improving language skills, while the au pair helps around the household with light tasks, as well as help with taking care of the children and pets.

northern lights in norway
Life in Norway as a foreigner isn’t so bad

The au pair must either prove that they’ll be going back to their country after their stay or at least their circumstances must be highly likely that they’ll return.

The au pair is not allowed to work for another family, but will be entitled to holidays, insurance, and travel compensation by the family. The maximum time a person can live in Norway as an au pair is two years.

Study in Norway (and Visa Types)

The visa for studying in Norway also grants a permit for working half-time, or 20 hours per week, while studying.  However, during the holidays you are permitted to work full time.  This type of visa is only required if the applicant will be studying in Norway for longer than three months.

When studying in Norway (or even getting a job in Norway), you must have your education and transfer credits approved by NOKUT in several circumstances.  You can do that on their website here.

Norwegian immigration

Go to University in Norway

You can only apply for this permit once you’ve been accepted at a university.  For it to be granted, you need to have finances to live in Norway on your own.

They don’t have to be only personal funds as you can also use student loans.  The chosen school must also be approved by NOKUT.

Upper Secondary Schools and Vocational Schools

This permit is very similar to the one for college or university.  However, there are three different ways a person can apply for this permit.

You can have an offer to study at a school that has partnered with a country or a non-profit organization, to attend a baccalaureate study program, or to attend a sports or art academy.

Folk High Schools

This is a visa for specific Norwegian folk high schools, which lasts for a year.  It can’t be renewed after it ends, but it won’t be granted at all if the person has attended a religion-based school in Norway before.

Moving to Norway - things to know-8

Bible School in Norway

Applying for a bible school in Norway is very similar to applying for a folk high school. However, the school needs to be approved under the Adult Education Act, and the only way to check that is by contacting the school directly. This visa is also valid for only a year, and it won’t be granted if you’ve studied at a folk high school before.

Working in Norway

To apply for a work visa for Norway, a person generally needs to be either offered a job in Norway or have their own business.

However, there are multiple types of residence permits for a skilled worker.  For each type, the applicant is required to pay their application fee and have the corresponding education. For almost every permit type, your family can apply to move to Norway with you.

Skilled Worker with Employment Offer in Norway

If you have a concrete and specific job offer from a Norwegian company, you can apply for this visa.  In almost every case, the offer needs to be full-time, but sometimes the application can be accepted with only 80% of weekly hours.  In some cases, it might be necessary to prove that you have the qualifications.

There are some jobs that require recognition from bodies of authority. These are for positions like that of health personnel, etc. For these specialized types of jobs, you would need a license from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Self-employed persons with a company abroad

This visa is reserved for those that have their own business outside of Norway but have a task for a Norwegian company.  If you apply for this, then you can only work for the company you’ve applied for, and in the field that you’re already working in.

Seasonal Working Visa for Norway

To even apply for this type of permit, the person needs to apply to a proper seasonal industry.

Some examples are forestry, agriculture, fish processing, restaurant, and jobs within the tourism industry. There are also many winter jobs like running whale watching tours in Tromso, etc, that will require seasonal workers!

Trades, carpentry, and painting aren’t considered seasonal industries.

This type of job must be of a seasonal nature or for it to be a holiday stand-in. You need a specific job offer from the employer, but you can also work for several other employers at the same time.

You’ll be granted this visa only if there are no workers from Norway that can be recruited. It’s up to the employers to consult with the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration.  However, for agriculture and forestry that isn’t required.

living in norway

Job Seeker Visa for Norway

Normally, a person can only receive a visa if they have a job offer.  However, in some cases, there can be an exception if the person is a skilled worker. This visa can be granted to people in exceptional cases so they can live in Norway while they’re looking for work.

This is a fairly difficult visa to obtain and you must already have personal funds to live in Norway. If you don’t manage to find a job in your own field within the six months of the permit’s validity, then you must live outside of the country for a full year before applying again.

I actually had this visa for a while when in Norway.

