11 Things to Know before Moving from Canada to Norway

From the northern lights to the picturesque scenery, Norway has become a favorite for Canadians looking to move out of the country. Before you get to enjoy the benefits of living in Norway, there are several things you need to know! Here are some of the most important things to know before moving from Canada to Norway. 

Norway

1. First Steps Upon Planning a Move to Norway

How can I move from Canada to Norway?

As a Canadian Citizen, the only way you can move to Norway is if:

  • You want to work in Norway.
  • You want to study in Norway.
  • You want to stay with a host family as an au pair.
  • You have a family member, spouse or cohabitant in Norway who is a Norwegian citizen or legal resident.

*In most cases, you can only apply for a residence permit after 5 years of residency in Norway and if you have a certain level of understanding of the Norwegian language. Studying in Norway for 5 years does not count towards the number of years required. 

Working Norway

Finding work before coming to Norway is the most efficient way to move to Norway. You can also apply for a tourist visa and find work before your visa expires. After finding a job, you then can apply for a work residence permit

Studying in Norway

To study in Norway you must obtain a confirmation of your admission to an approved educational institution. After confirmation of admission you must apply for a residence permit for studies. You must also have a valid passport, proof of housing and proof of sufficient funds. 

Becoming an au pair in Norway

While living in Norway as an au pair is temporary, it is a great way to broaden your language skills and learn about Norwegian culture. To work as an au pair in Norway you must be between 18 and 30 years of age and have an offer of employment from a host family.

Joining family in Norway

If you want to join your spouse or children in Norway and you meet all the entry requirements, including sufficient funds, you will be granted a residence permit. You cannot join non-immediate family in Norway. Your immediate family member must be a Norwegian citizen or hold a residence permit. 

Norway-Canada Youth Mobility Agreement

If you are a young person between the ages of 18 and 35 you can apply for a visa to temporarily work or study in Norway due to the Norway-Canada Youth Mobility Agreement. You must prove that you have sufficient funds for the first 3 months of your stay. The first period of the validity of your visa is 12 months and can usually be extended 12 months more. 

2. What should I look for in an International Moving Company?

Shipping your things to Norway takes about 1-3 days by plane and 10-15 days by boat. You can easily move your things from Canada to Norway by plane or boat, but make sure the moving company you decide on is reliable. So when opting for an international moving company, here’s what you should look for:

  • Insurance is included (ask what’s included)
  • Rates are not extravagant (compare with other companies)
  • They have many Google reviews that are over 4 stars.
  • Customer service and transparency is their priority.

Our pick of the Best International Moving Companies in Canada

Read our complete reviews and request free quotes to make an informed decision. 

Best International Moving Companies in Canada

3. Car shipping to Norway

Unless they have significant emotional attachment to their car, most Canadians choose to leave their cars behind when moving to Norway due to the elevated shipping and import fees and the long vehicle inspection process. If you must absolutely ship your car to Norway, here are the steps to follow:

  • Get various quotes from the best car shipping companies. A trusted car shipping company will have insurance, good reviews, and will make customer service their priority.
  • Choose the port of departure.
  • Choose the port destination.
  • Prepare the car by cleaning it and emptying the tank to ⅛ full or you may have to pay a fee upon arrival.

*Ask your chosen car shipping company for additional requirements.

4. Currency in Norway

In Norway the currency is known as the krone and in plural form is known as  kroner. Bills are provided in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 kroner. Coins are provided in 50 øre, 1 krone, and 5, 10, and 20 kroner. Norwegian’s rarely use cash so make sure you can also pay with a credit card or debit card. 

5. Language in Norway

Norway has two official languages: Norwegian and Sami. Most people in Norway speak Norwegian and a lot of them get by in English. While there is no legal requirement stating that you have to speak Norwegian to move to Norway, it will be hard to socialize and understand the life around you if you don’t understand Norwegian.

6. Healthcare in Norway

Norway’s health system is top-rated, public and free for all of its citizens and holders of resident permits who are under 16. Over the age of 16, a deductible is paid each year but the service still remains very affordable. If you have secured employment in Norway, you will automatically be signed up for the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. If you are a student or an au pair in Norway with a valid residence permit, you are also automatically enrolled in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. 

7. First steps upon arrival in Norway

Get your residence card

Within the first 7 days of arriving in Norway you must book an appointment at your local police office to get your residence card. You can book this appointment through the residence portal

Get your Personal Number (Personnummer)

If you’re staying in Norway for more than 6 months, you will need a Personal Number. If you are staying less than 6 months in Norway you will need a D Number. The Personal Number (Personnummer) in Norway is equivalent to the Social Insurance Number in Canada. The only way to get a Personal Number is in person at your local tax office in Norway. It takes 10 days to 4 weeks to receive. You will need this number to open a bank account, pay taxes, access the public health system.

