Why are foreign grandparents still unable to visit family in Norway?

Why are foreign grandparents still unable to visit family in Norway?
Photo: Nikoline Arns/Unsplash
Foreign-based partners from outside of Europe are now allowed to visit Norway to see their loved ones, but grandparents and many parents must still wait.

On Wednesday, Norway’s government opened the country’s border to foreign nationals from countries outside of the EU and EEA who have partners or family resident in Norway.

But parents whose Norway-resident children are over the age of 21 and adult children (over 21 years old) of Norway residents, as well as grandparents of people who live in Norway, are all excluded from the new exemptions to Norway’s border rules.

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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. 

Anyone entering Norway from the rest of the world is obliged to comply with quarantine requirements.

Additionally, entry requirements depending on nationality – such as visas, if applicable – apply as they would under normal circumstances.

“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.

 

Babies born in Norway since the lockdown began in March are therefore yet to meet their grandparents, if the grandparents live outside of the EU or EEA.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Olaug Bollestad provided comment to broadcaster NRK on the government’s position with regard to opening the border to grandparents.

“Things are such that we have to reopen gradually. That’s why we’ve begun with people who, by definition, are closest. There will always be people who are on the wrong side of the answer we give, who don’t get what they wanted,” Bollestad told NRK.

“I imagine there is a desire to see grandparents. But we have to begin reopening somewhere. We are opening one step at a time. This is one of the steps,” she added.

In neighbouring Denmark, partners, parents, children, siblings, grandparents and certain other close family members of people residing in Denmark can come into the country from outside of Europe.

 

Back in Norway, opposition Labour parliamentarian Tuva Moflag credited the government for allowing partners to enter the country but said current accommodations for families did not go far enough.

“It’s important that the solution is understandable and comprehensive. The government should adjust this in line with the ongoing problems with the rules flagged by the public,” Moflag told NRK.

Bollestad said that additional easing of rules would be considered once “the effect of (current) opening and the effect of more travel in Europe” could be seen.

“We are not over the pandemic, we are in the middle of it,” she added.


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