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UPDATE: Covid-19: How to avoid potential hiccups when travelling to Norway 

Norway's recent changes to its Covid-19 border rules around obligatory hotel quarantine have led to chaos and confusion at the border. Here is how to avoid any nasty shocks when travelling to the Scandinavian country. 

UPDATE: Covid-19: How to avoid potential hiccups when travelling to Norway 
Oslo Airport. Photo Hiritomo T Flickr

Entry into Norway has been restricted to a very small group of people outside of residents and citizens of Norway since January to try and limit the import of Covid-19 infection. 

Norway currently doesn’t allow foreign citizens to enter unless they are residents of Norway, bar a few exceptions, so it is not recommended that foreign citizens that aren’t residents attempt to travel to Norway.  

You can read a list of exceptions to the entry restrictions in English here

Travellers to Norway, citizens and residents included, must register their arrival in Norway before they depart.

You can take a look at the registration form here

You must also provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours of your arrival in Norway. This can be either a rapid antigen test or a PCR test. A rapid test is the more practical option due to the time required to return PCR test results.

Everybody entering Norway must also quarantine at a suitable location (typically at home or anywhere you have access to a private bedroom and bathroom) or a quarantine hotel.

There is an exemption from quarantine for arrivals coming from “yellow countries”. Under the Norwegian government’s Covid traffic light classification, those ranked “yellow” are deemed to have low enough infection rates to allow for safe travel to Norway.

Here is a list of yellow countries. The list is assessed and updated by the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Weekly. 

If you are returning from a country with a quarantine obligation, you must also get tested for Covid-19 at the Norwegian border.

What proof do foreign residents need to re-enter Norway? 

Foreign residents returning to Norway, in addition to carrying out the above entry requirements, will need to provide proof that they resided in the country prior to their return. 

Previously residents that weren’t in the national population register were refused entry into Norway. 

The rules have since been relaxed. However, it may be worth making sure you are in the national register as you can then print of proof of residence and also to cover yourself if the rules are reverted. 

You can also use proof of home ownership, or a rental contract in your own name according to the UDI

Foreign residents will also need a copy of the plane ticket they used to depart Norway. 

Foreign residents who are not able to document permanent residence prior to their departure from Norway or documentation that you are returning from a trip abroad will not be permitted to enter. 

What are the new quarantine hotel rules? 

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in hotel quarantine in Norway 

The Norwegian government has said that travellers from European countries in EEA/ Schengen areas, as well as the UK that have incidence rate of less than 150 per 100,000 cases over 10 days and where there positivity rate of tests is under 4 percent, do not have to stay at a quarantine hotel. They can quarantine at their home address or the address they provide authorities.

The current guidelines set by the Norwegian Government have caused chaos and confusion at the border. Source

Travellers from areas outside the EEA, Schengen or UK or those from countries with higher infection levels will have to enter quarantine hotels. Some will be able to test themselves out of hotel’s after three days. You can take a look through the list of countries that only require a three day quarantine hotel stay here.

Do vaccinated people need to enter hotel quarantine? 

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated in Norway or have tested positive and recovered from coronavirus in the past six months and can prove so via the Covid-19 certificate will no longer be subject to any entry quarantine from June 11th. This is provided they test negative for Covid-19 at either the border or within two days of their arrival. 

In addition to this, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced that travellers exempt from quarantine upon entry under the new rule would also no longer need to present a negative Covid-19 test at the border. 

The Ministry of Health also confirmed the news. 

“Fully vaccinated and people who have had Covid-19 in the last six months also do not need to present a certificate showing a negative test taken 24 hours before departing for Norway, but must still be tested at the border,” The Ministry wrote on its website

Those no longer required to present a negative test or enter quarantine will still need to get tested at the border and register their arrival 72 hours prior. 

Arrivals who have received one jab, at least three weeks prior to their arrival, in Norway can quarantine at home, and then test themselves out of quarantine entirely on day three. 

Currently those vaccinated abroad will still need to enter quarantine hotels until the EU’s vaccine passport is up and running in July. 

READ MORE: Travel: Norway to scrap Covid entry requirements for vaccinated travellers 

Where can I check if I am exempt? 

To ensure that you will not have to enter a quarantine hotel when arriving in Norway, it is worth checking the quarantine hotel exemption list on The Norwegian Directorate of Health’s website

If you are exempt, the Directorate also recommends printing evidence that documents your exemption from having to fulfill your quarantine period at a hotel.

What to do if you get put into a hotel quarantine wrongly

If you are wrongly placed into a hotel even though you are exempt, you should contact the municipality where the hotel is based, as they are responsible for the operation of the hotels. It is important to get permission from the municipality before leaving the hotel. 

If you are granted permission to leave the hotel and continue, it may well be worth asking the municipality for some form of evidence. 

This is because, in some cases, those who have been given leave from the hotels have been contacted by infection trackers, who believe those leaving are absconding. 

Even though you have been given leave from the hotel you will still need to carry out the rest of the ten day quarantine period. 

The fine for failing to oblige with quarantine can be up to 20,000 kroner.

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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