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Country Update 2021: NORWAY

Contributed by: Félix Olivier Helle (Humlen Advokater AS)

June 2019 to May 2021

1. Country Overview

As reported in 2019, new legislation concerning citizenship has now been adopted and opened for dual citizenship as the general rule.

Norway continues to challenge the scope of the EU Citizenship directive in the EEA-area.

The question as to whether the directive 2004/38/EC is applicable by analogy to a situation where an EEA citizen returns to the home State together with a family member has been ruled twice in the EFTA-court (E-28/15 and E-4/19), that decided that it was applicable, but this still has not been explicitly followed in the national courts.

In the few cases where the immigration authorities have opened for application by analogy, they have set criteria that the family member must have been living in another EEA-country legally with the Norwegian citizen. If the family member of the EEA-citizen for example lacked health insurance in the past member state that he/she lived in, they will not get a right of residence in Norway. In our and EFTAs surveillance authorities’ view this is not in accordance with the Metock-doctrine.

Norwegian authorities have also started to expel EEA-citizens at a higher rate than before and there are several ongoing cases in the national courts in that regard. Therefore, there have been some pilot-cases in the EFTA-court regarding expulsion of EEA-citizens (case E-2/20 L) and marriages of convenience (case E-1/20 Kerim) of the directive where the EFTA-court already has given their advisory opinion.

In other ongoing cases in the EFTA-court Norway states that the principles from the Chen-ruling do not apply in the EEA-area and also that stepchildren of EEA-citizens cannot retain a right of residence after art. 12, see case E-16/20.

Norway also has a very long case handling time for applications for residence cards after the directive. As of today, they are assessing applications handed in before September 2020. Thus, there is an ongoing breach of the six-month maximum case-handling time. In practice, this causes a lot of problems for EEA-citizens and their family members, since they often are required to show this card to their employers to be able to work.

The political debate in the immigration sector concerning the assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan and Norway’s processing of asylum applications from Afghans is still ongoing. In April 2019 UNHCR decided to intervene in a case in the national courts concerning cessation of a residence permit as a refugee. In February 2021 the Supreme Court in Norway decided to overlook the recommendations from UNHCR and decided that the possibilities for internal flight could be taken into account in the cessation assessment.

2. Legislative Changes

Immigration Act Section 62: New requirement of five years’ residence for permanent residence, instead of three, for refugees, family members of a refugees, immigrants with a permit based on strong human considerations and their family members.

3. Business Immigration

There have been no new significant legislative changes within the business immigration area.

4. Family based immigration

There have been no new significant legislative changes within the Family based immigration area.

5. Asylum

Immigration Regulation Section 8-14: Former asylum seekers with 16 years’ residence by 1 October 2021 are eligible for a residence permit if their country has refused to accept them, they have a total age and period of residence of at least 65 years, they lived in Norway on 1 January 2019 and they haven’t been convicted of a crime.

6. Deportation

Immigration Act Section 70: When considering if an expulsion would be appropriate, the immigration authorities may consider that a reaction to acts mentioned in section 66 (1) a (false information, illegal stay etc.) may require up to three years' additional time for a future application for a permanent residence permit to be granted instead of expulsion.

7. Citizenship

The Citizenship Act Section 10 has been repealed and it is now permitted to have one or more citizenships in addition to a Norwegian citizenship.

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