Involuntary psychiatric admissions are widespread among patients with an immigrant background. According to a study in Norway, involuntary admissions are about 75% of admissions among immigrants compared to roughly 50% among ethnic Norwegians. The aim of the present study was to compare clinical and demographic characteristics of immigrant patients with involuntary or voluntary admissions to two acute psychiatric units. A 3-year prospective study of 94 immigrant patients involuntarily and voluntarily admitted to acute psychiatric units was carried out. Sixty-two patients (66.0%) were voluntarily and 30 (31.9%) involuntarily admitted. Involuntary admissions were significantly higher among men (22, 73.3%) compared to women (8, 26.7%; ?(2) = 4.507, d.f. = 1, P= 0.03). The mean length of stay for voluntary and involuntary patients were 7.8 (SD = 6.6) and 21.6 (SD = 27.3; t=-2.7, d.f. = 88, P= 0.01). Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychotic disorder were more often admitted involuntarily (63.0%; ?(2) = 17.83, P= 0.001). This study confirms that immigrant patients diagnosed with psychotic disorders are more often involuntarily than voluntarily admitted. Comparing the clinical and demographic characteristics of immigrants helps identify the reasons behind involuntary admissions and might improve efforts towards reducing such admissions in the future.