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Loss and Retention of Citizenship

A new Norwegian Nationality Act entered into force 1 September 2006. Norwegian citizens residing abroad, who are either themselves under the age of 22, or have children under that age, are advised to consult the new regulations concerning retention of citizenship.

According to the new regulations, a person who was conferred his Norwegian citizenship by birth, and is currently holding more than one citizenship, will automatically lose his Norwegian citizenship when he reaches 22, unless he has resided in Norway for a total of two years prior to his 22nd birthday, or in Norway and other Nordic countries for a total of seven years prior to that date.

A Norwegian citizen not fulfilling the above mentioned prerequisites may apply for retention of his Norwegian citizenship. Such application must be lodged prior to him reaching the age of 22, however after the age of 21. Applications made later will be processed only if the applicant is not essentially to blame, or if it would be unreasonable that the citizenship were to be lost on account of the omission.

Applications are submitted at the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

The standard application form can be obtained from this websites right-hand corner or from  the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.

Upon submitting his application, the applicant needs to produce the following documents:

  • Birth certificate (only for persons born abroad)
  • Copy of his Norwegian and foreign passport
  • Birth certificate of the parent from whom he got his Norwegian citizenship
  • Copy of the parents’ marriage certificate (if the father is Norwegian)
  • Documentation of period of residence in Norway or other Nordic countries, e.g. transcript from a public authority (documentation from the Norwegian Population Register not required)
  • Copy of Residence or Work Permit from the country in which the Norwegian parent is residing (for Malawi: copy of Malawian Identity Card with enclosure)
  • Documentation of circumstances which have resulted in the application being submitted after the age of 22

Documents not issued by Norwegian authorities shall be presented to the Embassy in their original version.

All copies must be certified as correct copies by a public authority. The certificate must be signed, stamped and dated. (Service available at the Embassy)

Documents not issued in Norwegian or English must be translated into Norwegian or English, and the translation must accompany the application together with the original documents.

If the document is translated, correct translation must be confirmed by an authorised translator or public interpretation service.

It the application does not contain documents that should be enclosed, the applicant must clarify the reason for this in writing.

Notes on the processing of the application

Retention will be granted to applicants with sufficient connection to Norway. The application will be decided on the basis of a concrete overall assessment. Among other factors, emphasis will be placed on whether the applicant has had a passport issued that is valid beyond the age of 22 years. Applicants who have resided in Norway for a total of six months before reaching the age of 22 or who reside in Norway are deemed to have such connection.

If a person loses his Norwegian citizenship due to non-residence, his children shall also lose their Norwegian citizenships, unless the children themselves satisfy the conditions for retention.

Loss of citizenship will not occur if the person concerned thereby becomes stateless.

Notes on the amendments

Being married to the mother of the child is no longer a prerequisite for its father to confer his Norwegian citizenship on the child.

Even a Norwegian citizen born in Norway will, unless he fulfils the prerequisites for retention, automatically lose his Norwegian citizenship when he reaches 22.

The new law renders the information printed in previously issued passports obsolete.


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