Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Getting a D-number (dummy number) in Norway

A bridge in Skøyen on the way to Frognerparken

Trying to resettle in Norway because you have a boyfriend or fiance here is not easy. If you are planning to stay for more than 3-6 months, it is advisable to get a D-number.

One of the many useful things you can do is to try to get a D-number (D-nummer in Norwegian) - a dummy number in place of a Norwegian personal number, which is like the Identity Card (IC) number in Singapore and social security number in USA. This is for foreigners only.

However, once you have a work permit or residence permit status here, you should get a Norwegian personal number. If you are thinking of staying in Norway for quite some time, it is better to aim for a fødselsnummer than to keep a D-number because some employers are not used to having a D-number, and you don't have as much rights, for example, with the bank. D-numbers are useful for the transitional period between arriving in Norway and getting your first work / residential permit.

Unfortunately, chances of a person getting a D-number is unlikely if you are a tourist or staying for just 3 months. The bank is usually unwillingly to do such a service for you, but you can try your luck if you are carrying a lot of cash and want to deposit it in a bank during your stay. Entrepreneurs have better grounds for getting a D-number and opening a bank account.

The D-number is also the Norwegian equivalent of the "alien registration number" in the U.S. of A. I don't know what's worst - being labelled as a dummy or an alien. I'll try not to get too personal here.

D-number is assigned ...

  • ... to people who do not have national identity and not be registered as resident in Norway.
  • ... justified by the needs that include:
  1. to be taxed or taxable to Norway
  2. to have a customer relationship with the Norwegian bank
  3. having account in the Central Securities Depository
  4. to receive benefits from Norway
  5. Having real estate in Norway
  6. to hold positions in the legal entities or for other reasons recorded in the Register. 

A good website with information on how to register for a D-number is
Click here for the exact page reference. suggests that you visit or write your local tax office (Skatteetaten) to get the tax number. However, an easier but slightly slower way for me was to go to the nearest bank and open a bank account. In that way, the bank sends in a D-number registration form to the tax office on your behalf.

All I did was:
  1. go to Sparebank (or any nearest Norwegian bank) branch and asked to open a bank account. 
  2. The bank then tells you that they have to send an application to the Skatteetaten tax office for a D-number for you before they can open a bank account in your name. 
  3. You smile and say ok. 
  4. The bank officer gives you a form to fill in your name, address and signature and they send it for you and tell you in two weeks' time they will call and let you know your D-number is ready. 
  5. Two weeks later, voila! You have a D-number and bank account set up. The bank calls you to go to the bank to collect your new D-number form and your new bank card.
Update: I had a friend from Singapore who tried to take my advice to do this, and she went to three banks before the third agreed to apply for the D-number on her behalf. I was lucky because I had an English bank officer who has been residing in Oslo for 10 years, and he made the process easy-breezy-beautiful for me. I told my friend to be persistent and not take no as an answer. A tip is to use all the charm you have to ask politely (sweetly for girls) that you would like to open a bank account, and that you understand that you need a D-number before using the bank's services.

When you return to the bank and collect the D-number, remember the next steps are to:
  1. register for Norwegian language courses (see for information. First you must register at a service center before registering for courses. See Oslo Adult Education Service Centre here.)
  2. record your current resident status and home address with the National Population Registry (automatic with D-number registration)
  3. get a tax card with Skatteetaten tax office (go prepared with a sum you might earn per year in Norwegian kroner)
  4. get a fastlege (literally a regular/permanent doctor, or a family doctor).  This means you would be able to visit a doctor of your choice and pay government-subsidised fees, called an egenandel. You would still need to pay for medicine, eye drops or other medical supplies. Without a D-number, getting sick or having a Pap smear test (selletest) means breaking a hole in your pocket in Norway.
  5. register with NAV as a jobseeker. If you are from an EEA-country, and has earned a certain sum of money in Norway for the last three years, then you are entitled to unemployment benefits. See NAV's website on this.
  • Be forewarned that owning a Visa bank card that comes with the bank account costs NOK 150 per year, which is a small fee you pay even if you leave your bank account untouched. But it's a small amount to pay compared to all other living expenses in Norway.
  • *N.B. Some links lead to websites in Norwegian. I try to link to the relevant sites in English whenever possible, but Norwegian websites are notoriously bad for catering to English-speaking foreigners. 

Questions? Email me and I'll try to help.
x pixy


Useful websites:


  1. Thank you for posting this! I just wrote a comment but idk if it went through... I have been trying to get a D number for the past year now and EVERYTHING I have tried has not gone through. I will deffs take your advice and try again.

  2. Thank you for posting this!
    I did the same; I went to a Sparebank and filled the form.
    it´s been a month now and no sign of a D number!
    Do you think that I can re-apply from a different bank?


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