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WORK PERMITS

Can you start your job in Norway before your work permit is granted? 

To be eligible for a work permit in Norway, you will need a solid full-time job offer, among other things, on the table. Can you start your new role and hit the ground running while your application is processed? 

Pictured is the Barcode business district in Oslo.
Will you be able to start your job before you receive a decision on your work permit? Pictured is the Barcode business district in Oslo. Photo by Carlo Alberto Burato on Unsplash

The wages, work-life balance and office culture, are the key calling cards of working in Norway. Unless you are from the EEA or qualify for a family immigration residence, you will likely need a work permit to move to Norway for your career

Before you start, you will need a solid job offer of either full-time or 80 percent of full-time work. This is in addition to your qualifications being relevant for the job and the pay and working conditions being in line with industry standards. 

Putting in the work permit application after being offered the job can feel like you are stuck in limbo, waiting to start your new role, as work permit applications can take months to process. 

If you want to get an early start and dive into your role and are wondering whether you can start while you wait for your application to go through, you will need to be aware that, typically, this isn’t allowed

“Normally, work immigrants from countries outside the EU/EEA cannot start working until they have been granted a residence permit,” the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) writes on its website

However, there is an exception to this rule. Employees and workers can obtain permission from the police force, where they hand in the application documents for the applicant to start their job before they receive a decision on their work permit. 

Permission for an early employment start is issued by the police rather than the UDI. When the employer or applicant hands in their documents to the police, they will need to ask for an early employment start. 

If the company is handling the application on the employee’s behalf, it will also need to submit a written power of attorney from the prospective worker

Once the request has been lodged, the police can confirm whether the employee may start work early and work for the employer until their residence application has been decided. During this period, the worker cannot change employer or clients. 

Should the employee require a visa to enter Norway, they can get this by heading to their nearest embassy and handing the early start confirmation to embassy officials. 

The application for early employment can only be made before the police send the work permit application for the police for processing. After the documents have been forwarded, it will not be possible to get permission to start the job before the permit is granted. 

Those with other residence applications lodged will need to wait until they receive a decision on their case before they can work (if their permit allows them to work). 

What else to be mindful of

In some rare cases, you can receive an early employment start confirmation but have your work permit rejected. 

This will be because the authorities will determine whether you meet all the criteria when your case is processed. Therefore, you can have your work permit denied because you don’t have the relevant qualifications for the role (for example)

You will be required to leave Norway and likely lose your job when this happens. 

Furthermore, being permitted to work doesn’t mean that you can start work immediately. You will also be required to have a Norwegian identification number. Some employers will also require a Norwegian bank account for the salary to be paid into. Setting these up may take some weeks.  

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For members

OSLO

What commuters need to know about travel in and out of Oslo

Living outside Oslo is considerably cheaper and has other perks, too, such as a more relaxed pace of life. As a result, commuting into the capital has become increasingly popular.

What commuters need to know about travel in and out of Oslo

Rent and house prices have seen more people decide to live outside Oslo and commute in for work.

There are several other reasons, besides money, that people would want to commute into the capital. They may have flexible working hours and prefer to live in a quieter location.

They may also want to live closer to nature or, if they have children, be closer to their children’s extended family.

Still, there are quite a few things you should know about commuting in and out of Oslo.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Norway’s commuter tax deductions

What are the pros?

In other cities, London is an example, and it’s not uncommon to hear stories of workers who commute two hours into the city each day.

Even some people living in large cities like Tokyo, London, and New York will spend an hour each way just getting across the city to work.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case in Oslo. Given how small the city is and the different transport options available, long commutes really don’t need to be the case when living outside of Oslo.  

Trains from towns like Ski and Lillestrøm can reach Oslo in 10 minutes. Even if you head a bit further out to Asker, the train only takes 20 minutes, while from Drammen, the commute is about 30 minutes.

A bit further out, the commute from Drobåk can be done in around 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the train from Kongsberg takes just over an hour.

There are also plenty of options, there is a pretty robust network of busses ferrying workers into Oslo Bus Terminal everyday, there are regional trains, many choose to drive, and there are even ferries across the Oslofjord you can choose to take. 

The other pros, as we’ve mentioned, are being able to live in a calmer environment, being closer to nature, and saving money on rent or mortgage payments.

What are the costs?

For most, public transport may well end up being the way they get to work, as in some cases it can be quicker than driving.

Given how common toll roads are, the cost of running a car, when you also take into account fuel and insurance, can add up.

It’s also hard to put an estimate on the cost of running a car as it will depend on the fuel economy, route you take, distance your drive and whether the car needs regular repairs.  

The commuting cost for public transport will be easy to calculate if you live in the Akershus region. This is because public transport firm Ruter is responsible for the Akershus, which surrounds Oslo.

Essentially, the cost of a ticket (when using Ruter’s yearly travel ticket) ranges between 15,894 for two zones, 22,845 kroner for three zones, and the same for travel across all zones.

When using the train with Vy, the cost of a season pass in areas where Ruter operates is the same as that of Ruter.

Given that Oslo is the most expensive area to rent, the money you save on rent is unlikely to be eaten up by the cost of a rail ticket.

Are there any downsides?

Yes. The main issue for those commuting in and out of Oslo via train is punctuality. In recent years, train traffic has become much less punctual, and services have been heavily affected by signal failure.

More than 700 signal failures have occurred over the past five years, according to figures from network rail operator Bane Nor.

Such failures are most common when traffic from Oslo Central Station is at its peak, such as rush hour.

During the first six months of 2024, around 76 percent of rush hour trains have been on schedule, which is well below the target of 85 percent.

Capacity has also been an issue. Despite how frequently the trains run, they can still be overcrowded during peak hours.

There are plans to address this, as double-decker trains will be introduced in the coming years on regional trains in eastern Norway (these are trains that carry the R designation). However, these plans don’t provide an immediate solution to the issue, as they may not be in place for another 5-6 years.

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