It will always be a challenge arriving in a new country to live and study. There are many practicalities to take care of. Fortunately, Norway is a transparent and well organized society. Also, your Norwegian institution of higher education will do their best to ease the transition for you to become a student in Norway.
Student welfare organizations
All institutions have a student welfare organization. You normally become a member upon payment of the compulsory semester fee (usually between NOK 300-600), which is also required in order to register for exams. Depending on the size of the institution they offer a wide variety of services. Among other things they organize nursery schools, counselling, a mental health service, cafeterias, student accommodation and sports facilities/activities.
Before arriving in Norway you may need the services of the student welfare organization at the institution to which you are applying when transferring money to Norway for the first time. If you don't have a bank account in a Norwegian bank you can transfer money to special accounts established for foreign students. In turn, they will send you an official statement confirming the amount transferred, and you can use this as documentation when applying for a student residence permit. This is generally done free of charge. When you come to Norway and have opened your private bank account, you can transfer the money to this account.
Norwegian universities and university colleges offer accommodation for their students. The accommodation facilities range from student villages with several hundred units, to smaller housing units. Your Norwegian university or university college (through Studentsamskipnaden) will inform you about housing possibilities once you are admitted as a student. Normally, you can apply for accommodation online. The website Boligtorget also provides you with information about available student housing all over the country. In Norway it is also quite common that students share apartments. If you prefer to rent a room in a shared house there will be plenty of opportunities for that.
Student visas and residence permits
Information on visa requirements and residence permits for students is available here.
Norwegian identity number
If you are going to stay in Norway for more than six months you should register with the National Registry so that you can be awarded an 11 digit identity number (your date of birth plus a 5 digit personal number). This is done at the local tax assessment office ("Likningskontor"). The number is required for opening a bank account, obtaining a student card, and applying for a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund.
Students from the Nordic countries, and students who are going to stay in Norway for less than six months, may apply for a D-number ( dummy number). This number may be used to open a bank account. To apply for this number, contact your local tax assessment office, or the Office of the National Registrar in Oslo if you are located abroad.
Money and banking
In order to open a bank account in a Norwegian bank you will need a Norwegian identity number. You can choose between local or regional banks, or banks with branches all over Norway. Some banks are also pure online banks, with no physical branches. Norwegian banks have advanced solutions for online banking so you can administrate your accounts, pay bills and transfer money online. Foreign credit cards are widely accepted in Norway and cash machines are easily available. However, please note that most grocery stores and supermarkets do not accept foreign credit cards.
Budget and Costs of living
Norway is a rather expensive country to live in. The minimum amount of money for a year (12 months programme) if you are a self financing student is about NOK 100,000 (â‚¬12,000). Remember that you donâ€™t have to pay tuition fees in addition to this amount. To give you an idea of the living expenses for a student in Norway, the University of Oslo have put together a modest budget for a semester (6 months). Remember that these figures are approximate.
Depending on your study programme, you may be permitted to work part-time to help finance your stay. A student may work a maximum number of 20 hours per week. Please note that you may only apply for a student work permit after arrival in Norway.
More information about the labour market and job opportunities
Vivre et travailler en NorvĂ¨ge: Le guide
In Norway there is a well developed system of public transportation. As a student you will have a discount when travelling by public transport as buses, trains and boats/ferries.
General travel information in Norway
Travel to Norway
French students will normally come to Norway by plane. Several cities in Norway have direct flights to European destinations. Both the major European national carriers and the new low cost carriers are serving destinations in many corners of Norway.
If you decide to travel to Norway by car, please find information on the rules of use of motor vehicles registered abroad: http://www.toll.no/templates_TAD/Article.aspx?id=118982&epslanguage=NO