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Reader question: When could entry restrictions to Norway be lifted for EU travellers?

Reader question: When could entry restrictions to Norway be lifted for EU travellers?
When will Norway's borders reopen? Photo by Gary Lopater on Unsplash
Norway's notoriously stringent Covid border restrictions have been in place for half a year, but many readers are asking us when will they be lifted for travellers from the EU?

Reader question: When do you think Norway will lift travel restrictions for arrivals from EU countries?

This is the million dollar question many readers are asking us. We understand your impatience and indeed frustration. While we don’t have a definitive answer here’s what we know so far.

Norway has barred entry for almost anybody that is isn’t a Norwegian citizen or resident of Norway since January and have not offered any signs of letting up anytime soon.

You can read about the restrictions in more detail here.

Entry for partners and family was supposed to be considered during step two of the country’s four-step plan to lift Covid measures.

Unfortunately, this was pushed back to step three and, even more frustratingly, looks likely to be pushed back beyond step three.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg recently told news agency NTB that while the country was on track to lift more measures, the borders could still remain closed.

She said this was due to the danger of the Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India, and delays in vaccination.

This means for many, the wait to travel to Norway will continue.

READ MORE: ‘Inhumane and discriminatory’: How Norway’s Covid border closure has left lives on hold

What makes the restrictions so exasperating is the Norwegian government’s non-committal approach to when the border rules will be lifted.

With an election looming, the government appears to be cautious about committing to any promises it cannot keep or making any costly mistakes that will still be fresh in voters’ minds when they head to the ballot boxes in September.

Our best estimate would be Norway may begin to reopen for arrivals from the EU either during step four of the government’s reopening plan, which could come into effect in late July or early August if infections stay low enough, or when the EU’s vaccine passport scheme is up and running.

The EU’s vaccine passport will launch in July and is explicitly aimed at opening up safe travel across Europe. Norway has signed up to be part of the scheme.

You can read The Local’s guide to vaccine passes for more info.

READ MORE: How will the EU’s ‘Covid passports’ work for travellers?

However, while Norway will be a part of the scheme, the country like all other EU states will retain complete control over its borders, meaning it doesn’t necessarily have to permit entry to EU travellers.

Instead, the Scandinavian country may participate in the scheme to allow Norwegians to travel across Europe and allow Norwegians vaccinated abroad to return home without undergoing entry quarantine, for example.  

So far, Norway plans to allow those with EU vaccine passes to skip entry quarantine in July but has made no mention of opening entry to EU arrivals, pointing to the scenario mentioned above as a possibility.

Another route for EU travellers may be through Norway’s Covid traffic light travel rules. Norway allows for entry from green and yellow countries.

Almost all countries are red, and there hasn’t been a green country since December 2020.

There are only a few yellow countries, and the criteria for becoming a yellow country are stringent.

Only countries with a Covid incidence rate of lower than 25 per 100,000 in the previous two weeks can be put on the yellow list.

This means it may take just as long for Norway to reopen on its own volition as it would for most countries in the EU to meet these criteria.

Whilst infection rates are tumbling in most parts of Europe, not many have dropped below the 14-day incidence rate of 25. According to these latest figures from the EU only Poland, Malta and Iceland could be classified as yellow countries.

Always make sure to check Norway’s official list of yellow countries before travelling as some countries that meet the criteria aren’t always included on its travel lists.  

If you are planning on travelling to Norway, it’s worth considering stumping up the extra money for a flexible ticket so that you can change your flight as more details become available. 

It may also be worth paying for tickets with a credit card if you can, as the purchase will be insured if the flight gets cancelled. 

A tip for those hoping to travel using the vaccine passport scheme is to remember that Norway only considers people fully vaccinated until one week after their second jab, meaning it may be worth waiting until you are considered fully vaccinated until attempting travel. 

If you have any questions about Norway or any aspect about living or travelling to the country please email us at [email protected]


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