Complete guide for nurses relocating to Norway

Are you a nurse or health care professional looking for work opportunities in Norway? Here is the complete guide to work as a nurse in Norway.

Complete guide for nurses relocating to Norway -
Dated information: This post has not been revised for a long time, and may contain dated information. Lingu does not offer any immigration services, so please direct your requests in this matter to SAK.


Complete guide for nurses relocating to Norway


Are you a nurse, assistant nurse or health care professional looking for work opportunities in Norway, then this page is for you. We have compiled a guide for nurses that includes what you need to do to get visa, language courses and certification from the Norwegian authorities.  


The labour market in Norway

People are living longer now than 30 years ago, and we are getting an older and larger generation of people who are in need of care and assisted living facilities.

Norway is currently in a challenge where there will be a lack of qualified nurses and are in need of foreign nurses to come to Norway and work.

According to Statistics Norway, Norway will need between 95,000 and 135,000 additional health care workers in the next two decades, and far too few are being educated in Norway.

Thousands of foreign nurses and other health care professionals will therefore have to come from abroad.


What is required to work as a nurse in Norway?

Norwegian nurses must complete a 3-year bachelors degree before they can apply for certification from The Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (SAK) so one can practice the profession.

The sole authority to give authorization and licences to health care personnel lies with SAK. There are different authorisations one can obtain for practicing their nursing profession. They are

  1. Full and permanent approval
  2. Licenses, which has limitations with respect to the duration or practicing the profession, an independent or supervised practice to mention some.

You should start as soon as possible with the application process because it will unfortunately take a very long time before you will receive notification from SAK.

There are many steps you must go through before you can receive your authorization.

You must fill in the application form and send in all necessary documents, and these documents must be certified copies. SAK will not accept regular photo copies of your documents.

SAK have posted a guideline for how to fill out the application form and please make sure that you will out the entire form.  

Application instructions

Read the SAK's complete application instructions here.

Also, make sure that you clearly state what documents you are attaching with the application so it will not slow down the processing of the application.

The application will not be considered until they have received the documents, and the processing time for the application is estimated to be 3-4 months if your education is from one of the Nordic countries or the EU/EEA, and minimum 6 months if it is from outside the EU/EEA. Read more about processing time here.

Please be aware that you will also have to pay an processing fee to SAK.

Most nurses from outside the EU/EEA will receive a letter from SAK that they have NOT been given authorization to practice nursing in Norway.

It is VERY important to read all the information in the letter to see what you must complete to be able to re-apply at a later time.

This is rather common and they often times list exactly what you will have to complete to receive your authorization.

It is most of the time a combination of not enough practicum work during your studies, not knowing the Norwegian language well enough, and missing specific topics in the course material from your bachelors degree.  


Norwegian language qualifications

There are two ways to meet the Norwegian language requirement for this course.

  1. Pass the oral and written examination of "Test in Norwegian – advanced level" or "Bergenstesten".OR
  2. Have completed and a grade of "C" or better in both oral and written examination in Level 3 in Norwegian at a university level

To pass the advanced test, Lingu Norwegian offers a language course for health workers leading up to the test. You can also learn Norwegian online, if you haven't applied for visa yet.  

Since the test certificates must be submitted along with your letter from SAK when applying for the course "Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere" it is very important that you start learning Norwegian and plan on having the examinations completed by the time you receive notification from SAK.

This way you save time by not waiting for the answer from SAK before you start you Norwegian. It is mandatory for all nurses from outside the Nordic countries to complete or pass one of the two aforementioned examinations to be able to practice their profession in Norway.


Additional training needed

Most nurses from outside the Nordic countries have to take the course "Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere" as a supplement to receive their authorisation.

This course is a four week intensive course held at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) twice a year. There are limited numbers of spots for this course, so one must often sign up at least six months before course start.

More information about the course is available on the course page at HiOA (Norwegian page). The requirements to be considered for this course are:

  1. Applicants must have received a letter from SAK/ SAFH with the refusal of authorization, or a temporary license as a nurse
  2. Specific requirements regarding Norwegian language skills

The course registration is done in a first-come, first-serve basis, and you must fill out the online application form on the course page to be considered.

The application will not, however, be considered before ALL the documents have been received by the Faculty of Health Sciences.

At the end of the course there are two examinations one must pass. "Test i medikamentregning" is a test you must meet the score of 100%, like all Norwegian nursing students.

This test is to ensure correct math skills in regards of dosage of medications.  The second test is a 4-hour test graded on a pass/fail grading system.

This test will examine you in the topics covered in the duration of the course. You are highly advised to not plan on working while you are taking this course, because this is a very intensive course and you will have a better chance at passing the course and get the most out of the course.

Previous experience have been that students believe they can pass the course just by showing up for classes. However, those students are the one who have a higher failing rate.  


Summary: Check list for nurses relocating to Norway

  1. Read these guidelines thoroughly.
  2. Fill out the application form to SAK with all supporting documents and make certified copies to be sent.
  3. Pay the processing fee to SAK.
  4. Apply for our one year Norwegian training programme and pay the enrolment fee - or start learning Norwegian online.
  5. Apply for visa to Norway (if you are from outside EU)
  6. Continue learning Norwegian and sign up for the advanced Norwegian test "Bergenstesten".
  7. Once you have received the notification from SAK and passed the test "Bergenstesten", you can use the letter to sign up for the course "Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere".
  8. After passing the two examinations in "Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere", you need to submit all the new documentation to SAK to have your applicaiton reviewed.
  9. If you have done the paperwork correctly, you should receive your authorisation from SAK to practice nursing in Norway.

Disclaimer: Lingu Norwegian has compiled these guidelines for information purpose only. We cannot provide legal support if applicants do not receive authorisation from SAK, nor can we be held liable for the use of this information. Furthermore, Lingu does NOT offer any services related to immigration.

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Odd Bjerga

Odd Bjerga
лют. 09, 2013