Your right to medical care

Everyone living in Norway is entitled to essential medical and care services.

Doctor smiling

This includes asylum-seekers, refugees and other immigrants who are lawfully resident in the country.

Anyone staying in Norway is also 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 fee for using many services. If your fees are substantial, you will be entitled to an exemption card. You will be entitled to 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.

Regular 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 will 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 routine 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 centre. 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.

You can also obtain immediate care at a hospital without being referred.

Mental health care

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

If you need immediate mental health care, contact your local out-of-hours medical centre.

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

Municipal authorities are responsible for providing most health and care services in Norway, e.g. GPs, out-of-hours medical services, medical centres, nursing homes, domiciliary nursing services, school health service, respite care and rehabilitation.

Contact your municipal authority and tell them about your needs. 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

Last updated Wednesday, November 6, 2019