No. 1018.
Mr. Gade to Mr. Rives.

No. 112.]

Sir: The last session of the Storthing, which adjourned about a month ago, made an important reform in one point of the common law of Norway.

The new law establishes the relations which a person claiming Norwegian citizenship must have to this realm. In accordance with the new regulations, any one applying for citizenship must fulfill conditions which establish the sincerity of his intention to settle in the country. The law regulates at the same time the heretofore unlimited and uncontrolled right of foreigners to hold or lease real estate in Norway. A special permission will henceforth be required in either case.

I beg to forward, herewith inclosed, a printed copy of an English translation of the law mentioned.

I am, etc.,

Gerhard Gade.
[Page 1491]

Law of Norwegian citizenship.

We, Oscar, by the; grace of God, King of Norway and Sweden, the Goths and Vends:—

To all whom these presents may concern, greeting:—

Be it known, that to us has been presented the resolution, dated 17th April of the present year, of the now assembled Ordinary Storthing, as follows:—

Sec. 1. Norwegian citizenship is acquired at birth by legitimate children, whose father or mother at the time of the birth possessed Norwegian subjects-rights; and by illegitimate children whose mother had such rights. Children found within the realm whose parentage is unknown, or whose subject-relations can not be ascertained previous to such child attaining eighteen years of age, shall be considered as born of Norwegian subjects.

Sec. 2. Norwegian citizenship may be acquired by voluntary acts.

(a) By marriage of a foreign woman to a Norwegian subject.

(b) By assumption of a permanent residence within the realm, in so far as the resident has, in terms of section 92, a, b, of the law of the constitution* (Grundloven), the rights of Norwegian birth. This provision shall not, however, affect a native-born person who assumes a permanent residence within the realm by reason of an appointment in the service of a foreign government; nor a woman who, although she may be a native-born Norwegian, is married to the subject of a foreign state.

(c) By acceptance of an appointment in a public office; or by acceptance of a fixed appointment by the King or a Government department, as an officer in the service of the Norwegian state. In regard to offices or appointments in that public service which is a joint one for Norway and Sweden, this provision shall only affect such persons as possess native-born Norwegian subject’s-rights, and who abandon the subject-relation in which they may stand to a foreign state.

Sec 3. The rights of Norwegian citizenship may also be granted to other inhabitants of the realm by a special license by the King or the authority empowered by him. Such license shall, however, in general, be only granted to such as:—

(a) Have had a fixed residence within the realm for three successive years.

(b) Have acquired a legal domicile in a Norwegian poor’s-district, or in such a manner as, according to circumstances, may be found sufficiently satisfactory to effect the object, provides a security against either himself or family becoming a burden upon the public poor rates before he can attain the qualification necessary to acquire legal rights of domicile, if the rights of citizenship were not immediately granted to him.

(c) Have attained majority.

(d) Do not occupy any of those positions which by section 52a and section 53a of the law of the constitution involve the suspension or loss of the right to the franchise. Whosoever desires, subject to those provisions, to become a Norwegian citizen, must present an application to that effect through the authority of the place where he resides, accompanied by all particulars of where he has resided during his stay within the realm, and in what other state he possesses the rights of a subject; also, by a declaration that, subject to the grant of the application, he abandons all subject-relation to that other state. If such abandonment of subject-relation requires by the laws of such other state the consent of its Government, or other authority, the applicant shall be bound to produce proof that he has obtained such consent.

If the application is complied with, there shall be granted to the applicant letters-patent in such form as the King may prescribe.

The grant of such letters-patent shall not take effect until he to whom they have been granted has sworn the oath prescribed in section 511 of the law of the constitution. The judge before whom the oath is sworn shall indorse upon the letters-patent that such oath has been sworn before him.

[Page 1492]

Widows or spinsters may acquire the rights of citizenship in the manner before described, but shall not be required to take the oath.

Sec. 4. The rights of citizenship acquired in terms of section 2 and section 3 of this present law descend also upon the wife of such person as has acquired them; also, upon his or her children who have not attained majority, and who reside with the parents or are reared under their authority.

Sec. 5. Every immigrant foreigner who, without being registered in the census appointed by section 51 of the law of the constitution,* yet assumes to have possessed the rights of citizenship at the time when this present law takes effect must, in order to establish such assumed rights, apply within one year from such time to the supreme authority for letters of citizenship.

For persons who at the time when this law first takes effect have not then attained majority, the period of grace allowed for the making of such application shall be reckoned from the attainment of majority.

