Moving to Norway from the UK: A starter guide (2023)

It’s easy to see why so many expats choose to make Norway their home. This staggeringly beautiful country boasts dramatic mountain peaks, mysterious fjords, charming villages and some of the best winter sports in the world.

Norway also offers a high quality of life and one of the world’s best healthcare systems. Plus, most of the population speaks English, which really helps if you’re not fluent in Norwegian.

If you’re considering moving to Norway from the UK, read on. We’ve put together a handy guide covering everything you need to know to plan your move. This includes visas and residency permits, cost of living, property, healthcare and information for retirees too.

We’ll even throw in a handy tip for making low-cost international payments, which you’ll undoubtedly need to cover your relocation costs. Open a multi-currency account with Wise and you can send money between the UK, Norway and the rest of the world for just tiny fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate. This could save you a bundle, which you’ll be grateful for once you’ve read the cost of living in Norway section later in this guide.

Learn more

But first, let’s focus on some of the basics you’ll need to know for your new life in Norway.

Living in Norway - what you need to know

For starters, here are some useful facts about Norway, which you’ll need to know if you plan to live there:

  • Currency - Norwegian krone (NOK)
  • Main languages - Norwegian, English, Sami¹
  • Population - approx. 5.4 million²
  • Number of British expats - approx. 15,480³
  • Most popular destinations for expats - Oslo, Trondheim, Tromso, Bergen, Arendal and Alesund.

Cost of living in Norway⁴

Moving to Norway from the UK: A starter guide (1)

(Video) How to Move to Norway | a complete guide to visas & residency

Scandinavian countries are known to be more expensive than the UK and other parts of Europe, but what’s the cost of living like in Norway? It won’t surprise you to learn that prices are much higher there compared to the UK, especially for things like groceries and eating out at restaurants and bars.

But some things are roughly the same, such as public transport costs and average monthly utility bills. Plus, salaries in Norway are up to 32% higher than the UK.

To give you an idea of how much things cost in Norway, let’s take a look at a few examples:

Cost in NorwayCost in the UK
Three-course meal for two people£70£50
Loaf of bread£2.48£0.98
Draught beer (0.5l)£7.81£3.67
Monthly public transport pass£67£65
Utilities - monthly£143£155

If you’re planning to rent a home in Norway, you’ll find that monthly rental costs are around 13-17% higher than the UK - with more expensive properties for rent in city centres.

To buy a home, you can expect to pay up to 22% more per square metre (for an apartment) than in the UK.

Healthcare system⁵

The healthcare system in Norway is one of the best in the world, and the good news for expats is that you can access it as a non-citizen.

Once you’ve moved to Norway and registered as a resident (which you must do if you’re staying longer than three months), you can access Norwegian healthcare on the same basis as a citizen. However, you’ll need to be making contributions to Norway’s National Insurance Scheme, through employment or self-employment. You can find out more about how it works here.

Healthcare in Norway isn’t free, but it is subsidised by the state. You can also choose to take out private health insurance cover if you wish to.

Opening a bank account in Norway⁶

Having a Norwegian bank account will definitely make life easier, especially when it comes to receiving a salary and covering your everyday expenses. But just how easy is it for non-citizens to open a bank account in Norway?

One of the most important things you’ll need is a Norwegian National Identity Number. You should get this when you receive your residence permit. You should also have your passport, recent photograph, proof of address and proof of employment (such as an employment contract) ready.

(Video) How to move to Norway LEGALLY | 2022

It could also be a good idea to contact your chosen bank in advance to find out the requirements for opening an account. Some of Norway’s largest banks are DnB, Nordea and Danske Bank - these could be good places to start.

Finding a job in Norway

Before you can start job hunting in Norway, you’ll need to sort your residence permit and get your Norwegian National Identity Number. But UK expats moving to Norway may find it tricky to get a job there, for a few different reasons.

To start with, although most of the population speaks English, fluency in Norwegian can make a big difference to your job prospects. And if you were interested in teaching English (which is often one of the best employment options for English speakers moving abroad), you may find competition for jobs fierce - and limited to the major cities.

However, you may have more luck if you are a skilled worker, are able to take on seasonal work or are qualified for a position in an industry where there is a shortage. Here are a few places to start your search for a job:

Renting or buying property in Norway as an expat⁷

A popular option for newly arrived expats in Norway is to rent a property, rather than buy one. This gives you a roof over your head almost immediately, and also gives you time to get to know the local area before putting down permanent roots there.

