Based on the recommendations of up-rooted, another American-in-Norway blogger, we finally got our asses in gear and checked with UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet--the Norwegian Immigration Directorate) about what kind of visa I actually have.
Let me clarify: up-rooted did not suggest we get our asses in gear. Up-rooted simply suggested that I might already have a work visa, even though I did not apply for one, as this was her situation as well. What I meant is that we have intended to make this phone call for a number of months--I actually dug out the necessary documents before we moved in June. I must also clarify that we* did not actually need to check with UDI about my visa, because right there on the second line under "Tillatelsens innhold" it reads, "Søkeren kan ta arbeid eller drive erversvirksomhet i Norge", and we all know what that means!
It means "The applicant can work or engage in business in Norway". On a document dated June 11, 2010.
This is a relief, to be sure. Norway does have a law that people outside of the European Union must have a job offer before you can get a work visa. And they have family visas, for those people joining the working family member. I promise you: I have read this website hundreds of times! I was certain that I was going to have to change my visa from a residential to a work visa--but only after I had a job offer in hand--and a job as a skilled laborer, too, as that is all a non-EU job seeker can get--and this too would take months and months. We even talked with a Norwegian consulate person when we applied for these visas, and this is what they told us!!!
Yes, it would have been nice to have known this months or even a year ago. Nice to know I could get a job if I wanted to. But, honestly, I don't think it would have changed much. I still can't get a job as a nurse or midwife. That waiting process is still on-going. Until now, I didn't feel like I had the language skills to work. I am only now beginning to feel confident enough in speaking Norwegian that I can appreciate how a job would really help cement my language skills and take them to the next level.
We'll see where this information takes us. I don't think I'll actively look for a job at this moment. I'm considering making contact again with the midwives at the local hospital, and hope that I can spend time with them on the labor and delivery floor, soaking up the midwifery lingo and birth culture. That would probably be a better use of my time in terms of "long term goals to work as a midwife" in comparison with working at a grocery store to make a little money and converse a little with colleagues. I'm also busy with the house on a daily basis, and will continue to be so for the next few months.
But again. . . nice to know.
Thanks for the kick in the butt, up-rooted!
*I must also clarify that "we" means "Erik" or "me asking Erik to do this for me".