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Driving in Norway: How to exchange your licence for a Norwegian one

Foreign residents in Norway may need to exchange their driving licence for a Norwegian one to be able to drive on the country's roads.

Driving in Norway: How to exchange your licence for a Norwegian one
Here's what you need to know about exchanging your driving licence in Norway. Pictured is somebody on a road trip. Photo by Alexandr Bormotin on Unsplash
EU/EEA citizens

If your driving licence was issued in an EU/EEA country, exchanging it for a Norwegian one is a fairly straightforward process and you don’t need to undertake any driving tests, practical or theory.

You do not need to exchange it in order to legally drive and can continue driving on the licence issued in your country, but it may be more convenient for renewal and identification purposes if you do exchange. 

Obviously your current licence needs to be valid.

As stated by Norway’s public road authority Statens vegvesen, you can do this either in person, or through the post.

If done in person, you can make an appointment at your nearest Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office (trafikkstasjon) to submit your application. 

Here is a link to the application form that needs to be filled out for the exchange. 

If you apply for a temporary driving permit while you wait, then you must apply in person. 

Remember to bring your passport to the registration office as a valid form of photo identity, as your foreign driving licence will not be accepted as one. You will also need to give your Norwegian social security number and proof of residence. Here is where you can order a valid residence certificate. After applying, it takes an average of seven days for your new licence to be delivered in the post. 

Depending on how you answered the health questions on the application, you may be required to submit a health certificate from your doctor to complete the process. Below is a list of health-related questions that will be necessary to fill out.

 

There is no charge for exchanging your license if you are from an EU/EEA country. 

Countries outside the EU/EEA 

For licences from non-EU/EEA countries the rules are stricter.

Whilst you can drive using the licence issued in your home country for the first three months (preferably with an international driver’s licence) in Norway, to continue driving after that period you must either exchange the licence for a Norwegian one or obtain one in the same way as first-time applicants from Norway.

Although for those with a residence permit beyond three months and a valid employment contract, you can drive in Norway with a driving licence from another country for up to six months.

The process for getting a Norwegian licence basically depends on what country you are from.

Norway has an agreement with a number of countries that allows for the exchange of a driving licence.

These countries are: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, United Kingdom, all states in the USA ,Switzerland, Greenland, and Japan. 

If you are not from a country on this list then unfortunately you have to obtain your Norwegian driving licence in the same manner as first-time appliers from Norway.Only those residents from Switzerland and Japan can do a straightforward exchange, while residents from the other countries listed must still take a practical test.

One major difference to EU/EEA exchanges is that the fee for exchange of a non-EU/EEA national drivers licence is 400 kroner.

You will need to fill out the same application as those from EU/EEA countries do. You also need to have a valid form of identification, your Norwegian social security number, and a residence certificate. 

It’s important to note that you have one year (starting from the date you took up residency in Norway) to exchange your licence.

If you exchange after the one year deadline, then you are required to take all necessary driving courses and tests that Norwegians have to take to obtain a licence. 

The exchange must be completed within two years otherwise you lose the right to exchange and must start the process of getting licence in the same way Norwegian first-time appliers do.

Note that if you have any restrictions on your drivers licence from your home country you won’t be able to exchange it for a Norwegian one.

For example, a “Provisional Driving Licence”, which is issued in many American states, with restrictions that had not expired by the time you left the issuing country, cannot be exchanged for a Norwegian driving licence.

You must present a valid ID with your name, Norwegian national ID number (11 digits) and a photo in order to take the theory test and the practical driving test. 

Before taking the required tests, the driving school, or the training instructor must report to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that you have completed the mandatory driving hours. 

Here is the price list for the necessary steps and courses needed to receive a Norwegian driving licence. Note that you can save a lot of money if you choose to pay beforehand and not at the licence and registration office.

If you are from a non- EU/EEA country that is not listed above, then you cannot exchange your licence and are required to take all necessary driving courses and tests Norwegians also take to obtain your licence.

What about Brexit?

The most recent government announcement on December 11th, 2020 gives the updated information pertaining to driving licences and Brexit from the first of January of this year. 

The most important news is that Brits can still use their British driving licences in Norway in 2021 and they can be exchanged for Norwegian ones on the same terms as EU/EEA countries.

Authorities say: “For (British) nationals who have permanent residence in Norway, including those who move to Norway after January 1st 2021 British driving licenses will continue to be valid for driving in Norway and for exchange for a Norwegian driving licence.”

“There will be no requirements for training or tests to be able to complete an exchange for a Norwegian driver’s licence.”

Norwegian authorities will not require an additional international driving licence along with a British one for British tourists who are visiting the country. 

A Norwegian driving licence will still be fully valid for driving (or exchanging) for a British one in the United Kingdom following the withdrawal from the EU.

Brits who are living in Norway and have exchanged their British driving licence to a Norwegian one already have full driving rights under the current rules. 

For commercial transport by truck, arrangements are in place to ensure that freight transport on the road between Norway and the United Kingdom can continue.

Helpful facts and vocabulary

Before you begin the process, Statens vegvesen has a requirement that only a valid driving licence is eligible for exchange. If your licence has expired, you will need to receive confirmation from the issuing country affirming that you still have a valid driving entitlement in that country.

