Healthcare for asylum seekers and refugees in Norway

Asylum seekers and refugees in Norway have the right to healthcare for physical ailments and illness, mental issues, addiction problems, and dental care.

Upon arrival in Norway

After arriving in Norway, you are entitled to healthcare when required. If you are ill or pregnant, and/or need medication, you should receive healthcare as early as possible. You are also entitled to healthcare if you have experienced war, conflict, torture, violence or abuse, and are suffering as a result of this.

Registration for healthcare

You must be registered as an asylum seeker in Norway to access healthcare in Norway. You can now register as an asylum seeker at 18 locations nation-wide. Contact the local police to register. 

Testing for tuberculosis

When you arrive in Norway, you must be tested for tuberculosis. This applies to anyone arriving  from a country with a high incidence of tuberculosis. This also applies to those arriving from Ukraine.

The testing for tuberculosis should be done during the first two weeks after arrival in Norway. For those above the age of 15 the test will consist of an x-ray of the lungs. For those under the age of 15 the test will instead consist of a blood test (this does not apply to children under 6 months of age). If you have tuberculosis, you will be treated free of charge.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations for children and adolescents

All children and youth have the right to free of charge vaccination against a number of illnesses.

The youngest children should be offered vaccination as soon as possible. Older children and adolescents should be offered vaccination a within the first couple of months of arriving in Norway.

Talk to the health services if you have questions about vaccinations for your child. Vaccination of children is optional and for you to decide.

Information on vaccines offered for children in Norway, in 10 languages (fhi.no)

Vaccinations for adults

In Norway, all vaccination is voluntary.

Everyone above the age of 15 should be offered coronavirus vaccination after arriving in Norway.

If you as an adult have not previously had nor have been vaccinated against measles or rubella, you should be offered a vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella within the first year after your arrival. You can decide for yourself whether you wish to accept this vaccination offer. The same applies for vaccination against polio.

Vaccination at reception centres

To prevent outbreak of disease where people live close together, vaccination against measles and vaccination against the coronavirus will be offered during the first couple of days after arrival at a asylum seeker / refugee reception centre. It is your own decision whether you or your child will accept the offer.

Medical examination three months after arrival in Norway

You should be offered a medical examination three months after arriving in Norway as an asylum seeker or refugee. The examination will normally be carried out by a nurse.

If you need further healthcare or medical treatment, you will be given an appointment with a doctor. You are entitled to assistance from an interpreter if required. This assistance is free of charge for you as a patient.

Where to get medical help

Emergency healthcare

In the event of an accident, serious illness, or another situation where you or someone else are in need of urgent healthcare, you should call the medical emergency number 113 (ambulance).

Medical assistance

As an asylum seeker or refugee, you have the right to be assigned a general practitioner (GP). This means that you over time can see the same doctor every time. If required, you should have access to a doctor even if you have not yet been assigned a GP. The local municipality can help you find a GP where you live.

if you are experiencing  mental or psychological issues and need help,  you can get mental healthcare. You can get help if you for example have suffered torture, violence or abuse, and need to talk to someone about what you have been through. This also applies if you experience major sleep problems.

You can also get help if you experience substance abuse problems. You can speak to a doctor or other healthcare specialist about possible treatment for addiction.

Out-of-hours medical service

If you or someone in your family falls ill during the evening or at the weekend and you cannot get to another doctor, you can contact the out-of-hours medical service ("legevakt" in Norwegian). The number for out-of-hours medical service in Norway is 116 117.

Paying for healthcare for adults

As an adult, you have to pay a deductible user fee at the out-of-hours medical service and at the doctor’s. You do not have pay to be admitted to a hospital.

You are entitled to free healthcare if you have one of these infectious diseases (fhi.no, in Norwegian). If you have one of the diseases mentioned here, you can in some cases have the right to remain in Norway until you have completed your treatment.

Condoms are free of charge and should be visibly available at arrival centres and reception facilities. Women between 16 and 22 years of age are entitled to financial support for other types of contraception.

Free healthcare for pregnant women

Pregnant women are entitled to essential healthcare before, during and after delivery. They are entitled to follow-up health services by a doctor or midwife, and they also have the right to give birth in a hospital. Pregnant women can decide for themselves whether to have an abortion up to week 12 of their pregnancy.

For pregnant women, all healthcare is free of charge. Giving birth at a hospital is also free of charge.

Paying for dental care

As an adult, you will normally have to pay for dental treatment yourself. You can reclaim the cost of emergency dental treatment if you are staying at an arrival centre or reception centre.

Free healthcare for children under the age of 16

Children under 16 years of age do not need to pay for visits to a doctor, psychologist or physiotherapist, to receive treatment in a hospital, or to have X-rays taken.

Health Centres and the School Health Service are free of charge. At these centres, all children are entitled to medical examinations and vaccinations.

All dental care, except braces, is free of charge for children up to the year they turn 18. The public dental service can guide you as to which dentists treat children free of charge.

Your rights in relation to the health services

Healthcare professionals are subject to a duty of confidentiality

All health professionals are subject to a duty of confidentiality with regards you and your health. There are certain exceptions to this, for example when you agree to share health information, if necessary in order to provide you with appropriate healthcare, or if your life or the lives of others might be at risk.

Patient records

You have the right to see your patient records ("Pasientjournal" in Norwegian). If you change your GP, you can ask for your records to be forwarded to your new doctor.

Information in a language that you can understand

You have the right to receive information about your health and the healthcare that you receive. This information is necessary for you to give your consent to the healthcare. The information should be provided to you in a language that you can understand.

The doctor or nurse will arrange for an interpreter if needed. The interpreter will have a duty of confidentiality. The interpretation service is free of charge for you as a patient, except in dental healthcare.

You have the right to appeal

If you do not receive the healthcare that you believe you are entitled to, you can file a complaint to the relevant service. The Health and Social Services Ombudsman (in Norwegian) in your county will be able to help with your appeal.

Healthcare for people with a final rejection of their asylum application

Even if you have received a final rejection on your application for asylum, you still have the right to be examined at a hospital, to receive immediate medical assistance and other essential and urgent healthcare. If you are mentally unstable, you may be entitled to mental healthcare (psychiatry).

Children without legal residency in Norway have the right to receive healthcare at a doctor and at a hospital, but they are not entitled to an assigned GP.

If your application has been denied, you will need to pay for healthcare from a doctor and for treatment at a hospital, but you will not have to pay in advance of receiving the healthcare. If you are unable to pay, the health service must cover your expenses.

As a pregnant woman with a final rejection, you have the right to healthcare before, during and after delivery, to give birth in hospital and to have an abortion. This applies as long as you are in Norway. If you can afford to, you must cover the cost of delivery yourself. If you are unable to pay, the health service will cover your expenses.

This article is available in other languages