For members


READER QUESTION: Are there any downsides to Norwegian citizenship? 

Norwegian citizenship is often lauded as a fantastic option with very few negatives. So, what are the potential downsides? 

Pictured is a Norwegian flag.
Are there any downsides to Norwegian citizenship? We've had a go at answering the question. Pictured is a Norwegian flag.Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

Question: I am considering applying for Norwegian citizenship. Are there any disadvantages I should be aware of? 

We’ve written plenty about the requirements for Norwegian citizenship and the benefits of becoming Norwegian. However, very little information on the potential drawbacks exists. 


With so much information floating about the positives, it’s natural to mull over any potential drawbacks. 

And while Norwegian citizenship comes with many great benefits, there are certainly some downsides that may put you off or make you wonder if it’s worth the rigorous process. 

For starters, while Norway allows dual citizenship, it doesn’t mean that the nation you hail from or hold citizenship for does. 

This, for many, may mean giving up their original citizenship. This is a huge decision, which essentially means giving up your rights as a citizen in one country to gain rights in another country. This can complicate other matters, such as if you wish to move back to your home country later on in life or to retire. 

Calculating the net gain or loss of rights isn’t the only downside of having to consider giving up one citizenship for another. It could also be a decision as to how you see yourself or identify if you are particularly proud of your existing nationality and how important being seen as a citizen of that county is to you. 

For those who are already dual citizens, this same situation where you need to choose which set of rights to sacrifice for a new citizenship applies, as well as any considerations over whether you feel “Norwegian enough” to give up an existing nationality also applies. 

However, the issues aren’t just restricted to those who can’t hold more than one citizenship or are already dual citizens. There are a number of drawbacks to the process of applying for Norwegian citizenship.

For starters, the process is incredibly time-consuming. This doesn’t just apply to meeting the residence length requirements. 

Also, you will need your case to actually process. Anecdotally, many applicants report waiting between 12 and 18 months to have their applications processed. This waiting time isn’t without all the time it takes to get all the other paperwork together. 

For example, you may need to get your language skills up to scratch to pass the language requirements. This comes with the time it takes to get a test time that suits you. For those who are already up to speed with the language but still need to pass a test, this may mean jumping through time-consuming hoops that may feel unnecessary. 

Furthermore, you will need to pass the Norwegian citizenship or social studies test in the local language, obtain a police conduct certificate and actually order an appointment to submit your documents. 

This is all in addition to the administration and research you’ll be doing to ensure you’ve met all the requirements and dig out any important information or paperwork you must submit with your application.

Applying for citizenship doesn’t come cheap, either. Adults applying to become Norwegian are required to pay 6,5000 kroner. 

Although it’s worth pointing out that while the process to obtain citizenship can seem like a slog, you will only go through it once. This means that while the process is a downside, the length of time you benefit from being a Norwegian citizen will (hopefully) be longer than the time spent waiting

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For members


Why do some Norwegian citizenship applications take much longer than others?

Becoming eligible for Norwegian citizenship is a process which takes years. When you finally submit your documents, you could find out whether you have been successful in a couple of months or up to two years.

Why do some Norwegian citizenship applications take much longer than others?

Language tests, citizenship and social studies tests, residency requirements and a good conduct certificate are just some of the key criteria you will need to meet to be granted Norwegian citizenship.

Meeting these requirements and being granted citizenship means such benefits as having the same rights as Norwegian and EEA citizens, being able to vote in general elections and staying in Norway for as long as you like or returning after a lengthy absence with virtually no paperwork.

Once you’ve checked all the boxes that apply to you and handed your documents to the police, your paperwork will be forwarded to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

Per-Jan Brekke, a senior press advisor for the UDI, has told The Local that citizenship applications can take up to two years to process.

However, some cases receive a decision in a much shorter time, while others can take longer than two years to process.

One factor which affects how long an application will take is the applicant’s existing citizenship. Brekke used the example of applications from Syrian nationals taking longer to process.

“One of the reasons for long waiting times is that it is a challenge for Norwegian authorities to confirm the identity of persons from Syria. It has been difficult to determine the authenticity of Syrian passports since the civil war began in 2012. Consequently, the UDI has to confirm identities in other ways. Carrying out these alternative activities requires a case officer to evaluate your application,” he said.

Currently, the UDI website says that applications for citizens from (as an example) the UK, the US and Italy take 22 months to process. Meanwhile, applications for a national from Syria take 26 months.

One of the reasons citizenship cases take so long to process in the first place is that the UDI has received a large volume of applications.

“The main reason for the current long waiting times in citizenship cases is the large volume of cases that we have been unable to process quicker,” Thomas Theis-Haugan, a senior advisor to the press at the UDI, told The Local.

However, The Local has heard of citizenship cases processed in just a few months rather than up to 22 months. This is because the UDI can automatically process some applications, meaning a decision is made much quicker.

“Although some citizenship cases have much shorter waiting times since they can be automated (approximately one-third of all citizenship cases),” Theis-Haugan said.

Essentially, those who have their case processed can expect a significantly shorter wait for a decision.

On its website, the UDI states that those who do not receive an answer to their application within two months are probably not having their cases processed automatically. Applications that aren’t processed automatically are handled by a caseworker.

Those having a caseworker look over their application typically have nothing to fear or worry about, but it does mean it will take longer to receive a decision.

Unfortunately, the UDI or the police cannot tell you whether your application will be processed automatically. Additionally, you won’t receive any heads-up as to whether your case is or isn’t being processed automatically. If your request to become a Norwegian citizen is handled by a caseworker, the immigration directorate won’t be able to tell you why either.