Job Seeker (with Norwegian Education)

This permit cannot be granted to a religious leader, teacher, or ethnic cook.  There are a few criteria to fulfill before applying for this permit. You must either be a student, study for extra education, or be a researcher, and have a residence permit for either case.

It’s necessary for you to have personal funds when applying, but you can also work full-time while you’re looking for jobs.

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Registration scheme for EU/EEA nationals in Norway

Any person from the EU and the EEA is free to work, live, and study in Norway. However, they need to register if they are to stay in Norway for more than three years.  If you’re an EU/EEA national, you’re free to live and work in Norway and have your family move with you. After five years of living in Norway, you can apply for a permanent right of residence.

A family member can also register if they are the spouse, cohabitant over the age of 18, or child of under 21 years of age.

Applying for Asylum in Norway

Asylum seekers must be either already inside the country or at its borders. Their case will immediately start to be processed, and they’ll be under the protection of the police. They’re obliged to give personal details, and if they’re found to be false, then the seekers could receive punishment by authorities.

After some medical testing, like for tuberculosis, the asylum seekers will be interviewed to fully assess their situation. For minors, they’ll be given a legal representative if they’re not with parents or legal guardians.

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Moving to Norway from America

I moved to Norway from the US and to be honest, it was a pretty seamless process in retrospect.  A different visa for the language is what I initially landed before applying for various other types (all listed above).

The language visa no longer exists.  There are several ways you can move to Norway from America and it is documented here.  You can also see how to move to Norway from Australia or Canada there (which offer working visas to those nationalities and a few others).

Moving to Norway - things to know-15

I have only covered 15 of the 30 on the list! To check out the rest… head over to Inspiring Travellers and see what Norway tips they have shared with you from their experiences of living in Norway (Stavanger, to be exact).

712 thoughts on “30 Useful Things To Know Before Moving to Norway

  1. Lily @ Lilywanderlust.com says:

    It really surprises me to hear about the food quality there! The Dutch banking system is also really simple to use and it probably won’t surprise you to hear that the public transportation here can be a huge pain…even a few little snow flakes create a train cancelations! Luckily, we live in the city center so I can cycle to work every day! :)

    • Megan says:

      that is so nice that you’re able to walk everywhere by living in the center of the city! i can walk anywhere…it just takes a while! and i dont have winter tires on my bike so i dont ride it in the winter (oslo is pure ice all winter…and still even in march!)

      yea the food quality here is horrendous. makes it really hard to feel good about what youre putting in your body. i dont mind fruits and veggies looking ugly by shape, but these things are just moldy and nasty. blah.

    • Domaldel says:

      Hum, haven’t seen anything like that in any shops near me here in Trondheim.
      That said, different shops make a huge difference.
      Basically you’ll want to find a shop that’s not understaffed and where the employees does a food job of sorting through their products.
      It also helps living in a place with a lot of students who makes use of the (if you find something out of date or ruined then you get paid twice the products value as a reward campaign of kiwi)
      Well, it’s something like that.
      It only works if the customers actually makes use of it but people here do.

    • Akomeban Linus says:

      That’s great of you. It’s good that this information is shared is really interesting and we’ll manageable. It still don’t baffled my interest to study there and through this I have gotten some interesting ideas. Thanks for help, concern and surpot.

  2. Amy says:

    I love the banking system here too.
    One big thing I struggle with is paying for parking.
    One important thing we have learned is about getting a drivers license. If you are coming from the US you need to apply for your Norwegian DL within 3 months of getting your work permit. If you wait more than 3 months then you do NOT get a temporary Norwegian driving permit. It takes a minimum of 4 weeks for Norway to decide if they are going to let you finish applying. My husband wanted to ask if they could rush our application, but I don’t him not to even ask. They don’t put a priority on any one application over another.
    We haven’t traveled within Norway at all, but we have had fun traveling in Europe.
    Great post with lots of great info!

    • Megan says:

      i had no idea about the drivers license situation! i know for me i have to get my switched over within a year, but personally, i hate driving so im not to keen on doing that when i get my new visa. ill probably just be a slave of public transportation for life…and i think im ok with it!

      the banking system here rocks. i wish the US could manage something like that but there are FAR too many people living there for it to work i think.