Get a Norwegian driver's licence

If you hold a valid Canadian driver’s licence and are 18 years of age, you can drive in Norway for up to one year before exchanging for a Norwegian one. After one year, you must pass a practical driving test to obtain your Norwegian driver’s licence. 

Open a bank account in Norway

To open your bank account in Norway you will need either your D Number or your Personal Number, a passport sized-photo, address proof, and in many cases, a recommendation letter from a bank in Canada. The most popular banks in Norway include Bank Norwegian, Luster Sparebank, Storebrand Bank, DNB and Sparebanken

8. Housing and Renting in Norway

How to find a house or apartment in Norway

If you are thinking of renting in Norway, you have to act fast as apartments and houses don’t stay long on the market. There are no restrictions for Canadians immigrants when it comes to buying a house in Norway, so it may be a good idea to look into purchasing as an alternative to renting due to the shortage of high-quality rentals. Finn.no and Hybel.no are both great websites to help you with your apartment or house search in Norway.

Utilities in Norway

Norway is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to using renewable energy. In fact, 98% of Norway’s electricity is derived from renewable sources. The cost of electricity in Norway is a bit higher than in Canada. Electricity in Norway costs a flat fee of around 0.570 kWh compared to Canada’s average of 0.174 kWh. You can pay your bill online, in person or by mail. Contact your local electricity supplier to get i set up. Tap water in Norway is one of the purest waters in the world and in most places can be consumed. Contact your local water supplier to get it set up. 

Cell phone and internet in Norway

Cell phone service in Norway is of a high quality, so you will be able to get cell service almost anywhere unless your in a small town far away from the city center. Make sure your phone is unlocked prior to your arrival in Norway so you can quickly buy a Norwegian SIM card at cell phone shops and in 7-eleven stores. The main Norwegian cell phone providers are Telenor, Telia, and Lyca Mobile.

The Internet in Norway in terms of pricing is like Canada, and the quality is considerably good. You should expect to pay $50-$60 CAD a month for the internet in Norway along with an additional installation and equipment fee. The main internet providers in Norway are Telenor, NextGenTel and Ventelo.

9. The Essential Insurance Coverage in Norway

Health Insurance in Norway

Norway’s health system is top-rated, public and free for all of its citizens and holders of resident permits who are under 16. Over the age of 16, a deductible is paid each year but the service still remains very affordable. If you have secured employment in Norway, you will automatically be signed up for the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. If you are a student or an au pair in Norway with a valid residence permit, you are also automatically enrolled in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. 

Home Insurance in Norway

While home insurance is not mandatory by law, most mortgage brokers will require home insurance as a perquisite for the loan. Some of the recommended home insurance companies in Norway SpareBank, LOfavør, and if...

Car Insurance in Norway

In Norway, third party liability insurance and fire insurance are both mandatory car insurances. Fire insurance will cover the damage done to the car if a house burns down and takes the car with it. The top car insurance companies in Norway are Cordan Forsikring, Storebrand, and If...

Norway

10. Cost of Living in Norway

The average cost of living in Norway is $4250 CAD per month in the city. The cost of each individual expense is listed below.  

Cost of living for a couple in Oslo 

Expense

CAD $

Rent for one- or two-bedroom apartment 

$2100

Utilities (gas, water, electricity, phone, internet)

$350

Groceries

$850

Entertainment (eating out & leisure)

$300

Insurance and Healthcare

$200

Other (transportation, material goods)

$450

*While it is very expensive to live in Oslo/Norway, the salaries are much higher than in Canada.

11. Tips for Buying Groceries in Norway

Food is expensive in Norway because it is mostly imported from other European countries. So get ready to pay a lot for fresh produce and meat! You can easily find everything in the grocery store as they are pretty much available everywhere and in every city of Norway however, in the main cities such as Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger you may find the prices higher, depending on the stock and availability of the products. The most popular grocery stores in Norway are Meny, Rema 1000, Coop, KIWI, and Bunppris. 

What to Expect from your new life in Norway?

While Norway does have a very cold climate, you can expect to see a beautiful view anywhere you look. It’s a great idea to learn Norwegian so you can make friends easily and be aware of what is happening around you. Expect a great quality of life and don’t forget to look up to see the northern lights!

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