If the supreme authority shall find the application well-founded, and the applicant satisfies the conditions stated in section 3 a and b of the present law, letters of citizenship shall be issued to him, and serve as complete warrant for his rights of citizenship. If the application is refused, such refusal shall not deprive the applicant of any rights that under the pre-existing laws pertain to him.

Sec. 6. The rights of Norwegian citizenship shall be forfeited, on

(a) becoming the subject of a foreign state.

(b) on permanently leaving the country. But the Norwegian subject who by section 92 a, b, or d, of the law of the constitution possesses the rights pertaining to native birth may maintain his subject-relation, if he, within a year of his removal or from the day that the present law takes effect, emits a declaration before the Norwegian consul of the place that he desires to remain a Norwegian subject.

The declaration shall be effective for a period of 10 years, and may, before expiry of the period, be renewed with the same effect for a similar term of years.

Whosoever removes to a foreign country on account of an appointment in the public service of Norway, or in the joint public service of Norway and Sweden, retains his Norwegian subject-relation.

In every case where the emigrant retains the rights of a Norwegian subject they also descend upon his wife, and upon his or her children who have not yet attained majority, and who reside with the parents or are reared under their authority.

Sec. 7. Whosoever in terms of 92 a, b, or d of the law of the constitution possesses the rights pertaining to native birth, remains, always, entitled to take up a permanent residence within the realm. Such persons retain the legal domicile determined by section 16, for the towns, and section 17, for the country, of the poor law of 6th June, 1863.§

Norwegian subjects are entitled to remain within the realm except in the case of being delivered up to Sweden in terms of the law of 11th September, 1818. Section 1 of the law of 17th June, 1886, containing changes and additions to the poor laws, is [Page 1493] hereby annulled in the ease of Norwegian subjects, whilst section 2 of the same law* shall continue in effect in respect of emigrant Norwegian subjects who have not the rights pertaining to Norwegian native-birth.

Norwegian citizenship involves also the relation of subject. The freedom from military service, conditionally granted to immigrant foreigners by section 12 of the law of conscription of 11th May, 1866, remains unaffected in their case, notwithstanding that they may have become Norwegian citizens.

Sec. 8. The inhabitants of the realm who have not acquired Norwegian citizenship are not, either, Norwegian subjects. Their legal position remains, as before, regulated, as provided in all laws other than the law of the constitution and this present law, and appointed for Norwegian subjects, native-born inhabitants of the realm, Norwegians, the inhabitants of the Kingdom, or Norwegian citizens; except that immigrant foreigners remain subject to be expelled the realm in the same cases as formerly. The law of 4th August, 1846, having reference to eligibility for certain communal offices, also the law of 17th June, 1886,§ referred to in the preceding paragraph, shall continue to remain applicable to them.

Sec. 9. Without a license, to be granted by the King or such authority as he may empower, heritable property within the realm can, in future, not be acquired with legal title by others than Norwegian or Swedish subjects, or corporations, institutions, or limited liability companies, whose management is domiciled in Norway or Sweden, and consists exclusively of Norwegian or Swedish subjects. The same provision shall hold good in respect of estate acquired on lease.

Exceptions from the provisions of this paragraph may be granted by the King in the case of leases and other rights of user entered into for a term not exceeding ten years.

The right to acquire a mining license, parcel of mining land, and respite in the working of mines, in terms of the law of mines of 14th July, 1842, shall remain open to all as hitherto; as also the mining licensee’s rights in terms of§ 18 of the same law, and the law of 17th February, 1866.** Likewise shall the non-conformist bodies acknowledged in terms of the law of 16th July, 1845,†† also, in future, be permitted [Page 1494] to acquire sites for churches, schools, clergyman’s residence, and burying ground, anything in this paragraph or the present law to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sec. 10. A Swedish subject who, in future, acquires heritable property in Norway, or such a right of user as according to section 9 is dealt with on the same footing, shall, in the event of his not being resident in Norway, be bound to appoint a mandatory at the place where the property is situated, who shall be empowered in the owner’s or lessee’s absence, to appear on his behalf before the courts of justice and other official authorities in matters that concern the property or right of user.

The same regulation shall apply to corporations, institutions, or limited liability companies, whose management is resident in Sweden and which acquires such a property or right of user as is named above.

The name and residence of the mandatory shall be filed in the court of registration.