    • pilot says:

      It has nothing to do with the size of the population, it has to do with money controls. The USA of today is simply a police state. Enjoy Norway, it is a paradise compared to the USA. I am from Israel originally, lived in both the US and Norway, I spend the good weather months in Norway and the rest of the year in Jerusalem, best of both worlds.

    • Gucio says:

      There is not such a thing as “good months” in Norway lol
      There might be a week or two when it doesnt rain. It also depend on what part of Norway you live in.
      I honestly hate the weather in Norway. I look at the face skin of Norwegians and they have lots of wrinkles. How you Wonder why???

  3. Kristi says:

    Awesome! I will show my boyfriend prior to moving to Oslo, although things aren’t much different in Canada compared to the difference between US & Norway so it might be an easier adjustment. Everyone’s skiing here too, transportation is the same price or higher (while wages are way lower unless you’re a CEO), and feriepenger works the same way in Canada, although you get 4% instead of the 10.2% in Norway of your previous year’s salary, and they might be more likely to pay it out instead of accumulating it to when you take vacation. It is however in addition to your pay (both in Canada and Norway) and not deducted as it might seem, but at least you don’t get taxed on it, so it is a big sum you get for summer :-)

    • Megan says:

      i didnt realize that canada received a feriepenger! i learn something new everyday! while i think the idea is kind of lousy because it forces people to not work for a month…i love the idea of being able to actually take a month off (i just know there are some people who need money and would rather work).

      thanks so much for your comment! if yall have any other questions, please dont hesitate to email me and ask them…after living here for two years i feel i have a pretty decent grasp on most things! :) good luck!

    • Steve says:

      Dear Megan,

      i like to move to Norway to live and work and become a citizen. how can you help me in the fast and legel way to be there. any Idea !!!

      what is the best city to live and what is the most demanding job wanted. i like to communicate with you and to hear your opinion if you had experience.

    • Johirul says:

      Hi Megan

      We would like to move to norway to work live and become citizen.how can you hehp us in the fast and legal way to be there.apreciate your valubale advice.which is the best city to live and availanle jobs for computrer engineers and BBA holder. We are from Bangladesh.we have two children.


    • Megan says:

      Hi Johir! You can find jobs almost in any of the big cities in Norway (Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger), so I would start there! Check out http://www.finn.no for job offerings (it is in Norwegian but just use a browser translator). Good luck!

    • Meg says:

      I’m Canadian as well, and I think there’s a misunderstanding.
      We get 4% of our pay as vacation pay (Legally, maybe some jobs offer more). You can take your vacation whenever you want. Some jobs just give you your 4% as a lump sum once a year, some offer it as paid time off and some give it to you when you actually go on vacation and some just tack on 4% to every one of your paychecks. And it basically amounts to two weeks, not a month.

    • Megan says:

      thanks for clearing that up Meg (cool name btw!).

      im not sure what goes on in canada, so i just take whoevers word for it when written on here :):) still doesnt seem like a bad offer though! have a great weekend!

    • viviana says:

      Hi i am a medical doctor in Puerto Rico USA. Im trying to migrate to some quiet country, like Norway or New Zeland.
      Did you have any information, or people in the forum, about medical doctors arriving in Norway, it is easy to work has a doctor?
      Where i can get that information?
      Thank you

    • Ashley says:

      We actually do not have a month where businesses are closed, and I’m actually very confused as to what Kristi is referring to. As a canadian myself, living in the capital city of Ottawa, this is something I have never heard of before. If your job is based on hourly wages and not salary-based, you will receive a 4% addition to your paycheck which is considered “vacation pay” because it is meant to cover you for holidays which you do not get paid for, holidays like Canada day or Christmas, that are mandatory to take off. It is your choice to collect it in one payment, once a year, or receive the bonus on every paycheck (which adds up to about 10-20$).

