The Newcomer’s Guide to Oslo

We’ve had a lot of people join B&B from outside Norway over the years. We know how easy it is to get lost in both translation and paperwork on the way, and made a list of tips for a smooth transition when relocating to Oslo.

Photo: Anne Valeur

Finding a home

Home is where the pants come off and the Wi-Fi automatically connects. Although, you’ll find that Wi-Fi is pretty much all around, so don’t be taking your pants off all over the place. Norwegians tend to get weird about that.

Where to look
Check out rental sites like finn.no, hybel.no or leie-bolig.no for starters. The sites are in Norwegian, but should translate perfectly fine through any translation program. You can also look into these Facebook groups: Rooms/apartments for rent in Oslo, Rent in Oslo and Oslo apartments for rent.

Areas
Discover the different areas in Oslo at Areas of Oslo and Explore Oslo’s boroughs, or take a stroll down Google maps.

Staying inside Ring 3 is crucial for staying in touch with the rest of the world — Gunvor, Head of People & Culture at B&B

B&B recommends:

Hanne-Torill: I love living at Sandaker. It’s quiet and calm at night, and by day it’s only a short walk from shopping at Storo; beers at Grünerløkka; any sporting activity involving balls at Voldsløkka; running by Akerselva, and catching the train north into Nordmarka for skiing, hiking and camping.
Silja: You can see the fjord and most of the city from the top of the 
St.Hanshaugen park. The area is also great for eating and drinking, with retro wine bars and small local restaurants popping up all of the time. The shops are also less high street and more niche.
St.Hanshaugen park
Colin: I like the mix of people in Torshov. Young people are attracted by the bars and nightlife, families with children enjoy the bakeries and parks, and then there’s the generation above that have been living there for years. It has its own identity, interesting architecture, and history.
Karina: Living in Grønland is great, because nothing is closed on Sundays.
Espen: Tøyen is really surging, with new bars and shops opening at a weekly rate. If you love the urban mix of high-end restaurants, shabby corner shops, park life and nightlife, Tøyen is your area.
Postkontoret at Tøyen

Costs of living (in NOK)
Shared living arrangements range from 5–7000/month, a studio apartment ranges from 9–11000/month and a 1-bedroom apartment ranges from 11–13000/month. Rental deposits are usually three months rent (plus first month’s rent).

The cost of Wi-Fi is anywhere 3–1000/month, depending on your subscription. Electricity is a bit trickier as temperatures affect the price, but on a yearly average you can expect somewhere around 500–1000/month.

Paperwork

Norway puts the crazy in bureaucracy. Some processes take up to eight weeks, so get the wheels in motion as soon as possible to ensure your paperwork checks out in time.

Skilled worker visa
Make sure you have been granted a skilled worker visa. Contact your employer if you need help with this.

Identify yourself
If you’re staying in Norway for less than 6 months, you need to apply for a
D-number. If you’re staying longer than 6 months, you have to apply for a Norwegian ID number. People moving from non-EU/EEA countries also need to obtain a residence card. For family immigration, apply here.

When you have your identification number, you can apply for a tax deduction card and a bank account — you need both to receive your salary.

You can also get a 10% tax rebate for up to 2 years if you’re a Norwegian resident for

  • 183 days during a 12-month period, or
  • 270 days during a 36-month period.

Register moving to Norway
You need to register your move with The Norwegian Tax Administration.

Register with the police
Remember to register with the police within 3 months after your arrival.

Get a bank account
Once an ID number has been issued to you, get a bank account, i.e. DNB (available in English). You need a Norwegian bank account to receive your salary.

Register with a doctor
Sometimes apples just aren’t enough to keep the doctor away, so make sure you register with a doctor. If you’re an EU/EEA citizen and only staying in Norway temporarily, you should bring your European health insurance card.

Therapy
If you’ve registered with a doctor, you can visit them and ask for a reference for psychological treatment within the public healthcare system. Treatment from public specialists is subsidized by the velferdsstat which means you pay user fees up to 2,258 NOK a year, and after that every treatment from a doctor, hospital or psychologist is free. Neat.

The downside is that due to high demand, getting the referral through the system and setting up your first appointment can take several months. You might have to follow up, and you don’t necessarily have a say to which specialist you get access to.

If time is an issue, you can get treatment from a private specialist. You’ll have to pay all fees yourself unless it’s covered by your insurance. Private practitioners usually have short waiting lists, which means you can get an take direct contact with the psychologist and set up an appointment on short notice. There’s a broader range of treatment to choose from, whether you prefer cognitive or analytic psychology. The price for one appointment in private practice is usually around 1000 NOK.

Buying stuff

Home is where the art is. Buy some to have something to look at for when winter is coming. Throw in a bed, a couch and a coffee maker, and you’re pretty much set for hibernation — and having company over.

Where to spree
There are two IKEA department stores located just outside the city, one in the east (Furuset) and one in the west (Slependen). IKEA offers home delivery and free bus rides that shuttle every hour between opening hours. Bolia.no is pricier, but offers more unique Scandinavian design, and have several city central shops.

Finn.no is the number one site to buy and sell just about anything. You can find both new and used items that’s either obtainable for a fee or for free.

Some of our favorite second-hand furniture stores include Fretex Ullevålsveien and Brukthall Sinsen. There are also flea markets at Birkelunden and Blå every Sunday.

Community

One of the advantages of moving to a new country is meeting brand new human beings to call your friends. But where to meet them?

Locate their whereabouts
The first thing you should do is befriending everyone in your workplace on Facebook to see what events they are attending — then join ‘em. There are also a lot of expat communities to join, such as MeetUp, InterNations and the Facebook group Oslo Expat Café.

Common ground
Why not join The Norwegian Trekking Association to experience the Norwegian nature along with other outdoorsy people? If you’re the creative type, check out the maker spaces Bitraf and Blank Space. Language can sometimes pose as a social barrier, but you can easily turn learning Norwegian into a hobby. Join a Norwegian course at either Rosenhoff language center, Alfa school or Folkeuniversitetet.

Getting around

Anne: I love Oslo because it’s so fast & easy to get around. After work, you can go for a hike in the forest, meet friends downtown for a bite and still have time to go to the movies.

Your legs will get you pretty far in this city, but it’s nice to have options. Biking is a cheap, fun and convenient way of transportation. Oslo is very bike-friendly, as long as you stay clear of the tram tracks. Buy a bike or get a city bike pass.

With a city bike pass, you can access the numerous bike racks stationed around the city. There is a 45 minute cut-off per bike, but you can always grab a new one and continue on your way.

Cash is no longer king. For public transportation, you need the Ruter pass (~700/month). The pass includes travels by bus, tram, metro and boat, though limited to certain zones. You can still pay cash onboard, but this will cost you extra. Buy your pass at a nearby kiosk, or through the Ruter app.

Explore the city

Check out the Bakken & Bæck Oslo guide for tips.

Here’s a summary: 
Good coffee, many nature, such sights.

Welcome to Oslo!