Should the before-named provisions not be observed, the sheriff of the district in which the property is situated may, upon the demand of any one interested therein, appoint a mandatory on behalf of the owner or lessee concerned, and such appointment shall be binding upon the owner or lessee.

The provisions appointed in this paragraph shall also be applicable in the case of a foreigner who under a license, obtained in conformity with section 9, has acquired heritable property, or right of user over heritable property, within this realm.

Sec. 11. Should any contract or arrangement have been entered into, in conflict with the provisions of section 9, it can not be enforced unless such a license as is spoken of in the paragraph named be subsequently obtained.

Sec. 12. Should any document in respect of an acquisition of property, for which a foreigner in terms of section 9 requires a license, be required registered in the court of registration, and such license not be produced, the clerk of court shall, in the event of his having any doubt whether the acquisition is in conflict with the said paragraph, make such an endorsement. The endorsement shall be remitted by the clerk of court to the supreme authority.

Sec. 13. Should any legal act that is in conflict with the provisions of section 9 have been completed by registration of the deeds of conveyance, or should the purchaser or lessee have been placed in possession of the property or the right of user over same, the supreme authority shall appoint a term, within which the relations shall be brought into legal order, by the obtaining of a license such as is spoken of in the paragraph named, or by the voluntary annullment of the transaction, or by the sale of the property to some one who possesses the legal right to acquire heritable property. The term of grace must not be fixed at less than 6 months, nor longer than 3 years. The determination of such term by the supreme authority shall be registered in the court of registration.

Sec. 14. Should this term of grace be exceeded, the property or right of user shall, by order of the supreme authority and without reference to the court of conciliation or any notice being necessary, be sold by compulsory auction. Such sale shall be absolutely binding on the owner or possessor, his predecessor in the property concerned, their creditors and sequestrated estates, also on all who hold mortgages over the property. The sale shall be effected for the account of the owner or possessor, and in such a manner that no part of the purchase money realized by the sale at auction shall be paid out to him, until his predecessor shall have obtained the value that had been stipulated for the property or for the right of user. If such value is not fully realized at the sale by auction, he shall still retain his right of regress upon the debtor for any balance.

Sec. 15. The provisions named in section 13 and section 14 shall also be applied, if a limited liability company which has its management in Norway or Sweden, and owns heritable property in Norway, or possesses a right of user, to the acquisition of which a foreigner requires a license in terms of section 9, removes its management to the realm of any foreign power, or if it admits into its direction any one who does not possess Norwegian or Swedish rights of citizenship.

Sec. 16. Should heritable property or rights of user descend by inheritance upon any one who is not entitled by this present law to acquire it, and a license in terms of section 9 by reason of any special circumstances can not be obtained, the provisions of section 13 and section 14 shall remain in force notwithstanding, in so far as they, in their nature, are applicable to the case.

If the property or right of user belongs to a woman who possesses the rights of Norwegian or Swedish citizenship, or who has in terms of section 9 obtained a license to acquire the subject, it shall remain her separate property, even though she should marry any one who has not the right of citizenship or who has not obtained a license.

Sec. 17. By the expression fixed residence within this realm there is meant, in this present law, such a sojourn as testifies to a purpose of remaining permanently in the realm.

[Page 1495]

Sec. 18. The present law shall immediately come into force, but shall not be applicable in such cases in which its provisions may conflict with existing treaties.

Therefore, we have sanctioned and confirmed, as we do hereby sanction and confirm, this resolution as law under the seal of the Kingdom.

Given at the Palace of Stockholm the 21st April, 1888.

During His Majesty’s, my gracious King and Lord’s, absence.

[l. s.]

