All you need to know before moving to Norway

 

 

People moving to Norway should prepare themselves to be met by a freezing and wet climate. This is because the country is near the Arctic Circle. Norway is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun” because from late May to late July, the sun does not completely set beneath the horizon, hence giving the country a 20-hour daylight per day.

Norway is located in the Scandinavian region of Northern Europe, and is known for its chilled terrains, fjords, aurora borealis and other must-sees for outdoor enthusiasts – as well as a list of heritage sites for the not-so-adventurous.

Norway is otherwise known as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun' due to more than 20 hours of sunlight per day except during winter and when the sun is still visible even after midnight. In winter, the sun does a disappearing act for an entire month. Note that you can experience all four seasons in one day; hence, taking warm clothes is wise.

With a population of only 4.6 million, Norway is happy to accommodate interested expatriates in their modern society. In fact, about 10% of the population in Stavanger is expats working in the oil industry. As a participant in the Schengen agreement, it is convenient for legal residents of Schengen countries such as Belgium, France, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and others, to transit to and from Norway without border controls.

The country has earned the nod from the United Nations for the past four years as the undisputed leader in terms of highest standard of living worldwide. This accolade is based on average levels of education, income, mortality, exercise of human rights and cultural freedom. Norway prides itself on its rich oil reserves, a quarter of their GDP coming from petroleum profits. In spite of the ongoing recession, economists declared the Norwegian Krone one of the most stable currencies. Aside from this, Norway was the second country to legalize civil union for same-sex couples in 1993 and, this year, the sixth country to allow same-sex marriages.

"Many people say that Norwegians are nice but not friendly. I would say it is not easy to make friends with them but once you are friends, you would find they are good and kind friends."- Thuy Nguyen, Expat in Oslo, Norway

Norway is a constitutional monarchy where the King appoints the Prime Minister and has a parliamentary system calledStorting. It is a founding member of the UN, NATO and the Council of Europe. Although it refused to partake in the European Union twice, Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA)'s single market system, and is involved with the other European nations in terms of trade.

To open a bank account, you can choose a local bank or a global one. The next step is to submit a copy of your passport, letter of recommendation from your bank back home and a copy of your Tax Identification Number (TIN). Be informed that credit card applications prove to be difficult for expats and checks are not an accepted payment method in Norway.

For your taxes, the tax collector will send you a tax notice indicating the taxable amount from your income. Make sure to pass the tax notice to your employer immediately; otherwise a 50% deduction will be applied to your salary during the following tax year.

Norway may be known for its cold climate, but you can expect to experience the warmth of the Norwegian people. Truly, they know how to make an expat feel home.

Essential relocation information

 

 

When bringing items to Norway, a copy of the shipper's passport will be required, along with an inventory - in English and in Norwegian, of all items to be imported. A Norwegian Customs Form must also be completed and submitted. The form will be available with movers in Norway who can provide professional advice and assistance through the whole import process.

Norway allows the import of tobacco and liquor by foreigners of legal age, but customs could charge a high sum. Just like other countries, Norway also restricts possession of illegal drugs and prescription medicines in large volumes. When bringing prescription medicines, it is important to make sure seals are intact and amounts are only right for personal consumption. Potatoes are not allowed for entry while other fruits and/or vegetables may be allowed without duties for the first ten kilos.

Personal items are allowed for entry without a fee and declaration, but the total monetary value of these items should not exceed 6,000 NOK. Cash at hand above 25000 NOK must be declared before it could be permitted for entry.

Removals to Norway are best handled by professional removal companies. Overseas shipping may sound like a major task for expats but this is all part of relocating to Norway or any other destination country. To avoid delays, unnecessary fines and other inconveniences or even legal problems, it is best to hire professionals.

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How to live like a local

 

A life in Norway is more than just a successful career step but also a great decision for those who want to live an excellent quality of life. The search for endless possibilities and prosperous future will take you to this Scandinavian country that is blessed with natural beauty and a thriving economy.

With a 5.3 million population, Norway is a perfect place for expats who want to experience the fantastic fusion between the Viking traditions and modern European culture. This country is known being the land of continual cold weather but despite the occasional freezing temperature, many are still drawn to its abundance of breathtaking fjords and vast scenic outdoors. In 2016, Norway also ranked high in the OECD Better Life Index whereas its residents enjoy impressive levels of environmental quality, education, work-life balance, health status and personal security. Living in Norway is a rewarding experience both for expats because most employers also pay above average compensation; and with the country's favourable business climate, an expat in Norway can expect to enjoy the country for a very long time.

Exciting Family Activities

Moving to Norway as a family may entail major adjustments, but once they get acquainted with the Norwegian way of life, they will soon only start enjoying. Oslo, the capital, is one of the first places to start a family-bonding adventure. This city is overflowing with museums where you children will have fun and at the same time learn about Norway’s history. Some of the most visited attractions in Oslo are the Viking Ship Museum which houses the best preserved Vikings ships and tombs in the world, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design and the Kon-Tiki Museum.

Summer days in Norway are great for outdoor adventures such as hiking and camping while skiing is best enjoyed with the whole family during the winter season. Everyone can have a grand time in a number of amusement parks such as the Kongeparken Family Park in Stavanger and TusenFrydfor where kids can get an adrenaline rush getting on those wild rides. There's also Bø Sommarland in Telemark for great for surfing and other water sports.

Transitioning to the Norwegian Life

Foreigners from any EU/EEA (European Union / European Economic Area) country can use their driver’s licenses for driving in Norway while those coming from non-EU/EEA states are only allowed to use their existing license for one year (three months for some countries). After which, they will have to secure a Norwegian driver's license from the Trafikkstasjon (department of motor vehicles). Generally speaking, driving in Norway is a hassle-free experience since most roads are in good condition. Expats just have to be extra careful during the winter season when the roads are usually slippery and covered with snow.

Depositors in Norway can choose among the savings banks, commercial banks, and foreign bank branches in the country. Each type offers the full services of personal banking such as account opening (savings, payment, or investment), money transfers, loans, mortgages, cash management services, Internet banking, and phone banking. To open a local account, expats must submit several documents including their passport/visa and Norwegian Identification Number. Credit checks are also performed. Automated teller machines, which are more commonly known as Minibanks in Norway, are readily available. Most international debit and credit cards are accepted by these machines and some allow transactions in currencies other than the Norwegian Kroner.

Overcoming Culture Shock

An expatriate in Norway might be surprised about the locals' active and adventurous lifestyle. Norwegians love to go out for hiking or any outdoor adventure, even in very cool weather. One of the expressions an expat in Norway must get familiar with is "Gå på tur," which means "go for a hike." Norwegians are, indeed, fond of any outdoor activities, although when they say, "hiking," they don't always mean trekking from one trail to another. The word may only mean, "Walking." Norwegians are best known as adventure lovers simply because they love to go from a place to another. They're even excellent at building houses in locations where most people think it is impossible to thrive. And they are fantastic builders of their getaway cabins that they call "hytte."

Norwegians also love celebrating festivals that showcase their different artistic sides. The Molde International Jazz Festival, the Quart Festival and Norwegian Wood are only a few of these celebrations where they welcome artists from the other side of the world as well. An expat should not be worried about moving to Norway and starting a new life as locals are usually willing to extend a hand to those who are interested in adopting their diverse and adventurous culture. As most people know, this country has freezing weather but the people there are just the exact opposite.

 

 

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