Some key aspects to consider before moving

Before moving to Norway, it's essential to check several practicalities. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Visa and Residency: Determine the visa or residency permit you'll need based on your nationality and reason for moving (e.g., work, study, family reunification). Research the application process and requirements, including any documentation needed.

Housing: Explore housing options in your desired city or region. Consider factors such as rental prices, location, amenities, and proximity to work or schools. Start searching for accommodation well in advance to secure a place to live. The cost of purchasing or renting property in Stavanger is typically higher than in neighboring municipalities, so it's advisable to explore nearby cities as everything is conveniently within a short distance.

Employment and Education: If applicable, secure employment or enroll in educational programs in Norway. Understand the job market, industry trends, and requirements for working or studying in your field. Obtain necessary work permits or student visas if relocating for employment or education purposes. Speaking Norwegian significantly boosts your chances of finding employment in Norway, especially if you don't have a job lined up upon arrival.

Holiday payment: In Norway, the holiday payment scheme for the first year of employment typically involves accruing holiday pay during the first year of work, which is then paid out during the subsequent holiday period. This means that during the first year of employment, an employee may not receive paid time off for holidays, but instead, a portion of their salary is set aside as holiday pay.  This accrued holiday pay is then disbursed to the employee when they take their annual holiday leave the following year. Ask your HR department for more information so you know what to expect and don´t get a surprise when there is no salary payment in May/June.

Healthcare: Familiarize yourself with the Norwegian healthcare system and ensure you have health insurance coverage. Determine if you're eligible for coverage through the National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden) or if you need private health insurance.

Cost of living: Some of the main expenses to consider when calculating the cost of living in Norway include housing (rent or mortgage payments), groceries, transportation (including public transport and car ownership), healthcare, childcare, and leisure activities. Additionally, certain goods and services, such as alcohol, tobacco, and dining out, tend to be more expensive in Norway compared to other countries. Set up a budget!

Daycare and schools: If you have children, research educational options in Norway, including schools, daycare facilities, and universities. Understand the admission process, curriculum, and language requirements, especially if your children will attend Norwegian schools. Check municipal websites for more information.

Language: While many Norwegians speak English, learning the Norwegian language is paramount to be able to integrate fully. Consider enrolling in language courses or using language learning apps before arrival to become proficient in Norwegian.

Social Integration: Connect with local expat communities or organizations to meet people and get advice on living in Norway. Attend cultural events, join clubs or groups, and participate in community activities to build social connections. Generally, Norwegians may be more open to inviting acquaintances or new friends to their homes once a level of familiarity and trust has been established.

Legal and Administrative Matters: Understand your rights and obligations as a resident in Norway. Familiarise yourself with local laws, regulations, and administrative procedures, such as registering your address, obtaining a personal identification number (personnummer), and paying taxes.

Cultural Adjustment: Prepare for cultural differences and learn about Norwegian customs, social norms, and lifestyle. Embrace the Norwegian way of life, including outdoor activities, cuisine, and traditions.

By addressing these practicalities before moving to Norway, you can better navigate the transition and avoid misunderstandings and frustration. Be aware that without a personal number you will not be able to open bank accounts, start driving lessons etc. Make sure you have a bank card that works in Norway. To avoid having to wait for an appointment at the police and tax department once you arrive, book the appointment at the Service Centre for Foreign workers (SUA) prior to arrival so you are able to go as soon as possible after arrival.

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