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.
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