Membership of the National Insurance Scheme

Membership in the National Insurance Scheme is the key to eligibility for rights to services from NAV. In Norway, your membership can be based on residence or employment. You can also be a member of the National Insurance Scheme during stays abroad.

The provisions of the National Insurance Act or of social security agreements Norway has entered into with other countries determine whether you are a member or not. Your membership is not determined by whether you are a Norwegian citizen, registered in the National Population Register or pay tax to Norway.

Compulsory membership pursuant to the provisions of the National Insurance Act

Membership as a resident: If you live in Norway, you are as a general rule a member of the National Insurance Scheme. In order for you to be considered resident in Norway, your stay in Norway must last, or be intended to last, for at least 12 months. Membership requires that your stay in Norway is legal. When you move to Norway to be here for at least 12 months, you become a member from your date of entry to Norway.

When you are member as a resident of Norway, you can stay abroad for up to 12 consecutive months and still remain a member of the National Insurance Scheme. You can also commute between Norway and abroad and be abroad for up to six months in two or more years. If you are working, it is also a requirement that you work for a Norwegian employer who is required to pay an employer's National Insurance contribution in Norway, and that you do not receive a salary from a foreign employer.

Not resident in Norway: Even if you do not live in Norway, you have a compulsory membership in the National Insurance Scheme if you for example

  • work in Norway or on the Norwegian continental shelf
  • are a citizen of Norway/an EEA country, and work on a Norwegian vessel. You have not a compulsory membership if you work in catering on a tourist ship registered in the Norwegian International Ship Register NIS
  • are a citizen of Norway/an EEA country and employed abroad in the service of the Norwegian state
  • are a citizen of Norway/an EEA country and receive funding from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund to study abroad. There is an exception if you study in a Nordic country or in EU/EEA, in these cases you must be a member of the social security scheme in the country where you are considered a resident. You are considered a resident of the country in which you are most affiliated. It is not decisive where you are registered as a resident.

Voluntary membership pursuant to the provisions of the National Insurance Act

Voluntary membership during stays in Norway: If you will be staying in Norway between 3 and 12 months, will not be working and have strong ties to Norway, you may be entitled to a voluntary membership (text in Norwegian only) in the National Insurance Scheme.

Voluntary membership during stays outside of Norway: If you have a compulsory membership in the National Insurance Scheme and will be staying abroad, the stay abroad may mean that your membership in the National Insurance Scheme ends. If the compulsory membership ends, you should find out whether you are entitled to a voluntary membership (text in Norwegian only) in the National Insurance Scheme during your stay abroad.

Social security agreement

If you are working in or moving to a country with which Norway has a social security agreement, you must find out what your rights are under the individual agreement in question. The provisions of this agreement take precedence over Norwegian law.

Social security agreements regulate your social security membership, specifically which country that will be providing you with coverage. You will have the same rights and obligations as do nationals of the country where you are staying. Individuals from agreement countries are treated equally, regardless of nationality.

As a rule, you will only be covered by social security in one country, and, consequently, you do not have to pay social security contributions to both countries.

Social security agreements also make it possible for workers who are temporarily posted to another agreement country for work to retain their membership in Norwegian National Insurance.

Norway has social security agreements with a number of countries.

  • The most extensive agreements Norway has are with the EEA countries. The provisions of the EEA Agreement concerning social security take precedence over both Norwegian law and any other social security agreements Norway may have signed.
  • The Nordic Convention on Social Security is a separate social security agreement, established between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Norway has also established bilateral agreements with the United States, Canada, Australia and India.

National Insurance contribution

Membership in the National Insurance scheme means that you have to pay a national insurance contribution if you have an income from a pension or from work,

The amount you must pay depends on

  • whether you pay tax to Norway and on whether the Norwegian Tax Administration collects the national insurance contribution together with your taxes

  • whether your employer is required to pay the employer's contribution to the National Insurance Scheme
  • which parts of the National Insurance Scheme you are a member of if you are not a compulsory member

When does the membership end?

Work or long-term stays abroad can end your membership in the National Insurance Scheme.

Consequences of not being a member of the National Insurance Scheme

If you are not a member of the National Insurance Scheme, you have no rights pursuant to the National Insurance Act. This also means that you do not pay a national insurance contribution.


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.