Be aware that deposits for rentals tend to be quite high (up to three months upfront). You may also come across new terms for properties such as arehybel (studio apartment) and kollectiv (shared house).

If you want to buy a home in Norway, you shouldn’t face any restrictions as a non-citizen, although it’s usually quicker if you have a residence permit. But it definitely pays to research how the process of buying property works in Norway, as it can be a little different to the UK.

You can start your search for property to rent or buy in Norway on sites like Finn or Hybel.

Do I need a visa for Norway?

Now that the UK has left the EU, the entry requirements for Norway have changed for British citizens.

UK passport holders don’t need a visitor’s visa to spend up to 90 days in a period of 180 days in Norway⁸. But if you are looking to move to Norway permanently, you’ll need a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days.

(Video) How to Move to Norway | Part 1 | Introduction & The Why of It All

There are a few different types of residence permit for Norway. Here are a couple of the main options for UK citizens:

  • Family immigration⁹. You can apply for a family immigration residence permit if you have a family member or spouse who is a Norwegian citizen and lives in Norway, and you wish to move over to join them.

  • Work immigration¹⁰. If you don’t have a family connection to Norway, the best entry route is usually through employment. You can apply for a work immigration residence permit if you are a skilled worker, have a job offer or run your own business, or you plan to do seasonal work or participate in an exchange programme.

You may also be able to apply for a study permit, or apply for a permit as an AU pair. It’s worth taking a good look at the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website for the full list of residence permit options.

How to apply for a residence permit for Norway

Once you know which permit to apply for and check on the UDI website what supporting documents you’ll need, it’s time to get your application in. You can do this from the UK at either the VFS Centre in London or Edinburgh.

There’ll be an application fee to pay, then you’ll need to wait to see if you’ve been successful. Application processing times vary depending on the type of residence permit, but it normally takes around 3 months¹¹.

Retiring in Norway

Dreaming of spending your post-work years in Norway? There are three key things you’ll need to know about as a retiree in Norway - entry requirements, pension arrangements and access to healthcare.

Is there a retirement visa for Norway?

There isn’t a specific category of retirement visa for Norway. This means that if you want to live there as a retiree, you’ll need to follow the same entry route as any other UK citizen.

This makes it quite tricky, as the only available route unless you plan to work is a family immigration residence permit. If you don’t have family connections to Norway, retiring there from the UK may not be a possibility.


If you do manage to get yourself a residence permit for Norway, the next important thing to sort out is your pension income. You can apply to the International Pensions Centre to receive your UK state pension in Norway, and you may also be able to transfer over personal pensions.

(Video) Moving to Norway Part 1 - The Journey Begins

A warning on this though. Unless you transfer your UK pension to a Norwegian scheme that is on HMRC’s list of Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS), you could face a large tax bill. And there aren’t many, if any, Norwegian providers on the current list¹². It could be a good idea to speak to an independent pensions adviser before you make any decisions, to help you find the most tax-efficient solution.

Access to healthcare in Norway as a pensioner¹³

We’ve already looked at how expats will need to make National Insurance scheme contributions through employment in order to access healthcare services in Norway. But reassuringly, retirees are also eligible for state healthcare services once they become lawfully resident.

You will be registered for the National Insurance scheme once you move to Norway, and this will grant you access to healthcare provision.

Save on your relocation costs to Norway with Wise

If you need to send money to Norway ahead of your move, such as for residence permit fees or rental deposits, you can save money by using Wise.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can make international payments for low fees and the real, mid-market exchange rate.

If you need to receive money from the UK (such as your UK state pension, for example), you can use your Wise account to save on currency conversion fees and get the fairest exchange rate.

And while you’re waiting for your Norwegian bank account to be set up, you can spend like a local using your Wise debit card.

This clever contactless card automatically converts to the local currency, NOK in this case, at the mid-market rate whenever you spend. This means you don’t need to change money or carry cash around, and you can use your Wise card whenever you head back to the UK or go on holiday.

Join Wise and start saving today

So, there you have it - everything you need to know about moving to Norway from the UK. We’ve looked at residency permits, the healthcare system, finding a job, cost of living and much more. So, you should be all set to plan your big move. Good luck!

