The purpose of this study was to compare dental status and resource requirements in immigrants to Norway, three to 18 years of age, with Norwegians of the same age group. Data on dmft and DMFT, fillings placed and time spent for dental care were registered in the records of 9000 such children in the period 1992-93. Eleven per cent of the children were immigrant children. Immigrant children three to six years of age had fewer sound teeth and more decayed, missing and filled teeth than Norwegian children and the pre-school immigrant children had higher treatment needs. However, the time spent on a pre-school child with an immigrant background was shorter than the time spent on a Norwegian child with the same number of decayed teeth. The differences between immigrants and Norwegians disappeared with higher age. Immigrant children older than six years had dental health and resource requirements similar to those of Norwegian adolescents.