Relocating to Norway as a developer
For many years Norway has remained at the top of the list of countries in the Human Development Index. And of course this high standard of living attracts specialists that would like to move there for work. Let’s talk about the questions developers might have when they decide to relocate to Norway.
The tax rate in Norway is progressive: the more you earn the more you pay. If you already know the exact salary, you can calculate your taxes here. As a rough estimate, you should expect the rate to be about 33%.Taxes are deducted automatically every month by the employer. Also worth noting that expats are entitled to a tax deduction of 10% for the first two years of work in Norway. The deduction is limited to 40,000 NOK on gross income.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Norway is pretty high, but it is proportional to the high salaries. Basic utility costs including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and waste services cost an average of about 1,500 NOK per month.Stable Internet connection is also important for developers and it will cost an average of about 500 NOK.
Public transport systems in Norway are generally reliable. A monthly pass can be picked up for around 750-800 NOK in most cities. If you live, work and play in the same city, this will save you a lot of money over time.
Despite rumours to the contrary, Norway's healthcare system is not free to use. Everyone pays for doctor's appointments and prescriptions, but only up to an annual limit of around 2,200 NOK. Once you hit this limit, services are free. This system is designed with fairness in mind, so that everyone pays their share but if you fall seriously ill, you won't have the stress of figuring out how to pay for treatment.
Before applying for a visa you have to fill out an application form on The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration site. If you are relocating with your family, you have to fill out a separate application form for each family member. You must pay an application fee right after filling out the application form.
You have to prove your place of residence upon arrival in Norway while applying for a visa. So, if your employer doesn't provide you with temporary accommodation, you have to find some place at least for the first month of living in Norway by yourself.
You can apply for a visa in an embassy or a Norwegian visa centre in your country. Prepare all the documents mentioned on UDI. The official time for processing your application can be up to six months, but usually, it takes much less, your visa can be easily approved in two weeks.
First, you receive a single entry visa for six months. Upon your arrival in Norway, you must apply for a residence permit in a police station during the first seven days. You should make an appointment in advance. This appointment has to be done for each family member separately, you can't make only one appointment for all of you.
Finding a new home
A one-bedroom apartment could cost you anything from 7,500 to 12,500 NOK a month or even higher depending on how close to the city centre you are. For a family-sized apartment or house, expect to pay more like 12,500 NOK-20,000 NOK. Budget for the equivalent of one to three months’ rent up-front as a deposit, along with your first month's rent.
Norway is a northern country so the heating question is quite important. We advise you to choose a house with a district heating system because in this case the bills will be lower.
For signing long-term contracts you will need a valid residence permit and bank account, and registering them will take time. So for the first few weeks you’d better find some temporary accommodation that you can book online before you leave the home country.
Bringing your family with you
Parental leave is 12 months long, after that kids start visiting kindergarten. They are mostly private and therefore paid. The admission rules and the cost are different in different kindergartens. Families with a child between one and two years of age and who do not use public kindergartens or use them for less than 20 hours a week, can receive financial support from the government. There are also discounts for siblings attending daycare at the same time.
While public schools are free of charge, there are a number of international schools for foreigners in Norway, where tuition must be paid in advance. By the way, all medical help including dentistry is free for children and for pregnant and/or nursing women.
All in all, Norway is a perfect destination for relocation if you are looking for a calm atmosphere and benevolent people. It offers you a high standard of living and beautiful wild landscapes.