    • Lisa says:

      I’d love to know the same thing. My husband is 1/2 Norwegian. His mother is 100 percent but moved to the US as a child. I’m on disability here in Nashville TN but was thinking about moving to Norway. My husband is a Generator Technician so he would be looking for work so I wonder if that would be a good job and or easy to find? And does it make any difference that he’s actually Norwegian even though he was born in MA and a US citizen.

    • Megan says:

      Sadly, if he doesn’t have a Norwegian passport (and as an adult it is hard to qualify for one through descent), he will be treated like any other foreign citizen :(

    • Duke Of Oil says:

      Dear Megan,
      Regarding Feriepenger, in my opinion here in the US it is my money that is paid to me for vacation, and not my employers money, or in other words its paid from the payroll kitty…. just like the money my pays for my health insurance, it could have been on my paycheck instead of meted out to me as a “benefit”. So my end her is to point out that at least in Norway you get a good length of time off to refresh. I understand that some, especially Americans, would rather slave that time away for more money. But what about the flip side that I am living in the US. e.g. I work as a truck driver, its a sweat shop if ever there was one!! I am demeaned and even retaliated against if I would rather have the time off instead of staying working and pocketing the extra pay. The retaliation is real, and usually takes the form of assignment to an older lessor truck and dispatched on undesirable loads. I am the bad guy if I prefer to have the 1 week off instead of just cashing the check. And one more argument possibly… in Norway if you quit mid-year do you get the accrued Feriepenger in your final pay? Because in the US, as you know, if you quit mid-year all vacation pay is lost (is why I typically do my job change as soon as I collect m vacation pay, which fulfills the employers goal to keep the employee on longer). I would wager that when a Norwegians life is over, they probably have a lot of great memories of the experiences and family visits while on vacation, but could they say the same about all the hours on the job? Anyway, that’s my perspective.

      I am reminded of a saying, “Europeans work to live, Americans live to work.”

      Thanks for your great blog. Great information here, and I enjoy your chipper posts. You seem such a warm and positive person and I love that tone about this blog.

    • Megan says:

      Thanks so much for your comment! I haven’t lived in Norway for two years so things are not at the forefront of my mind anymore so it is so nice to hear people discuss on here to keep those memories coming back. And I do agree with you on the Europeans work to live and Americans live to work. Although it depends on the country (because here in Germany the hours are pretty dang long too!)

      It is a shame your industry treats its workers and employees as they do. I think Americans really need to get a grip on vacation and holidays. Most of us don’t even take the ones we are entitled to! Grrr :( I hope you find a balance with it all.

      Thanks so much for the kind words you left :) It really made my night and reminds me of why I love writing on here and interacting with people through my blog! Have an awesome week!

    • Izzy says:

      “I think Americans really need to get a grip on vacation and holidays.” This kind of hurt to read, because it’s not that Americans think money is more important than family, it’s that a lot of families here in America HAVE to work. For example, my family has never taken a vacation, ever. We can’t afford it, because we don’t make enough money. I just wanted to tell you that the “Europeans work to live, Americans live to work.” quote really kind of hurt. My family tried, we just can’t afford it. We celebrate Christmas and we can’t afford to get even remotely expensive gifts. I got a soccer ball and some slippers for Christmas from my parents. There was some headphones that they got me but they returned it so we could afford food. It’s pretty hard in our situation.

    • Megan says:

      i am really sorry if this offended you in any way- i certainly didnt mean it that way <3 i think i was referring more to the fact that over 60% of americans dont use the holiday allotted to them each year and let it go to waste (it is paid holiday). that is something i dont understand. hope you have a lovely 2017 <3

    • Arun says:

      Hi megan m 4m india nd plumber what chances for permanent residence with my wife in norway or salary packages plz rply on my wt s app 00919813024636

    • Saleh Ahmed says:

      Hi Megan,
      This is Saleh Ahmed from Bangladesh.I wanted to visit your country for my post-gradutations in Mass Communications.So give me sugessions that how I can apply and which city is best for me as a per-time job holder.Thanks.

