So, you want to work in Norway…..
For young adults from Canada, there is a working holiday agreement. This is for people between the ages 18 and 36, and it will be valid for a year, and then it can be renewed, but you can only have this permit for two years total. I found there was very minimal information outside of the UDI website for the working holiday application process for Canadians, so if you’re thinking of working in Norway, my first piece of advice is to really think about it. Starting life in this country is not easy; my second piece of advice is to apply early.
One of the downfalls of the working holiday permit is that you will only be able to work for the same employer for six months. This is an issue because who wants to hire someone knowing they’re training them for only six months? On that note, try your absolute best to have work lined up before you arrive. It’s quite difficult to find work, and with the cost of living in Norway, it’s more than stressful to be without work for an extended period of time. Seasonal jobs, such as hotels, might be your best shot if you don’t speak Norwegian and aren’t trained in a specific profession (i.e. a trade or something in the healthcare field).
If you are not a skilled worker, you must apply from abroad. You cannot apply for this permit while you are in Norway. A skilled worker is someone who has a completed vocational training program of at least three years (carpenter/health worker), or completed a degree from a university (bachelors degree in engineering or nursing). If you are one of these, you can apply for the permit if you have a concrete job offer doing what you are trained for, and it must be a full time position, or at least 80%. I did not qualify as a skilled worker, so I had to apply from Canada.
The only Norwegian embassy in Canada is in Ottawa, so the Danish embassy represents Norway in Vancouver. You must make an appointment through them, and bring the signed application front page, the checklist, the application itself, and all supporting documents. If there is a page you do not need within the application forms, that must be brought with you. I didn’t fill out the “applicant is a child or minor” page, so I didn’t include it, and I was charged a fee to print it. The application fee itself came to around $350 if I remember correctly.
Along with the application, there is a checklist of things you must bring with you.
Number one: Your passport, and a copy of all used pages of the passport (including the page with your photo).
They will send your actual passport to the closest embassy. They sent mine to Ottawa, and my flight was leaving three weeks from this day. They told me I would have it back within two or three weeks; talk about stressful. If you have travel plans, be aware of this. I’m not sure what happens if you’re able to apply to a Norwegian embassy.
Number two: Two recent/new passport sized photos.
This is straight forward. Go to London Drugs and ask for passport photos. They don’t need to be stamped or signed by anyone.
Number three: Proof that you have sufficient funds to stay in Norway for three months.
31902 NOK = more or less $5000 CAN
I printed out the page from my online banking, and then took it to the bank, and got them to stamp it. Make sure your full name is shown somewhere on this page. The statement didn’t print out with my name the first time, and I had to email a document that made sure my name was by the account. I should have realized, but the online banking just didn’t show it on the page and I didn’t even think of it.
Another thing- you have to have $5000 PLUS enough to buy a flight home. I already had my return flight, so I again had to email them proof of this. I didn’t see this anywhere on the website. Because it was for over three months away, I also sent them a copy of my credit card statement showing my credit limit and that could buy a new flight if I was not approved for the permit. I don’t know if this was necessary, but you can’t be too careful.
Number four: Consent to signing medical upon entering Norway.
Just type out a letter, “To whomever it may concern,” saying that you will purchase medical insurance before you enter the country. Easy.
Number five: Documentation which shows you have somewhere to live.
My boyfriend wrote a letter similar to the medical insurance one saying that I would be staying with him and the address. He was going to be there before me, but we also included a copy of his Hungarian passport and residence card proving that he was an EU citizen and allowed to be there for longer than ninety days. This can be as simple as a hotel booking or an email from someone you know there saying you will be staying with them.
Number six: Information of your intentions of staying in Norway.
Another letter. Mine just said I was studying through online courses from my university in Canada, and I want to travel in Norway and want to be able to work to fund my stay.
- Sign all of these letters and make sure your name is on them (duh).
- If you’re unsure about whether you should bring a document to the appointment, do it anyway. If it’s not needed they will tell you.
- Apply early. It took my application just over four weeks to come back approved, and by this time I was already in Norway. After this, you have to make an appointment with the police to actually get your residence card and to be able to work, but the soonest appointment for the area I lived in was six weeks away. If I had applied earlier, I could have made the appointment, and gone to it earlier upon arriving. From what I’ve heard, appointments with the police are always a long wait because there are so many people immigrating to Norway.
- You’re supposed to go to the police within seven days, but if there are no available appointments, it’s just whenever you can get one. This stressed me out because I had been there for a month and thought I had to go to the police station within the first week. And I tried to…. lol. They just sent me on my way. To get an appointment, find the police station in the district you live in and email to ask for one. I think for some of the stations you can book online too.
- Getting answers from anyone on the phone is extremely difficult in my experience. I had better luck emailing UDI because the people who answer their phone do not seem very helpful. It takes a while for them to reply to emails though. Also, calling the Norwegian embassy or the Canadian embassy (in Oslo), is useless. I was desperate for answers, because I was leaving so soon and was rather stressed out, but only UDI can really help you.
- Even if your application is in process, you can still be in Norway for three months. This was what I was worried about. I thought I was going to be sent back at customs because my flight home was over three months away, and I had not yet been approved for the permit. It was fine, I just told customs I would be there for 90 days unless I was approved for the visa I applied for.
- Do your research on moving to Norway. Are you expecting to drop around $5000 as a deposit for your apartment? Because most places want five or six months deposit plus your first month’s rent right off the bat. Are you prepared for the insane cost of living, to go on a wild goose chase finding work, and to dive into this strange (but beautiful) country?
If I’m being honest, I didn’t do enough research before moving to Norway. It was actually quite a difficult experience, but that’s okay- learn from me. I hope this post can be useful to someone. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
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