The Norwegian National Insurance Scheme is a type of social insurance that grant you certain rights if you get injured, sick or lose your job in Norway.
All Norwegian citizens are members of the National Insurance Scheme (called Folketrygden in Norwegian), but how can you become a member as a foreigner?
To become a member of the National Insurance Scheme in Norway, you need to intend to live in Norway for over 12 months, get a job in Norway, study in Norway, or fit into some special criteria such as giving birth in Norway.
The short summary is that the National Insurance Scheme is open to anyone with direct ties to Norway, either by living here or other means. But there are many small details to it, so let’s take a closer look!
The different routes to becoming a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
The main routes to becoming a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden) is by fitting into one of the following criteria:
- Are living in Norway with the intent to stay here for at least 12 months.
- Are working in Norway (either living here, or living somewhere else but working in Norway).
- Are a Norwegian, EU or EEA citizen, working on a ship registered in Norway.
- Are a Norwegian, EU or EEA citizen working for the Norwegian government in another country (such as at an embassy).
- Are a Norwegian student studying in another country.
So the short summary: you get access to a membership in the National Insurance Scheme in Norway if you are living in or working in or for Norway.
If you fit these criteria, not only are you granted a membership, but you are actually legally required to have it. You cannot choose not to be a member in these cases, and are legally required to pay the fees associated with the membership.
These fees are paid with your taxes, so it’s not like you have to directly pay a membership fee. The membership fee for the National Insurance Scheme is a flat 7.8 per cent of your gross income if you make more than around 60,000 NOK per year.
You get membership to National Insurance Scheme automatically
When you fit the criteria for a membership to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, you don’t need to actually register or apply. This happens automatically, and it is tied to your tax information.
So you don’t need to do anything to become a member besides getting the legal right to stay in Norway or work here.
Applying for a voluntary membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
There are certain cases where you can apply for a voluntary membership to the National Insurance Scheme of Norway, and these are cases when:
- You are studying in Norway for a short time period. (For longer time periods you will fit the criteria above for living in Norway for over 12 months).
- You are visiting Norway for more than 3 months and less than 12 months to visit relatives.
- You are a woman from a foreign country who intend to visit relatives and give birth while visiting these relatives. Primarily for women where the father or the father’s family is Norwegian.
These voluntary memberships require you to actually apply, and are not granted automatically. You need to prove that you fit these criteria. This is typically not a big deal, but be prepared to fetch some documents that must be uploaded with the application.
To apply for a voluntary membership to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, go to NAV’s website and fill out the form called “Søknad om å bli medlem i folketrygden under opphold i Norge – NAV 02-07.05”
I’m also sorry to inform you that any application at NAV will take weeks or months to get approved. This is Norway’s bureaucracy at it’s worst! So just be prepared for a long wait, lots of challenges with getting the information you need, and long waits to get answer to potential questions.
Reasons why you might want to get a membership to the National Insurance Scheme
The Norwegian National Insurance Scheme gives you a lot of different rights that other people do not have.
The short summary is that this membership gives you the right to things like:
- Get paid sick leave.
- Get free or very cheap healthcare.
- Get money from the government if you lose your job.
- Need any other government medical service.
- Get paid maternity leave.
- Free healthcare for children.
- The public pension.
You will likely need this if you are living in Norway or staying here for a longer time period. Both students and workers will get benefits from the membership, but since student tend to not earn a lot of money, they essentially get the membership for free.