The start guide for doing business in Norway

Norway is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. Moreover, this Scandinavian country is very well organised and the average Norwegian speaks English extremely well. This makes Norway a very pleasurable country to do business with. This blog provides valuable information about exporting goods and services to Norway and even about starting a business there yourself.

Export to Norway

Norway is not a member of the European Union, but they are a member of the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that Norway is part of the internal area of Europe and that there is free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. Norway is also a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Thanks to an agreement between the EU and EFTA, customs procedures between EU countries and EFTA countries are the same as between EU member states. There are, however, a few things to take into consideration.

Export declaration

If you export goods to Norway, you are required to declare this to customs. The export declaration refers to products that have been made or launched in the EU or products leaving the EU.

Export documents

Besides the export declaration, it is prudent to make sure that you arrange several other documents as well. These are not mandatory, but clients might ask for them. Examples of such documents are:

  • Certificate of Origin. This document is used to state the country of origin of the product. If the product is produced within the EU, you will receive a discount or even get an exemption of the import duties.
  • ATA Carnet. This document is used for the temporary export and import of goods, e.g., for exhibitions. With an ATA Carnet, costs are lower and the customs procedure is easier.

Documents for customs clearance

If you export goods to Norway, you have to provide the Norwegian Customs with several documents as well, such as a commercial invoice, freight document and a Purchasers Statutory Declaration Of Dutiable Value.

The Access2Markets website states which customs clearance documents you need to provide to Norwegian Customs.

What you cannot export to Norway

Certain goods, such as alcohol, tobacco, seeds, plants and medicines have import restrictions on them. The full list and information on what to do if you wish to ship such goods to Norway, can be found on the Norwegian Customs website.

Export to Norway and Tax

Since Norway is not a member of the EU, you charge 0% VAT to your customers. This regulation is in place for both business owners (B2B) and consumers (B2C). However, there are 2 exceptions.

  • Tax for providers of electronic B2C services. Companies that offer electronic services to individuals in Norway, must charge and pay VAT to the Norwegian tax authorities. For example, when you provide SaaS products and sell these to individuals in Norway, you are obliged to pay taxes. On this page, you will find more information about which services are included in the electronic services and the applicable rules and regulations.
  • VAT for export of Low Value Goods. For deliveries to consumers of products with a value less than 3,000 Norwegian Kroner (view the current exchange rate), it is also mandatory to charge the Norwegian VAT rate. For example, web shops selling products to Norwegian customers must charge VAT to their customers for items cheaper than 3,000 Norwegian Kroner. The threshold of 3,000 Norwegian Kroner applies to the price per product, not the total price of the invoice or transaction. You will find more information about the rules and regulations of exporting products with a low value to customers in Norway on the Norwegian Customs website.

To pay VAT to the Norwegian tax authorities, you must register your company in the Norwegian VAT register. Alternatively, in the case of products with a low value, you can register your company for this simplified procedure, or in case of the delivery of electronic services, you can register here.

Doing business in Norway

Norway is a well-organised country and is ranked 9th on the Ease of Doing Business Index of 2020. If you wish to start a business in Norway, you can choose from several corporation types.

Types of legal entities in Norway

These are the most popular types of corporations in Norway.

  • Enkeltmannsforetak: This is the Norwegian equivalent of sole owner. There is no distinction between private capital and business capital in an Enkeltmannsforetak.
  • Ansvarlig Selskap: General partnership firm (ANS or DA). Norway has two kinds of general partnership firms. In an Ansvarlig Selskap (ANS), all partners are responsible for the joint debts and charges. If a partner does not fulfil their duties, other partners will have to take the fall for it. In a DA, the partners are responsible for the debts for the portion he or she owns of the business.
  • Aksjeselskap (AS). The AS is similar to a Dutch B.V., a private limited company.
  • Norskregistrert Utenlandsk Foretak (NUF) Norwegian Registered Foreign Company
    An NUF offers the same benefits as an AS. With an NUF, start-up costs can be saved, but on the other hand, a NUF offers less assurance to potential customers than a B.V.

For business owners who want to start a business in Norway, The Official Investment Promotion Agency of Norway provides plenty of valuable information.

Taking over a business in Norway

Are you looking to take over a business in Norway? The database provides an overview of businesses that are up for sale.

Norwegian culture

We advise you to take into account the following Norwegian customs.

  • Don't be too formal. Norwegian society is rather informal, so you don't have to dress formally for meetings either. Moreover, Norwegians are not that hierarchical, so people tend to quickly address each other by their first name. Titles are very uncommon. Of course, it is advisable to remain polite and respectful.
  • Be punctual. Norwegians are very punctual, so make sure to be on time to your appointments.
  • Meet during working hours. The Norwegian working day is relatively short and many Norwegians go home by 4 pm. In Norway, people value their free time. Therefore, try to meet up between 9 am and 3 pm, preferably not on a Friday afternoon.
  • English as a common language. The average Norwegian speaks very good English, which is why business meetings can be held in English relatively effortlessly. However, if you do speak a little Norwegian, it will be appreciated.
  • Take your time. Norway has a culture of consultation and it can take some time to gain trust. Therefore, it is crucial to be patient and take your time to reach a deal.

Support for doing business in Norway

There are several organisations that can support companies with doing business in Norway.

  • The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is an alliance of more than 600 organisations and provides, among other things, a database of organisations looking for business partners.
  • The Official Investment Promotion Agency of Norway offers valuable information for companies that want to invest in Norway.
  • Are you looking for a translation agency to translate texts to or from Norwegian? is an experienced translation agency that works with certified, native-speaking translators. Texts are always translated by native-speaking translators who have experience in your sector.

Useful links for doing business in Norway

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