A practical guide

Photo: Study Bergen/Stina Aadland Jensen

A practical guide

Written by: Study Bergen

Photo: Study Bergen/Stina Aadland Jensen

Read about the pratical issues you should sort out when coming to Norway as an international student.

Student residence permit

If you are planning to stay in Norway for more than three months you will need a student residence permit. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is the public agency responsible for processing all applications for residence permits. This permit is a prerequisite for students from other Nordic countries, from within the EU/EEA/EFTA and from the rest of the world alike, but application procedures for these three groups vary slightly. Enclosed with the application form you will also need to submit the following documents:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Documentation of admission to an approved educational institution
  • A plan for your studies abroad
  • Documentation of housing
  • Documentation of subsistence (documentation that you will have a source of income equivalent to full support from the Norwegian State Education Loan Fund

For more detailed information on the requirements to be granted a student residence permit and how to proceed in the application process, please visit the Norwegian Foreign Service (UDI) homepages

Norwegian National Identity Number

For many central transactions in Norwegian society you are required to have a Norwegian national identity number (or "personnummer" in Norwegian). This number consists of 11 digits (your birth date + a 5 digit personal number). If you're a Nordic citizen or if you're staying for less than six months you can apply for a D-number (dummy number) instead.

You can apply for this registration from abroad by contacting the central tax administration office in Oslo, but it might be more practical to wait and contact the local tax administration office in Bergen upon arrival. The "Skatt Vest" office is situated right next to the train station in Nonnesetergaten 4. You can find updated information about the opening hours etc on skatteetaten.no

The Norwegian National Identity Number is required, amongst other things, to open a bank account, obtaining a student card or library card, and to apply for a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. You can find more information on skatteetaten.no

Bank account

If you are planning on staying in Norway for a longer period of time, you might find it useful to open a Norwegian bank account. You need to have a permanent residence address and a Norwegian identity number to open a bank account. Many banks offer special account deals to students.

You will find ATMs almost everywhere in towns and cities and even relatively small establishments usually have a card terminal. Foreign credit cards are widely accepted, however it is worth to note that some grocery shops and supermarkets do not accept foreign credit cards, only debit cards.


Health insurance

Students from Nordic countries: You are a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme if you are registered in the National Population Register in Norway. If you are not a member you are nevertheless entitled to health services under the National Insurance Act and you do not have to verify it with a European Health Insurance Card.

Students from EEA countries or Switzerland: The general rule is that you do not become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. If you are a member of social security in your home country while studying in Norway, you are entitled emergency and necessary treatment under Norwegian legislation. If you are not entitled to a European Health Insurance Card from your home country, you must have other insurance to cover any medical expenses you might incur in Norway.

Students from countries outside the EEA: You will not become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme automatically, but you can apply for voluntary membership if you attend school or university in Norway for less than one year, and have a residence permit. Voluntary membership entitles you to have health services on an equal basis with other Norwegian residents. You have to verify your entitlement with your European Health Insurance Card. People from other countries must prove that they can pay for treatment with private insurance.


If you have a carrier locked cell phone, you can unlock it and buy a cheap Norwegian mobile plan/cash card to keep in touch with your fellow students. To get a mobile plan, you need to have a Norwegian social security number. You can also buy a SIM card and a prepaid card.

These can be bought online, at a convenience store or at a store that sell electrical supplies. There are several of these located around the city centre. This does not require a Norwegian social security number, and it does not have any monthly fee. You just add money to your phone when you need to.


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