The total number of persons under UNHCR’s statelessness mandate (including forcibly displaced stateless persons) was 4,206 at the end of 2020, a significant increase from the previous year (2,272 in 2019). UNHCR compiles statistics on statelessness in Norway from data received from the Norwegian Statistics Bureau and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Changes to the Norwegian Nationality Act, in force since March 2021, broaden grounds for deprivation of nationality to include acts seriously harmful to fundamental national interests.
New resources on Norway now available include:
- 2021 Statelessness Index Survey
- Marek Linha, Stateless people in Norwegian case law: An analysis of the status of stateless persons in Norway five years after UNHCR's mapping study, November 2021 (Norwegian)
- ENS blog, Statelessness among resettled Bhutanese refugees in Europe: An unresolved problem (June 2021)
Law, policy and practice on statelessness in Norway is mixed. Norway is party to relevant regional and international human rights instruments, including all the core statelessness treaties; and some data and mapping of the stateless population exists. However, this is limited by the lack of a definition of a stateless person and a dedicated procedure to determine statelessness and grant stateless people protection under Norwegian law in line with its international obligations. There are other administrative procedures through which statelessness can be identified, including when applying for international protection, travel documents or acquisition of nationality, but no rights or legal status in Norway stem from being recognised as stateless.
There are some protections and relatively strong procedural safeguards against the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Norway, but detention is possible without identifying a country of removal, alternatives are not routinely applied, and cases of stateless people being returned to countries where they have no residence rights have been reported. Norway also has relatively strong safeguards to prevent and reduce statelessness, which were further strengthened through a government instruction in 2016 to prevent childhood statelessness, but there are some remaining legal gaps. Birth registration law and practice is generally good, although there are barriers to some children receiving birth certificates. Deprivation of nationality is permitted, including on national security grounds since 2019. Changes to the Norwegian Nationality Act, in force since March 2021, broaden grounds for deprivation of nationality to include acts seriously harmful to fundamental national interests. However, there are safeguards to prevent this leading to statelessness, except where nationality was acquired through fraud.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.
Marek Linha, Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS)