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DRIVING

Winter tyres in Norway: Everything you need to know

The winter tyre season in Norway starts in parts of Norway from October 16th before beginning in the rest of the country later.

Here's what you need to know about winter tyres in Norway. Pictured is a car in the snow.
Here's what you need to know about winter tyres in Norway. Pictured is a car in the snow. Photo by Hossein Soltanloo on Unsplash

Why are winter tyres needed? 

Suitable tyres are required during the Norwegian winters due to icy conditions reducing road surface grip.

In some more remote parts of the country with lots of snowfall and not much road maintenance coverage, you can opt to use studded tyres for more traction. 

If you are new to Norway, you might not be aware that most motorists own two sets of tyres, one for the winter and one for the summer. 

Many people will change the tyres themselves, but if you aren’t particularly handy, you can have a mechanic change them.

QUIZ: Would you pass the Norwegian driving theory test?

When is the winter tyre season? 

In the northernmost parts of the country, the winter tyre season begins earlier due to the snow arriving and settling quicker than it does in the south. The season in the north begins on October 16th before commencing on November 1st in the rest of the country. 

When the season ends is rather more confusing: the first Sunday after the 2nd day of Easter. We know that’s not very helpful or easy to understand, as the rule is more of a brain teaser or riddle than a set date. 

To break it down, this will be April 25th of 2022 for this year. In the north, winter tyres are allowed until May. 

There are no rules stopping you using winter tyres past this point, but studded ones will be prohibited. 

What are the requirements? 

In the winter, tyres must have a minimum pattern millimetre depth of 3mm. Cars can also be fitted with studded tyres that can only be used during the winter season. 

There are different requirements for heavy vehicles over 3,500 kg. You can read about the rules for heavier vehicles here

In summer, the minimum tread depth is 1.6 milometres. The video below shows a quick overview of the rules from Utrykningspolitiet, or the Central Mobile Police Service. 

What happens if I am caught with the wrong tyres? 

It might seem like a tedious chore, but you’ll kick yourself if you don’t take the time to check. 

Not only is it potentially dangerous because of lack of grip on the road, but it can also be expensive. 

If you are stopped with tyres that don’t appear suitable, you can be charged up to 750 kroner per tyre if they don’t meet the minimum requirements. This, unless you own a Reliant Robin, means having the wrong tyres or rubber that isn’t up to scratch could cost you up to 3,000 kroner. 

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DRIVING

EXPLAINED: How to bring a foreign car to Norway  

If you've thought about bringing a car from another country to Norway, you've probably wondered what costs and paperwork would be involved. 

EXPLAINED: How to bring a foreign car to Norway  

Whether it’s a beloved classic that’s been the pride of your garage for years, a project that isn’t quite finished, or the family car for pottering around town, there are many reasons why you’d want to bring a vehicle to Norway. 

But what kind of paperwork is involved, and is it financially feasible? Let’s find out. 

Import taxes 

Before you begin the importing, you will need to contact the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) to see if your vehicle meets the technical requirements to be imported into Norway. 

You will also need to check with the authorities of the country you are bringing the car from to check whether there are any export restrictions or whether any clearance to move the vehicle to another country is required. 

The vehicle will need valid number plates and insurance to be driven to and in Norway. And finally, you can check whether you are due a valid added tax refund on the vehicle when it leaves the country. 

Once the car crosses the Norwegian border, you will need to go to a crossing that is manned and head to the red zone, where you can declare the vehicle. If the tax authorities in the country you are travelling from have not issued a transit declaration, you can get one at the crossing. The transit document allows goods to pass through certain areas. 

You can also pay the VAT, more on that later, that may be required at the customs office at the border, but you will need to let the customs office you will be passing through know in advance, according to the Norwegian Tax Administration.

If you don’t do it when you first pass through, you will need to arrange to go to a customs office within one to three days to pay VAT on the vehicle. You will need to go to the crossing listed on the transit declaration. In addition to VAT, you will need to pay greenhouse gas taxes. If you don’t do this within the deadline, the tax authorities will charge additional fees. 

READ ALSO: What happens if you are caught driving without a valid licence in Norway?

The transit declaration, invoice or purchase contract for the vehicle and original registration document will need to be presented to have the car cleared through customs. 

If you have not purchased the car recently, you can bring an updated valuation from the country the vehicle was bought in. You will also need an original foreign registration document. 

Once the car has been cleared with customs, you’ll receive the Notification of calculation duties and registration or, Melding til avgiftsberegning og registrering (Form NA-0221). This paperwork is only available in Norwegian, and you’ll need to present it to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. You will also need to keep it in the car while driving with foreign plates. 

You can use a tax calculator to figure out how much it will cost to import your car. Cars over 20 years old are exempt from import taxes. However, unlike cars over 30 years old, you will still need to pay regular taxes and insurance.  

You will be able to drive with foreign number plates for up to 30 days after the vehicle has been cleared with customs. After that, you will need to have valid plates, proper vehicle registration, and insurance. 

If you don’t have all of this, the vehicle can only be used with valid temporary number plates. These are referred to as day test plates or prøveskilt. You can read more about obtaining test plates here

Getting the car on the road

Paying the taxes is not the end of the process. You will need to get the car approved for Norwegian roads. Used vehicles need to be checked over by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration Driver and Vehicle Licensing Offices. When new cars are imported, the information from the COC will be used. 

Getting the car approved requires you to book an appointment with the roads and traffic authority. You can book appointments here.

Once approved, a one-off fee will need to be paid before registering the vehicle. The one-off tax is calculated on the vehicle’s tax group, weight, CO2 emissions and engine power.

After this, the car can be registered with the public road authority. To register the vehicle, you will need the foreign vehicle card, the registration card you received when the car was cleared with customs and your own credentials, such as a passport or driving licence. You will need to have insured the vehicle too

You will get a temporary registration certificate for the vehicle when all this is done, while the full registration certificate is sent in the post. The temporary one can’t be used to drive abroad. 

If you haven’t already, you will need to hand over your foreign number plates to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. Norwegian plates will not be issued until you do this. 

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