Before coronavirus hit Luke DeBoer, a 23-year-old American, was planning on marrying his Norwegian fiancée Ida Marie Rygg on June 27th and then moving to live with her in Bergen. Now the wedding has been postponed indefinitely, as he is barred from entering the country.
Elena Giraldo, a Colombian living in Spain, is unable to visit her Norwegian husband Gunnar Halvorsen.
If either Halvorsen or Rygg were not Norwegians but EEA citizens resident in Norway, then their loved one would be able to come and join them.
In a frustrating inconsistency in the rules, what applies to other EU citizens living in Norway does not apply to actual Norwegians
“It is very unfair. I would not complain if it was about disease prevention, but it seems to just be politics,” Rygg told The Local.
“When I see from the regulations that a person from an EU/EEA country who is a resident of Norway, can get a visit his spouse from a country outside the EU/EEA, then it all seems absurd and pointless,” Halvorsen told the Aftenposten newspaper.
Other couples and other family members who are still not able to reunite under Norway's current border restrictions have launched a Facebook group, Oss med familie eller kjæreste i utlandet under Covid-19 2020, to give mutual support and try and coordinate to pressure the government.
The group has launched a petition to fight for the rights of those who don't meet the conditions to bring a lover over to Norway.
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Rygg said she and her fiancé had decided to postpone her wedding on May 15th after realising that a long-promised announcement from the Norwegian government loosening the entry bar for relatives and partners did not apply to her.
“We had hoped for good news that day, but there was no news for us,” she said. “Now we simply check every day to see if something has changed. It is an emotional rollercoaster.”
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration does not consider Norwegian citizens as citizens of the EEA, meaning that they are not covered by the special exceptions.
Under the rules EEA citizens can receive visits from spouses, cohabitants or children, and can also bring other family members from countries outside the EU if they intend to live in Norway.
Andreas Skjøld-Lorange, a press officer at the Ministry of Justice told VG that exceptions could soon be brought in which might allow DeBoer to come to Norway, with the country's government looking continuously at the regulations to see how they can be fine tuned.