Government ready for dual citizenship

A proposal to allow dual citizenship will advance this autumn

Norwegian and American passports.

Photos: (left) Christian Leonard Quale / Wikimedia Commons, (right) Wikimedia Commons
Soon one will likely be able to be a citizen of both Norway and the United States.

Michael Barrett
The Local

“We will notify in the state budget that there will be a hearing on the proposal to allow dual citizenship,” immigration minister Sylvi Listhaug told NRK.

For Norwegians Worldwide (NWW), which has long campaigned for dual citizenship, the announcement represents a positive change in the government’s position on Norwegians with an international outlook.

“We are extremely happy that the government wants to change an outdated and unfair law that has huge consequences for Norwegian families worldwide. This is a key issue for us and we are delighted on behalf of all those affected by the law against double citizenship,” NWW general secretary Hanne K. Aaberg said in a press statement.

Donna Fox, co-founder of Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap (Yes to dual citizenship) also welcomed the announcement.

“After three years of lobbying for the principle of dual citizenship in Norway, Ja til dobbelt statsborgerskap has succeeded in convincing the government to change its outdated mono-citizenship law. Thousands of Norwegian families with connection to two countries, long-term permanent Norwegian residents, and future generations will benefit from the right to vote, live, and reside without restriction between their countries of citizenship,” Fox told The Local.

Norway is currently the only Nordic country and one of only a small handful of European nations that does not allow dual citizenship, although exceptions to citizenship rules do provide for it in some cases.

Parliament has previously requested the issue be assessed, although further movement had been on hold since last year.

The Conservative (Høyre) Party changed its stance on the question earlier this year. The Socialist Left and Liberal (Venstre) parties were the only others to have stated support for double citizenship at that point.

Now the nationalist Progress Party also supports dual nationality, citing security as a motivation. “This will make it possible for people who are arrested and convicted for terror crimes to lose Norwegian citizenship. We cannot make people stateless but we can strip them of their citizenship if they have another,” Progress MP Listhaug said to NRK.

But rights groups see the decision as a progressive move.

“The government has shown that they have taken on board the fact that Norwegians are more mobile than before,” Aaberg said.

Aaberg added that foreign-based Norwegians allowed to keep their Norwegian citizenships would “maintain a strong bond with Norway while also participating as equal citizens in the country they work and live in.”

Despite the announcement by Listhaug, there is still some way to go before dual citizenship in Norway becomes reality.

“We must now take a closer look at the government’s proposal. It will be interesting to see who is affected by the rule change and whether it will be applied retroactively. … We will follow the situation closely to make sure that the interests of foreign-based Norwegians are protected,” Aaberg said.

Fox said that her organization would “continue to focus on ensuring that all persons affected by the current law are considered in the designing of the new law in the autumn hearing.”

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the Oct. 20, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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