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I am a Norwegian citizen. My wife is a Russian citizen.

In November 2017 we moved to Sweden together. We utilized EU/EEA law and the rights of EEA family members to apply for a EU residence card for her. The Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) issued her the card after roughly six months. Six months is also the EU mandated maximum wait time for such cards.

The good thing about these rights is that she was able to live legally with me in Sweden from day one, even while waiting for the card. Even better, since I was working in Sweden, the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) issued her a Swedish national identification number (personnummer) within weeks of moving to Sweden. She enjoyed the same processing time for that as I (as an EEA national) did.

At the moment I work in Norway (we live near the border and I commute across the border to work) and we intend to move to Norway in a few months. As we have lived in an EU country for several months, we can now enjoy the same EU/EEA rules we did in Sweden while moving to Norway. The Norwegian agency UDI has confirmed this. The process will be largely similar to that we went through when moving to Sweden.

However, there is one issue I am unsure about. I called the Norwegian Tax Administration (Skatteetaten) and one representative told me on the phone that she can only get a Norwegian national identification number (personnummer) after her residence card has been issued by Norway. UDI has informed me that we can expect that due to their workload, it may take six months or more to issue this card, and they are not always able to comply with the EU deadline.

Living in Norway without a national identification number can be a challenge, and such a number is required to have a bank account, a phone number, get medical treatment, etc.

There are some reasons I am unsure about this:

  1. In Sweden they issued her a national identification number within a few weeks of arriving in Sweden. I am unsure if this is just the Swedish authorities being nice, or if it is some sort of right she has according to EU law. If the latter, I wonder if the same applies to Norway.

  2. Some people in the Swedish Tax agency also claimed that she needed to wait until her residence card was issued before she could get a national identification number. The confusion might have arisen due to the fact that when you apply for family reunification per the Swedish rules, that is true. However, she had the right to get a national identification number earlier due to EU rules, and our case followed EU rules. I am wondering if the person I talked to in the Norwegian Tax Administration might also not have been aware of that distinction.

So, is there a difference here? Are Swedish authorities just being nice? Or was it some sort of right? And is there a difference between Norway and Sweden? Can she get a personal identification number in Norway before her residence card is issued?

Also, even if the directive is silent about this, what is the actual Norwegian practice on this?

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    As far as I know, the directive doesn't say anything explicit about this, but it certainly violates the spirit of the directive to require her to wait for the number. – phoog Jun 1 '18 at 15:36
  • You could share a bank account, get a second phone number under your own name (or just roam for free using the Swedish sim), and use medical care using your Swedish EHIC card. I'd say it shouldn't be a big problem. – JonathanReez Jun 3 '18 at 20:27
  • @JonathanReez I'm a bit unsure about the EHIC card thing. Since she's not a Swedish citizen, and won't even be a Swedish resident anymore when we move to Norway, will it still be valid? – Revetahw Jun 3 '18 at 20:30

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