The Norwegian Nationality Act
The Norwegian Nationality Act and the Nationality Regulations regulate how a person can become a Norwegian national and how Norwegian nationality can be lost. Citizenship may be considered a formalisation of the social contract between the state and the citizen. The ideal of equal political rights and obligations for all inhabitants makes it desirable that immigrants who are permanently settled in Norway become Norwegian nationals.
Legal requirements relating to Norwegian citizenship
Immigrants have the right to Norwegian citizenship when they apply for it or submit a notification, if all the requirements in the Act are satisfied.
Norwegian citizenship on application
Most immigrants who wish to become a Norwegian national must apply for this. When the application is to be considered, the applicant must:
• have clarified his/her identity
• be over 12 years of age
• be in and intend to remain in Norway
• have a permanent settlement permit or satisfy the requirements for one pursuant to the Immigration Act
• have been resident in Norway for at least seven of the last ten years
• satisfy the requirements for participation in tuition in the Norwegian language
• not have been sentenced for a criminal offence or received another reaction to an offence, or, if this is the case, must have waited out the waiting period
• have surrendered any other citizenship. In some cases exemptions may be made to this rule.
Exemptions may be made from one or more of the main requirements for a number of applicant groups.
Norwegian citizenship through notification
Nordic nationals can become Norwegian nationals by submitting a notification. This is a simpler form of processing, and the person in question becomes a Norwegian citizen from the moment the notification reaches the police, if the requirements for the notification are satisfied.
Norwegian citizenship on birth or adoption
Any child born after 1 September 2006 will automatically become a Norwegian citizen if the mother or father is a Norwegian national. Any person adopted by a Norwegian national also automatically receives Norwegian citizenship, if the requirements in the Act are satisfied.
Loss of Norwegian citizenship
A Norwegian citizen who voluntarily becomes a citizen of another country will automatically lose his or her Norwegian citizenship. This also applies to Norwegian citizens who have not lived in Norway for a total of two years before turning 22 years of age. These persons may, however, apply to retain their Norwegian citizenship. Norwegian citizens may be released from their citizenship on application.
Applications for and notifications about Norwegian citizenship must be submitted to the Norwegian police or a Norwegian foreign service mission. The Directorate of Immigration processes the case as the first instance. If the case is rejected, it may be appealed to the Immigration Appeals Board. The Ministry does not process individual cases.
All those who are granted Norwegian citizenship and are older than 12 years of age are invited to a citizenship ceremony. The citizenship ceremony is a solemn and dignified celebration of the transition to Norwegian citizenship. These ceremonies, held in each county once or twice a year, are organised by the county governors.
Oath of loyalty
At the ceremony, participants over 18 years of age must swear an oath of loyalty. The oath of loyalty reads as follows: "As a Norwegian citizen, I pledge loyalty to my country Norway and to the Norwegian society, and I support democracy and human rights and will respect the laws of the land."