Over the years I have received several questions from clients outside of the EU regarding the necessity of a residence permit (the official name for work permits in Norway) when the stay in Norway is for a short period of time. Typically the stay will be longer than a week, or two, but less than 3 months. As there are several consequences of not obtaining a residence permit when it should have been obtained, it is important to know if the trip requires a work permit.
On the UDI (the Norwegian Directorate of immigration) website you will find that an employee or business owner, what ever positition you may have, you/the employee may enter Norway without a residence permit if the purpose of the trip is considered a business trip. Whether you will need a visa will depend on whether you come from a country where a visa is required and is not explained here.
What is not so clear is what defines a business trip.
What is clear is that it does not entitle you to work or carry out any business activities during your visit.
As people being employed in any company when travelling on behalf of an employer, is “working” when on a business in comparison to being on vacation it is vital to know what part of what they consider to be work falls under the definition of a “business trip” not requiring a residence permit?
Norway has been part of the Schengen area since 2001. So if you are required to obtain a visa you are travelling to Norway on a Schengen C if the purpose of your trip is business. On 5 April 2010, the EU Visa Code came into force, gathering into a single document all legal provisions on visas. The Visa Code increases the transparency and ensures equal treatment of applicants while harmonizing rules and practices for the Schengen States applying the common visa policy.
Neither the Visa code nor UDI’s rules regarding people from outside of EU not requiring a visa, have however defined what qualifies a business trip.
One thing that is clear is that the business trip must not involve work for, or on behalf of employers within any of the Schengen countries. A business trip is per definition a trip taken on behalf of your non-Norwegian employer.
Furthermore, just because the trip is of a duration of less than 3 months and it is taken on behalf of or in the interest of a foreign employer will it qualify as a business trip.
Consequently, if the purpose of your/the employees’ trip is to participate in projects or assist on projects lead by personnel on a permanent establishment of your/the foreign employer, a residence permit is required unless the work may qualify as business trip. In general the business activities are limited to the following activities:
- Participation in meetings;
- Conducting negotiations;
- Purchase of goods;
- Conclusion of contracts with Norwegian business partners.
As a general rule the following activities are for example not permitted during a business trip;
- Participation in the operational business, respectively in production
- Performance of services (with the exception of technical assistance, contact us for further information)
What is important to note is that if the type of work you/the employee is conducting extends beyond the permitted activities, you/the employee may not only be violating the residence permit rules, but the foreign employer and the Norwegian contract party will also violate one or several reporting obligations. If in doubt if you trip qualifies as a business trip we urge you to send us a request at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at + 47 94 85 21 22 for further information and assistance.