Authorisation and recognition of foreign qualifications in Norway

Sykepleier med pasient
Yadid Levy/

Nurse with patient 

In some cases, you must get your foreign educational qualification recognised or apply for authorisation before you can work in Norway. Here, you can read about how to go about this, about professions regulated by law, and about sector regulations in Norway.

If you have an educational qualification from another country and want to work in Norway, it can be worthwhile getting the qualification evaluated, so you can know what it corresponds to in Norway. You should also be aware that some professions are regulated by law and require that you have Norwegian authorisation. In some sectors, there can be international sector regulations or other special regulations.

Recognition of foreign education in Norway

If you have a foreign qualification and want to work in Norway, it may be necessary to get the qualification recognised.

Recognition of a foreign upper secondary qualification if you want to study in Norway

The Nordic countries recognise each other’s upper secondary educational qualifications. If you have completed a general upper secondary education programme (gymnasutdanning) in another Nordic country, and this education gives you a general entrance qualification for admission to universities and university colleges in that country, you generally meet the requirements for a higher education entrance qualification (generell studiekompetanse), and can apply for higher education in Norway. Some higher education programmes and courses have special academic requirements in addition to the general entrance qualification.

If you are uncertain about whether you have a higher education entrance qualification, you can ask for guidance from The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service, NUCAS (Samordna opptak). You should do this in good time before you apply for a higher education programme in Norway, as assessment of the education can take a long time.

Recognition of foreign vocational education when you want to work in Norway

In general, Nordic vocational educational programmes that correspond to Norwegian vocational educational programmes are regarded as equivalent. If you have a corresponding Nordic vocational education, there is generally no need for special authorisation in Norway in order to practice the profession. However, you should be aware that certain professions have regulations on authorisation.

If you want to work in Norway with a vocational education from another Nordic country, you should contact the employer directly and apply for a job. The employer is free to assess whether you have the necessary skills. If the employer does not know what your education corresponds to in Norway, or you discover that you are lacking skills, you can contact the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills  (Direktoratet for høyere utdanning og kompetanse). 

Recognition of foreign higher education when you want to work in Norway

The Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills  can award general recognition of higher education qualifications from other countries. The Directorate  assesses whether a higher education qualification from another country is equivalent to a Norwegian university/university college degree, and how many study credits the qualification corresponds to.

Some educational qualifications from the Nordic countries are automatically recognised by the Directorate. If you have one of these educational qualifications, you can choose to download a document showing that your degree is regarded as automatically recognised and that you can immediately use it for universities, employers, etc. Automatic recognition is a confirmation that a foreign degree is equivalent to a Norwegian degree in terms of level and scope. You can also choose to apply for recognition of your higher education qualification in the usual way. If your educational qualification is recognised, you will be sent a recognition document that you can use when you are applying for jobs in Norway.

Universities and university colleges can also recognise a foreign higher education qualification (faglig godkjenning) that is equivalent to the degrees and study programmes they offer. For more information, contact the university/university college you are interested in.

Regulated professions and authorisations in Norway.

Some professions are regulated by law in Norway, and require that you apply for authorisation. Other professions have special sector regulations that you must be aware of.

Regulated professions in Norway

Most regulated professions in Norway are governed by the EU Professional Qualifications Directive, but there are other directives that regulate professions, for example in shipping and aviation. Different recognition authorities apply for different professions.

Authorisation and recognition are not always necessary before starting to work in Norway. If you cannot find your profession in the list shown in the link below, you probably do not need recognition or authorisation.

Professions in Norway with limited opportunity for recognition of foreign educational qualifications

For some professions, there are very limited opportunities to practice the profession if you have foreign qualifications. There may also be requirements for Norwegian citizenship, because the profession has the character of a public agency. These professions do not come under the scope of European, Nordic, or bilateral agreements on recognition. This applies, for example, if you are a judge or work in the police or defence.

Sector regulations in some professions in Norway

In addition to the regulated professions, there are sectors in Norway with their own special regulations and requirements. These are called sector or industry regulations.

Examples are requirements for in-service training, licences, and safety standards specific to the sector in question. This is particularly widespread in the construction, civil engineering, and transport sectors.

Nordic businesses and residents must be able to work in other Nordic countries, but in some circumstances legal and sector regulations of professions can prevent freedom of movement in the Nordic labour market. The barriers caused by sector regulations can be solved in the individual sectors, and often concern obtaining better information.

Info Norden does not have a comprehensive list of all sector regulations in Sweden. We therefore invite trade organisations, trade unions, businesses, and employees to contact Info Norden if they know of specific sector regulations and any barriers these cause.

Who can you contact if you have more questions?

Ask Info Norden

Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.

NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.

Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.