    • Taiwo Emmanuel says:

      Hello Megan
      Pls I will like you to advise me on migrating to Norway this will be adream come through I’m a from Africa Nigeria to be precise am a graduate of computer science and I wish to leave and work in Norway and even to study more there and I also repair computer system pls what’s the best way to get a visa and move over there should I apply for or direct visa pls I will GE glad if u can help me out
      Taiwo Emmanuel
      Lagos Nigeria

    • Anthony says:

      The month off, is that in addition to other entitled paid holiday throughout the year? Or is the month off your only holiday entitlement ?

    • Megan Starr says:

      (Sorry I haven’t replied to this as I no longer live there and have no idea what the rules are regarding this- I hope someone comes through!) :)

    • Shraddha says:

      Regarding feriepenger …It is not something that is deducted from ones paycheck the year before by the government…but is a 12% earning of everything you’ve earned last year. (a substantial difference)

    • ME says:

      Can you please send this out to all the Americans that want to be like Norway??? America is great and why change it????

    • Christian says:

      Norway is a backward country thus not a place to live,everything there is a facade or false and that’s because of the norwegians who are: uncivilized-uneducated-low class-arrogant-liars that’s part of their character-greedy-unfriendly-rascals-lazy-racist-unprofessional-and psychopaths,most of the norwegians have the Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
      The educational system is ridiculous,health service is unprofessional,public service a total disaster,justice system a chaotic, the police force and unit are ridiculous,construction system is a scandal, industry is a happy go lucky,etc. All that norwegians have is the pride of foolishness!
      One more info.: norwegian society is not Christian as it’s falsely claimed; the society there is antagonist toward Christianity while the most shocking thing is that thugs-liars-ignorant-and psychopaths have become church leaders and “pastors” there. Norway is a ridiculous country that’s because of its ppl who have the symptoms of psychopath.

    • Megan says:

      Cheers to you in Finland. I appreciate your comments, but I hardly think that what you’re saying is credible and is just a personal opinion. Generalizing an entire society of people is immature, ignorant, and just downright wrong. This post is to be used as a discussion forum for those looking to move to Norway. As you are from Finland and have such strong opinions about your fellow Nordic country, I hardly doubt you’re looking to move there, so I am completely shocked to see that you have stopped by to write such heinous stuff.

    • Christian says:

      you’re saying that: “generalizing an entire society of ppl is immature……..,”and so on; sorry but, since when it has become ignorant or wrong telling the truth? In that case shall we say the same of you when you say that: “Norwegians have a reputation for trolling the internet hiding behind fake email address and identities and writing nastygrams to bloggers.” ??? You also are generalizing an entire society as well,is that immature,ignorant,wrong??? And I agree with you that norwegians have that reputation using fake email address as I have experienced it myself while I was living in Norway,and I knew who that rascal norwegian was as he was sending offending & threatening messages to me for exposing him of trying benefit through fraud; but also other cases as well of them using fake addresses or false names. Also I agree with you about the food quality (as it is a disaster as I’ve experienced it myself with all kinds of foods from their fish which is full of poisons to their bread that it always gave me headache),shall we say that you’re generalizing…
      I have lived there from 2014-15 so what I have written in the above comment,which you call as ignorant,immature.., is of my experience and also observations! Also, my above comment is not only my experience but of hundreds of foreigners like USA, UK, France,Holland,Italy,Australia,Germany who have shared with me the same experience about Norway and its ppl.
      You’re saying that my post is a discussion for those looking to move to Norway and that you’re shocked of me to have stopped by…; well,isn’t the title of your subject: 30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Norway. ???

      Fellow Nordic country,hmmmmm,Finns are very different from norwegians,alot different; one reason they have the best educational system in the world. However,if you’ve never been to Finland,I’d encourage you to visit it – now that the spring and summer are approaching, I assure you’ll like the politeness of these people to the quality of the food and the nature as well.

    • Megan says:

      i do appreciate your candor and sharing experiences of your living in norway. but i hardly think me stating im watching out for trolls who have no purpose of commenting and you generalizing the society as a bunch of psychopaths is the same. you came here spewing stuff about norwegians being psychotic without offering any explanation or any insight as to why people should not move there.

      i no longer live there, fyi. i dont really respond to many of these comments these days and if they include excessive profanity, i delete them. yours didnt, so naturally i left it as it is your opinion and im sure you have reasoning behind it.

