Citizenship by Birth vs. Naturalization in Norway

In Norway, citizenship can be acquired either by birth or through the process of naturalization. Each method has its own set of rules and requirements. Below, I outline the key differences between citizenship by birth and citizenship by naturalization in Norway.

Citizenship by Birth

Jus Sanguinis (Right of Blood)

  • Parental Citizenship: A child automatically acquires Norwegian citizenship if at least one of the parents is a Norwegian citizen, regardless of the place of birth.
  • Registration: The birth must be registered with Norwegian authorities, either in Norway or through a Norwegian consulate if the child is born abroad.

Jus Soli (Right of Soil)

  • Limited Application: Norway does not generally grant citizenship based solely on being born in the country. The primary method is through the nationality of the parents (jus sanguinis).


  • Adopted Children: A child adopted by Norwegian citizens may acquire Norwegian citizenship automatically if the adoption is recognized under Norwegian law and the child is under 18 years old.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Age Requirement

  • Minimum Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for naturalization.

Residency Requirement

  • Continuous Residency: Applicants must have lived in Norway for at least seven consecutive years with a valid residence permit.
  • Reduced Residency Period: For those married to or in a registered partnership with a Norwegian citizen, the residency requirement may be reduced to three years, provided they have lived together for at least three years.

Language Proficiency

  • Norwegian Language Test: Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the Norwegian language, usually by passing a language test (Norskprøve).

Social Studies Test

  • Knowledge of Society: Applicants must pass a social studies test covering Norwegian society, laws, and values.

Financial Independence

  • Self-Sufficiency: Applicants should be able to support themselves financially and should not have received social welfare benefits from the Norwegian government for a certain period before applying.

Good Conduct and Clean Criminal Record

  • Criminal Record: Applicants must have a clean criminal record and demonstrate good conduct.

Dual Citizenship

  • Permitted: As of January 1, 2020, Norway allows dual citizenship, meaning applicants can retain their original citizenship while becoming Norwegian citizens.

Special Cases

  • Refugees and Stateless Persons: Different rules may apply, including potentially different residency requirements.

Key Differences

Automatic vs. Application Process

    • By Birth: Citizenship is usually automatic if one or both parents are Norwegian citizens.
    • By Naturalization: Citizenship is granted through an application process that involves meeting various eligibility criteria.

    Residency Requirements

      • By Birth: No residency requirement for the child if they are born to Norwegian parents.
      • By Naturalization: Requires a minimum period of continuous residency in Norway.

      Tests and Language Requirements

        • By Birth: No language or social studies tests required.
        • By Naturalization: Requires passing language and social studies tests.

        Financial and Conduct Requirements

          • By Birth: No financial independence or conduct requirements for the child.
          • By Naturalization: Requires proof of financial independence and a clean criminal record.


          Citizenship by birth in Norway is primarily based on the nationality of the parents and is generally automatic if the parents are Norwegian citizens. In contrast, citizenship by naturalization involves a detailed application process with specific eligibility criteria, including residency, language proficiency, and good conduct. Understanding these differences can help you determine the most appropriate path to Norwegian citizenship based on your circumstances.

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