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Planning your research stay abroad

Planning to go on a research stay abroad? There are several things to prepare for. We have compiled a 10-point checklist of essential tips to assist you in getting ready for your journey.

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1. Agreement for international mobility stay

There must be a written agreement between you and UiB if your research stay lasts for more than a month.

You can find the template for the agreement here.

You will complete the content of the agreement yourself and send it to the administration at your institute. The administration must save the signed agreement in your employment case in UiB's archive system.

Agree with your administration who will send a copy of this agreement to the Payroll Section, to inform them of your stay outside of Norway.

2. Contact with host institution

You can contact the host institution abroad directly. In some cases, you can use agreements that UiB has with other foreign universities.

When you receive an invitation, you should request a Letter of Invitation. A Letter of Invitation is a formal invitation that outlines the purpose of your stay. The letter should include a description of the purpose of your visit, the name of the institution you will be visiting, and the duration of your stay.

The Letter of Invitation can also be attached to stipend applications, applications for postdoctoral positions, and submitted to the tax administration as part of an application for tax reduction.

3. Work permit, visa and passport

Work or residence permit in Norway?

Non-Norwegian nationals with work and residence permit in Norway must investigate potential consequences with leaving Norway for a research stay abroad. Note in particular the requirment for time spent in Norway if you hold a permanent residence permit in Norway or you must renew your permit while you are abroad.

Visa Application

Applying for a visa can be a time-consuming process. Check if you need a visa for your stay in the country you're heading to. Many countries offer specific visas for "visiting scholars/researchers." In some cases, Ph.D. candidates might be advised to apply for a student visa. It's a good idea to reach out to the "Global Office" or an equivalent service to the International Center at your host institution, to inquire about the recommended visa type to apply for.

Information about visa exemptions for Norwegian citizens can be found on regjeringen.no.

Passport

Ensure that your passport has sufficient validity. Some countries require that your passport remains valid for a period after your stay concludes in order to grant a visa.

4. Membership in National Insurance Scheme

What is membership in the National Insurance Scheme (NIS)?

Membership in NIS (folketrygden) is the key to accessing benefits (parental leave, sickness benefits, child benefits) from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV).

Do I have to apply?

EU/EEA citizen: As an employee of the Norwegian state, you will be a mandatory member of the National Insurance Scheme while staying outside of Norway. However, you might still need a confirmation of your membership for various reasons. This could be because your stay extends beyond 12 months, you will be receiving benefits from NAV during your stay, or because your host institution requires it.

Non-EU/EEA citizen: You need to apply for confirmation of membership for all work for UiB outside of Norway.

Which form should I use?

EU/EEA citizen staying in an EU/EEA country: "A1 application - Determination of applicable social security legislation while working in the EEA or Switzerland - NAV 02-08.07". This form is digital and can be filled in online. If you wish to fill in by paper, you must contact your Head of Administration at your institute to sign and fill in the form "Skjema for arbeidsgiver - bekreftelse på utsending - NAV 02-08.08" (employer's confirmation).

Staying outside of the EU/EEA OR non-EU/EEA citizen staying in an EU/EEA country: Application for membership in the National Insurance Scheme during your stay outside the EEA - NAV 02-08.05. You must contact your Head of Administration at your institute to sign and fill in the form "Skjema for arbeidsgiver - bekreftelse på utsending - NAV 02-08.06" (employer's confirmation).

The forms can be found in NAV's webpages about application and forms.

When do I have to apply?

NAV has long processing time for applications, up to 4 months. We recommend starting the process in good time.

5. Health rights and Insurance

Vaccinations

Check the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (fhi.no) for recommended vaccines for the region you are traveling to and consult your host institution about any vaccine requirements beyond FHI recommendations. You can access an overview of your vaccines taken in Norway at Helsenorge.no (Norwegian and English information).

Contact Occupational health service at UiB to find out which vaccines they can offer.

Health Rights for Travel in EU/EEA

Less than 3 months

EU/EEA-citizen: Order the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which grants you the same medical care rights as the citizens of the country you are in.

Non-EU/EEA citizen: You may still be entitled to healthcare coverage during temporary stays in other EEA countries. Contact Helfo for more information.

More than 3 months

Apply for the S1 certificate (previously E106) from HELFO. 

Once you receive confirmation, you must submit it to the social security authorities in the host country for it to be valid. This will provide you with the same rights as the European Health Insurance Card.

Health Rights for Travel Outside of EU/EEA

Read more about what the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO) says about health rights when you are sent abroad by a Norwegian employer and stay outside of Norway.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance covers expenses other than HELFO's health rights coverage abroad.

Standard travel insurance terms generally do not cover stays outside your home country for over 90 days for work-related travel. If you already have a private travel insurance, check the terms and conditions (or contact your insurance provider).

If you need a separate travel insurance for research stays, contact the International Centre for more information.

Required Local Health Insurance

If your visa or host institution require you to purchase a local health insurance, contact your faculty/unit for cost reimbursement arrangements.

6. Reporting a temporary address change

You are required by law to report a move when you plan on staying in another country for six months or more. This is done through the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten). If you are moving to a Nordic country, report your move in the country you are relocating to.

What happens when you report a move?

The Norwegian Tax Administration will determine whether to register you as having moved out of Norway or not. If you intend to return to Norway, you typically won't be registered as having moved out. If you are registered as having moved out and disagree with this, you can contact the Norwegian Tax Administration to appeal the decision. Make sure to carefully read the decision from the tax authority. The usual deadline for appeals is three weeks.

An approved change of address will result, among other things, in losing your general practitioner in Norway. You will be assigned a new general practitioner when you report your move back to Norway, but you will not have the right to your previous one.

7. Change your tax card

During stays in countries that offer special benefits for researchers, it might be relevant to apply for reduced income tax. See financial preparations for more information about the tax agreement between Norway and the USA.

8. Important documents

  • Work agreement (with description of pay level). 
  • Marriage certificate 
  • Vaccination card
  • Birth certificate for children (Order certificate in English)
  • European Healt insurance card
  • S1 certificate from HELFO

Are you travelling with children in kindergarten or school age, please remember to bring

  • Statement regarding level from school/kindergarten
  • Vaccination card

9. Subletting apartment in Norway

Make sure to check if your house insurance allows for subletting your house/apartment. Remember that any stipend you receive which is "labelled" for covering housing will become taxable if you sublet your apartment/housing in Norway during your mobility period.

UiB has an internal marked for subletting of apartments for employees. Please contact housing@uib.no if you do not have access to advertise on the internal marked. 

More about taxation when subletting your own apartment.

10. Booking flight

Employees at UiB are strongly advised to use Berg-Hansen for business travels and credit card for paying tickets. Visit booking travels and credit card for more information.