Work in Norway for a US Mariner?

Greetings, I’m an American sailor who would like to work in Norway. Is this feasible? I’ve got AB-Deck and a very minimal command of the Norwegian language, but progressing at a steady pace in both my licensure and linguistic skills. Someday I’d like to join the Scandi-navy.


That is a multi-faceted question. It depends on whether you are looking at working on ships under NOR or NIS register and whether the ship is operating worldwide or domestically.

If your intention is to live in Norway you will require resident permit, but to work on Norwegian flag/owned vessel operating outside Norwegian waters and living abroad does not require Norwegian/Schengen visa.

In general, Norwegian Owners operate ships of all types all over the world, under NOR, NIS or foreign flags. (IOM, Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus flag are popular for OSVs)

NIS registered ships operate only outside Norwegian waters and EEZ and mostly with foreign crews.
The requirement is valid STCW credential, Norwegian medical certificate and basic English. (I don’t know if US domestic qualifications as AB are accepted)

NOR registered ships and offshore support vessels that operate domestically are generally manned by Norwegians, or permanent residents. STCW and Norwegian medical certificate is required. Basic English is require.
Knowledge of a Scandinavian language require of ferries that carry pax. in domestic trade,

PS> On NOR ships you pay Norwegian taxes at seafarer rates, but also have Norwegian benefits. (Pension, health coverage, free education, child allowance etc.)

Here is a link to NMA for more info:

General guidance for non-EU/EEA citizen seeking work in Norway:

You mentioned the “Scandi-navy” If that was in refr. to the DOF fleet, here is a link to their Crewing department:

will my understanding is that each EU nation does not accept USCG issued STCW certificates because their feeling is that the courses accepted by the USCG do not meet the standards of the Convention (or at least EU standards) thus US mariners are effectively barred from sailing on an EU flagged vessel. Basically, nobody on the planet wants an American mariner aboard so perhaps this is just another way they ensure this.

somebody tell me if I am wrong?

Norway is not an EU country. (Member of EEA though)

Simple way around that is to get IMO/STCW approved training (which is not accepted by USCG) :expressionless:

I worked in Norway for a few years. I don’t know the ins and outs of cabotage laws. It was a NIS registered vessel, but maybe not in domestic trade - I could not have worked on any other. I just remember the sponsorship required by a Norwegian company, going to Seagull in Horton for the Maritime Law class, Norwegian Health certificate, and getting GMDSS license through Telenor. There were several hoops to jump through at least for the Master’s license. Eventually, once overseas, the mustering requirements at a consulate for a new seaman instigated a flag change.

If you were IN Norway it would have been domestic trade.
Norway does not have a cabotage law so it should not be difficult to know ins and outs of that.
If you were on a NIS registered vessel it could NOT have been in domestic trade, or on an OSV working in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. (NIS ships not allowed until recently)

You COULD have worked on NOR flag ships in both domestic and international trade (not as Master) If an EU/EEA citizen there are few restrictions and no visa requirements…
Wages are not agreed with individual companies by agreed between the Unions and Shipowner Association in annual bargains.

Both NIS and NOR flag require approved and verifiable STCW Certificates and training + Norwegian Medical certificate.
You also have to sign on/off at a Mustering office in Norway, or at a Norwegian Consulate abroad. NIS is not an FOC and do not follow British tradition by signing Articles onboard.

Seagull in Horten is a commercial training centre and as such you either have to have a sponsor, or pay by yourself:
If you are employed by a Norwegian company you should be getting free training.


Yes. (You are welcome)

Thanks for the info!