What changes about life in Norway in December 2021

Pictured are reindeer in Tromsø.
Here is what you need to know about December in Norway. Pictured are reindeer in Tromsø, northern Norway. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash
December will see a key Brexit deadline for Brits living in Norway in addition to loans and mortgages becoming more expensive, and of course, Christmas.

Post-Brexit residence deadline 

All UK citizens who were legal residents of Norway before December 31st 2020, will need to apply for residence under the Separation Agreement before the end of the year to continue living, working and studying in the country as they did before Brexit. 

Even residents who have yet to get all their documentation in place have been encouraged to apply before the deadline.

For British citizens who apply after this deadline, the rules for immigration from outside the EU/EEA will apply, making it harder to secure residence. 

READ MORE: How Brits can get a residence permit in Norway post-Brexit 

State budget finalised 

December could finally see the country’s fiscal plan for next year set in stone. The government presented its amended budget for 2022 in November after the previous government set out its proposed plan in October. 

READ MORE: The changes to Norway’s 2022 budget that could impact you

The current agreed a budget with the Socialist Left Party ahead of a vote in early December. 

Christmas holidays 

Schools will close their doors for the festive season on Friday, December 17th, and reopen around Monday, January 3rd. 

As a rule of thumb, schools close around the 20th of each year, with a new term commencing on the first working day of the new year. 

Interest rate rises

It is likely that Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, will raise the key interest rate in December. The news will come as a bit of a blow to households as it means that loans and mortgages will become more expensive in the months after Christmas. 

The rate will be raised by 0.25 percent as part of a larger plan to raise rates to 1.75 by 2024. 

The bank has said that it would continue to raise rates as long as the country’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic. 

While 0.25 percent may seem like a marginal rise on the surface, it could have a more significant impact on your wallet than you think.

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For example, if you have a loan or mortgage of around four million kroner, you will pay approximately 8,000 kroner per year more in repayments after the rise.

UK tightens travel restrictions on arrivals from abroad

The UK announced on Saturday that PCR tests and self-isolation for UK arrivals would be reintroduced amid concerns of the new Omicron variant that was first identified in South Africa and has now been found in several people in mainland Europe and the UK.

The new requirements are set to come into force at 4am on Tuesday, November 30th, and are therefore likely to affect travel from Norway throughout much if not all of December. This means that if you’re arriving in the UK after 4am on Tuesday, November 30th, you’ll need to book and take PCR tests instead of lateral flow tests, which will no longer be accepted.

You’ll need to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arriving in the UK and self-isolate until you get a negative test result.

READ ALSO: What travellers from Europe need to know about new Covid entry rules in UK

Santa Lucia day 

December 13th will see Norwegian children up and down the country dressed in all white, wearing candles on their heads, and singing songs. These kids will then visit retirement homes, hospitals and nursing homes. 

Historically, December 13th was called Lussinatten, and no work was to be done. From that night until Christmas, it was believed that spirits, gnomes and trolls roamed the earth, and Lussi, a feared sorceress, punished anyone who dared work. 

Despite any potential fears of Lussi enchanting you, you will still be expected to go to work as it isn’t a national holiday. 

However, you can enjoy a Lucia bun made with saffron. 

Christmas market season enters full swing 

Julemarkeder (Christmas markets) around the country will begin popping up in December, although some such as Jul i Vinterland in Oslo have already opened. 

The markets are a great chance to get in the Christmas spirit, pick up a handcrafted gift for a loved one, or purchase local speciality foods from small-batch local producers. 

If none of that takes your fancy, then you could try Christmas classics such as pepperkakke (gingerbread cookies), krumkake (traditional Christmas cookie), kakemann (cookie men popular in the south), and gløgg (Scandinavia’s take on mulled wine). 

READ MORE: Norway’s best Christmas markets for 2021

Deadline for Christmas deliveries 

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.

The deadlines for sending letters 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

Deadlines for sending gifts from Norway vary considerably depending on where they are shipped from. Deadlines for some countries has already passed, while the cut-off point for the Nordics is December 15th. 

READ MORE: How to send parcels to and from Norway this Christmas

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