Norway's borders have essentially been closed to visitors from outside of the EU/Schengen area since March.
This is the key rule for citizens from non-EU/Schengen countries: “If you live in a country outside the EU/EEA, you cannot travel to visit Norway now, even if you are traveling with a Norwegian spouse/cohabitant.”
But there are exceptions, many of them, although none for tourists.
For example Norwegian nationals and legal residents of Norway are allowed to travel to the country from outside Europe.
And non-EU/EEA/Schengen area citizens cannot travel to Norway as a tourist for a holiday but they can if they:
- are a family member of a person resident in Norway (see list of which family members you can visit below)
- have a job and will start working in Norway
- are admitted to an approved educational institute from autumn 2020
There are all kinds of exemptions from travel restrictions for those travelling to Norway for work, whether seasonal workers, technical experts or journalists visiting to carry out a report.
However you will need valid entry visas and/or residence permits (provided you are from a country where these would apply under normal circumstances).
In June a circular issued by the justice ministry set out other exemptions to entry restrictions on foreign nationals including for asylum seekers and those whose presence in the country is “essential to maintain the proper operation of critical public functions or attend to fundamental needs of the population”.
More exemptions are defined in closer detail in the ministry circular. You can read the English version here.
Visiting family members
Travellers from outside the EU/EEA/Schengen area are allowed to visit family members in Norway but the list of people they are allowed to visit depends on where they are a citizen of.
This is what the government says:
If you are an EU/EEA citizen, but do not live in a Schengen or EU/EEA country, you can visit the following family members:
- Your spouse
- Your cohabitant, if you have lived in a permanent and established cohabitation relationship for at least two years, or you have or are expecting children together
- Your parents
- Your stepparents
- Your grandparents
- Your step-grandparents/step-great-grandparents
- Your children of any age
- Your grandchildren/great-grandchildren of any age
- Your full siblings, if you are under 18 years
- Your fiancé, if you are getting married when you arrive in Norway
- Girlfriend or boyfriend that you have been with for at least nine months and whom you have met physically at least once.
If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU/EEA and do not live in a Schengen or EU/EEA country, you can visit the following family members who live in Norway:
- spouse or registered partner
- cohabitant with joint children or who have lived together for more than two years
- children or stepchildren under the age of 21
- parents or stepparents, if you are under the age of 21
- girlfriend or boyfriend that you have been with at least nine months and whom you have met physically at least once
Note that the government warns travellers: “You must be able to document the family relationship and that you have a place to live to carry out the quarantine.”
In July the Norwegian government changed its border rules to allow hundreds of separated cross-border couples to reunite.
To qualify as the partner of a Norwegian citizen, you need to be able to show that you have met the Norwegian citizen physically at least once, and that you have been in a relationship for at least nine months.
The person living in Norway must fill in a solemn declaration on the relationship, which is here on the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, which confirms these requirements, and also that their girlfriend or boyfriend will go into quarantine for ten days on arrival.
Their girlfriend or boyfriend must then present this paper on arrival in Norway.
Quarantine rules in Norway
Anyone entering Norway from the rest of the world is obliged to comply with quarantine requirements.
“Partners and family members [parents and stepfamily of children under 21 years, children under 21 years, spouses, ed.] must comply with quarantine rules and stay in quarantine for 10 days in the same way as others travelling to Norway,” Monica Mæland, Norway's justice minister said in a July 10th press release.
“They must also present documentation to show they will stay continually at a single address for 10 days or for the duration of their stay, if shorter (than 10 days),” she added.
In Norway, 'home quarantine', including for people arriving from outside of the EEA, Schengen area and UK, means that person is asked to stay home from school or work, not have visitors, not use public transport and only visit shops or pharmacies if strictly necessary or not at all if it is not possible to maintain social distance. You are also allowed to go outside for a walk if you maintain a one-metre distance from others at all times.
Visitors to Norway must stay in places where they are able to quarantine in this way. As such, staying in a motorhome, caravan, tent or cabin on campsites without a private bathroom or toilet and kitchen is not acceptable if you have to share these facilities with people other than your close contacts or travel companions.
Similarly, you cannot stay at accommodation where you have to share rooms or facilities with others than those you usually live with, such as halls of residence and other homes with shared bathrooms or kitchens.
If you later suspect you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself completely and get tested for the virus. More details can be found on the health authority website.
It is permitted to leave quarantine in order to depart from Norway if transport is in line with guidelines from the Norwegian Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet).