UPDATED 20 SEPTEMBER: Norway has relaxed some travel restrictions, but others remain in place. Here's the latest situation on entry restrictions and quarantine obligation in Norway.
Well, who'd have thought we'd still be here almost a year and a half after the first infection was detected in Norway? The pandemic has killed 841 people in Norway so far, but far more elsewhere. For that reason, most of Norway's travel restrictions remain in place.
Before we start…
I get questions literally every day from people wondering when they will be able to travel to Norway. Despite sharing the latest information on Life in Norway's coronavirus status page, I have no ‘insider' information. All I can do is share the current rules and restrictions.
With that in mind, I have produced this article to gather together the latest information on the entry restrictions in one place.
Bear in mind that there may be a delay between new announcements and this page being updated. Please also understand that I can't cover every personal situation and exception. This page is no substitute for double-checking the official guidelines. I'll be sharing the relevant links throughout the article.
With that in mind, read on…
Norway's travel restrictions in brief
- International tourism into Norway from outside the EU/EEA remains not possible in the majority of cases.
- From September 12, family visits (including boyfriends/girlfriends) are now possible for everyone, regardless of your country of residence.
- Norway's ‘vaccine passport‘ and the EU equivalent can now be used to enter the country and bypass quarantine. The UK's NHS Covid Pass is accepted on the same terms as the EU certificate.
- All travellers from ‘green countries' in Europe are allowed to enter Norway with no quarantine requirements. Norway now uses the EU colour-code system.
- Norwegian citizens and foreign citizens who live in Norway can enter the country, but may have to quarantine.
- Most people who enter Norway from areas with high infection (red countries) must get tested upon arrival and serve a quarantine period. In the most severe cases, the first three days must be done in a quarantine hotel.
Read more: Who Can Visit Scandinavia In September 2021?
The full Norway entry restrictions are quite detailed, so please be patient as we dive into the full list of ifs and buts! Firstly, it's important to understand that even if you are permitted to enter Norway, you may be required to serve a quarantine period, possibly in a designated quarantine hotel.
Norway's colour-coded system
As with many countries, Norway adopted a traffic-light system for grading a European country's coronavirus risk. It now uses the EU system.
Residents from countries graded ‘red' are considered to have a ‘quarantine obligation' upon entry. The colour will also specify if you must present a negative test to gain entry and/or take a test upon arrival.
To see what colour grading your country has, check the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Their colour map is updated regularly. I have included the latest version above for your convenience.
Rules for Norwegian citizens and residents of Norway
Generally speaking, all Norwegian citizens and foreign-born residents of Norway are allowed to enter the country. That has been the case throughout the pandemic so far.
However, you may be required to undergo a period of quarantine, either at home or in a designated hotel. Only people entering Norway from ‘green' countries in the EU/EEA/Schengen/UK are not required to quarantine upon arrival.
People arriving from ‘red' European countries must serve a quarantine at home, or in a quarantine hotel if the infection level in that country was high. As a general rule, everyone who enters Norway from anywhere else must stay in a quarantine hotel upon arrival.
Vaccine passport for Norwegian residents
From Friday 11 June, everyone who is fully vaccinated or has had the disease in the last six months will not need to undergo entry quarantine when arriving in Norway. You must also test negative upon entry or within two days of arrival for this to apply.
Norway's coronavirus certificate (vaccine passport) has now been launched. Available at helsenorge.no, it documents vaccination status, test results and/or proof of previous infection. The certificate enables residents of Norway to skip quarantine when returning to the country.
Rules for residents of European countries
All the rules for European countries apply to residents of EU/EEA/Schengen countries, and the United Kingdom. Since mid-May, travellers from parts of Europe graded ‘green' are now allowed to enter Norway.
On 5 July, many more countries turned green. If you live in a ‘green' region, you can travel to Norway. However, you must have been in the green area for at least 10 days prior to travel.
Residents of ‘red' regions cannot enter Norway unless one of the exemptions apply to you. Exemptions include family members of residents and some foreign employees. However, many of those who can enter the country are required to undergo quarantine, unless you are fully-vaccinated.
Vaccine pasport for EU residents
From June 24, the EU vaccine passport has been accepted at the border under the same terms as the Norwegian version. This means that fully-vaccinated European residents will be able to enter Norway, quarantine free.
This does not mean that everyone who is fully vaccinated can enter Norway! It means that if you are otherwise eligible to enter Norway, you can skip the quarantine if you are fully vaccinated.
Residents of the UK
The UK has returned to dark red status. This means travellers from the UK must quarantine in a hotel for three days until a negative PCR test result is obtained.
However, the NHS Covid Pass is now accepted, allowing travellers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to enter Norway with no quarantine or testing obligation. From September 3, Scotland-based users will also be able to use the certificate.
Rules for non-European countries
Tourism from non-European countries is not yet permitted. To gain entry to Norway, one of the items of the exception list must apply to you. This includes holding the EU's digital certificate proving vaccination.
This includes being a Norwegian citizen or resident of Norway, visiting a close family relative, and some jobs including working offshore. The full list of exceptions can be found at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Family visits from outside of Europe
From September 12, close family members and romantic partners of Norwegian residents will be able to visit the country, regardless of their country of residence. Up until that date, this exemption remains possible for residents of ‘purple' countries only.
However, the quarantine period will still apply to arrivals, as will the requirement for a negative test result. In this case, family members are defined as:
- Adults, children and stepchildren and parents and stepparents of adult children/stepchildren
- Grandparents, grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren
- Boyfriends/girlfriends over the age of 18 and their children. The relationship must have lasted for a minimum of nine months and the parties must have met each other physically before. For this category, prior consent must be obtained through UDI.
Norway travel restrictions FAQ
As I said before, I can't address individual circumstances on this page, especially as there are so many exceptions to the rules. However, some key information follows.
Do I need a negative test to enter Norway?
A negative test certificate taken within 24 hours of departure must be presented by all travellers arriving from ‘red' countries that do not hold the EU coronavirus certificate. The government also requires those arriving from ‘red' areas to undergo a rapid antigen test or PCR test at the border.
What is a quarantine hotel?
If you are permitted to enter Norway but travelling from an area with a high infection rate, you will probably need to stay in a quarantine hotel. This isn't optional – authorities at the border will take you directly the hotel.
The quarantine hotels are typically located close to airports. Travellers must pay a subsidised fee of NOK 500 per day for the accommodation and meals. You are not permitted to leave the floor, nor have guests.
The full quarantine period is 10 days but can be shortened to seven days upon a negative test result. The minimum stay in a hotel is three days and upon a negative test, the rest of the quarantine period can be served at another suitable location.
When will things change?
I don't know.
Where can I get the official guidelines?
Great question! As I already said before, I cannot guarantee the timelines of the information on this page. So, you should definitely check the official guidelines.
Unfortunately, unlike some other countries, Norway has kept its coronavirus information distributed across the various government ministries and directorates, so finding a precise answer can be tricky. Here's where you can find the details:
Regjeringen.no: The official government webpages on the pandemic
FHI: The Norwegian Institute of Public Health maintains the colour-coded map of country-based restrictions. It's also home to the official statistics.
UDI: The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration details the specific entry requirements and exceptions in full.