This is a post that offers insight into the international student experience for anyone, but it’s also for my fellow international students who are studying in Bergen on a longer term basis. If this applies to you, you already know you have to have a residence permit to study here more than three months. And you may be in the process of, or thinking about, renewing your permit. I’m in the midst of the process, myself. Let’s join hands and together we can jump through some bureaucratic hoops!
(And, hey, this is stressful. So, how about some extremely cheesy animal photos throughout?)
1. Get Started. Did you start yet? You should have started!
I thought I was starting in plenty of time. Perhaps I was kidding myself, as while I started thinking about renewing my residence in April, by May I had little to show for it except for my “Confirmation of Student Status report” from the University of Bergen (see #2).
You have to submit your application materials in person at the Hordaland Police/Immigration Office at least a month before your permit expires. That means you have to request an appointment in plenty of time in order to have the appointment date be more than one month before the study permit expiration date.
Well, how do I know what my expiration date is??
Good question. In a bureaucratic misadventure typical to my experience, I noted that UDI’s application “help” information instructs you to check the sticker in your passport for the expiration date. Anybody have a sticker? No? Well, apparently that’s because stickers are no longer available.
So how do you find your permit’s expiration date?
You can check your residence card (it finally came in handy!). Or, perhaps a friendly UiB employee might tell you!
2. Gather your resources: have information, money, and infinite patience.
Get your Confirmation of Student Status report (from the Centre for Information and Student Services)
- Click here for information about the Confirmation of Student Status Report
- Click here to fill out the Confirmation of Student Status Report
- You have to apply for this in advance, the report usually takes 2 weeks to be sent out, but it may be longer around holidays and in busy periods.
Fill out your application online at UDI.
- Have your passport at the ready, as well as all basic personal information such as: Norwegian personal number, phone number, address, passport number, programme start and end dates, etc
- If you love to travel like me, also make sure you have a list of all the dates you were outside of Norway
- Definitely have UiB’s organization number on hand: 874 789 542
3. Meet the requirements.
You’re going to need to meet some other financial and school-related requirements as well. It’s important to read UDI’s page on renewing study permits thoroughly, but here’s some highlights:
You need to have money at the ready:
- Renewal fee for students over 18 is NOK 3200 at time of writing (June 2015).
- You must have NOK 100 920(June 2015) per year to live on in some form (loans, grants, funds in a Norwegian bank, detailed job contract or some combination of these)
You need to be on track in school:
- Have a place at a University College, University, or upper secondary school
- Normal study progress (not more than 1 year behind)
- Enrolled full-time
4. What the eff is an F-code?
I want this elusive F-code. Did anyone get one? Apparently it speeds up the process (otherwise it’s recommended that you start at least 3 months early – gulp), but I cannot for the life of me figure out how one gets an F-code. Comment below if you have the secret!
5. Meet the Police… again.
Time to head to that appointment you booked weeks in advance with the Hordaland Police/Immigration Office. Remember to bring everything! Best to get a checklist detailing exactly what you need based on your country of origin here.
You may need some or all of these when you go into the Immigration Office for your appointment:
- Your passport and photocopies of all used pages in it
- A cover letter you can download after completing your Application online (make sure to sign it)
- Documentation to prove you have sufficient funds (see #3)
- Your Confirmation of Student Status Report
- A copy of the receipt for the online fee (as one commentor pointed out below!)
- The UDI checklist
6. Wait, and careful about travel plans!
All that remains is for your residence to go through… oh, and you’ll have to get a new residence card, too.
Just wait. Image: http://izismile.com/2010/01/29/best_animal_pictures_for_2009_according_to_msnbc_62_pics.html
I’m a bit nervous about this waiting part, the UDI website says: “If you are staying abroad when your residence permit expires, you risk not being allowed back into Norway.” I’m a worrier, so I’m worried that my processing time won’t be right and will interfere with summer travel plans, leaving me sans passport, Norwegian residence card, or both. Even though I’m traveling in the Schengen area, I think I need them for flying. Anyone want to reassure me… or confirm my fears? Comment below!