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Norsk

UDI circulars

RS 2010-057
Document-ID : RS 2010-057
Case-ID : 09/5001
Documentdate : 01.01.2010
Receiver :

The foreign service missions
The Governor of Svalbard
The police

Circular on bank guarantees as a condition for being granted a visa, cf. the Immigration Act section 10, cf. the Immigration Regulations sections 3-6 and 3-7

1. Introduction

2. The purpose of the bank guarantee scheme

3. When is a bank guarantee required?

3.1 A bank guarantee can therefore be required if:

3.2 A bank guarantee shall not be required:

4. Requirements for the bank guarantee

5. When will payment of the bank guarantee be required, cf. The Immigration Regulations section 3-7

6. When will the guarantee amount be released?

6.1 Multiple-entry visas

6.2 When the visa is not used

7. Case processing time

1. Introduction

In order for the applicant to be granted a visa, the immigration administration may stipulate as a condition that the sponsor, i.e. the person the visa applicant wishes to visit in Norway, issues a financial guarantee in the form of a bank guarantee. The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and the foreign service missions may require a bank guarantee in cases where there is otherwise reason to doubt that the applicant will return when his/her visa expires.

This circular provides guidelines for cases in which the immigration administration must/can use the bank guarantee scheme. It also provides guidelines for the foreign service missions and the UDI’s work in cases when it is decided that a foreign national who is subject to a visa requirement must provide a bank guarantee in order to be granted a visa.

The bank guarantee scheme functions as a supplement to the guarantee form. This means that the immigration administration may require the sponsor in Norway to issue a guarantee pursuant to the Immigration Regulations section 3-5 as well as a bank guarantee pursuant to section 3-6. This circular must be seen in conjunction with circular RS 2010-056 on issuing guarantees for visits and its appendix containing a guarantee form.

As a member of the Schengen Agreement, Norway is obliged to strive for a harmonised visa practice, cf. the Schengen Convention Article 9(1). At the foreign service missions, the Schengen countries collaborate with a view to sharing experience and achieving a uniform visa practice. Although the majority of the Schengen countries have not introduced a bank guarantee scheme, this arrangement does not conflict with the goal of a harmonised visa practice. Norwegian authorities must continue to carry out a concrete overall assessment of the applicant’s return conditions in accordance with the Schengen Agreement.

2. The purpose of the bank guarantee scheme

The purpose of the bank guarantee scheme is to enable the immigration administration to pursue a more flexible and liberal visa practice, in that it gives the applicant an opportunity to strengthen his/her return conditions, through the sponsor in Norway issuing a bank guarantee.

The idea is that the use of a bank guarantee will increase the likelihood of the applicant leaving the Schengen area when his/her visa expires. The issuing of a bank guarantee will be one of several factors that the person who makes the decision will emphasise in his/her assessment of the applicant's return conditions.

The guarantee is issued as security that the visa holder will not use the visa to apply for a residence permit in Norway or another Schengen country. The guarantee is also issued as security that the visa holder will leave the Schengen area at the latest when his/her visa expires, and that the conditions for the visa are met.

3. When is a bank guarantee required?

A bank guarantee will only be required in cases where there is otherwise reason to doubt whether the applicant will return when his/her visa expires. In practice, this means that the scheme is only relevant in cases where the person who prepares the case/makes a decision is in doubt about whether to grant a visa application. Furthermore, the immigration authorities must carry out a concrete assessment of how likely it is that the applicant will feel obliged to return when his/her visa expires.

A bank guarantee shall not be used in relation to applicants who would be granted a visa pursuant to the current practice. Nor does the requirement apply to nationals of countries with great emigration potential, extensive asylum migration and/or challenges relating to return.

3.1 A bank guarantee can therefore be required if:

  • there is otherwise reason to doubt whether the applicant will return when his/her visa expires, and
  • for applicants from countries without great emigration potential, extensive asylum migration and/or challenges relating to return, and
  • when the purpose of the trip is a private visit. This is primarily relevant for siblings, friends and boyfriends/girlfriends of sponsors in Norway.

3.2 A bank guarantee shall not be required:

  • in connection with business trips, participation in cultural events, sporting events, conventions, official trips or similar activities, or
  • for spouses, children (regardless of age) and parents, as they are, as a rule, granted visas, or
  • for applicants from countries subject to a visa requirement with great emigration potential, extensive asylum migration and/or challenges relating to return

 

4. Requirements for the bank guarantee

In order for the applicant to be granted a visa, the UDI may stipulate as a condition that the sponsor in Norway issues a bank guarantee of NOK 50,000. The applicant must present documentation to the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard that the sponsor has issued a bank guarantee before he/she can be issued a visa.