(Video) DON'T MOVE TO NORWAY! 11 REASONS Why You Should NEVER Move to and Live in Norway

Sources used for this article:

  1. World Atlas - languages spoken in Norway
  2. Worldometers - Norway population (2021)
  3. SSB - immigrants
  4. Numbeo - cost of living in Norway compared to the UK
  5. - healthcare in Norway
  6. UIO - opening a bank account in Norway
  7. Expat Focus - how to move to Norway
  8. - visitor’s visa
  9. UDI - family immigration
  10. UDI - work immigration
  11. UDI - processing times
  12. - recognised overseas pension schemes
  13. - healthcare rights

Sources checked on 10th May-2021.


How hard is it to move from UK to Norway? ›

UK passport holders don't need a visitor's visa to spend up to 90 days in a period of 180 days in Norway⁸. But if you are looking to move to Norway permanently, you'll need a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days. There are a few different types of residence permit for Norway.

What do I need to move to Norway from UK? ›

Residence permit
  1. Nationals of EU/EEA countries do not need a residence permit to stay or work in Norway. ...
  2. Nationals of non-EU/EEA countries who want to work in Norway or to stay for longer than 90 days need a residence permit.

Can someone from the UK move to Norway? ›

UK nationals and their family members who come to Norway to live, work or study are now treated according to the immigration rules that apply to non-EEA citizens. This means that UK nationals wishing to work in Norway will need to apply for a residence permit.

Is migrating to Norway easy? ›

It is not as hard as one might think. In fact, it is quite easy to move to Norway, if you have a valid reason for settling in the country, such as a job or school to attend to. You will quickly discover why moving here is popular among expats.

Is it cheaper to live in Norway or the UK? ›


Property Rental in Oslo is 35% lower than in London. Consumer prices in Oslo are 25% higher than in London. Public Transport in Oslo is 30-50% cheaper than in London. Childcare is 80% cheaper in Oslo than in London.

Is it cheaper to live in Norway or England? ›

The average cost of living in Norway ($1892) is 5% more expensive than in the United Kingdom ($1804). Norway ranked 11th vs 16th for the United Kingdom in the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

Can you move to Norway with no job? ›

Usually if you come here under work immigration to Norway, you'll need to have found work before coming to Norway (though often people will come to Norway on tourist visas and then quickly find a job before their visa expires).

Can I move to Norway if I only speak English? ›

English speakers can live in Norway without speaking Norwegian because a high percentage of the population speak, or at least understand, the language. Cultural activities like socializing, job hunting, and conducting business can be done in English in addition to Norwegian.

How much money do I need to move to Norway? ›

The average cost of living in Norway will depend on the lifestyle you lead and where in the country you choose to settle. Generally, though, you can expect to spend between 20,000 to 40,000 NOK (2,176–4,352 USD) per month to live in this Nordic country.

What countries are easy to move to from UK? ›

So, here is a list of the most popular countries that people move to from the UK!
  • Australia. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • New Zealand. ...
  • France. ...
  • USA. ...
  • Belize. ...
  • Singapore.
20 Jun 2022

Which Scandinavian country is easiest to immigrate to? ›

Sweden. Sweden has some of the most permissive citizenship regulations in Europe, with no language requirements for new Swedes and only a five-year residency time required to become a Swedish citizen.

What jobs are in demand in Norway? ›

In-demand jobs in Norway

Nursing is the highest-demand job in Norway today and it pays anywhere between 211,000 NOK to 729,000 NOK. Additionally, pharmacists, HVAC engineers, and railway engineers are professions in high demand in Norway.

How do I prepare to move to Norway? ›

If you are staying in Norway for more than three months, you must register. If you come from a country outside the EU/EEA and want to move to Norway, you must apply for a residence permit. The main regulation is that you must apply for this, and the permit must be awarded, before you move to Norway.

What is the easiest country to immigrate to? ›

Easiest Countries to Immigrate To
  • New Zealand.
  • Australia.
  • Spain.
  • Paraguay.
  • Germany.
  • Montenegro.
  • Czechia.
  • Thailand.

Why do people leave move to Norway? ›

Most of the emigrants came to Norway as immigrants. Most migration theories say that people move to a country for higher pay, better jobs, or safety. In this respect, it seems like people would want to stay in Norway.

How much is a bottle of Coke in Norway? ›

Cost of living in Norway is, on average, 18.94% higher than in United States.
Cost of Living in Norway.
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)30.48kr
Water (12 oz small bottle)26.78kr
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)74.09kr
62 more rows

Is it better to live in Norway or Sweden? ›

While Norway is certainly better for hard-core outdoor enthusiasts, Sweden is a great choice for most people looking to explore Scandinavia for more than stunning scenery. If you want great food, good public transportation and a bit of cash savings, Sweden could be your more suitable option.