    • ComputerEngineer says:


      I must say, your strong rhetoric feigns narcissism or one of tortured genius (not a compliment, look up this disorder). Megan, who has kept all of her posts positive, and very genuine based her views and opinions on experience. You came along, and with zero history or citation made claims I can only summarize as drunken, over-hyphenated cultural attacks. You then state how great Finland is over Norway. Might I remind you NPD, is a great and destructive love of ones self. This sounds more to me like a Finnish nationalism form of political hate speech.
      I sincerely hope not all Germans and Finns have the same attitudes of the ones I have encountered and you Christian. I would hate to classify an entire set of two cultures based on those few as I believe you have.
      I came to this site, as I am considering taking some time from my current work as a computer engineer, and working abroad for a few years. Unfortunately, given the discussion about healthcare, Norway is not good for me. One too many parachuting accidents have left me broken in many ways. The US can barely help me medically, even with the many advances. Norway wouldn’t be able to even to scratch the proverbial surface of my injuries from a treatment perspective.
      Megan I sincerely appreciate all the time you have placed in creating and managing this most informative blog. Maybe, one day, engineers such as myself will be able to allow the communication in digital written form, to convey the same emotion and feeling as face to face speaking. Then again, I am kind of old-school, and that may just be the worst thing that could ever happen to the human condition.



    • Megan Starr says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Phil! I appreciate you taking the time to comment (I don’t currently live in Norway so I can’t offer much new to people these days but I love that people still comment on this post!)

      Please take care of yourself and no more parachuting accidents :P

    • Whyareyousohateful says:

      I think she said Norway was secular, meaning “not Christian” which based on your loving Christian tone may be a good thing.

    • Phil Stewart says:

      I agree with you. I have worked in IT for around 20 years. I am always amazed at how so many people use the Internet for such things as bashing other people, especially when many of those being bashed are just trying to adhere to the original intent, i.e. a tool to aide the human species in becoming better. Sometimes, I am ashamed that I helped to build the Internet.

      Megan, it’s quite alright about not being able to give advice about current states of Norwegian living. Your blog helped me in making the decision. Without your dedication to sharing your experiences and allowing others to benefit from your life there (and sharing your experiences and views) I would still be trying to figure that out. So, hats off to you for being brave enough to put yourself out there, and kind enough to take the time to respond to all of the questions. Also, kudos for being thick skinned enough to not let these folks whom feel bashing someone with good intent is okay, because you have helped quite a few people on this forum/blog, and at the end of the day you should sleep well knowing you have done a good thing. It is people like you that help me feel proud of all the late nights and weekend work myself and the many engineers, admins, and techs I have worked with over the years in building and the many upgrades, family time we all missed to make the Internet a wonderful way for people to share with one another! Thank You so much!!!!

    • Megan Starr says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I hate writing negative things about places (or things that people deem negative), but I just wanted to share my experience with moving to the place. I loved Norway (I’ve been gone since 2014) and it will always have a special place in my heart! Hope you have had a wonderful weekend!

    • David says:

      ‘Provincial’ is the word you’re looking for. But why the hatred? Some Finns seem awfully mad at the Norwegians, but is Putin what you really want?

    • Majka says:


      I moved to Norway a little over a year ago. I have to say I agree with you. This country in simple English simply SUCKS!
      I moved here with family of 4 including 2 small children. They got sick about 7-8 times last winter. We took them to a dr and got sent away empty handed. And our kids one ended up on ER screaming from ear pain he did not got antibiotic for because drs dont treat it here! Really!? While my infant ended up in hospital because she stopped eating and drinking and you know what the dr gave her? ?? Painkiller!!! Didnt care to check if she might have a sore/strep throat. Why? Because they dont treat it here!!!! It’s insane to even say it to the patient or parents but drs do with no shame.

