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Reader question: When will Americans be able to visit family in Norway again? 

Reader question: When will Americans be able to visit family in Norway again? 
Americans haven't been able to travel to Norway since January. Photo by Tanathip Rattanatum from Pexels
Bar a weeklong period in early July, Americans hoping to visit family in Norway haven’t been allowed to enter the country since the beginning of the year due to strict Covid-19 travel rules, but when could they be let back in?

Question: When will we be able to visit family in Norway from the US again? 

This is something readers across the pond have been asking now for over seven months due to Norway’s strict Covid-19 travel rules for travellers arriving outside the EU. 

Essentially, the border has been closed to travellers from the US since late January. However, there was a weeklong period where the US was briefly on Norway’s purple list of non-European Economic Area, or EEA, (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) countries that partners and family members could travel from. You can read more about the purple list and Norway’s travel rules here

Realistically, this fleeting period didn’t give too many people the chance to come to Norway and reconnect with family they’ve been separated from during the pandemic. 

Even more frustratingly for those from the US there has been radio silence from the Norwegian government when it comes to travellers from outside the EEA. 

When will Americans be able to visit family again?

Under the current rules, the earliest opportunity for travellers from the US to visit Norway would be if the country gets added back to the purple list. 

Unfortunately, the prospect of that appears to be quite a while off due to a surge in infections in the US in recent months. 

To be classified as a purple country, the US would need to have less than 50 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents and an average of less than 4 percent of Covid tests coming back positive over a two week period. 

Either that, or fewer than 75 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents during the last two weeks, and an average of less than 1% positive test results in the previous two weeks. You can read more about Norway’s travel thresholds here

According to DataUSA, there have been 619 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in the past 14 days in the US. 

This being more than ten times higher than the threshold means it may be a while before infections are low enough for the US to be added to the purple list. 

If the US were to be added back to the purple list, it would mean that the close family and partners of Norwegian residents and citizens would be able to travel to the country. 

Partners will need to complete a free application with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and have it accepted before they travel. You can look at the application here.

Close family in Norway is classed as children and stepchildren (regardless of age), parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 

In addition to this, they would also be required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days, test before and after arriving and register their visit. 

The US also currently categorises Norway as a level three country, meaning travellers should “reconsider” travel there due to high levels of Covid. 

Are there any other ways travel rules from the US could be relaxed? 

At the moment, it doesn’t look like there are any significant changes to Norway’s travel rules on the horizon. 

The country last had a significant overhaul of its travel rules fairly recently. In addition, Norway is in the midst of a fourth wave of Covid infections, meaning it is unlikely to open up to even more international travel. 

If the rules were to change, they are unlikely to do so until Norway lifts all remaining Covid measures. The government have said that this will happen once everyone over the age of 18 had been fully vaccinated. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has predicted that this would happen around September 12th

Even once all measures have been lifted, there’s no guarantee that new travel rules will be brought in. 

What if I’ve been fully vaccinated?

Essentially, this is unlikely to make a difference. This is because there is no universal vaccine passport in the US, and some states don’t have one. This makes it highly unlikely that Norway will recognise vaccine certificates from the US. 

The reason for this is that Norway only accepts digitally verifiable vaccine passes built within a specific framework, and the process of verifying each states covid certificates, and the potential inequality it would create for those living in states where vaccine passes aren’t issued would be too big an obstacle to overcome. 


Member comments

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  1. It is more than enough what Norway has been doing for months now! It is racism, discrimination !!!! Take family members and partners at least! what is wrong with you Norway? Even your own citizens complain about your policy toward the countries outside fucking ”EEA”. It is enough!!!! But election is coming, lets see what will be the consequences of your policies. You put people in a fucking hotel already, we are even vaccinated, what is this madness?!!! I hope you are gonna lose this election. Everyone I know from Norway says so tho, no one will vote for you after seeing being this cruel!!!!!!!!!!

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