How much is a cup of coffee in Norway? ›

In Norway, a cup of coffee costs $4.50. The cost of this is higher than in most other countries, but it is not as high as in some. Coffee is taxed at a rate of 25%, resulting in an additional cost. In Norway, soft drinks are typically sold for 35 to 50% NOK/4-5 EUR.

Is Norway colder than UK? ›

Norway itself stretches from 58 degrees north to 71 degrees (approximately) and England from 50 to 55 degrees north (again, approximately).

How much tax do you pay in Norway? ›

General income is taxed at a flat rate of 22%. The general income tax base comprises all categories of taxable income (i.e. income from employment, business, and capital). Tax allowances, expenses, and certain losses are deductible when computing general income.

What is the average price of a house in Norway? ›

In fact, noting the average price per square meter for the whole country above, Krogsveen says that this same figure in Oslo only is NOK 86,639 – close to double the average price in the rest of Norway.
How much are houses in Norway?
LocationAverage price (NOK)
6 more rows
6 Apr 2022

How can I get a job in Norway from UK? ›

The method of applying for jobs in Norway is similar to that in the UK. You'll submit a two-page CV and cover letter, to which you'll attach copies of your references and qualifications, before attending an interview.

What is the minimum income in Norway? ›

As an example, the minimum salary in Norway is as of 2022: 175 NOK (roughly 18 USD) for hospitality workers per hour. Cleaning staff gets 187.66 NOK or 21.80 USD per hour. More information on the minimum wages in Norway per economic sector are available on the Arbeidstilsynet website.

Is finding a job in Norway hard? ›

Norway may seem like the promised land but finding a job here is far from an easy feat, especially if you come from a non-EU country and have no work permit. Moreover, in the Norwegian labor market, there is a great demand for professions not too common for some other countries, in fields like oil and gas.

What is the easiest English speaking country to move to? ›

Here are the 15 best English speaking countries to move to if you want the tax advantages of living abroad without having to learn a new language.
15 Expat Countries that Speak English (and Make Sense Tax-Wise)
  1. Bahamas. ...
  2. Belize. ...
  3. Bermuda. ...
  4. Dominica. ...
  5. Gibraltar. ...
  6. Ireland. ...
  7. Isle of Man. ...
  8. Jersey.

Which country speaks the best English in the world? ›

The Netherlands has been ranked the world's best non-native speakers of English in a yearly international ranking.
Revealed: The World's Best Non-Native English Speaking Countries, 2019.
ProficiencyVery high
99 more columns
5 Nov 2019

Is Oslo English friendly? ›

Even the international fast food chains do not serve tea in Oslo. I read that 68% of Norway's population speaks English – in Oslo it is 100%.

How much are house rentals in Norway monthly? ›

Average Rent in Norway

The following is average monthly Norwegian rent prices according to the country's main cities. The average rent across the whole country is 8,740 NOK (950 USD).

What is a good salary to live in Norway? ›

A monthly income starting from 45,000 NOK is considered a good salary in Norway. Annually, this translates to over 500,000 NOK. Anyone earning 35,000 NOK after-tax and above is considered above average. Norway has remained one of the most attractive countries in Scandinavia for expatriates and students.

Is living in Norway hard? ›

Norway has a great work-life balance but it can be very difficult for international residents to settle in, a survey of foreign nationals in the country has found.

Which is the hardest country to immigrate to? ›

Top 14 Hardest Countries to Immigrate To:
  • Vatican City.
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Qatar.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • United Arab Emirates.
  • Kuwait.
  • Saudi Arabia.

What is the cheapest country to live in UK? ›

The UK's most affordable cities to live in 2021:
  • Derry, Northern Ireland. Average house price: £155,917. ...
  • =2. Carlisle, North. ...
  • =2. Bradford, Yorkshire and the Humber. ...
  • =4. Stirling, Scotland. ...
  • =4. Aberdeen, Scotland. ...
  • =4. Glasgow, Scotland. ...
  • Average house price: £203,229. Average salary: £36,700. ...
  • =8. Inverness, Scotland.
8 Nov 2021

Where do most Brits migrate to? ›

More than 300,000 Britons move abroad from the UK each year to boost their quality of life. Most of them go to the USA and Australia. Find out the reasons to leave the UK and check the list of countries where you can immigrate by investment.

