The requirement for four years’ employment or education in family immigration cases

In some family immigration cases, the reference person (the person who already holds a residence permit in Norway) must have worked or studied full-time in Norway for a total of four years.

To whom does the requirement apply?

The requirement only applies if the applicant is a:

  • spouse, if you married after the reference person moved to Norway.
  • cohabitant without children, if you have lived together for less than two years.
  • cohabitant with children, if the children were conceived after the reference person moved to Norway. (The requirement does not apply if the child was conceived while you were both holding residence permits in Norway.) 
  • engaged and plan to marry.


the reference person holds a residence permit:

  • as a resettlement refugee
  • on grounds of protection, asylum or protection against being returned (non-refoulement)
  • on grounds of strong humanitarian considerations or a particular connection to Norway
  • as a family immigrant (granted family immigration with another person in Norway)
  • permanent residence permit (settlement permit) after you have held one of the other permits on this list

These activities count towards meeting the requirement

  • paid work
  • introduction programme
  • education (primary and lower secondary school, upper secondary school and higher education)
  • qualification programme or qualification measures under the auspices of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation (NAV)
  • parental leave for up to 46 weeks after childbirth or adoption, if you are entitled to parental benefit
  • sickness absence with sickness benefit
  • disability pension or retirement pension

These activities can be combined, but you must have worked or studied full-time, or combined work and studies for each of the four years.


  • You have studied 50% of the time and worked 50% of the time for four years
  • You have participated in the introduction programme for two years and then worked in a full-time position for two years
  • You have participated in a qualification programme for 1.5 years and studied full-time for 2.5 years.

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