Unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefit is intended to partially compensate for your loss of income when you become unemployed. In order to become eligible for unemployment benefit, you must first register as a job seeker at NAV.

Who is entitled to unemployment benefit?

The main requirements for being eligible for unemployment benefit is that you

  • have had your working hours reduced by at least half (50 percent)
  • have had a minimum income from paid work amounting to at least 1.5 times the National Insurance basic amount (G) during the last year or at least 3 times the basic amount during the previous three calendar years.
  • are registered as a job seeker and submit your employment status form every 14 days
  • are a genuine job seeker
  • are a legal resident of Norway

Special rules for certain groups

Find out more about special rules that may apply to you if you are 

When can you apply?

See more information about when you should apply.

The earliest you can submit your claim for unemployment benefit is one week before the first day on which you become totally or partially unemployed.

It is important that you do not submit your application too early, as it may be rejected. You should not wait too long, however. Read more about this under “When can you start claiming unemployment benefit?”

How do you claim unemployment benefit?

In order to become eligible for unemployment benefit, you must first register as a job seeker (text in Norwegian. Watch movie in English).Should you need help, the NAV Call and Service Centre can assist you. Please call 5555 3333.

Apply unemployment benefit

When you submit a claim for unemployment benefit, NAV needs some information from you, which you must attach to your claim. Read more about attachments.

If you have had a stay in your benefit period of up to 52 weeks, and you wish to start claiming unemployment benefit again, you can normally apply for your unemployment benefit payments to resume.

When can you start claiming unemployment benefit?

If you have registered as a job seeker, you may be eligible for unemployment benefit from the date you register, provided that you submit a complete claim for unemployment benefit within four weeks. Normally, that means you have up to four weeks to obtain all the documentation NAV requires without losing unemployment benefit. If you need more time than these four weeks, you must contact NAV.

This means that you should register on the first day you are unemployed and submit your application no later than within 4 weeks.

If you are receiving severance pay from your former employer, the general rule is that you are not entitled to unemployment benefit until the end of the period for which the severance pay applies. However, you may may choose to claim unemployment benefits from the first day you are unemployed so that NAV may assess from which date you are entitled to unemployment benefit. You must attach to your application a copy of the severance pay agreement entered into with your employer.

What is the waiting period?

If you have been granted unemployment benefit, you will not receive unemployment benefit for the first full 3 days. These days are called the waiting period.

You must register immediately, although you will not receive unemployment benefit for the waiting period.

The waiting period starts from the date you have been granted unemployment benefit.

All conditions for unemployment benefit eligibility must be met in the waiting period. This means that you cannot progress the waiting period if you are ill or on vacation, or if you are a regular job seeker who has worked more than 50 percent of your ordinary weekly working hours. Saturdays and Sundays are not counted toward the waiting period, even if you normally worked these days.

You will not receive a decision letter from NAV informing you that your unemployment benefit has been stopped; therefore, you must keep track of this yourself. If your unemployment benefit is stopped and you are still unemployed, you must reapply for unemployment benefit. You must have completed the waiting period within the first 15 working days after you have been granted unemployment benefit. If not, your unemployment benefit will be stopped.

If you yourself are to blame for losing your job and you do not have reasonable cause, the waiting period will be extended to at least 12 weeks. You must still submit your employment status card in the whole waiting period. Read more about extended waiting period.

Employment status forms and keeping NAV informed

In order to be eligible for unemployment benefit, you must keep NAV informed of your situation. The employment status form informs NAV of whether you wish to stay registered as a job seeker, whether you have worked, and, if so, how many hours you have worked over the last 14 days. You must also check the relevant boxes for illness, holiday, courses and other information. You must complete the employment status form accurately and submit it in due time. Read more about employment status forms.

If you submit your employment status form too late, your unemployment benefit payment will be reduced.

You must submit employment status forms from the date on which you registered as a job seeker, even if your application hasn't been decided yet.

If you give NAV false or incorrect information, this could affect your right to further benefits, you may be ordered to repay benefits received in error, and it may entail criminal liability. Read more about false and incorrect information.

How much can you receive in unemployment benefit?

Unemployment benefit is calculated on the basis of your earned income and any national insurance benefits you received last year (or the average of the last three years prior to applying for unemployment benefit). Unemployment benefit payments equal approx. 62.4 percent of your gross income. Self-employment income, pensions, any income in excess of 6 G or lump-sum grant paid in connection with the birth of a child is not included in the basis on which unemployment benefit is calculated.

