There are two main ways to obtain Norwegian citizenship:
(1) Descent from a Norwegian parent. A child (born in Norway or elsewhere) acquires Norwegian citizenship at birth if the father or the mother is a Norwegian citizen and it isn’t necessary the father to be married to the mother. Furthermore, a child under 18 adopted by Norwegian citizens acquires Norwegian citizenship automatically.
(2) Naturalisation as a Norwegian citizen. In principle, it is possible to naturalise as a Norwegian citizen after residing in Norway 7 years over the last 10 years. There are several additional rules to the naturalisation:
- it is necessary to not have a criminal record.
- citizen of the other Nordic Council countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden) may naturalise after a two-year residence.
- a person married to a Norwegian citizen may naturalise after 3 years residence during the last 10 years, provided that the total period of time resident in Norway plus the total period of marriage equals at least 7 years. The time of residence and marriage may be earned at the same time e.g. foreigners married to Norwegian citizens can therefore obtain citizenship after 4 years if they have been residing in Norway for at least 3 years. What is more, this rule also applies to non-married cohabiting partners and homosexuals in civil unions.
- an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also give evidence of proficiency in either the Norwegian or Sami language or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or being proficient in one of the Scandinavian languages.
- persons becoming naturalised Norwegian citizens are after acquisition of citizenship generally expected to prove they have lost or renounced any foreign citizenship they have.