The Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) is an independent membership organisation working for respect and security under the law for asylum seekers and refugees in Norway. We offer information, guidance and legal aid to asylum seekers, and engage in political debates.

NOAS’ work should be rooted in some core values:

  • Solidarity – with asylum seekers
  • Knowledge – about relevant issues
  • Integrity and independence – in our attitudes and considerations

NOAS’ goal is that we should contribute to an asylum policy and praxis rooted in humanism, justice and international obligations.


NOAS has about 22 employees. Our administration is divided into two divisions:

  • NOAS’ information and guidance programme offers information and advice to newly-arrived asylum seekers in Norway. Its offices are located at the reception centre in Råde and reception transitory centre for unaccompanied minors at Mysebu in Østfold. The information programme has a manager, a deputy, advisors and extras as needed.
  • At the secretariat, NOAS provides legal aid and engage in advocacy work. The secretariat’s offices are located in Torggata 22 in the centre of Oslo. The secretariat consists of our reception with two employees, advisors, legal advisors, organisational secretary, political advisor, volunteers and interns. The secretary general’s physical office is at the secretariat.

NOAS is a membership organisation whose supreme organ is the yearly general assembly. The general assembly elects a board which is responsible for the organisation’s affairs. The board employs a secretary general who manages the organisation in its daily work.


NOAS was established in 1984 by Annette A. Thommessen, who headed the organisation until 1994. In 1984, asylum seeking was an almost unknown phenomenon in Norway. The number of asylum seekers increased greatly during NOAS’ first ten years of existence – in 1993 about 12 000 persons applied for asylum in Norway. Since then, NOAS has been an important advocate for asylum seekers and refugees in Norway.  

To honour Annette A. Thommessen’s memory and contribute to forwarding her engagement for work for asylum seekers in Norway, the memorial fund for Annette A. Thommessen was established. Every year the memorial fund awards an honorary prize to a deserving winner.