The following benefits are included in the calculation basis for unemployment benefit:

  • Sickness benefit
  • Care benefit
  • Attendance allowance
  • Training allowance
  • Pregnancy benefit
  • Parental benefit in connection with birth or adoption
  • Unemployment benefit (from an earlier period). 

Please note that the unemployment benefit calculation and the calculation of whether your minimum income qualifies your for unemployment benefit are different.

If you are the non-custodial parent of or provider for children under the age of 18, you will be paid a supplement of NOK 17 per child five days of the week. You may also apply for a child supplement for children living in another Nordic country and/or EEA country. If both parents are receiving unemployment benefits, this supplement will only be paid to one of the parents.

Reduction in unemployment benefit payments when you are sick, working, etc.

Your unemployment benefit payments may be reduced on the basis of the information you provide in your employment status form.

If you have been working or participating in another activity considered equal to work, your unemployment benefit payments will be reduced. If you have been working or participating in activities for more than half of your established regular working hours in the period specified on your employment status form, you will not be paid unemployment benefits for that period. “Regular working hours” is defined as the working hours you had before you became totally or partially unemployed. NAV has determined your regular working hours, and these are specified in the letter you received from NAV regarding your application.

If you have been on graded sick leave at more than 50 percent, you will not be paid unemployment benefit, but you may be eligible for sickness benefit. 

If you have been on graded sick leave at 50 percent or less, you may be entitled to a combination of unemployment benefit and sickness benefit.

During vacation or if you are abroad, you are not normally entitled to unemployment benefit, but there are exceptions. Read more about Holiday and holiday pay.

If you are also receiving pensions or other benefits from NAV, your unemployment benefit payments may be reduced against these benefits.

If you receive cash benefits for care in combination with unemployment benefit (text in Norwegian), your unemployment benefit payments may be reduced or cease. The same applies if you receive a foster allowance.

How long can you claim unemployment benefit?

The length of time for which you can claim unemployment benefit is dependent on your earned income from the last calendar year, or your average income from the last three calendar years, before you submit your claim for unemployment benefit. This means

  • 104 weeks if your income exceeded 2 times the National Insurance basic amount
  • 52 weeks if your income was less than 2 times the National Insurance basic amount

Special rules for certain groups

  • Those who have recently been dismissed from their initial service in the armed forces can claim unemployment benefit for a maximum period of 26 weeks.
  • Those who have been laid-off can claim unemployment benefit for a period of up to 49 weeks over a period of 18 months, provided that their working hours have been reduced by at least 50 percent. After 30 weeks of receiving unemployment benefits, the employer must pay wages for 1 week (5 working days). After this, if you are temporarily laid off, you may continue to receive unemployment benefits for up to 19 weeks.
  • Those who have been laid-off from the fisheries industry can claim unemployment benefit for a maximum period of 52 weeks within an 18 month period. Their working hours must have been reduced by at least 40 percent.

Unemployment benefit and education

The main rule is that students and pupils are not eligible for unemployment benefit, but there are exceptions to this rule. Read more about unemployment benefit and education.

Unemployment benefit and business formation

If you are unemployed and receiving unemployment benefit, you may apply to keep receiving unemployment benefit payments during the planning and formation stages of getting your business up and running. Read more about unemployment benefit and business formation.

Losing your right to unemployment benefit

If you no longer meet the criteria for unemployment benefit, NAV will stop payment. Read more about losing your right to unemployment benefit

Report changes

If your income or family and/or work situation changes, or you are planning a stay abroad, this may significantly affect the amount of benefits paid by NAV. That is why you must report any changes to NAV immediately.

Payments

Unemployment benefit constitutes taxable income, and the benefits are paid on the basis of the employment status form, which must be submitted every 14 days. If you have completed your employment status form correctly and submitted it in time, you will receive payment 2-3 days after the date on which NAV registered your form.

Tax will be withheld in accordance with your tax card. Please contact the Tax Administration if you prefer a different withholding arrangement. Read more about Payment dates, holiday pay and tax withholding

You can check your payments on the Your payments service.


Most of the main information about your entitlements and duties is available here in English. There are also links to other more detailed information; however, some of this information is only available in Norwegian.