Remote working and living as a digital nomad is becoming ever more popular, and lots of people are exploring the world while doing remote work nowadays.
There are many people who want to explore Norway while working as a remote worker, either for a company or as self-employed, but what’s the law and regulations with remote working in Norway like?
You can work remotely in Norway as long as you have a work visa. This means that all EU or EEA citizens can work remotely as digital nomads in Norway, but other nationalities will need to apply for a residency that grants the right to work. It’s unfortunately unrealistic to move to Norway as a remote workers for non-EU/EEA citizens.
It’s not legal to come to Norway to work, even remotely, without a work visa. All EEA or EU citizens are legally allowed to work in Norway without getting a work visa, so people with citizenship from either of these regions can move to Norway to work as a remote worker.
The laws are in place no matter how long you intend to work remotely in Norway. It does not matter if you’re here for a week and want to do some work for a client, or if you move here for a year to live in Norway as a digital nomad for a while.
There’s an exception though; you are allowed to work remotely if you need to work while going on vacation in Norway. So you can answer e-mails and work for clients while on vacation.
What is considered remote working in Norway
Norway’s Directorate of Immigration (UDI) does not differentiate between remote / digital work and regular work, which means that all remote working in Norway counts as regular work.
This means that all the laws and regulations in place for getting a regular job in Norway also applies to all remote and digital work, even for self-employed people.
UDI even has a list of things they consider remote work:
- Work for a Norwegian employer off-site.
- Work for a foreign employer off-site.
- Any work as self-employed off-site.
They consider off-site to by any location that is not your regular workplace, including hotels, a rented apartment, at cafés or anything similar.
Can you do remote work on a travel or vacation visa in Norway?
You are legally allowed to work while staying in Norway on vacation. There’s nothing wrong with answering e-mails or spending a few hours working on projects for your clients while you are visiting Norway on vacation.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a different thing than moving to Norway to work as a digital nomad. The big key difference is intent; are you coming to Norway to work, or are you coming to Norway to be on vacation?
To be able to legally work while on vacation in Norway, you need to fit the following criteria:
- The remote work must not be the primary purpose of the stay.
- The remote work does not create value by being in Norway.
- You cannot work for a client based in Norway.
Is there a digital nomad work visa for Norway?
Many countries around the world have a unique “remote work visa” that allows people to spend a certain time in a country while working remotely there, but Norway does not offer anything like this.
There are many people who wants the government to implement this, but it does currently not seem to be any plans to do so.
How to work remotely in Norway
While the laws for remote work are strict in Norway, it’s absolutely possible to work and live as a digital nomad in Norway.
The next section is divided into whether or not you are a EU or EEA citizen or not, since this will affect how you should tackle the problem.
Working remotely in Norway as a EU or EEA citizen
Anyone with citizenship in a EU or EEA (European Economic Area) country are legally allowed to come to Norway to seek or accept jobs without applying for a work visa.
Since digital work is seen as the same as regular work, this also applies for anyone looking to work remotely in Norway, either as a self-employed person or as a remote worker employed for a company in another country.
If you’re self-employed, you will need to register a business in Norway if you’re here for an extended period of time. You will also need to register as a tax payers in Norway.
Many people find it a bit of a hassle to set up a Norwegian business, especially if you’re just staying here for a couple of months, but this is the legal way of doing it.
People working remotely in Norway for a company based in EU only needs to register as a Norwegian tax payer, seeing as you are required to pay taxes to Norway if you are indeed working in Norway.
This is actually pretty easy, and you pretty much only need to verify your identity to the police to get a D number to be able to pay any potential taxes.
There are some additional rules for those who intend to stay in Norway to work remotely for multiple years, and these people will eventually need to get a personal ID number (personnummer).
Working remotely in Norway as a non-EU/EEA citizen
It’s a lot more difficult for non-EU/EEA citizens to be able to move to Norway to work remotely, no matter if you are self-employed with your own business or are working full-time remotely for a regular company.
You basically need any type of residency permit that includes the right to work. These includes:
- Family reunion residency permits. This type of residency permits are mainly given to people who get married to a Norwegian citizens, or have another reason to move to Norway permanently to be united with a family member.
- Permanent residency permit. This gives you the right to stay, live and work in Norway indefinitely, and have a lot of requirements to it. It’s basically for people who are intending to relocate to Norway permanently, and not for digital nomads.
- A work residency permit. This is typically given to anyone who gets hired by a Norwegian company, and it does not apply if you’re employed by a foreign company. The exception is if the foreign company has operations on Norwegian soil, and that you are required to do your work in Norway (which is usually not the case for remote workers).
It’s unfortunately very, very difficult to get a visa that allows you to work as a digital nomad or remote worker in Norway if you’re not from a EU or EEA country.
There are some people who have registered an LLC in another country, then set up a daughter company in Norway where they hire themselves to work in Norway. This seem to be a somewhat functional workaround, but requires a lot of hassle to get the multiple companies set up properly. It will also likely cost quite a bit of money, depending on which country you set up your LLC in.
I would not advise to attempt this without consulting a business lawyer, and would probably only consider doing it if you’re going to spend a long time in Norway.
Can’t I just work remotely without telling anyone?
Well, it’s not legal to work in Norway without a work visa, but UDI is also having serious problems actually enforcing this regulation. You are definitely breaking the immigration law, and can be forcefully expelled from Norway, but only if some government official finds out.
I would find it very unlikely for anyone to care if you respond to client e-mails or spend a few hours working on a project while you’re in Norway with a travel visa, even though it’s technically illegal. I do not recommend doing this, but there are lots of people who are doing it.
Why Norway might not be the best choice for remote workers
There are many people who are dreaming of moving to Norway for a couple of months to work remotely, but there are a few reasons why Norway might not actually be the best option for remote work.
Not only does the immigration law prevent most people from actually coming here to work, but there are also a few big problems.
One of them is the fact that Norway is incredible expensive compared to most countries, and a full-time income from other parts of the world might not last very long in Norway.
It’s certainly not as easy place to live cheaply, but if you’re willing to go trough the hassle of getting the correct work visa as well as the high cost of living, then having a view like the one below could become reality.
Anyone can move to Svalbard to work remotely
A big exception to the immigration law in Norway is for anyone who are looking to work remotely on Svalbard. Svalbard is an arctic island located far north of mainland Norway, and it’s certainly a unique experience.
The thing about Svalbard is that anyone is legally allowed to move there, and can stay there for as long as they want. They can even work remotely, or as a self-employed person without needing a visa.
This allows anyone to come to the island to work remotely for any time period they wish. However, you need to register as a tax payer in Norway if you’re intending to live there.
While this might seem like an easy workaround, keep in mind that living on Svalbard comes with its own set of potential problems. There is a huge housing crises on the island, the cost of living is generally pretty high, and there are polar bears just outside the main city border of the only big city on the island. And that’s just the beginning..
Living and working on Svalbard is very different from mainland Norway, but it’s at least one possibility for those who are feeling extra adventitious!
I want to end this article by saying that I’m not an immigration lawyer, and this is just my personal understanding of the law and regulations surrounding remote work in Norway. I advise everyone who want to attempt remote work in Norway to get en touch with UDI or an immigration lawyer to get details for your specific case.
Got any more questions regarding remote work or living in Norway as a digital nomad? Hit us up in the comment section below!
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.