Entry and residence

Svalbard is part of the Kingdom of Norway. If you are considering moving to Svalbard to live, there are several important factors to consider.

Published 6/20/2019, Updated 4/26/2024

Valid travel documents to Svalbard
All travellers to Svalbard is obliged to bring a valid travel document. This also applies to crew and passengers on private jets and sea vessels, regardless of size or type.

A passport is the only valid travel document for entry to Svalbard. For Norwegian citizens, a national ID card is also accepted.

There are no requirements for the validity period of the travel document beyond the date of entry. However, we recommend that the travel document is valid for a period after the assumed date of departure. This is because there are very limited opportunities to renew your travel documents while staying in Svalbard.

Additional requirements for private flights and sea vessels
The carrier of aircraft is obliged to send an advanced notification with information about passengers and crew. The same applies to sea vessels en route to or from internal waters or harbours.

For a more detailed description of the content of the advance notification and the deadlines for submitting these, please refer to "Regulations on the control of travelers to and from Svalbard".

The carrier of aircraft and the captain of sea vessels are also obliged to ensure that all passengers is in possession of a valid travel document before arriving Svalbard.

Visa to Schengen
In mainland Norway, the Immigration Act regulates foreigners’ access to and residence in the country. Although Svalbard is part of Norway, the Immigration Act does not apply to the archipelago. 

Foreigners do not need a visa or work and residence permits from the Norwegian authorities to travel to Svalbard. However, foreign citizens with a visa requirement for the Schengen Area must have a Schengen visa when travelling to and from Svalbard via mainland Norway. It’s important to ensure that you get a double-entry visa so you can return to the Schengen Area (mainland Norway) after your stay in Svalbard.

Requests for Schengen visas must be directed to the nearest embassy.

Requirements for staying
Although you do not need a visa or your own work and residence permit, everyone must meet certain requirements in order to stay in Svalbard. These requirements are governed by a separate policy called “Regulations relating to rejection and expulsion of persons from Svalbard”. Among the requirements is that you must have the means to be able to reside on Svalbard. These requirements apply to both foreigners and Norwegian citizens, and The Governor of Svalbard may reject persons who do not meet the requirements. Therefore, those planning to come to the archipelago are advised to obtain work and housing before they arrive.

The Governor of Svalbard does not arrange work and does not have an overview of which jobs are available. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) provides an overview of job vacancies in Norwegian, but not in English. However, NAV has English pages with general information about working in Norway, and you contact them to enquire further. Another option is to contact the various employers in Longyearbyen directly.

Housing and work
The housing market in Svalbard differs from the housing market in mainland Norway. Most of the housing is owned by the various employers who offer them to employees as part of their employment. In other words, it’s hard to get housing if you do not have a job. The Norwegian state owns practically all land in Svalbard and in practice it is not possible to buy a plot for building your own home. Some private housing has been built on rented land. This housing has been sold or rented out to private individuals in Longyearbyen. Housing prices are very high.

The Governor of Svalbard can provide advice and guidance with respect to Norwegian immigration legislation. You can also get application forms for the various permits here, e.g. permission to study on the mainland. The Governor has the authority to make decisions on visa matters. The Governor also accepts applications for residence permits and citizenship. These applications are forwarded to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) for processing.