While Norway has ended its national restrictions, the entry rules remain in place—but they are changing. 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 850 people in Norway so far, but far more elsewhere.
For that reason, some of Norway's travel restrictions remain in place, even though the government has ended all national measures.
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 not a substitute for 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
- From September 25, all residents of EU/EEA/Schengen countries, the UK and Switzerland can enter Norway.
- Only those coming from red countries have to quarantine, but those holding a valid EU digital certificate are exempt. The UK's NHS Covid Pass is accepted on the same terms as the EU certificate.
- The above rules also apply to Norway's list of ‘purple' countries – see below.
- Residents of all other countries are not permitted to enter Norway for tourism, but can visit close family and boyfriends/girlfriends upon application.
- Testing requirements for those arriving in Norway has been reduced.
- Quarantine hotels are no longer mandated—quarantine can now be undertaken at home or other suitable locations.
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.
Norway's colour-coded system
As with many countries, Norway adopted a traffic-light system for grading a country's coronavirus risk. Residents from countries graded ‘red' are considered to have a ‘quarantine obligation' upon entry.
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 at home if you arrive from a red/purple/grey country and do not hold a digital coronavirus certificate.
Norway's coronavirus certificate (also known as a vaccine passport) is available at helsenorge.no. It provides verifiable digital proof of vaccination status, test results and/or proof of previous infection. A valid certificate enables residents of Norway to skip quarantine when returning to the country.
Rules for residents of European countries
The following rules apply to residents of EU/EEA/Schengen countries, and the United Kingdom and Switzerland. From midday on 25 September, all residents of these countries are permitted to enter Norway for any reason.
If arriving from a red country, you will be required to undergo a quarantine period, but this no longer needs to take place in a hotel. If you hold a valid EU digital coronavirus certificate, you are exempted from the quarantine. Those having to quarantine can take a PCR test to exit quarantine after three days.
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. The UK's NHS Covid Pass is now accepted on the same terms as the EU system.
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.
Rules for other countries
All other countries are considered ‘grey' countries, with the exception of a handful of countries considered to have a low infection risk. These are known as purple countries.
From September 25, residents of purple countries can travel to Norway on the same terms as European citizens, see above. The quarantine period will apply. At the time of writing, only New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan are classed as purple countries.
Tourism from grey countries—including the United States—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, or having a close family member in Norway. The full list of exceptions can be found at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. There's more information about “close family members” below…
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.
The testing requirements are set to be updated on 25 September, removing the testing requirement for many groups of people. We will update this when we know more.
What is a quarantine hotel?
Previously, people entering Norway from an area with a high infection rate had to stay in a quarantine hotel. This wasn't optional – authorities at the border took arrivals directly to 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.
However, from 25 September, the requirement for a quarantine hotel is removed. Quarantine can now be served in a private home or other suitable location. Quarantine hotels will remain open for those who have nowhere else to stay.
When will things change?
The government revealed that it will consider loosening further requirements in 3-4 weeks. The next steps will include an expansion of the purple country list to include all countries on the EU's third country list, and a relaxation of the quarantine obligation for some groups.
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.