Complete guide to obtaining a Norway digital nomad visa for Svalbard, the eligibility criteria, the application steps, and FAQs

Located in the Arctic heart of Norway, covered in beautiful national parks and unique wildlife, Svalbard is a perfect sightseeing haven. With the pandemic closing down premises and forcing companies and businesses to establish remote labor opportunities, the Svalbard digital nomad visa has also become a safe haven for many job seekers.

While nowadays it has become the norm to work from the office again, many people believe that working from the comfort of your own home is a better option. This allowed many European countries to notice that the economic fall due to the pandemic requires a step-up program to allow foreigners to work remotely and independently from their own homes, hence the digital nomad visas. 

Norway is also part of the increasing list of countries that have begun to offer visas to digital nomads. However, the only Norwegian region that offers a digital nomad visa is Svalbard.

What is a Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa?

The Svalbard digital nomad visa is an authorization that allows a foreigner to live in the Svalbard region of Norway while working remotely. Although Svalbard is known for its cold and icy beauty, this has not stopped expats from wanting to live there and bask in its attractiveness. What makes it even more attractive is that, in contrast to other countries, the Svalbard digital nomad visa allows a lifelong stay opportunity, as it has no duration.

Who Can Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa in Svalbard?

Some jobs that are considered a perfect fit for freelancers wishing to obtain the Svalbard digital nomad visa are:

  • Programmers.
  • Developers.
  • Social Media Marketing Representatives.
  • Customer Support Representatives.
  • Online Language Teachers.
  • SEO writers.

Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

The following documents are required for the Svalbard digital nomad visa application:

  • Your valid passport. Your passport must be valid for six months.
  • Filled digital nomad visa application form. You can find the application form on the UDI Norway website.
  • Two passport-size photos. The photos should be recent and must be taken in front of a white background.
  • Proof of residence in Svalbard. Submit a document that clearly states where you will be living during your stay in Norway. You will be asked to find a place to live beforehand since housing in Svalbard is limited.
  • University Certification. A copy of your educational degrees is required. 
  • Stable income documents. The document submitted can be a bank statement of your regular income of around €35,000 a year. 
  • Medical insurance coverage. Your health insurance must be valid in Norway.
  • A CV. The CV should state all your academic background as well as your previously held job positions.
  • Contract with at least one Norwegian client. Your business must have at least one contract with a Norwegian client to be eligible for the digital nomad visa.

How To Apply For Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa?

To obtain a Svalbard digital nomad visa, you should start your application on Norway’s Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website. Here is an overview of the application process:

  1. Start the application online via the UDI (Norway’s Directorate of Immigration) website. Register on the UDI self-service website, where you can make an appointment as well as apply for your visa. The online application process is very fast and easy to complete as you will only be asked to collect an application form and pay the fee amongst the other required documents.
  2. Submit the required documents for a digital nomad visa. You can submit the documents required for a Svalbard digital nomad visa either online (as digital copies through the UDI website) or to a Norwegian diplomatic mission (with a postage courier.)
  3. Enter Svalbard and register as a resident. If you stay in Svalbard for longer than six months, you must register as a resident within eight days of arrival at the Population Register of Svalbard. You will also need to let the tax register know that you will be staying in Svalbard for more than six months.

You can also apply through the nearest Norwegian embassy or consulate, provided you submit the application via a courier. However, applying through the embassy takes longer, and you may be asked to pay additional postage fees.

How Long Until I Get A Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa?

If you apply in Norwegian territory, a digital nomad visa is issued two weeks after applying. If you are applying from a non-EU/EEA country, the application will take around one month to process. The period is extended since verifying your submitted documents will take some time before they can be considered. 

How Much Does The Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa Cost?

The Svalbard digital nomad visa application price is around €600 (or NOK 6,300). Once you pay the visa fee, you will be given a document that serves as proof of your payment. This document must be attached to your other required application documents before submission. You can only pay the visa fee with either a debit or credit card, and it must be paid through the UDI website.

Benefits Of Living In Svalbard 

Here are some pros and cons of living in Svalbard to help you make an easier moving decision:

ProsCons
One of the safest countries in the world.Known for its cold weather.
Low-cost rent.One of the most expensive places to live in.
Quiet lifestyle.It takes too long for mail or orders to arrive.
Listed amongst the happiest population.It might get boring for people who are not used to a slow lifestyle.
Beautiful green countryside.Frostbites are very common.
Diverse and accepting country.Three months of full darkness.

What Country Do I Pay Taxes In As A Digital Nomad?

Obtaining a Svalbard digital nomad visa requires you to pay taxes. Since the Svalbard visa can be issued for a lifetime, you must pay Norwegian taxes if you spend more than 183 days in Svalbard. This is because you automatically become a tax resident of Norway when you surpass the timeframe mentioned above, and you must therefore undergo the Norwegian taxation requirements.

Is the Svalbard Digital Nomad Visa the Same as an Independent Contractor Visa?

The digital nomad visa is not the same as an independent contractor visa. To obtain an individual contractor visa means to set up for sole proprietorship. You can be eligible for the individual contractor visa if you are the sole owner of your own business and pay taxes by yourself for the business profits. 

An independent contractor visa also asks you to provide additional documentation for the application process, such as

  • Proof that you are qualified in your profession.
  • Self-employment contract. 
  • Accommodation proof.
  • Stable income of at least around €35,000 a year.
  • Norway residence permit.

The independent contractor visa is also only valid for two years at most, as that is the timeframe a Norwegian residence permit can be issued for.

Difference Between The Tourist Visa And Digital Nomad Visa

The main differences between a tourist visa and a digital nomad visa are:

Digital Nomad VisaTourist Visa
Can be issued for a lifetime.It can be issued for only 30 days.
Extensions are possible.Extensions are not possible.
Issued for remote work purposes.Issued for travel purposes only.
Possibility to live in Svalbard without a residence permit.You can not live in Svalbard with a tourist visa.

Neither the tourist visa nor the digital nomad visa lets you work for a local company. If you want to work for a Norwegian local company and are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you must obtain a work visa or EU Blue Card.

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