EXPLAINED: Will Norway accept Covid-19 vaccine passes from the UK?

Could Norway start accepting UK Covid certificates, ending tight entry restrictions and requirements for fully vaccinated Brits entering the country? Here's what you need to know. 

EXPLAINED: Will Norway accept Covid-19 vaccine passes from the UK?
Will Norway accept the NHS app as proof of vaccination? Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

What are the current rules for UK NHS app users? 

Fully vaccinated Brits are still subject to tight entry rules as Norway currently doesn’t recognise the NHS app as proof of vaccination. 

This means there are no special rules for travellers using the the NHS app. Arrivals from the UK that aren’t residents or citizens of Norway can only enter if they are visiting close family.

Norway classes close family as children and stepchildren (regardless of age), parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

Partners of Norwegian residents and citizens can also visit from the UK, subject to an application which you can take a look at here, and requirements you can read about here

In addition to this, arrivals from the UK will have to spend a minimum of three days in a quarantine hotel when they arrive in Norway, as well as being subject to other entry requirements.

On the flip side, EU and Norwegian Covid certificate holders who are fully vaccinated are exempt not only from quarantine, but also from testing and entry registration. Furthermore, fully jabbed EU vaccine pass holders aren’t subject to any entry restrictions meaning anyone with a pass can travel for whatever reason they wish. 

Why doesn’t the NHS app count as proof of vaccination? 

Norway has placed a massive emphasis on what it has called “verifiable proof” when it comes to vaccine passes. 

This means that the Scandinavian country will not accept any vaccine passes that it cannot verify as 100 percent genuine. This is also the reason why vaccine passes from the US aren’t proof either. 

Reader Question: Will Norway allow vaccinated Americans to travel to Norway

So far, Norway only considers vaccine passes part of the EU’s health certificate scheme and designed within the common European framework as proof. 

As the UK is not a member of the EU or EEA, it isn’t part of the scheme, and the NHS app hasn’t been designed within the same framework. 

Could Norway recognise the NHS app?

This is something that could potentially happen in the near future, although it isn’t guaranteed . 

The EU and UK have previously held talks on getting one another’s certificates mutually recognised. 

In early July, the UK government said it was working with the European Commission to get both certificates recognised by one another. 

However, things have been quiet from both sides since then. 

As well as the possibility of the UK potentially joining the EU’s scheme,  The Telegraph has reported that the UK was close to reaching a reciprocal agreement with 33 countries that would allow easier quarantine free travel.

It is currently unknown if Norway is among these countries, whether this is related to the EU’s vaccine pass scheme or independent of it. 

What would this mean? 

It could, depending on the nature of the agreement and whether it happens, mean quarantine free entry into Norway. It could also open Norway to travellers from the UK outside of close family and partners. 

If a reciprocal agreement could be reached either within or outside the EU’s vaccine pass scheme, it wouldn’t just make travel into Norway easier for fully vaccinated Brits but also make it easier for vaccinated Brits living in Norway to travel to the UK. 

This is because the UK currently lists Norway as an orange country, meaning arrivals from these countries are required to undergo a ten-day quarantine period with paid testing on days two and eight.

This is unless they fork out for test and release scheme to end quarantine by taking a test on day five in addition to the other two tests. 

Under a potential agreement, arrivals from orange countries may no longer be obliged to test or enter quarantine.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”