Can you travel or relocate with your child to Norway?

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Portal: Barnebortføring

If you live with your child outside Norway and are considering travelling or relocating to Norway, it is important that you make sure you do so lawfully.

If you live with your child outside Norway and are considering travelling or relocating to Norway, it is important that you make sure you do so lawfully.

This applies not least if you are currently involved in a divorce or similar situation in which decisions are going to be made about parental responsibility for the child. You should therefore clarify whether you are permitted to travel with your child to Norway, either on holiday or as a permanent change in your country of residence.  

The regulations in effect in the child's country of habitual residence determine whether you may lawfully bring your child to Norway (ie not Norwegian rules). It would therefore be a good idea to seek the advice of the authorities in the country in which the child is habitually resident, or a law practitioner in that country, before you bring the child to Norway.

Even though you are permitted to travel or relocate with your child to Norway under the rules in effect in the child's country of habitual residence, the child will normally be entitled to access with both parents. Good contact with both parents is usually very positive for the child, and it is important that the parent with whom the child lives permanently facilitates access with the other. It can have a significant impact on the implementation of access, and thus the child's contact with the parent still living abroad, if the child relocates to Norway. Before the child relocates to Norway the parents should therefore agree new access arrangements which take into consideration the fact that the child now lives in Norway. It will often be practical to arrange longer but less frequent visits, whose timing takes account of the school holidays in the new country of residence. It may also be wise to agree other forms of contact between the child and the other parent, eg by telephone or email. Read more about agreements under Agreement between the parents.

Unlawful child abduction
It will be deemed unlawful child abduction should you bring the child with you to Norway in contravention of the rules in effect in the child's country of habitual residence.  Child abduction is a criminal offence under Section 216 of Norway's General Civil Penal Code. Read more about this under Child abduction is a criminal offence. Should you carry out an unlawful child abduction, you could face criminal charges both in Norway and abroad.  Both you and the child may be placed on an international wanted list, and you risk criminal prosecution. The other parent may initiate legal proceedings against you on the grounds of child abduction and with respect to custody. In connection with any subsequent custody hearing, the courts may give weight to the fact that you have carried out an unlawful child abduction.

Like many other countries, Norway has signed the Hague Convention. It will be deemed unlawful child abduction should you bring your child to Norway in contravention of the rules in effect in the child's country of  habitual residence, and Norway is in principle obligated to ensure that the child is repatriated to the country concerned. Read more about this under To/from a Contracting State - the Hague Convention. Under the Council of Europe Convention Norway is obligated to recognise and enforce decisions relating to parental responsibility that are made in other Contracting States. This may also result in the child being repatriated to his or her country of habitual residence. Read more about this under To/from a Contracting State - the Council of Europe Convention.