Which is the prettiest Nordic country? ›

Norway. Norway is known for its deep fjords, steep mountains, Northern Lights and incredible national parks, including beautiful fauna.

Which is the friendliest Scandinavian country? ›

In a ranking of 65 countries around the world for “Friendliness” and “Finding Friends”, the Nordics ranks at the very bottom of the list. Among the countries listed in the “Friendliness” category, Sweden was listed at 56, Denmark at 59, and Norway at 50. The friendliest country is, according to the report, Portugal.

Which Scandinavian country speaks the best English? ›

Danes rank first in English proficiency within the Nordic region and Copenhagen residents score the highest in English proficiency among the Nordic capital cities.

How much do taxi drivers make in Norway? ›

The average pay for a Taxi Driver is NOK 311,351 a year and NOK 150 an hour in Norway. The average salary range for a Taxi Driver is between NOK 237,249 and NOK 361,789. On average, a High School Degree is the highest level of education for a Taxi Driver.

How many hours work in Norway? ›

37.5 hours is considered to be a normal working week in Norway.

Are wages high in Norway? ›

Wages in Norway averaged 40381.89 NOK/Month from 1997 until 2022, reaching an all time high of 52540 NOK/Month in the second quarter of 2022 and a record low of 20126 NOK/Month in the fourth quarter of 1997.

What are pros and cons of living in Norway? ›

Pros and Cons of Living in Norway – Summary Table
Pros of Living in NorwayCons of Living in Norway
1. Strong economy1. High cost of living
2. Not overcrowded2. The weather
3. The scenery3. Learning the language
4. Low crime4. Tobacco and alcohol are expensive
3 more rows

What countries dont accept immigrants? ›

Countries With the Toughest Immigration Laws
  • The Hardest Countries to Immigrate To.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Kuwait.
  • Bhutan.
  • China.
  • Japan.
  • Switzerland.
  • Denmark.

Which country is most welcoming to immigrants? ›

Canada has been ranked #1 in quality of life by the United Nations and is known to be the most immigration-friendly country. Canada welcomes immigrants from across the world. The right place for those individuals considering immigrating to an English-speaking country with comfort, safety, and a high standard of living.

Which countries are giving free citizenship? ›

Austria, Belgium, Ecuador, Belize and Costa Rica, countries where you can get citizenship and work visas easily of you have an Indian passport. Travel Tips, Immigration with Indian Passport: There are many countries in the world who give citizenship of their country if you have the passport of India and some documents.

Is settling in Norway easy? ›

Norway has been ranked as one of the most challenging countries for foreigners to settle in by the Expat Insider 2022 survey published by InterNations.

Why is NOK so weak? ›

The weak Norwegian krone seems to be largely attributable to factors related to the risk premium, such as the declining importance of petroleum in the Norwegian economy, a relative reduction in FDI in Norway and a fall in oil industry-specic share prices.

Is Norway a happy place to live? ›

The Nordic country and its neighbors Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland all score very well on the measures the report uses to explain its findings: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of trouble, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community where people look after each ...

Can you live in Norway with just English? ›

English speakers can live in Norway without speaking Norwegian because a high percentage of the population speak, or at least understand, the language. Cultural activities like socializing, job hunting, and conducting business can be done in English in addition to Norwegian.

How long can UK resident stay in Norway? ›

A visitor's visa allows you to stay in Norway or other countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days.

Can I get a job in Norway if I only speak English? ›

Many well-educated Norwegians can speak English fluently, and some large companies use English as their working language. However, most jobs require workers to have fluent knowledge of Norwegian.

How hard is it to become a resident of Norway? ›

To apply for Norway citizenship, you must have lived in Norway for at least seven out of the last ten years. This means, during the last ten years, you must not have been out of the country for more than two months per year, and if you add up all the time you lived in Norway, it has to total at least seven years.

Should I move to Norway or Sweden? ›

While Norway is certainly better for hard-core outdoor enthusiasts, Sweden is a great choice for most people looking to explore Scandinavia for more than stunning scenery. If you want great food, good public transportation and a bit of cash savings, Sweden could be your more suitable option.

Does Norway allow dual citizenship with UK? ›

Please visit our booking system to make an appointment at the embassy in order to submit your supporting documents. Norway allows dual citizenship from 1 January 2020. This means that Norwegians will be able to retain their Norwegian citizenship if they become citizens of another country.


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