O. Richier.

  1. Law of the constitution of 4th November, 1814, section 92 (a), _______is, either born within the realm, of parents who at the time of the birth were Norwegian sub-sects; or (b); is born abroad of Norwegian subjects who at the time of the birth, were not the subjects of a foreign state.
  2. Law of the constitution of 4th November, 1814. Section 52. The right of exercising the franchise is suspended: (a) Upon indictment before the sessions for such a crime or crimes as carries such a punishment or punishments in its train as is stated in section 53 (a) of the same law. Section 53. The right of exercising the franchise is suspended: (a) On condemnation to a term of penal servitude, on dismissal from a public office, or on imprisonment on account of a crime committed, such as is enumerated in any chapter of the criminal law concerning perjury, theft, robbery, or false pretenses.
  3. Law of the constitution of 4th November. Section 51.* * * Every one must, before his name be entered in the public register (of citizens and voters), appear at the local sessions and swear the oath of fidelity to the constitution.
  4. Law of the constitution of 4th November, 1814. Section 51. A register of all inhabitants entitled to exercise the franchise shall be prepared in every town by the magistrate and in every parish by the sheriff-substitute (fogden) and the vicar.
  5. Vide reference No. 1, page 4, (a), (b), or (d) ______ who has been naturalized by the Storthing.
  6. Vide reference No. 1, and reference No. 3, page 1491.
  7. Poor law of 6th June, 1863.— For towns, section 16: Native-born Norwegian subjects have their natural domicile in the district in which the mother at the time of the birth had her domicile, and naturalized subjects have their domicile in the district in which they had their permanent residence at the time of the grant of their letters of naturalization. For the country, section 17: Foreigners, as well as native-born subjects, acquire domicile in a district upon having maintained a continuous residence in such district for two years after the attainment of 15 years of age. A subsequently acquired domicile cancels and annuls a previous domicile, whether natural or acquired. The domicile which any one possesses at the time of attaining 62 years of age, he retains for the rest of his life.
  8. Law of extradition of criminals of 11th September, 1818. (This law is a mutual law of extradition between Norway and Sweden, providing for any one accused of crime committed in the one Kingdom being extradited on the demand of the authorities of such Kingdom, subject to the observance of the usual procedure.)—It is unnecessary to cite any of its paragraphs here in extenso in connection with the law of Norwegian citizenship.
  9. Law to amend the poor laws of 17th June, 1886, section 1.—The laws concerning the relief of poor in the towns (section 16) and in the country (section 17) of 6th June, 1863, shall be amended in such manner that foreigners, in order to acquire domicile in a district within the realm, must, after having attained 15 years of age, have had a continuous residence within such district for 5 years. On continued residence within the realm a new domicile may be obtained within the same period as is provided for native-born subjects.
  10. Law to amend to poor laws of 17th June, 1886, section 2.—The domicile acquired by a foreigner within the realm becomes lost when he removes from it and takes up his residence abroad.
  11. Law of conscription of 12th May, 1866.—Foreigners who have acquired a permanent home within the realm are liable to military service equally with native-born subjects, except in the case of a treaty with a foreign power or any peculiar relation of subject relieving such foreigner from military duty. But every foreigner shall be relieved of the duty of military service, to which he is liable by the law of conscription, for such time as the Kingdom may be at war with his native land.
  12. Law concerning election to certain local offices, of 4th August, 1846, section 1.—To such local offices as shall, according to law, be filled by election from among the inhabitants duly entered in the register, who are in possession of the franchise in terms of the law of the constitution, the area of election shall in future be extended to all citizens who possess the qualifications required in terms of section 50 of the law of the constitution, and who are not excluded from such election from being in any of the situations referred to in section 52 and section 53 of the law of the constitution, even although they may not have sworn the oath of fidelity to the constitution or been entered in the register of qualified voters, as provided in the law of the constitution.
  13. Vide references No. 5, page 1492 and No. 1, page 1493.
  14. The mining law of 14th July, 1842. This law provides, “any one whatsoever may, etc.,” and foreigners are, in all the provisions of the law, placed upon exactly the same footing as the native-born Norwegian inhabitants.

    (The complete mining law of 14th July, 1842, with all subsequent acts of amendment, may be obtained in an English translation on application to F. Beyer, 2 Strandgaden, Bergen.)

  15. Vide references No. 5, page 1492 and No. 1, page 1493.
  16. Sec. 18 of the mining law of 14th July, 1842; — provides for the compulsory sale of ground, water, etc., necessary to a mine, for certain working purposes, but no distinction is drawn in it between a native-born inhabitant and an immigrant foreigner.
  17. The law here referred to is intituled law amending section 18 of the mining law of 14th July, 1842. It provides for an extension of the rights granted to a mine-owner by section 18 of the mining law of 14th July, 1842, but in the act of amendment of 17th July, 1866, there is still no distinction made between native-born inhabitants and immigrant foreigners.
  18. Law concerning Christian non-conformists, of 16th July, 1845. In this law the relations of non-conformists to the established church of the realm are regulated, and freedom of religious exercise, which did not exist before, is granted. Among other things, the right to acquire ground for erecting churches, schools, clergyman’s residence, providing church-yards, etc., is granted. No distinction is drawn between the native-born non-conformist and the immigrant foreign non-conformist.