Driving is considered to be a privilege here in Norway and the residents here treat it as such. Low speed limits, intensive training, and mostly law-abiding citizens have contributed to Norway being crowned the safest country to drive in 2019, according to Forbes.

Fartsbot – speeding ticket

Førerkort – drivers license 

Bil – car

E 18 – This abbreviation stands for Europavei 18 or European road 18.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about driving in Norway

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BREXIT

How roaming charges will hit travellers between the UK and EU in 2022

Trips between Europe and the UK and vice versa may well become more expensive for many travellers in 2022 as UK mobile operators bring back roaming charges. However there is some good news for all EU residents.

People look at their mobile phones.
How travellers between the EU and UK could be hit by roaming charges in 2022 (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

EU ‘roams like at home’ at least until 2032

First the good news. The European Union is set to decide to extend free roaming until 2032, so if you have your phone contract registered in an EU country you don’t have to worry about extra charges.

In addition to waiving the charges, the new regulation aims to ensure that travellers benefit of the same quality of service they have at home when travelling within the EU. If they have a 5G contract, for instance, they should also get 5G through the EU if possible. 

Under new rules, travellers should be given information about access to emergency services, including for people with disabilities.

Consumers should also be protected from prohibitive bills caused by inadvertent roaming on satellite networks when travelling on ferries or aeroplanes.

The final text of the new regulation was provisionally agreed in December. The European Parliament and Council will formally endorse it in the coming weeks.

UK companies reintroducing roaming charges this year

And now the bad news for travellers to the EU from the UK

Customers of UK mobile phone operators face higher fees when travelling in Europe this year, as some companies are bringing back roaming charges for calls, text messages and data downloaded during temporary stays in the EU.

This is one of the many consequences of the UK withdrawal from the European Union. Because of Brexit, the UK is no longer part of the EU’s “roam like at home” initiative which was designed to avoid shocking bills after holidays or business trips abroad.

The EU’s roaming regulation allows people travelling in the European Economic Area (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) to make calls, send texts and browse the web using their regular plans at no extra cost. Switzerland is not part of the scheme, although some mobile phone providers offer roaming deals or special prices to cover travel in Switzerland.

Under EU rules, if the plan’s allowance is exceeded, the roaming fee is also capped at €0.032 per minute of voice call, €0.01 per SMS and €2.5 + VAT per gigabyte downloaded in 2022 (it was €3 + VAT in 2021). The wholesale price networks can charge each other is capped too.

The regulation was adopted for an initial period of five years and is due to expire on June 30th 2022. But the EU is preparing to extend it for another ten years. This time, however, the UK will not be covered. 

Which UK companies are reintroducing charges?

Three major UK network operators this year will reintroduce roaming charges for travels in the EU.

As of January 6th 2022, Vodafone UK will charge customers with monthly plans started after August 11th 2021 £2 per day to roam in the EU. The amount can be reduced to £1 per day by purchasing a pass for 8 or 15 days. Free roaming continues for earlier contracts, Data Xtra plans and for travels to Ireland.  

From March 3rd 2022, EE will also charge £2 per day to roam in 47 European locations, Ireland excluded. The new policy will apply to plans started from July 7th 2021. Alternatively, EE offers the Roam Abroad Pass, which allows roaming abroad for a month for £10. 

Another operator that announced a £2 daily fee to roam in the EEA, except for Ireland, is Three UK. The charge will apply from May 23rd 2022 for plans started or upgraded since October 1st 2021. The data allowance in monthly plans that can be used abroad is also capped at 12 gigabytes. 

O2 already introduced in August last year a 25-gigabyte cap (or less if the plan’s allowance is lower) to data that can be downloaded for free while travelling in Europe. Above that, customers are charged £3.50 per gigabyte. 

Other mobile operators said they have no intention to bring back roaming charges in the short term, but if won’t be surprising if they do so in the future. 

Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Protection Policy at UK consumer organisation Which? was disappointed at the changes and urged the UK and EU to “strike a deal on roaming charges” to stop companies “chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to” and “prevent the return of the excessive charges people used to encounter.” 

By law, charges for mobile data used abroad remain capped at £45 per month and consumers can only continue data roaming only if they actively chose to keep spending. 

What about EU residents travelling to the UK?

In the EU, most mobile phone operators seem keen to continue free roaming for travels to the UK, but some have announced changes too.

In Sweden, Telenor aligned UK’s prices to those of non-EEA countries on May 1st 2021 while still allowing free roaming for some plans. 

Another Swedish operator, Telia, ended free roaming with the UK and Gibraltar on September 13th 2021 giving customers the option to access 200 megabytes of data for SEK 99 per day. People travelling to the UK can also buy a weekly pass allowing to make calls, send texts and download 1 GB of data. 

In Germany Telefónica Deutschland and 1 & 1 have extended current conditions for the UK until at least the end of 2022. However companies may keep other options open depending on negotiations with roaming partners. 

A1 Telekom Austria brought roaming charges back for the UK last June. Customers now have to pay €2.49 per minute for outgoing calls and €1.49 per minute for incoming calls if they are in the UK or Gibraltar. An SMS costs 99 cents and each 100 KB of data €1.49. 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK. 

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