A rough guide to relocating to Norway and Noroff University College.
This section provides a rough idea of what to expect when relocating to Noroff University College in Kristiansand, Norway.
Paperwork - ID number / Tax office/ Bank Account
1. Obtaining a Norwegian ID Number
Employees from abroad must register with Application Portal Norway before coming to the country. This is a vital first step in getting a Norwegian ID Number. There may be the need to obtain visa and work permits.
The process should be started online at UDI.
Applicants can make an appointment online, in advance of travelling to Norway, to present their documents at the local UDI office after they arrive. This website has some flaws (June 2012) and the option to apply from outside of Norway doesn’t work. The ‘Apply from inside Norway’ option should be used and the local UDI office selected. This is currently (June 2012) based on the 5th floor of Kristiansand Police Station, (Address: Tollbodgata 45, Kristiansand, Vest-Agder).
Apply online as soon as possible in order to ensure an appointment time can be chosen to present your documents immediately after entering the country. At certain times of the year there can be large numbers of people submitting applications, resulting in delays of two to three months (June 2012).
Documentation needed to be presented at the Police Station in Kristiansand:
- Original Passport (not a copy)
- Copy of contract / offer of employment, signed by employer and employee (including salary figures)
- Birth certificate
Depending on the country of origin, the applicant may need to apply for a work permit and / or residence visa before coming to Norway. The UDI website has a link on the left hand side of the page to supporting documents, which then includes a link to the Norwegian Embassy from where the employee can submit their application. There is sometimes a fee to be paid which has to be processed before an appointment can be made. Applicants will need to have this documentation with them to show at the Police Station.
If the applicant is bringing a husband / wife / children with them to Norway, all of the people in the family need to attend in person and reserve an appointment time for each individual, although these appointments can be contiguous. Documentation required:
- Full birth certificates (with parents names)
- Marriage certificate
All documents must be originals and all people registering must be present at the Police Station.
Each individual attending is provided with a stamped form with a registration number.
If the application is not done soon enough online, there may be a delay in the process, potentially resulting in not having an appointment for up to two months after arriving in Norway. The other option then would be for the applicant to turn up in person at the Police Station and wait in line, no later than 6.00 a.m, in order to ensure being seen that day. Only a limited number of tickets are available for document processing each day and this process can be extremely laborious and stressful.
Without a Norwegian Identity Number, an employee:
- Cannot open a bank account
- Cannot transfer any money from their homeland to Norway
- Cannot be formally paid
- Incur the 50% Tax rate
- Cannot pay rent
- Cannot get contents insurance for personal belongings at rented accommodation (Which may be everything they own)
- Cannot register with a doctor (but can be treated)
- Cannot register with a dentist (but can be treated)
2. The Tax Office
Why it is important
After registering your stay at the police station, this is the final step in getting a Norwegian ID Number.
How it is done
Visit the tax office in Kristiansand. This can be done straight after obtaining a stamped form from the police station. The applicant fills out a form at the tax office with their salary information. This form is then processed by the tax office to give the applicant a Norwegian identity number, a process which can take up to 5 weeks. The documentation required at the tax office is as follows:
- The form provided by the police station
- Employment contract
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
Each individual who filled out a form at the tax office will receive a Norwegian ID number in the post after up to 5 weeks from the date of application.
You will also receive a letter in the post from HELFO, giving you information on how to register with a local doctor.
If you have children, you can also apply for child benefit (barnetrygd) from NAV. You will need passports and the letters with Norwegian ID Numbers. The staff at NAV are extremely helpful with filling out the necessary forms, and will take copies of your documents, at no charge.
3. Bank Account
Once you have a Norwegian ID number, you can go to any bank to open an account. An appointment is usually not needed.
You will need to take with you the letter which shows your Norwegian ID and your passport. Most banks offer the option of having a bank card with your photograph on it. This is recommended as it is a recognized form of ID in Norway.
The bank can also arrange car insurance, travel insurance and contents insurance for your belongings (if renting a house, the owner will pay to insure the building and any furniture included, but will not cover any of your personal belongings).
Food costs are high in Norway and all of the supermarkets are relatively similar in prices. By shopping around, it is possible to find out which supermarkets stock goods at slightly lower prices than others.
Supermarkets in the area are: Kiwi, Rema 1000, Rimi, ICA and Spar. There are also a variety of Coop supermarkets. It is possible to buy dry food goods at Europris at low costs. There are also some specialist shops for obtaining ethinic foods.
It is cheaper in the long run to buy in bulk – for example, a 5 kg bag of rice is much cheaper than buying lots of small packets.
ICA often has a 10 kr sale when it is a good time to stock up on items. These sales are advertised in the press. Look out for the word tilbud which means “special offer”.