      At PPT we applied for speech therapist on 10/15 and now its 11/16 and nothing has happen. Its been over a year! Come on! That beyond lazy!!! Speed of a sloth!! Yep Norwegians are sloths! I think this is best comparison. I could go on and on …,

    • MADA says:

      I can’t speak to any of the rest of your comment, but a lot of Drs in the US will also not “treat” ear infections. Often they are due to a cold virus and we all know antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses. This is the same with bronchitis; many Drs are not treating with antibiotics because many cases are viral. This is easily researched. Your body will fight viruses, such as those with ear infections, on its own. Just FYI.

    • Camilla Løvlie Blesvik says:

      Christian: jeez…. What’s your problem?!? I have spent my life moving between the US and Norway, as all of my family is American, but my mom is Norwegian. I have to say; alot of the info given in this blog is soooo wrong. Please get your facts right, before you publish false or severely biased facts!

    • Ian says:

      Hi, before you move you might want to do some research into the child protection service here in Norway. As a British father I moved to Norway to give my kids a safer place to grow up. From what I hear first hand parents live in fear of the state. You can be reported to the CPS (Barnevernet) by school nursery teachers or even complete strangers without your knowledge. CPS can then interview your kids, doctor, teachers etc without your permission. They are particularly intolerant of immigrant parents assuming that there is only 1 way to raise children- the Norwegian way. And believe me, if you want your kids grow up to be respectful, courteous and socially adept it’s not the way. Also I found out today that if I open an account for my daughter and it has more than a certain amount in it I am required to seek permission from the local Government official to withdraw that money. Another example of a nanny state ( and that’s a polite description)

    • Embla says:

      Ian: You’re listing up things that are exactly the same in Britain and elsewhere. If people see or suspect a child to be abused they contact CPS or even police. “They are particularly intolerant of immigrant parents” No, it’s about not understanding the laws of the country you have moved to. It is both illegal and socially unacceptable to use ie. violence to discipline your children. If you find this ‘strict’, please move.

  4. Alex @ ifs ands & butts says:

    The banking in Germany sounds really similar, I love how easy it is to transfer without having to go through companies like Paypal! And Norweigians don’t complain?? That’s pretty amazing. And they’d probably hate me ;) And PLEASE find out their saving tips and share them!

    • Megan says:

      its so funny because norwegians think norwegians complain. but being american i have to laugh it off LOL :) and they arent picky. if something is on the menu, generally they order it as is. whereas an american will come up and be like ‘oh im a vegan…can you remove the cheese and mayo for me and leave out red onions because i dont like them and green bell peppers because im allergic?’

    • Bikram says:

      Dear Megan,
      I am student from Nepal and i have recently completed my Bachelor Degree in business Administration.So, i am planning to complete my MBA in Norway.

      So, can you suggest me, how good is norway for international student like me having Moderate economic background? beside this, what are the possible chances of part time job over there? last question, can you say approximate living cost for student living a normal life style over there?
      I will be eagerly waiting to hear some fruitful suggestion from you.

      Your regards,

    • Domaldel says:

      “Bikram June 25, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Dear Megan,
      I am student from Nepal and i have recently completed my Bachelor Degree in business Administration.So, i am planning to complete my MBA in Norway.

      So, can you suggest me, how good is norway for international student like me having Moderate economic background? beside this, what are the possible chances of part time job over there? last question, can you say approximate living cost for student living a normal life style over there?
      I will be eagerly waiting to hear some fruitful suggestion from you.

      Your regards,

      Hello Bikram.
      I’m someone who have lived his whole life in this country and who live in acity with a large portion of the inhabitants being made up of students. (Trondheim)

      Regarding the conditions for foreign exchange students it’s supposed to be good (at least for students from universities cooperating with the norwegian ones.
      To get a visa to norway as a student you need to document that you have a way to finance your stay here while studying.
      And while the education itself is free, the educational material like the books and the living expenses are not and can unfortunately end up netting you almost as much in expenses as the educaton itself in an american university if you’re not careful.
      A part time job might be easy to get for someone local with a finished education.
      It’s not all that easy without norwegian skills and no education though as unskilled jobs are relatively few and far between in Norway, especially in places where you find the big educational establishments.
      You can try to look up possible grants that you can get that might help you finance your studying time here.
      There’s been various people up through the ages who wrote in their will that they wanted to give a portion of their wealth to people needing an education, sometimes it’s for widows, sometimes for exchange students, sometimes for someone poor, or young girls or all sort of things.
      Sometimes it’s for gifted students.
      Native students rarely make use of these grants as we can loan money cheaply from the government for things like living expenses during our studying.
      So I can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to get one if you find one that you qualifies for.

