Your right to medical care

Everyone living in Norway is entitled to essential medical and care services. This also applies to refugees and immigrants who are lawfully resident in the country.

Anyone staying in Norway is entitled to medical care in an emergency.

That you are entitled to essential medical and care services does not mean you can decide what sort of service or care you should receive. A professional assessment of your needs will determine what you receive.

When I need medical assistance: Who should I call?

  • Your GP during opening hours
  • The out-of-hours medical service on 116 117 when your GP is unavailable and you are unable to wait
  • 113 in an emergency

Paying for medical services

​Although you are entitled to medical services, you must pay a user fee for many services.

If your fees are substantial, you will be entitled to an exemption card for public health services. You will receive an exemption card if you have paid a certain amount in fees. Once you have been issued with an exemption card, you will not have to pay most fees.

Some medical services, such as admission to hospital, are free of charge.

General practitioner

Everyone resident in Norway is entitled to be assigned a general practitioner (GP) in the municipality in which they live. This means that they are entitled to be on a GP's list. You should contact your GP when you have a medical problem which needs to be assessed by a doctor.

Your GP is responsible for ensuring that the patients on their list are examined, diagnosed and treated as necessary. Your GP will assess whether you need specialist treatment at a hospital or by other medical specialists or a physiotherapist. GPs also prescribe medicines and certify sick leave for their patients.

Out-of-hours medical service

All municipalities in Norway have a 24-hour medical service for patients who need immediate assistance.

The number for the out-of-hours medical service is 116 117.

If you call this number, you will get through to the out-of-hours medical service in the municipality you are calling from.


If you need planned treatment at a hospital, you must be referred by a treatment provider who can refer you to the specialist health service, e.g. a GP or an out-of-hours medical service. Once you have been referred, the hospital will assess whether you are entitled to receive essential medical care. If you are entitled to care, the hospital will give you a deadline for the commencement of your care.

You are entitled to choose the hospital you will receive medical care from.

Immediate help at a hospital does not require a referral.

Mental healthcare

​You are also entitled to essential mental healthcare. Your GP will assess your needs and will be able to refer you to more specialised services.

If you need immediate mental healthcare, contact your local out-of-hours medical service.

Nursing homes, domiciliary nursing services, personal assistance, etc.

Municipal authorities are responsible for providing good and proper health and care services to everyone who needs them, regardless of age or diagnosis. The municipalities are thus responsible for most of the health and care services in Norway, such as:

  • GPs
  • Out-of-hours medical services
  • Medical centres
  • Nursing homes
  • Domiciliary nursing services
  • School health service
  • Respite care
  • Rehabilitation

Contact your municipal authority and tell them about your need for help. The authority will then assess the types of services that are best-suited to meeting your needs.

Dental health services

​Expenses for dental treatment for adults will not normally be refunded by the Norwegian state.

Dental treatment for children under 18 is free, while adolescents aged 19-20 are entitled to reimbursement for a proportion of their dental treatment expenses.

Some groups of people are also entitled to reimbursement for all or some of their expenses for dental treatment.

Right to an interpreter

If necessary, you are entitled to an interpreter when you contact the medical and care services.

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Your right to medical care. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Monday, November 28, 2022 [retrieved Tuesday, April 16, 2024]. Available from:

Last updated Monday, November 28, 2022