Resettlement to Norway

Resettlement to Norway

Norway offers resettlement opportunities within annual quotas. The Norwegian parliament decides the number and nationalities of the refugees Norway accepts for resettlement every year. As of 2010, the Norwegian resettlement quota is 1 200 refugees.

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is responsible for selecting the applicants for resettlement, for issuance of entry visas and for status determination and processing of the applications for resettlement.

Eligibility Criteria

For a refugee to be accepted for resettlement in Norway, he/she must meet the criteria of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and be in real need of resettlement. UDI takes several criteria into consideration such as the refugee’s reasons for leaving his or her country of origin, the risks his or her return imply and security in the country of asylum.

Cases submitted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are given priority. When necessary, the dossiers may be supplemented by interviews made by selection missions. UDI may additionally process cases submitted by:

  • another (designated) inter-governmental organisation;

  • the Norwegian Foreign Service;

  • international criminal courts that Norway has witness resettlement agreements with;

  • Norwegian NGOs with presence in areas where UNHCR is not present.

Admissibility for Resettlement

  • Exclusion and security issues: persons excluded under the exclusion clauses of the 1951 Convention are denied resettlement in Norway. In general, Norway does not offer resettlement to persons of known criminal behavior or heavy drug users as well as those deemed to be a threat to the state’s security.

  • Gender: Norway applies a gender focused approach as regards resettlement. The UDI aims to allocate 55 per cent of the total resettlement places to women and girls. Furthermore, 15 percent of all resettled refugees should fall into the category “women-at-risk”, excluding dependants.

  • Medical requirements: UDI does, through UNHCR, request refugees to pass a medical examination before a decision can be made. UDI can also request the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to conduct medical examinations for refugees who have been accepted for resettlement to Norway. The results will not influence on the decisions, but are conducted in order to prepare the local health services in Norway. After selection missions, UDI may also request IOM to conduct medical examinations on the group as a whole.

  • The local municipality’s capacity to offer appropriate facilities and services to refugees is considered when selecting cases eligible for resettlement in Norway. For example, the capacity to settle refugees with reduced mobility, such as people confined to wheelchairs and elderly, is limited. On the contrary, single women and families with children can more easily be offered good services in Norwegian municipalities.
    Norway has a sub quota for refugees with medical needs (twenty-or-more). When refugees with medical needs and victims of violence and torture require special treatment, available medical services in Norway are examined before decisions are made. The case will normally be rejected if required special treatment is not available or if it is only scarcely available in Norway.

Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees

Close family members may be granted a permit for family immigration for one year at a time. Close family members are the spouse, cohabitants who have lived together for at least two years and children under 18 years of age.

Other family members may be granted a permit to reside in Norway under strict conditions:

  • a cohabitant with whom the person living in Norway has or is expecting a child (even if they have not been living together for at least two years);

  • a person over 18 years of age intending to enter into marriage with a person residing in Norway within six months after entry into Norway;

  • a single mother or father over the age of 60 without a spouse, cohabitant or relative in ascending or descending line in the country of origin, and for whom the son or daughter in Norway has special responsibility;

  • a child over 18 years of age without a spouse or cohabitant, who is or becomes left in the country of origin when the remainder of the family obtain residence in Norway, or who for medical reasons is completely dependent on personal care from parents in Norway;

  • full siblings under 18 years of age without a mother, father or other caregiver in country of origin or country of residence and with no mother and father in another country;

  • other family members, when strong humanitarian considerations warrant it.

There is no requirement that the refugee must be able to support the family members if the family relationship was established before the refugee came to Norway.

The Norwegian state will usually cover the travel expenses of family members to resettlement refugees who come in connection with family immigration if the journey is arranged through UDI and IOM.


Sources: this information has been taken from official documents as well as the Norway country chapter in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.