Some supermarkets open at 8.00, others later. Other stores tend to open at 10.00. Shops are shut on a Sunday in the Kristiansand area. If there is a public holiday (Easter, for example), supermarkets will close for a few days.
Most Norwegians can speak and understand English. It is suggested that you take a little time to learn some phrases in Norwegian as this is always appreciated.
Norwegian language classes are held locally during the day and evenings. There is usually a cost for these courses.
It would appear that the housing market in Norway encourages Norwegians to buy their own property, with specialized savings plans and tax relief on mortgage payments. As a result the rental market is fairly small, making it competitive.
A well maintained 4 bedroom house in Kristiansand area can be in the region of 13,000Kr to 15,000Kr per month. Further out in the surrounding area (e.g. Vennesla) well maintained 3-4 bed properties can be rented for 9,500-10,000 per month (June 2012).
Depending on the property and agreement, this will usually include water and sewage, but electricity may not be included (gas is not commonly used). Electricity for a well insulated modern property using a combination of under floor heating (Warms Cables) and the highly effective heat pump (Warm Pumps) will cost around 700-800Kr in the summer months and 15,000 per month in the winter. It is important to sign up with an account from an electricity provider (e.g. LOS) rather than the default position of buying electricity from the “connection provider” as the default rate is extremely expensive.
Some properties may also have wood burning stoves that can be highly effective and pleasing to watch!
All Norwegian properties, which are for sale or for rent, can be found at finn.no
Select “Eiendom” (housing). If renting click on “Bolig til leie” (property to let). If buying click on “Bolig til salgs” (property for sale). Select the area (Kristiansand).
You will then be given options for the different areas of Kristiansand: “Alle områder” (all areas), “Sentrum” (city centre), “Øst” (East), “Vest” (West), “Nord” (North).
Select the type of property you are interested in: “leilighet” (apartment), “enebolig” (detatched property”, “hybel” ( a rented room in someone’s house), “rom i bofellesskap” (a room in shared housing, usually for students).
You can then select by monthly rental price (in Norwegian kroner), square footage (“størrelse”).
Select whether you want partly furnished accommodation “delvis møblert”, fully furnished accommodation “møblert” or unfurnished “umøblert”.
You can select by how many bedrooms “soverom” you require and how many floors “etasje”.
There is also the option to search with certain facilities in mind:
- “balkong / terrasse” – balcony / terrace
- “garasje / p plass” – garage / parking place
- “heis” – elevator
- “ingen gjenboere” – no adjoining properties
- “peis” – wood burning stove
- “turterreng” – walks nearby
- “utsikt” – view
- “vaktmester” – caretaker
7. Cars and transport
Normally a foreign registered vehicle can be brought to Norway for a year, and in certain circumstances this can be extended to two years. Check before bringing a vehicle to Norway that your home country does not regard the vehicle as exported as importing a vehicle will incur a high cost.
Cars in Norway are expensive. Tax is around 100% and so they are extremely expensive to buy and also to maintain. Again an idea of cost can be obtained from: finn.no
Road tolls are common, particularly when entering city areas and can range between 20-40Kr per toll crossing. These are normally paid using an Autopass, a radio tag system that is fitted onto the windscreen of the car. Autopass can be purchased in many of the garages. When buying the Autopass, you can pre-pay a certain amount. As the amount increases, so does the level of discount. In June 2012, a payment of 3,600Kr provides a 50% discount on each toll crossing.
Fuel costs (June 2012) Diesel around 12-13 Kr a litre and Petrol 13-14 Kr a litre.
The transport system in and around Kristiansand is excellent. The bus service is efficient and covers all areas of the city and surrounding areas. There is also a train station in the city. Travelling by train is cheap and tickets can be booked in advance on nsb.no.
8. School / Barnehage
If you have children of school age (6 and older), there is an International School in Lund, Kristiansand. Places are limited, therefore it is advised that you contact the school as soon as possible to secure a place. Contact number for the school is 95 82 66 01. The language of instruction at the school is English, with Norwegian lessons for three or four hours a week, depending on the age of the child.
If you have a child younger than 6, they will attend the local Barnehage (Kindergarten). The language of the Barnehage is Norwegian, although all staff would be able to understand and speak English.
9. Useful websites for employees
For information about paperwork and visas/ work permits, visit norway.info
To register for an appointment to get a Norwegian ID Number, visa and work permit, visit UDI
A useful website with all sorts of information for people relocating to Norway.
Mylittlenorway.com provides an interesting guide to Norwegian culture.
Learn-norwegian.net/ is a good website for acquiring basic Norwegian language skills.
Surfacelanguages.com allows you to learn phrases and listen to pronunciation.
NTNU Norwegian on the Web is an excellent website.