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.

Norway, with its high quality of life, stunning natural landscapes, and robust economy, attracts people from around the world who seek to live, work, or seek refuge in the country. Navigating the complex immigration system in Norway is made possible through the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). In this article, we will delve into the workings of UDI, its responsibilities, and how it plays a pivotal role in managing immigration in Norway.

What is UDI?

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (Utlendingsdirektoratet or UDI) is a government agency responsible for overseeing immigration and asylum-related matters in Norway. It operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. UDI plays a critical role in managing the entry, residence, and protection of individuals who come to Norway for various reasons, including work, studies, family reunification, and asylum.

Key Responsibilities of UDI

UDI is tasked with a range of responsibilities related to immigration and asylum in Norway:

  1. Processing Visa and Residence Applications: UDI processes applications for visas, residence permits, and asylum. This includes reviewing and deciding on applications, conducting interviews, and issuing permits.
  2. Asylum Seekers and Refugees: UDI handles the registration, processing, and protection of asylum seekers and refugees. This involves providing accommodation, legal representation, and integration services for refugees.
  3. Deportation and Expulsion: UDI is responsible for deportation and expulsion decisions when individuals do not have a legal basis to stay in Norway.
  4. Family Reunification: UDI manages applications for family reunification, allowing family members of residents in Norway to join their loved ones.
  5. International Cooperation: UDI collaborates with international organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and other countries to address global migration and refugee issues.
  6. Integration Services: UDI is involved in providing integration services for immigrants to help them adjust to life in Norway. This includes language courses and assistance in finding employment.
  7. Policy and Legislation: UDI works on the development of immigration policies and advises the Norwegian government on immigration-related issues. It also interprets and implements immigration laws and regulations.

Asylum Process

One of the most significant tasks for UDI is processing asylum applications. When individuals arrive in Norway and seek asylum, UDI is responsible for registering them, conducting interviews to assess their asylum claims, and providing accommodation during the process. The asylum process involves determining whether an individual qualifies for refugee status or other forms of protection. UDI makes initial decisions, and if necessary, applicants can appeal to the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE).

Integration Services

UDI is also involved in the integration of immigrants into Norwegian society. This includes providing language courses and social studies programs to help newcomers learn the language and gain an understanding of Norwegian culture and society. Integration is a key aspect of immigration policy, with the goal of facilitating the smooth inclusion of immigrants in all aspects of Norwegian life.

Transparency and Accountability

UDI is committed to maintaining transparency and accountability in its operations. The agency regularly publishes reports and information on its website to keep the public informed about its activities and to ensure transparency in immigration matters.


The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) plays a vital role in managing immigration, asylum, and related issues in Norway. Its responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, from processing residence permits to handling asylum applications and facilitating integration. UDI’s work is integral to the functioning of Norway’s immigration system and to upholding the nation’s commitment to providing refuge and opportunities to individuals seeking to build a new life in this beautiful Scandinavian country.

Preparing for Norway

Get ready for your move to Norway by preparing and better understanding these things.

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