How to Apply to Become a Refugee in Norway

Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslos Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking and skiing, notably at Lillehammers Olympic resort. Many foreigners want to become a refugee in Norway for various reasons. To become a refugee in Norway, certain processes and procedures are expected to be put into consideration before applying successfully as a refugee in Norway.

Who are Refugees?

Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country. They often have had to flee with little more than the clothes on their back, leaving behind homes, possessions, jobs and loved ones. Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention is a key legal document and defines a refugee as:
someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

You register your application for asylum at the police station
The Police Foreign Unit is responsible for the registration of asylum seekers. Those who wish to seek asylum in Norway must report to the Police Station located on Christian Kroghsgt. 32C in Oslo.

1. The police will take your fingerprints and also ask you about your identity and travel route to Norway.

2. You are obliged to submit your passport and other identity documents to the police.
3. You are sent to an asylum reception centre
After the police registration is completed, you are sent to the arrival reception centre at Refstad in Oslo. You will stay at Refstad during the first days. After this period, you will be moved to another transit reception centre within the region of Oslo, or directly to an ordinary asylum reception centre. Staff at the reception centre will provide information about your rights and obligations at the reception centre.
4.You undergo a tuberculosis test
The tuberculosis test is compulsory and takes place at the health outpost at the arrival reception. Tests regarding other diseases such as HIV and hepatitis are voluntary but recommended.

5. You receive information and counselling from Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS)

  • NOAS is an organization that advocates for the rights of asylum seekers in Norway. NOASs role at the arrival reception centre is to provide information to asylum seekers. This happens within the first three days of arrival at Refstad. The information includes a film and an individual conversation with a NOAS staff member.
  • You will be given an overview of the asylum process and your rights and obligations, to prepare you to present your application for asylum to UDI. This conversation will be in a language you understand.
  • You will be interviewed by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI)
    This is the most important stage of the asylum process. UDI is a state agency which determines whether or not you are entitled to a residence permit. You have to be as thorough and as detailed as possible about your reason for seeking asylum in Norway, and what you think will happen to you in case you are returned to your home country. The interview usually lasts between three and fives hours. There will be a interpreter during the interview. The interpreter is sworn to professional secrecy and may not inform others about any pronouncements or statements made during the interview.
  • You move into another asylum reception centre and wait for UDIs decision.
    Living at the asylum reception centre is a free service for asylum seekers. You may choose to live privately. For instance, you may live with relatives or friends while you wait for the outcome of your case from UDI. You are not entitled to economic support if you choose to live privately.
  • You will receive a decision from UDI: Residence permit is granted or rejected
    If UDI ascertains that your life and freedom are in danger in your home country because of your race, nationality, religion, membership of a special social group, your political endeavours or because of the security situation in your country, you will be granted asylum in Norway, but only on the condition that no one in your home country can protect you. You may be granted asylum on humanitarian grounds in instances where you or your children have a serious health condition.
  • A residence permit on humanitarian grounds presupposes that a persons health and life will be put at risk if returned to his/her home country where treatment for the disease may be unavailable. If UDI ascertains that ones life will not be put at risk under such circumstances, the application for asylum on humanitarian grounds will be turned down.
  • You will reside in a county when granted a residence permit
    After some weeks or months you will be transferred to a municipality.
  • You attend courses to learn the Norwegian language and the Norwegian way of life, including important rules and laws of the country. The goal of the courses is to enhance your chances of acquiring work in order that you can be able to support yourself.
  • If you are economically independent, you may choose to settle where you would like.

You need to carefully note the following

  • You may either return to your home country or lodge a complaint if your application is rejected

*You are provided a free lawyer who lodges a formal complaint on your behalf. The complaint should be received by UDI no longer than three weeks after you received the negative decision.

* You have to return to your home country in the case your complaint is also rejected
*Your complaint is processed by UDI. If there is no reason to change the decision, then the case is forwarded to another state agency, the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE).

* You are granted a residence permit if UNE reverses the decision. You are supposed to return to your home country if UNE does not reverse the decision. You can still send an appeal to request reversal of the decision if you have new information and documents that are relevant for determining the outcome of your case. You can also complain to a court of law, but this entails huge costs and the chances for overturning the decision in your favour are usually very unlikely. Your lawyer can inform you more about this.

*You can voluntarily return to your home country through the International Organization for Migration or you may be sent back by the police

*When your application for asylum is finally turned down, you may choose to return to your home country voluntarily or be escorted by the police back to your home country.
What you need to know about voluntary return and involuntary return

Voluntary return: You have a three week grace period to voluntarily travel back to you home country if your application for asylum is turned down. You may contact the police or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to arrange your travel back to your home country. The IOM will assist you with the travel arrangements and also pay for your ticket. The IOM can provide a well-organized, secure and worthy return opportunity.

Forced (involuntary) return: The police will escort you to your home country if you do not travel voluntarily after the three week grace period. You are escorted back to your home country when the police procure all the necessary travel documents and tickets for the journey back to your home country.


It is interesting to know that the Norwegian Refugee Council Nigeria, popularly known as NRC, Since the year 2015 has been working to help displaced communities to meet their basic needs, improve their livelihoods, access essential services, and enhance their resilience to future shocks. This organization is concerned with the wellbeing of refugees by providing them with what will make life easy and convenient for them. Their goal is to put smiles on the faces of refugees and make them better human beings in the society
It is important to clearly state here that the Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent, humanitarian and non- profit organization that was established in the year 1946 under the name aid to Europe to successfully assist refugees in Europe after World War II. This organization provides assistance and protection to refugees and those that are internally displaced all over the world.


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