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    • K says:

      Megan, being vegan is not being picky. Neither being allergic. I am vegan and I do not believe I am being picky when ordering something without meat or dairy products. If you do not like something is a different story but please do not label everyone with the same label.

    • Megan says:

      im a gluten free pescetarian so im unsure of what you are speaking of. this referenced americans as picky- not vegans. we change every order as we see it to suit us. norwegians just cope. not entirely sure if you read that correctly before commenting.

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    • Christine says:

      I am American and yes I am picky with my food so I totally get what you are saying. Thank you for this interesting article. My husband’s family is Norwegian and we always talk about what it would be like to live there. The first thing I feel like you need to be prepared for, is it is not for the host country to adapt to you; you need to adapt to your host country. So blogs like this are very helpful to get you in the mindset of the Norwegian culture. I expect Norwegians to have pride in their culture and it’s not for me to criticize the way they live. It’s not suppose to be my culture. Good luck with the rest of your Norwegian adventure and stay away from the lutefisk. Sorry Norway….I just can’t get past that one!

    • Megan says:

      YES- you said it perfectly that the expat can’t expect the country to adapt to them but rather for them to adapt to the country. While I never enjoyed skiing or winter sports (aside from sitting inside by the fireplace haha), I still found it such a cool part of their culture and heritage. As for lutefisk, I actually enjoy it haha! I am probably in that 1% of people :P Maybe I just had a mild version of it though…

      Thanks for your comments! I no longer live in Norway so I rarely respond to comments on this post but I enjoyed what you said about assimilation so much that I thought I would reply! Happy holidays to you!

    • Matty says:

      I was really happy to find this…very helpful. I was disappointed however, when you decided to single out vegans as being difficult or picky. While many people who adopt a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle for health or environmental reasons (both reasonable), for ethical vegans/vegetarians, the choice is not unlike a religious one. I will agree they do require a certain amount of consideration, but I (and I believe many Norwegians) will gladly accommodate them as I would anyone else. Had you, in your response said “oh I’m Jewish …can you remove the cheese for me” you’d obviously be guilty of the same crimes you ask your commenter not to commit. How is this any different? I am not trolling you…I just see how many people with lifestyles that are different from the mainstream are belittled and ostracized…it’s not right.

    • Chris says:

      Isn’t banking like that everywhere? I have been using internet banking for more than 10 years now.

    • Megan says:

      it wasnt that efficient when i lived in the US. in norway, you can do an immediate transfer to anyone in the country with just their bank acct number, regardless of their bank. it is sooo simple. i think the US lags behind because there are so many people living there…in norway we have only 5 million residents. makes things like banking easier i think.

    • Mo says:

      It is the same here too in Nigeria where I live. Internet banking is very convenient here.

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    • Ohoud says:

      This makes all the magic about living in Norway go away!
      Sounds like living in fucking saudi arabia with great nature sites which is not bad i gotta say!

    • Al says:

      Seeing my wife and I pay around 200 a month and have a 5000 deductible, I’d say whatever taxes you pay on anything is worth it. We are the average lower middle class American. I’d give anything to have the Norway system. They care more about people than the rich and corporations, unlike the U.S.

      You have obviously never been poor, or if so, its been a long long time. Was very disappointed in this article, you seem like a totally right wing brainwashed person. You poo poo regular workers actually making a living wage, which isn’t the case in the U.S. , where people have to work 2 and 3 jobs and pay 25 times more for health care.

      My heart bleeds to hear you professional’s don’t have as much money for yachts in Norway…

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