Navigating UDI

As you prepare to get settled in Norway, you’ll no doubt be spending some time with UDI, which stands for the inappropriately long Utlendingsdirektoratet, aka the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. It holds all the keys to immigration, work or resident permits, and Norwegian citizenship.

Some fellow expats might be prone to complaining about the bureaucratic and long process of dealing with UDI, although my experiences have been mostly positive. Compared to, say, the government bodies of the United States, UDI is remarkably transparent and uses very modern digital systems. That being said, it’s still a big, slow-moving government organization, and you’re likely to encounter some snags as you weave your way through such a system. Additionally, thanks to Norway’s rise as a desirable place to live for both expats and refugees, at times UDI can become overloaded.

Your best bet is to read through its entire website for the articles that pertain to your situation. They are rather clear and easy to understand, and the majority of them are available in English and several other languages. When in doubt or unsure of what step to take next, drop a question to your fellow expats in the Facebook groups mentioned previously.

There is only one important thing to know when dealing with UDI, and that is it does not make exceptions. The requirements to obtain residency are spelled out quite clearly in its materials. You either check all the boxes and get approved or you do not. In a country with extreme equalitarian views, no one skips the line or steps ahead in the process. Regardless of who you are, where you came from, or the wealth you have, everyone is treated equally in Norway.

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