Expert Info

Posted by
on 12 May 2011

Hi- I'm moving to Oslo in the near future with my Norwegian fiance. Initially, he planned to be the working half of the relationship while I brushed up on my Norwegian and got settled, but now all the information I'm reading cites that Oslo is so expensive that it's likely we may need two incomes in order to survive and live well. Can anyone advise on the cost of living in Oslo - is this true?

GlobalNomad on 12 May 2011 - 10:48
Oslo is indeed expensive, ranks eleventh in the world in terms of highest cost of living. Also, because of the social system in place, even if you're a super-skilled workforce superhero you'll prob be making barely more money than joe shcmo the plumber. Taxes are astronomical and most food in Norway is imported so there's a 14% VAT included on even you're cheap, disgusting big MAC. Some people even drive over the Swedish border to buy groceries. Without knowing what your huband-to-be does it's hard to say whether you'll need two salaries, but one bit of advice I can give is to try and find accommodation outside of the city centre. Housing is a huge expense and you can certainly save some cash if you move to the periphery of town.
Gisèle Le Chevallier on 2 Jul 2011 - 21:28
Hi, I moved to oslo in 2006 and was in the exact same situation as you. I did not have a job and my boyfriend was the only "bread winner". My plan was to 1)learn the language and 2)get a job, so for a while we would live out of 1 income. I started puting money aside 6 months before moving. This -I calculated- would cover the first 3 months (including the language course).  I started doing small jobs (baby sitting, receptionist) within a month and after about 6 months I found my first full-time job. So my answer to your question is: Yes,  Oslo is expensive, but as long as you don't go out every week and stay on a budget, you can live on 1 income for some time.

A piece of advice:
- Definetly focus on the language before you get a full-time job: I didn't, and because of it it took me much longer to become fluent.  The work market in Oslo is very dynamic so you will probably find something fairly quickly when you are ready.
- I recommend you take a part-time job at the begining. It will not only help you economically, but it will also help you to get to know the culture.
- If you can justify that you have lived with your husband for 2years+, you might be able to attend norwegian classes for free (ask for more information at the language school "Rosenhof")
- Depending on your fiance's income, you can decide whether to live in the city or in the outskirts. However, everything is easier when you live near the city center: going out, shopping, making friends & finding your way around in general. The east side is cheaper.
- Paperwork: you will need a temporary "social security number" or what is called in Norway "personummer". Without it, you practically don't exist here, and you will need it to get a bank account.

I wish you the best of luck in your Norwegian adventure! My blog is about my experience here, you might find it useful: 
Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Feb 2012 - 11:04
Hi! I am working in Stock Markets here in India. I've 6yrs experience here & am working with one of the retail based stock broking house as a Regional Manager. I am applying for Norway open permit, Can you suggest me whether I would have opportunities in my current profession?
Gisèle Le Chevallier on 21 Feb 2012 - 10:20
Hi! I am not very familiar with stock market positions in NOrway, but I woudl suggest you start by looking at job adds in the local websites of Monster and LinkedIn. These sites (usually ".no" for the norwegian version) will probably give you a feel for the work market in that sector in norway. Otherwise, I would suggest you contact someone already working in that field and in Norway. You can probably find someone through LinkedIn or Internations (Another expat network). I hope this helps!
Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Mar 2012 - 02:10
hi i was planing to move norway and i use to work for mcdonalds in uk can i get the same job with that experience without knowing the norwegian language. plz inform me
Gisèle Le Chevallier on 19 Mar 2012 - 08:02
Hi, it depends on what kind of position you want to occupy. If it's a management position with some personel responsibility, you might need to speak norwegian. If you will be working at the cashier, it might not be necessary. I am not familiar with the "company culture" of McDonald's franchises in Norway so I can't be reliable for my answers but I know there are many non-norwegian speakers in the Food&Beverages infustry (i.e. waitressing). Good luck!
Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Aug 2012 - 17:34
Hi I intend taking up a government position at an Embassy in Oslo soon (3 year stay). My net salary is around 26000 Nok and an equal amount for housing. Our household consists of four persons including our an infant and 3 year kid. How much expenditure should i expect on food etc. 2ndly I would need to enroll my son to a kindergarten till he gets 5 when my government would start paying for his education. Any idea how much it would cost for child's kindergarten per month. Basically i want to also save some money which i could use back home.
Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Aug 2012 - 09:46
ya hi my name is avijeet from india, just now i got gud job in oslo..and my salary is 20500NOK. my question is i can survive in oslo with my wife....because i know that there accommodation and food are very expensive....2 quesion is they allready applied my visa so how many days will take to complete my visa on 10th of August they applied.......... please anwser me ASAP
Gisèle Le Chevallier on 14 Aug 2012 - 12:58
Hi Avijeet,
IS your salary of 20 500NOK net per month? That means is this what you are left with after taxes?
If yes, then you can survive with your wife. Renting an appartment will take at least half of your salary (depending on where & what size is the place you want to live in of course).
Regarding your visa, it is impossible to know. Who applied for it? Is your employer helping you? I suggest you find out if your file has a reference number and that you contact them directly. The agency that processes visas and residence permits is called "UDI": 

Congratulations in finding a job in Norway and good luck in this new adventure!

Kind regards,
Anonymous (not verified) on 8 Oct 2012 - 09:42
Good morning! I have been in Oslo for 3 weeks and I am reeling from sticker shock. I have to get my hair cut and foil low lights and I have been advised that my expensive USA hair care was a bargain. It will cost me almost double what it cost in NYC and Florida for the same services. If anyone can recommend a good salon I would truly appreciate it. I will be here for the next couple of years as I am marrying a Norwegian man, smile. That makes up for any cost of living adjustments and we plan to return to the USA when we are able to. I do love the beauty of the country and we spend the weekends in the mountains so there is not really anything to complain about. I imagine it is just a matter of adjusting to my current living situation. Thank you.
GabyS on 9 Oct 2012 - 08:18
Hi all

Take a look at the Expat Arrivals Cost of Living in Norway page for a breakdown of groceries, accommodation and other costs of living in Norway.
Anonymous (not verified) on 24 Oct 2012 - 10:46
Good morning all I have recently been offer a job in Norway with monthly gross of 60000NOK. I hear taxes are very high as well as accommodation. The location of the establishment is Sandvika. Please can anyone tell me if i can survive with this salary and also give me a range of the possible taxes that will be deducted from my salary. I will also like know the possible locations one can seek a one room apartment at a reduced cost(please tell me the range). I will also like to know if Sandvika is close to Oslo. Thanks for helpful responses.
Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Feb 2013 - 05:23
my advice to all of you... stay out of that rathole
Sunil Chadha on 9 May 2014 - 12:08
I am planning to take up job in Oslo. I want to know if there are schools in Oslo that support inclusive education for children with mild autism spectrum disorder? What is school attitude towards such parents and the child? What should I be ready with to take school admission there and what kind of school fee per annum I need to pay.
Anonymous (not verified) on 16 May 2014 - 09:01
Hi, Sunil Literally everyone in Norway attends public school. All public schools will adapt education to children with special needs in a very competent manner. There are no school fees in Norwegian public schools, so the cost would be minimal or none. I also suggest reading the articles at (New in Norway) Best of luck EK

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