The following requirements must be met in order for a bank guarantee to be valid:

  • Norwegian immigration authorities shall not incur any expenses for fees or other charges relating to the establishment and payment of the guarantee.
  • Only the sponsor living in Norway who is to receive a visit from the visa applicant can be a guarantor.
  • The guarantee must be issued for a fixed amount: NOK 50,000 as of 1 January 2010.
  • The guarantee must be such that the amount is paid to the UDI in full or in half by the financial institution at the UDI’s request.
  • The guarantee must be valid for a period of 18 months.
  • The guarantee document must state that the guarantee cannot be cancelled during its validity period.
  • The financial institution that issues the bank guarantee must send the original guarantee document to the UDI.

 

5. When will payment of the bank guarantee be required, cf. The Immigration Regulations section 3-7

The guarantee amount falls due for payment in its entirety if the holder of the visa: 

  • stays in the Schengen area for more than a month after the visa has expired. The immigration administration may grant exemption in cases in which the foreign national can document that the extended stay was due to circumstances beyond his/her control, for example illness.
  • is expelled pursuant to the provisions of the Immigration Act chapter 8
  • applies for protection pursuant to the Immigration Act section 28
  • applies for a residence permit on other grounds in Norway without being entitled to submit such an application pursuant to the Immigration Regulations section 10-1
  • applies for protection in another Schengen country.

 

Half of the guarantee amount falls due for payment:

§ if the holder stays in Norway for up to a month after his/her visa has expired. The immigration authorities may grant exemption in cases in which the foreign national can document that the late return was due to circumstances beyond his/her control, for example illness.

The amount does not fall due for payment if the foreign national is entitled to submit an application for a residence permit in Norway pursuant to the provisions of the Immigration Regulations section 10-1. Among other things, this means that an application for a residence permit for skilled workers or specialists pursuant to the Immigration Regulations sections 6-1 and 6-2 is not subject to the guarantee requirement.

The UDI can waive the requirement if strong grounds of reasonableness indicate that this should be done.

6. When will the guarantee amount be released?

The UDI can release the guarantee amount once the holder of the visa has documented that he/she has returned to his/her home country and that he/she has met the conditions for holding a visa.

The holder of the visa must document that he/she has left the Schengen area within the number of days granted and before his/her visa expires. This can be done in two different ways:

§ The holder can report in person to the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard where the visa was issued and present his/her passport, tickets, boarding passes or anything else that can document the time of his/her entry into and departure from the Schengen area. The foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard then contacts the UDI for an assessment of whether the guarantee amount can be released.

§ If the holder of the visa lives far away from a Norwegian foreign service mission, the foreign national can send copies of his/her passport, tickets, boarding passes or anything else that can document the time of his/her entry into and departure from the Schengen area.

 

6.1 Multiple-entry visas

If the applicant holds a multiple-entry visa, the UDI can only release the guarantee amount if the visa holder appears in person at the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard where the visa was issued and presents his/her passport with entry and exit stamps plus a boarding pass or similar documents. If the visa is still valid, it must be annulled before the guarantee amount can be released.

 

6.2 When the visa is not used

If the applicant is issued a visa but does not use it, the UDI can only release the guarantee amount if the applicant appears in person at the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard to have his/her visa annulled.

If the applicant does not collect his/her visa from the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard, the guarantee amount is released once the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard confirms to the UDI that the visa sticker has not been affixed to the passport.

Before the UDI releases the guarantee amount, the case officer must check that the applicant has not been expelled, that the applicant has not applied for a permit in Norway that he/she is not entitled to, and that the applicant has not applied for protection in Norway or another Schengen country.

 

7. Case processing time

Once the UDI has received the necessary documentation, it will normally take about two weeks before the guarantee amount is released. If the UDI does not receive any documentation from the holder of the visa or the foreign service mission/the Governor of Svalbard, the UDI will, on its own initiative, start the process of enforcement of the guarantee, if applicable. The UDI will start investigating whether there are grounds for enforcement about three months before the guarantee expires.

 

Karl Erik Sjøholt
Head of department

Steinar Munch Rotevatn
Head of unit

Contact: Department of Managed Migration, Section for Visas

 

Norwegian Directorate
of Immigration
Utlendingsdirektoratet
P.O. box 2098 Vika
NO-0125 Oslo
Norway

Editor in Chief: Stephan Mo