Healthcare for asylum seekers and refugees in Norway

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

Upon arrival in Norway

After arriving in Norway, you will be entitled to receive essential healthcare. If you are ill or pregnant, and/or need medication, you should receive healthcare as soon as possible. You will also be entitled to professional medical assistance if you have experienced war, conflict, torture, violence, abuse or female genital mutilation, and are suffering problems as a result of this.

Tuberculosis examination

When you arrive in Norway, you must be tested for tuberculosis. Everyone who comes from a country with a high incidence of tuberculosis must have this test. You should have the test within two days and certainly no more than 14 days after arrival.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations for children and adolescents

All children and young people under 20 years of age have the right to be vaccinated against a number of illnesses.

Children under 2 years of age should receive vaccinations as soon as possible. Older children and adolescents should receive their vaccinations within 3 months of arriving in Norway.

If you have questions about vaccinations for your child, you can speak to a nurse. You can decide for yourself whether you wish your children to be vaccinated.

Vaccinations for adults

If you are an adult who has not previously had measles or rubella, and you have not been vaccinated against these diseases, you should be offered vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella within no more than one year after your arrival. You can decide for yourself whether you wish to accept this vaccination offer.

If you have not been vaccinated against polio, you should be offered this vaccination within 1 year of your arrival in Norway. You can decide for yourself whether you wish to accept this vaccination offer.

Medical examination three months after arrival in Norway

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

If you need more treatment, you will be given an appointment with a doctor. You will be entitled to an interpreter if you need one. This service 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 other situation where you or someone else needs 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 you can see the same doctor every time. You should have access to a doctor when you need one, even if you have not yet been assigned a GP. Your municipality can help you find a GP where you live.

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

You can also get help if you have 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 user fee at the out-of-hours medical service and at the doctor’s. You do not have pay to be admitted to hospital.

You are entitled to free healthcare if you have one of these infectious diseases (PDF, in Norwegian). If you have one of these diseases, you can in some cases have the right to remain in Norway until you have completed your treatment.

Condoms are free and should be visible at arrival centres and reception facilities. Women aged between 16 and 22 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 the birth. Pregnant women are entitled to follow-up 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 right up until the birth. It is also free to give birth in a hospital.

Paying for dental care

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

Free healthcare for children under 16

All children under 18 years of age are fully entitled to healthcare.

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

Child and youth health centres and the school health service are free. All children are entitled to medical examinations and vaccinations at child and youth health centres and the school health service.

For children, all dental care, except braces, are free up to the year in which they turn 18. The public dental service can tell you which dentists treat children free of charge.

Your rights in relation to the health services

Healthcare professionals have a duty of confidentiality

All health professionals are subject to a duty of confidentiality as regards you and your health. There are exceptions to this, including if you agree to share health information, if it is necessary in order to provide you with appropriate healthcare, or if your life or the lives of others may 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 these records to be forwarded to your new doctor, if you wish.

Information in a language you understand

You have the right to receive information about your health and the healthcare you receive. You need this information to give your consent to the healthcare. The information should be provided in a language you 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 for you as a patient, except in dental healthcare.

You have the right to appeal

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

Healthcare for people with a final refusal of their asylum application

Even if you have received a final refusal of your asylum application, you still have the right to be examined at a hospital, to receive immediate medical assistance and to other essential healthcare that is urgent. If you are mentally unstable, you may be entitled to treatment in the mental health service.

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

If you have received a final refusal, you will need to pay for healthcare from a doctor and for treatment in hospital, but you will not have to pay until you have received the healthcare. If you are unable to pay afterwards, the health service will cover your expenses.

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

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