Norway is easily one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with its breathtaking fjords and rugged mountain ranges. This Scandinavian country also boasts some of the best views of the Aurora Borealis in the world. With its beautiful scenery and a government dedicated to conscience and transparent economic policies, it is easy to see why so many freelancers are living, working, and starting their own businesses in Norway.
Whatever the reason for living and working in Norway, there are a lot of benefits that make it a friendly, exciting place for incoming entrepreneurs. Norway has a high quality of living and support for its workforce. It has one of the best social safety nets and education systems in the world, and the Norwegian government is also focused on making Norway a welcoming place for global freelancers and entrepreneurs.
In September 2021, Norway amended its immigration policies, simplifying the application processes for freelancers and solopreneurs from all over the globe. The former Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø, spoke about these changes, stating that Norway needs more entrepreneurs “who have good ideas and have the courage to put those ideas into practice.”
You also have the right to bring your family with you to Norway when you are a freelancer or entrepreneur, which is great for those who may be turned off by the thought of leaving their family behind.
To register as a freelancer in the EU or EEA, you will need to have a valid identity card or passport, as well as proof that you are self-employed, including:
You can also register for an enkeltpersonforetak (sole proprietorship). You must make sure that your business is registered with the Central Coordinating Register of Legal Entities. If you are an ex-pat freelancer, you require a fiscal representative who is also registered in the Central Coordinating Register of Legal Entities.
You can register as a freelancer in Norway using the platform Altinn, the national platform headed in part by the Brønnøysund Register Centre. Using the site, you can register, change registration information, or dissolve and delete your business.
If you do not need a visa to visit Norway because you’re from a country in the EU, EEA, or one of the countries listed in the Schengen agreement, you can move to Norway right away. You have three months to register with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) once you have moved to Norway. You must also register your family within three months. If you are unable to travel to Norway without a visa, you will have to wait until you hear back from the UDI before moving to the country.
Once you have registered with the department of immigration, the police will issue and deliver your official documentation. The UDI also states that you cannot work until you have received an answer to your application, which could take up to four weeks.
If you work or make freelance income in Norway, you must pay taxes in Norway. According to the Norwegian Tax Administration, there is a 22% flat-rate general tax that applies to everyone. Depending on your income, there may be extra percentages owed in income taxes:
Norway also has enticing tax breaks for freelancers, expats, and other labour migrants. For the first two years you live in Norway, you are allowed to take a standard deductible of 10% up to NOK 40,000.
According to Altinn, self-employed freelancers are responsible for paying tax and any value tax. For freelancers who receive a salary, the client uses the tax deduction card and deducts tax when paying the salary.
Once your annual turnover exceeds NOK 50,000 you must register for a VAT. According to Norwegian policy, you are liable to start charging VAT to your customers and you must also notify liabilities to the Norwegian Tax Administration.
According to the European Commission, EU law requires the standard VAT rate must be no less than 15% and a special reduced rate of no less than 5%. The actual rates applied, however, vary between countries in the EU and between the types of services and products being sold. Customers will also know how much tax they have paid on the final product and how much they can deduct in turn.
Once you have your VAT number, you must submit a VAT report to the Norwegian Tax Administration every 60 days with invoices showing the amount of VAT charged to customers. You are obligated to pay any VAT owed quarterly, keep track of all purchases and transactions, ensure invoices are correct, and file VAT returns. Alternatively, you can hire an agency that provides services handling your VAT returns, such as Xolo Leap and Xolo Go.
There are four different VAT rates in Norway, and you must apply the correct rate to the right product or service you are selling. The standard VAT rate in Norway is 25%, but there are three other rates:
Check out our VAT Guide for Freelancers in Norway for more information on VAT rates that pertain to your business.
Freelancers do not have as many benefits as employees in Norway, but you still have plenty to work with. For example, freelancers are entitled to sickness benefits, called sykepenger, under the Working Environment Act. Freelancers receive sickness benefits on the basis of income as a freelancer starting from the 17th day of absence with 100% coverage.
If you are an independent contractor, a business owner, or a student you must have insurance through the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration. There is also the option of taking out voluntary private insurance and occupational injury benefits policies. In some circumstances, freelancers are entitled to unemployment benefits. Premiums for these benefits can be found on the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration website.
With today’s technology, it is easy to grow a customer base anywhere in the world. Just because you decide to freelance or build a business in Norway, you aren’t limited to a Norwegian client base. You can still take foreign clients as a freelancer in Norway.
When looking for leads you want to make sure that potential clients see the quality of your work and the variety of expertise you have in your field. Consider creating your professional presence on freelance marketplaces and building a website for your portfolio or for your business, creating a convenient way for clients to contact you or find out more information.
To run a business in Norway, you need to create your own company that is tax-compliant with EU laws. Xolo Leap allows freelancers and solopreneurs to create their own companies through Estonian e-Residency programme. Your business will be based in Estonia but can be run 100% remotely and you also get a business bank account and additional legal & accounting support.
Navigating EU and Norwegian tax guidelines can be challenging, especially if you’re a solopreneur who is in charge of most aspects of your business. With Xolo Leap, you can literally run and manage your freelancing career from anywhere in the world. So why not Norway?