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Norway Opens Up To Europe From Mid-July, Exceptions Likely

Lofoten Islands, northern Norway

From July 15, residents of many more countries across Europe will be permitted to enter Norway. Here's what you need to know about the latest travel regulations.

The Norwegian government has today announced a long-awaited relaxation of the country's travel restrictions. The slow return to normal continues, although the changes stop short of what many people were hoping.

Prime minister Erna Solberg, foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, health minister Bent Høie, and business minister Iselin Nybø all attended the press conference, along with representatives of Norway's health authorities.

Norway to open to Europe – with some exceptions

“The government's strategy is still to open up gradually and in a controlled manner. We have decided that from 15 July we aim to remove the quarantine from the entire Schengen area and the EEA,” said Solberg. However, the precise list of countries permitted may change depending on the infection situation between now and then.

This means that unless an EU/EEA country is still experiencing a high rate of infections, its citizens will be permitted to enter Norway from July 15, without having to undergo quarantine. An explanation of which countries may be excluded and why follows below.

Note: The government used the term citizens in the press conference. But as with the previous Nordic announcement, permanent residents of those countries are also included, it has since been confirmed. So this means a citizen of Brazil living permanently in France, for example, is included.

Kristiansand Fiskebrygga
The prime minister is still encouraging Norwegians to plan a vacation in Norway this summer

The changes mean Norway remains the European country with the strictest travel and border policy. Prime minister Solberg said this was a deliberate strategy to see how the situation develops in Europe.

So, should you travel to Norway this summer? The answer is not as obvious as it might appear. First things first, there is no guarantee that these restrictions will not change. The biggest risk is if there is a rise in infections in your home country, causing your country to be blacklisted.

Read more: Norway's Best Beaches

But there's also cost to consider. While there are some good deals to be had in Norwegian hotels right now, it's a different story with flights. Norwegian and SAS have announced a resumption in Norway-Europe services. However, availability is still limited and if you can find seats, you may find a very high price tag.

Norwegians can travel to more places

The same rules apply in reverse. This means that the government will no longer discourage travel to countries and regions that are exempt from entry quarantine requirements. The quarantine-free country list will be published on July 10 and updated every 14 days.

This will be music to the ears of many Norwegians hoping for a vacation in southern Europe this summer. Many Norwegians have a long list of frustrations with holidaying within Norway.

A beach in northern Norway

However, Solberg warned Norwegians against moving too quickly with travel plans. “It is the contagious situation that is crucial. Travelling abroad involves considerable unpredictability. If you want predictability, you must plan to travel in Norway,” she said.

“There is a risk booking a holiday at a time when a country has a low infection spread, but it then later increases. Then you may have to quarantine when you get home,” added Solberg.

Sweden restrictions strengthened

At the present time, Norway has a quarantine-free travel area with the other Nordic countries, with the exception of Sweden. However, based on advice from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), the exception for Gotland has been removed.

This means that the Norway-Sweden border remains closed to Swedes unless they work in Norway, or fall into a couple other exemption categories such as having close family or a documented business reason to be in Norway. The 10-days of home quarantine still applies to Norwegians entering Norway from Sweden.

Sweden flag map
Sweden remains excluded from Norway's travel agreement with the Nordic region.

How Norway judges which countries are “safe”

FHI has previously set three criteria for assessing which areas in the Nordic region that Norwegians can travel to without being quarantined. These are likely to provide the basis for assessment of European countries for the July 15 relaxation:

  • The region must have on average fewer than 20 new infected per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.
  • The region must have an average of fewer than 0.5 new intensive care admissions per 100,000 population in the last two weeks.
  • The percentage of positive test results must be less than five percent.

What about the rest of the world?

The Norwegian government has long stated its priority for reopening the borders and relaxing quarantine procedures. First would be the Nordic countries, which is largely now in place. Then, EEA countries. Only then will the rest of the world be considered.

At the present time there is no indication as to when other countries will be added to the quarantine-free list. However, it's safe to assume that it's going to be no time soon.

The last date given in relation to the border restrictions was August 20. However, my opinion is that the government will watch the infection rate very carefully once the EU borders reopen before making any decision about other countries.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

20 Comments

  1. “This means that unless an EU/EEA country is still experiencing a high rate of infections, its citizens will be permitted to enter Norway from July 15”
    Did they mean citizens or residents?

  2. Well, this is really good. However, any consideration for International students especially that some universities are set to open August 14 for international students? Just wondering how this really goes because I’m in Africa and I’m supposed to report for school1🤔

  3. Thanks for the update. So now the UK is out of the EU/EEA but still in the transition period is there any indication which camp the UK falls in to – EU or Rest of the World ? Obviously subject to any changes in infection rates etc in either case.

    1. Up to the end of the Transition Period (31 Dec.2020), the UK will continue to be ‘regarded’ as part of the EEA therefore would follow the rules in place for EU/EEA.

      1. Thank you for the information, David, and for the great effort you’ve put on keeping us up to date in these times of uncertainty. Big fan of LifeInNorway!

  4. Hello
    I am a new resident and my two daughters to Norway, but still waiting for our first entry visa to the country. My daughters shall start school in Norway by mid of August and we are still waiting for the embassy to issue our visas. We are from Egypt and my husband is already working in Norway since the beginning of the year. Is there a possibility to come before school begins??

  5. Thanks for this! Not to split hairs, but is Norway really just open for citizens and permanent residents, or residents including people in EEA on for example student or work visas? From what I have read on UDI and regjeringen.no it says “people resident in the Schengen area/EEA”

  6. I am a UK citizen. In January I booked a plane ticket to fly (on the 4th August) from Porto (Portugal) to Oslo, via a change of planes in Brussels. (Am hoping to walk St. Olaf’s Way again.)
    Will I be allowed to catch that flight?

  7. Confession me. Why dont you Just all wait until Norwegian Goverment make final decision you all sound like old women blå blå scaring People if if wait and see. I sure norway Will do their best for ever one Even if you from third world UK
    Best regards
    Allan mcghee cameron
    Blå blå listen to your comment s blå blå wait and see relax nobody know s relax or if worried why did you move or shall move to norway let the norwegian do best for Norway IT work out.

  8. So just to confirm, I’m moving to Norway to settle.

    If you are from the U.K. for example.
    You will be able to enter Norway without quarantine Going in to quarantine if you are in the green , But if the U.K. is in the red zone, You have Togo in to quarantine .

    But ultimately I can go norway.

  9. Hi , I am American holding permanent residency of Norway. I have been out of Norway since mid March.20 and have been stuck in Brezil due to the current outbreak . Now, my return ticket to Norway is in mid Aug.20.
    Now the question is ‘ should I be quarantined for 10 days after landing in Norway or what ?

  10. Hi, I am a UK citizen and resident, I am also Italian citizen. On the 15th of July I will arrive in Norway from Brazil, where I was on holiday and waiting the Norway borders to open to meet my boyfriend who is Norwegian. My question is, can I enter Norway being a UK and EEA citizen, but flying from Brazil, which is in the red list for the pandemic? I don’t mind if I need to quarentine.

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