Travel: Norway to ease entry and quarantine hotel restrictions 

Norway will scrap quarantine hotels and ease entry restrictions for travellers from the UK and EEA or Schengen countries where infections are low enough, the government confirmed on Friday. 

Travel: Norway to ease entry and quarantine hotel restrictions 
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

The government also said it would scrap the distinction between ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ trips, meaning arrivals from the United Kingdom and EEA and Schengen countries will no longer need to enter quarantine hotels and can quarantine at home or another suitable location. 

“We are now changing the rules for quarantine hotels. We are removing the distinction between necessary and unnecessary travel when entering Norway, “ Justice Minister Monica Mæland said in a statement.

Previously those returning from unnecessary trips would have to enter quarantine hotels for a minimum of seven of Norway’s ten-day quarantine period. 

Those returning from essential trips were exempt. 

Essential trips included those taken to visit your children, go to a funeral, or to see a relative or close relation with a severe or terminal illness, as well as strictly necessary maintenance on a holiday home in Sweden or Finland. 

Now, Norway will assess whether arrivals enter quarantine hotels based on the infection situation in the country they are arriving from.

Travellers from European countries who have fewer than 150 new infections per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days will no longer be required to enter a quarantine hotel.

“This means that travellers from the United Kingdom and EEA or Schengen countries with low infection also avoid quarantine hotels,” Mæland said. 

Those coming from areas outside of the EEA, Schengen, and the UK will still have to enter the quarantine hotel. 

People will still be able to test themselves out of quarantine hotels after seven days. 

This also means that those arriving in Norway from necessary trips could be placed into quarantine hotels if there is a high level of infections in the country they returned from. 

The new rules on quarantine hotels will come into place on May 27th. 

READ ALSO: Norway to enter next stage of lifting Covid-19 restrictions next week 

Easing entry requirements 

Entry into Norway will also open to foreigners from “yellow countries”.

Yellow countries are countries deemed to have low level enough levels of infection to allow entry into Norway. Arrivals from yellow countries also do not need to quarantine, according to

Currently, this only applies to Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and parts of Finland. 

The list of yellow countries will grow in the future.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, along with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, will make a weekly assessment of the infection situation in the EU/EEA/Schengen areas, as well as the UK, and update it once a week, according to the NIPH website.

The new rules come into place on May 27th. 

Entry into Norway will still be limited to a very small group of people outside of residents, citizens, those from yellow countries, and those considered exempt. 

You can view a complete list of those that are exempt here

In addition to this, current entry requirements will remain in place. 

Travellers will still need to complete the registration form prior to their departure, present a negative rapid antigen or PCR test and undergo testing when they arrive in Norway.

A reassessment of the restrictions on entry restrictions will be made when the government decides to take Norway’s reopening to step three. The easing of entry restrictions will be considered for business travel, family, partners, international students, and pupils. 

The government has extended its travel advice until July 1st, meaning advice against all non-essential foreign travel remains in place. 

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Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany