Various measures have been introduced in order to achieve integration of immigrants into Norwegian society. One important measure is language training.
The Introduction Act of 2003 states that refugees, persons granted humanitarian status and persons who have collective protection are to be offered a two-year introductory programme which includes Norwegian language training for newly arrived immigrants. This arrangement also applies to persons who immigrate to be reunited with their family members.
National tests in Norwegian language and social studies
Information to adult immigrant test takers:
Who is responsible for what in the field of immigration?
The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion (BLD)
BLD has the overall responsibility for refugee, immigration and integration policy. The Ministry supervises the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) and the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) through Acts, regulations, budgets and letters of allocation. View BLD's website
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI)
The UDI ensures regulated immigration through processing of applications for various types of residence and work permits, and ensure that refugees receive protection through the processing of asylum applications. The UDI also gives professional input as regards the development of policy and rules.
View UDI's website
The Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi)
IMDi is responsible for immigrants who have been granted residence permits in Norway, and for other tasks in the field of integration and diversity, including implementing The Introduction Act and The Introductory Programme, and deciding about settlement of refugees. View IMDi's website
The obligations of the municipalities
The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and its directorates are responsible for the Norwegian immigration and integration policy. The municipality where the refugee/immigrant settles down has the obligation to provide language tuition within three months after settlement.
In matters concerning immigrant integration, Vox is knowledge provider for the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and a partner for the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi).
Vox is a competence centre and an advocate for the development of content and pedagogical approaches related to the teaching of Norwegian language and social studies to adult immigrants. This includes the responsibility for the implementation and further development of The national curriculum in Norwegian language and social studies for adult immigrants.
Vox has the responsibility for the development and implementation of the final tests in Norwegian language and social studies for immigrants.
Further responsibilities of Vox include developing and implementing continuing education courses for teachers and school management involved in Norwegian language and social studies training, accreditation of private providers of such tuition, and initiating the development of teaching methods and materials.
Vox also carries out research and analyses in the field, for instance in relation to the national Norwegian language tests.
Laws and regulations
From September the 1st 2004 newly arrived refugees between 18 and 55 years of age have the right and obligation to full-time training in basic qualifications and Norwegian language tuition through an introductory programme. The refugees receive financial support whilst participating in the introductory programme.
Taking part in the programme is a statutory right and obligation, which applies to refugees, persons granted humanitarian status, persons who have collective protection and to those who immigrate to be reunited with family members in these categories.
Immigrants’ right and/or obligation to free Norwegian language tuition and social studies are determined by residence permit and age.
Immigrants who want to apply for residence permit and subsequently, for Norwegian citizenship, must complete 600/300 hours of tuition in Norwegian language and social studies depending on certain criteria. The training ends with final examinations.
50 of the 600/300 hours are set aside for social studies taught in a language the participant can understand. The municipality should provide tuition within three months of settlement. The 600/300 hours must be completed within three years.
It is possible to be exempted from the obligation if the immigrant can document sufficient knowledge of the Norwegian or Sami language.
Who gets free language tuition?
Newly arrived refugees, their family members and persons who have been granted family reunification with a Norwegian or Nordic citizen are given 600 hours tuition free of charge.
Immigrants who come from outside the EEA-/EFTA area with a work permit are obliged to take part in 300 hours of tuition, but they have no legal right to get the courses for free.
EU citizens, students and au-pairs have to pay for their tuition and for the Norwegian language test.
Participants who need more than 600 hours of tuition can get up to 2 400 hours in addition to the initial 600. The municipalities have an obligation to offer additional training. The tuition must be completed within five years.
Read more on the web page of The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.
Read more on the web page of The Introduction Act.
Norwegian language tuition
LearnNow, Duolingo and CALST are training programs available for anyone who wants to learn Norwegian. Training centers can use the programs as part of, or in addition to, their Norwegian course.
LearnNow (Learn Norwegian on the Web)
LearnNoW uses text, sound and images to introduce the learner to the Norwegian language up to level A2. The program is available with English, Spanish and Polish as supporting languages. It includes vocabulary, grammar exercises, grammar checking, and interactive exercises.
The program is developed by NTNU with support from Vox.
Duolingo is a language learning platform available in many languages. Now it is also available in Norwegian with English as a supporting language.
Duolingo is free of advertising. Work on the various courses are based on volunteerism worldwide by users who want to contribute to language learning around the world. Luis von Ahn, PhD, and Severin Hacker, PhD created it.
CALST (Computer-Assisted Listening and Speaking Tutor)
CALST is a program for practicing pronunciation of approximately a thousand Norwegian words and phrases. It also includes writing exercises. It consists of two modules and is on level A2. CALST automatically picks exercises that are relevant to the user's native language.
The first module have exercises where an animated «talking head» shows how words should be pronounced. The user can choose from eight Norwegian dialects.
The second module contains exercises that distinguish between different speech sounds, such as the difference between <lys> and <lus>.
CALST is developed by NTNU with support from Norgesuniversitetet and Vox.
Other free sites to practice online
På vei, cirka kap. 1-6
På vei, cirka kap. 7
No special level:
In order to be granted permanent residency or citizenship, immigrants must meet specific language requirements.
Norwegian tuition with a qualified provider can be used as documentation of the language requirements. Approved providers of tuition are:
Municipal adult education centers or other parties, municipality has entered into an agreement with, such as education associations or private providers.
Pre-approved providers assumed they offer tuition in line with the curriculum:
- Universities and colleges
- Education associations
- Online schools
- Folk high schools
Private providers accredited by Vox (overview in Norwegian)
There are both public and private providers of online Norwegian language tuition for adult immigrants.
Johannes Learning Centre in Stavanger and Nygård school in Bergen
Oslo VO Helsfyr
Participants can choose whether they will both go to school and learn online, or if they want to learn Norwegian online only. Participants receive personal guidance from a tutor. Smedstua VO has been offering online tuition since 2009. Visit Oslo VO Helsfyr`s website.
Fredrikstad International School
Norwegian School at Larvik Learning Center
The course is based on individual work with guidance from your teacher.
Visit Norwegian School’s website.