Bureaucracy – step by step

Step by Step – what to do PAPERWORK-WISE  if you want to be a Visiting Scholar in the US!

This is a general guideline – NOT FULBRIGHT SPECIFIC!

1) WHAT:

Find out what you want to research while in the US! Find a topic or a project you think would be of interest to both Norway and the US (at least the research council – NFR) – something of mutual interest is great if you are planning to apply for funding.


Find the University that will best serve your purpose and send personal emails to the contact person of your choice to see if there is an interest in them having you over for a year (or less – depending on your schedule).


Get this early from your institution of choice – it is an important document and critical for all things you need later in the process – especially tax exemption and different forms of scholarship! I did it in September and it was not early! Most institutions know what this is – but not all. Google it if you need examples of text.

Now – if you are not getting a Fulbright scholarship, your HOST institution in the US will take care of your visa needs!! They know what to do for the most part – their international office will likely handle it in May the spring before you are scheduled to leave! You will get a J-1 visa – your HUSBAND/WIFE and CHILDREN will get a J-2 visa, allowing them to come along with you for more than 3 months. If you are NOT married, they can only visit on a tourist visa for 3 months at a time. Contact the US embassy for more information on this!


A lot of funding has early deadlines! Keep this in mind when you start to get ready. Both Fulbright and NFR have deadlines in early fall (read about my experience with the Leiv Erikssons Mobility Grant and the Fulbright grant here).

Read more about EU travel funding here: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/dc/index.cfm?fuseaction=UserSite.PeopleDetailsCallPage&call_id=397 


a) This is the link to the form you need (or really – dont need but ought) to fill out – Application for Voluntary Membership in the Norwegian Social Security Program: NAV – Voluntary membership form

b) You also have to fill out: Form N/USA 2 – ATTEST FOR UTSENDTE ARBEIDSTAKERE FRA NORGE TIL USA (CERTIFICATION FOR DETACHED WORKERS FROM NORWAY TO U.S.A) – To be filled out by you and signed by work (and stamped) – Blankett USA NAV 2009

IMPORTANT – These should BOTH be sent to Nav International!!!! Do NOT send N/USA-2 to Social Security Office in the US as it says on the form – this will only DELAY the process!

If you are leaving for less than 12 months, you do not have to apply – BUT – I was informed that it was still smart to apply – so do apply even if you dont have to – it cant hurt! By being a member of Folketrygden (which you HAVE to be anyways) you will have to pay this fee – 7,8% of your income when your Norwegian employer pays “arbeidsgiveravgift”. That is ok – by doing t his you will have all Norwegian social security rights – hospitalization, work comp, pregnancy leave etc etc – you name it.

Avtalen får etter artikkel 3 bare anvendelse for landenes lovgivning om pensjoner, jf. punkt 1.3. Ved utsending fra Norge til USA skal arbeidstakeren betraktes som om arbeidet fremdeles ble utført i Norge, og artikkel 5 nr. 2 bokstav f slår fast at arbeidstakeren opprettholder medlemskapet med fulle rettigheter etter folketrygdloven. Arbeidstakeren beholder dermed også sin rett til ytelser og stønad etter kapitlene 4, 5, 8, 9, 13, 14 og 15 i folketrygdloven under arbeidsoppholdet i USA.

SPESIFIKT OM FORSKERE: På norsk og amerikansk side er man blitt enige om at arbeidstakere som får permisjon med full lønn fra arbeidsgiveren i hjemlandet ved opphold i det annet land, skal anses som utsendte arbeidstakere etter avtalen. Lønn, stipend m.v. fra hjemlandet danner grunnlag for trygde- og avgiftsplikt etter utsenderlandets lovgivning. Eventuell lønn, stipend m.v. fra kilde i oppholdslandet, behandles etter hovedregelen i artikkel 5 nr. 1 og blir grunnlag for trygde- og avgiftsplikt etter dette landets lovgivning.

This is our deal with the US. More on it here: TRYGDEAVTALE USA – whole text: http://www.nav.no/rettskildene/Rundskriv/148154.cms .

This is what NAV says by email by the way :

“Når du skal sendes ut  til USA, Canada, Quebec eller Australia og det betales lønn og arbeidsgiveravgift av lønnen din og du skal være en periode i USA eller Canada i samsvar med trygdeavtalen Norge har med disse landene, blir du medlem i folketrygden etter trygdeavtale med disse landene. “

UPDATE: When you are staying less than 12 months, you do NOT need to be part of “trygdeavtalen” because you by default are a member of Norways social security program. If you still do this, you will be ineligible for point 6 – Barnetrygd.

