Buying a Car in Norway

Norway has good public transport and low-cost flights between cities. Expats will find that within cities, the cost of owning a car might be more trouble than it’s worth. Nevertheless, owning a car in Norway can be useful, especially if looking to make trips to the surrounding countryside and the fjords.

If choosing to buy a car in Norway, prepare for a big shock. Cars are expensive, but more so are the taxes placed on vehicles. One may have to pay 100 percent of the cost of the car on additional taxes and other costs. Cars are taxed according to the weight of the car and the size of the engine – the larger and more powerful the car, the higher the fees.

Note that one needs to have a Norwegian identity number to register a car in Norway.

Getting a Norwegian driver’s licence

Expats from EEA countries can convert their driver’s licence to a Norwegian one. The process can be arduous but will mean they won’t need to take Norwegian driving tests.

Expats from outside the EEA can legally drive in Norway for up to three months before applying for a Norwegian driver’s licence. A foreign licence will only be recognised for a year. It’s a good idea to start this process early, because if applying within that year, one will only need to take the driver’s test and not the full package including the theory tests and driving lessons – which can become very expensive. The waiting list for a driver’s test can be up to a few months’ long.

Choosing a car in Norway

There are adverts for used cars in online classifieds or in the classified sections of local newspapers. There are also several new car dealerships in the cities.

There is increasing pressure to outlaw diesel cars in some parts of the cities in a bid to lower emissions, so be aware of this when trying to decide between vehicles.

Registering a car in Norway

Once purchased, a car will need to be registered with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. 

Necessary paperwork includes:

  • proof of sale (such as a receipt)

  • valid identification (including a Norwegian identity number)

  • a notification of sale/change of ownership form

  • AMV tax and registration fees

  • proof of roadworthiness, if necessary

  • a declaration from an insurance company that liability insurance is in place

Importing a car in Norway

If choosing to bring a car to Norway or to import one, it's necessary to register it with Norwegian plates. To register, one will have to pay both VAT and an import fee. Imported (used) cars will need to be cleared by customs, then taken to a roadworthy testing centre in Norway for approval. There is a one-off motor vehicle tax payable to the Norwegian Customs Service. One can then go to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration with the customs documentation, roadworthy check, AMV tax and registration fees, and valid identification to complete the registration process. 

Car insurance in Norway

By law, all car owners in Norway must take out liability insurance to cover all possible damages to other people and property in an accident. There are also additional policies available that cover damage.

Renting a car in Norway

Some expats prefer to negotiate for long-term leases with their employers rather than buying a car. Because of the high costs of buying a car in Norway, many established companies are prepared to rent cars to their new expat employees. 

Cost of owning a car in Norway

Owning and maintaining a car in Norway is surprisingly expensive. Petrol is expensive, as is all maintenance. Cars must be inspected each year. Also, remember that Norwegian winters involve snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures. It's important to have the right oil and proper tyres in the winter. The date to put on winter tyres is set (usually early November to late April), and drivers will be penalised if they miss the date and are caught.

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