Living costs for postgraduate students in Norway

Information about living costs and settling down when you study in Norway

Else where on this site, you can find an introduction to postgraduate study in Norway, search all postgraduate courses taught in English at Norwegian universities, check their entry requirements and look at the financial assistance available for British students in Norway.

Here we give you advice on how to settle down in Norway as a postgraduate student.

On arrival: register with Norwegian police

UK/EU citizens do not require a visa to live, study or work in Norway. However, Norway is not part of the European Union so you do not have an automatic right to study there as you would in other EU member states. You are not required to apply for a student visa, but you need to apply for a residence permit. You can register with the police online before departure, and visit in person the nearest police station once you arrive in Norway. At the police station, you will be asked to present essential documents that qualify you for residence in Norway. These documents include:

  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of admission to your Norwegian university
  • Your European health insurance card or private health insurance
  • A personal declaration that you have sufficient funds for your stay in Norway. In 2014, this amount was NOK 97 850 (£8,000).

There is usually no obstacle to British students settling in Norway, although you do need to prove your financial capability. Prospective students must demonstrate that they possess the minimum amount of NOK 97 850 (just over £8,000 for 2014/15), prior to admission, to cover living expenses during their stay in Norway. Applicants who cannot submit such documentation will not be considered for admission, regardless of academic qualifications.

Valid forms of documentation:

  • Financing provided by applicant: Enclose a recent bank statement in your name showing possession of the required amount (NOK 97,850).
  • Financing provided by sponsor: Sponsor guarantee letter and sponsor’s recent official bank statement/transcript.

Please visit the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration's website to find out more about immigration regulations.

Working while you study in Norway

EU passport holders may work part-time up to 20 hours per week for up to three months without a work permit.

Students are automatically given a work permit for part-time work when granted a student residence permit. Students from countries in the EU/EEA/EFTA do NOT need to show statement from the institution that the work will not affect the study progress, nor does the student need to show a job offer confirmation from employer.

Students are normally allowed to work full time during semester breaks.

Cost of living in Norway

In general foreigners find Norway quite expensive. Rent at student hostels is relatively reasonable compared to many private alternatives. Travel is also considered reasonably priced for students.

In spite of the general high cost of living, you can manage fairly well on a tight student budget. The average university student's budget is approximately NOK 9,785 per month (£900). This amount should cover most expenses such as housing, food, clothing, study materials, books, transport and social activities.

Here is an example of  student living costs per semester provided by the University of Oslo:

Accommodation NOK 15,000
Food NOK 15,000
Books & Supplies NOK 5,000
Transportation NOK 3,000
Other expenses NOK 12,000
Total NOK 50,000 (£4,200)

Norwegian Identity Number

You will also need to register with the National Registry so that you can obtain an 11 digit identity number (your date of birth plus a 5 digit personal number). This is done at the local tax assessment office ("Likningskontor"). The number is required for opening a bank account, obtaining a student card, and applying for a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund, if eligible.

Healthcare

Some institutions provide on campus health services. The semester card which you receive by semester registration may entitle you to free medical treatment at the institution's student health services. This treatment usually does not apply to prescriptions or to medical tests taken off campus. The cost of prescriptions is only covered if you are hospitalised, or suffer from a serious disease, and are member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, or have a European Health Insurance Card or another form of social security which covers these costs.