6) BARNETRYGD YOU WILL NOT KEEP BARNETRYGD WHILE IN THE US!  Barnetrygd is not part of the deal we have with the US unfortunately.  This is my post on the topic: http://researchermomonthemove.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/no-not-included/ UPDATE: Export of payment (barnetrygd) – you can apply for this to your LOCAL NAV office if you are going to stay in the US for LESS THAN 12 MONTHS. See the following post on letter etc 

UPDATE: If you do 5) you will NOT be eligible for Barnetrygd in Trondheim *at least not in Heimdal NAV office* ! Your best bet is to NOT be a voluntary member (you dont need to be one – you are a member by DEFAULT because you will be gone less than 12 months).  If you live in TROMSØ, the rules are interpreted differently and you WILL be eligible for Barnetrygd even if you do 5). My advice is to NOT be a voluntary member! We ended up NOT getting a cent in Barnetrygd because we were voluntary members, and therefore had asked to be part of the Norway-US voluntary member agreement for healthcare (which again was NOT necessary because we were there for less than 12 months and therefore members by default and have healthcare by default). This agreement does NOT include Barnetrygd. Therefore — do not become members! 

7) TAX EXEMPTION: Given that you have no choice but to be a member of Folketrygden if you go for less than a year, you will naturally not pay ZERO taxes while in the US but the aforementioned 7,8% trygdeavgift.

I have written extensively on our tax-agreement here and you should read it: http://researchermomonthemove.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/to-do-norways-tax-agreement-with-the-us/

This is the text I put in the letter to the tax authorities in my area (NTNU is located in Trondheim, so Skatt Midt):


I perioden 12.august 2011 – 30. Juni 2012 vil jeg oppholde meg ved University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) – Bren School of Environmental Science and Management – som gjesteforsker.

I den anledning søker jeg skattefritak i henhold til artikkel 15 i skatteavtalen med USA som kan gi skattefritak i inntil to år.

Vedlagt er min offisielle innbydelse fra skolen, hvor det spesifiseres at det dreier seg om et forskningsopphold hvor jeg også får anledning til å være gjesteforeleser dersom det ønskes. Det spesifiseres også at Bren School of Environmental Science and Managment vil bidra med kontorplass, datamaskin, internettilgang og bibliotekstilgang under oppholdet.

Innbydelsen har foreligget siden september 2010 og beskriver et konkret avgrenset forskningsprosjekt, som også er støttet av NFR og Fulbright (tilsagnsbrev vedlagt). Brevet beskriver også forskningsteamet jeg vil være en del av; the Sustainable Fisheries Group.

Jeg er innforstått med at det vil trekkes trygdeavgift (kopi av Søknad om medlemskap i folketrygden under opphold utenfor Norge og N/USA 2 vedlagt).

Jeg ønsker at dette skal gjelde fra 1.09.2011-31.12.2011 og at jeg også får skattekort for 1.1.2012-30.06.2012 med samme prosentsats.

Med vennlig hilsen,

Rachel Tiller

IMPORTANT 1) Check with your local payroll office if they need anything from you to attest that you indeed are in the US for a year – if they do not send in the Lønns-and Trekk oppgave for the year in question that reflects this change, you will get swamped with taxes – and you will not have pre-paid them – not a fun surprise!! At NTNU you can contact any of the people on this list: http://www.ntnu.edu/140407 – I contacted Åslaug Berre who was great – she helped me out immediately and sent me the relevant form I needed to fill out, and she immediatly processed it and sent it to the Tax Authorities! Why?

Read here in my article on when I thought it was all done!  You do not want the same tax surprise I got! The form at NTNU is called “Bekreftelse på Utelandsopphold” and only needs the signature of yourself and the Department head, the dates of travel/work in the US, and how many vacation days you took in this time!

IMPORTANT 2 – Make sure, when doing your taxes for the year in question, that you also fill out tax form RF-1150 which is the application for tax deduction while working abroad.

8 ) PASSPORT: Your passport MUST be valid for 6 months AFTER your scheduled RETURN to Norway. Check that CAREFULLY!! Get new ones if you must! Also – on your visa application, if you have letters Æ,Ø or Å in your name, follow the spelling on the two lines at the bottom of your passport  (where they are read electronically)! If it says “BJOERN” then that is how you spell your name on the visa application – not with the Norwegian letter Ø!

9) HEALTH CARE IN THE US: You get healthcare by being members of Folketrygdeloven. While in the US, this is administered by HELFO Utland where you send your receipts for reimbursement. To get help WHILE in the US and to have an easier time if you have to go to the hospital or if you need a guarantee,  you need to get an HSI insurance card. HSI is the PARTNER of HELFO in the US and is available 24/7 for guarantees and information etc. You willa lso get an insurance card which will help you IMMENSELY! Here is the story I wrote about it with ALL the information you need: http://researchermomonthemove.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/nav-helfo-og-hsi-health-insurance-in-a-nutshell/

UPDATE: This does NOT include Vaccinations! Vaccinations are VERY expensive here, and your school will REQUIRE that they are updated according to THEIR standards. Check this out beforehand and do it for free at the Norwegian Vaccination offices or at Helsestasjonen. We ended up signing a waiver saying we were against vaccinations for political reasons and chose not to vaccinate our children and were aware of the risks associated with it. I would have preferred to have had them done! You will get a list of vaccinations from your school and daycare! If you choose to pay for them here, they are several hundred dollars EACH.

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