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CHRISTMAS

How to send parcels to and from Norway this Christmas

Christmas will soon be upon us, and there's bad news for those who like to leave things until the last minute. Advance planning is needed to ensure gifts sent to and from Norway arrive on time.

Pictured are a number of Christmas gifts.
These are the rules and deadlines you need to know about for Christmas 2021. Pictured is a handful of Christmas presents. Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The festive season is a time to spend with friends, family and loved ones. However, this isn’t always possible for those living in other countries, so sending a gift or card is the next best way of showing the people you care about that you are thinking about them. 

Sending letters and cards

This year the deadline to send letters ranges from December 1st to December 14th. Letters and small postcards with no monetary value must weigh less than 2kg and have a maximum length of 60cm and maximum length + width + thickness of 90cm. Anything outside of these dimensions will need to be sent as a package. 

The deadlines for sending letters and parcels to various destinations are listed below.

  • Sweden and Denmark: December 14th
  • Rest of Nordic countries: December 10th
  • Germany: December 13th
  • Rest of Europe: December 8th
  • USA and Canada: December 6th
  • Rest of the world: December 1st

The Norwegian postal service, Posten Norge, recommends sending any letters and small packages ahead of the deadlines in case of any issues and that delays of up to two days can also be expected to allow packages to pass through customs clearance. 

You won’t need to fill out a customs document if the card or letter doesn’t contain anything of monetary value. However, if it does have something of value, gifts included, you will need to fill out a customs declaration. An online calculator can be used to work out the cost of customs.

It should be noted that the recipient may have to pay customs and tolls on any gifts of value, so be sure to check the rules for the country to which packages are sent.

Receiving cards and letters from abroad

The deadline for getting cards to Norway will depend on the country from where they are sent. Check with postal services where you are. Generally, it’s always better to leave more time in case of delays or disruption. 

If you receive a card or letter with a small gift, fees apply if the value of the present is more than 1,000 kroner.

Send gifts and packages from Norway

Deadlines for sending gifts from Norway vary considerably depending on where they are sent from. Deadlines for some countries are at the end of November, while the cut-off point for the Nordics is December 15th. 

For Great Britain, it’s December 10th, for Canada December 3rd, for the USA November 26th, for Australia December 2nd, New Zealand’s deadline is December 2nd, South Africa has a December 6th deadline. 

To send gifts abroad, you will need to register all goods and items, weigh and measure the package, and fill out the sender and recipient information. The information on what the package contains should be in English. You also need to disclose what the items are. Writing “gift” is not specific enough. 

You will also need to print all the documents, pay the shipping and send them off. You should also check out what the recipient is and isn’t allowed to receive in their country. Senders are not allowed to ship weapons, ammunition, live animals, remains, tobacco products, dangerous goods or valuable contents such as gold, silver, precious stones, coins, banknotes or securities. Packages must not have a value of more than 100,000 kroner either. 

The cost for sending presents can be checked online.

Sending Christmas gifts to Norway

As with letters, deadlines and costs vary depending on the postal service you are using. 

Gifts under 1,000 kroner are exempt, providing the package is sent from a private individual abroad to one in Norway. If you order gifts from abroad and send them directly to somebody, then the receiver will be charged import duties, so in most cases, it’s cheaper to order it yourself and then send it on. 

If you send multiple gifts in one package, say for several family members, you do not need to pay import duties or taxes provided the value of the gift to each individual is 1,000 kroner. For example, if your family consists of five members, a gift shipment may have a value of 5,000 kroner, and you will not pay any import charges provided the gifts are marked to the different family members, and the value of the gift to each person is 1,000 kroner or less. This must be specified on the outside of the shipment and in the transport documents. 

There are rules for what you can and can’t send, and some things are taxed regardless of whether it is a gift, such as alcohol. Tobacco products cannot be sent as a gift. 

Meat or dairy products from outside the EU/EEA, including the UK, cannot be sent to Norway. If you are planning to send some food products such as cakes, cookies, biscuits, and chocolates, you should check rules for specific products with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

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CHRISTMAS

Could Christmas in Norway be affected by new Covid-19 measures?

Norway’s government has in the last two days announced tightened rules relating to Covid-19 isolation and face masks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sought to reassure the public over plans for the Christmas holidays.

Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th.
Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The government on Tuesday announced new measures relating to quarantine rules for confirmed Covid-19 cases and face mask guidelines.

The measures, which are being introduced in response to increasing infection numbers, include more stringent isolation rules, face mask recommendations and a push to vaccinate over 65s with booster jabs as soon as possible.

“On one side, we must avoid full hospitals and strain on the health system. On the other side we must live as normally as possible. We must keep finding the right balance in the measures,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

Tighter quarantine rules for suspected cases with the new Omicron variant were meanwhile launched on Monday. People who test positive for or are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant will need to isolate for longer than others with the virus.

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In comments during a briefing to press on Tuesday, Støre sought to reassure the public over plans to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“The measures we have introduced are settings that make it possible to celebrate a good Christmas while keeping in mind what you can do with your loved ones,” the PM said in comments reported by newspaper VG.

“We can plan to be with our families at Christmas,” he added.

Last year saw Christmas in Norway significantly impacted by restrictions on the number of people who could meet and mixing between households.

Such far-reaching restrictions are not expected in 2021. Støre did not however rule out additional measures being introduced before December 24th.

“What we have presented today is based on the knowledge we already have,” he said.

“It is the total restrictions that count. If we are in the same situation (as now) when we get to December 24th, you can celebrate Christmas normally,” Støre said, but noted the virus would be present throughout the winter.

The aim of any measures is to keep the pandemic under control throughout the winter, he added.

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