What are the current rules for travel between Norway and the USA

Pictured is somebody in the baggage hall in JFK airport.
Here's what you need to know if you are travelling between Norway and the US. Pictured is JFK airport. Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP
Following the tightening of Covid travel rules from both the Norwegian and American governments, travellers will need to be aware of a number of things.

From Norway to the US

Non-US citizens and residents can only travel to the states if they are fully vaccinated. US residents and citizens can travel to the country if they aren’t fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose. 

All travellers from Europe to the United States will need to provide a negative Covid test before boarding the plane, taken within one day of departure.

The new one-day testing requirement would apply equally to US citizens and foreign nationals arriving in the US. In addition, all travellers over 2 years of age will need to test.

Those who have recovered from Covid within the previous 90 days will be able to show the test that returned positive instead. 

The pre-travel period is considered the entire day before the journey rather than 24 hours. 

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC): “For example, if your flight is at 1pm on a Friday, you could board with a negative test that was taken any time on the prior Thursday.”

READ ALSO: Travellers from Europe to US face tougher Covid test restrictions

Travel from the USA to Norway

We are sure you may have heard by now, but if you haven’t, Norway has lifted all travel bans on who can enter the country. This means all travellers can come to Norway regardless of their reason for travel. 

One other thing to know about before we get onto the rules is that the US currently lists Norway as a level four country. This means that travellers are advised not to travel there due to the Covid-19 situation in the country. 

However, this is just a travel recommendation rather than a ban on people going to Norway. 

All travellers over the age of 16 must register their journey to Norway on the government’s website. This applies regardless of vaccination status or prior immunity. 

Pre-departure Covid-19 tests are required for people who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from the virus in the previous six months. This also applies to travellers without a valid Covid-19 health pass. Children under-18 won’t need to test before travel. 

Norway currently only recognises health passes compatible with the EU scheme and digital certificates from the United Kingdom and a handful of other non-EEA countries as proof of vaccination or having recovered from the disease. 

Unfortunately, American vaccine certificates do not currently count. This means that unless you have access to any of the approved passes, then you will need to follow the same rules as unvaccinated travellers. 

The test can be either a PCR or rapid antigen test, and the certificate can be in English. All tests must be taken within 24 hours of arriving in Norway. Given the long flight times, rapid antigen tests will be best for those travelling from the states. 

Those with approved health passes won’t need to test before travel. 

However, regardless of vaccine status, prior infection or health pass, all travellers will need to test for Covid-19 after arriving in Norway. In most cases, this can be done at the border, especially for air travellers. 

This will be a rapid test, and travellers must wait for results at the test centre. 

In instances where there isn’t a test station at the border, for example, some land borders, or in the event of queues, some travellers will be sent home with quick tests. Those sent home will have 24 hours to do the test. 

If the test returns positive, they will need to take a PCR test and isolate until the result is ready. 

Due to the rules surrounding approved health passes, most arrivals from the USA will be required to undergo a quarantine period. However, if you have a health pass that Norway recognises, you can skip the isolation period. 

Quarantine can take place at home or another suitable location. Generally speaking, an appropriate location is somewhere with its own private bedroom and can maintain social distance from others and where you do not need to share food prep and bathroom facilities. 

Quarantine hotels remain an option for those who do not have a suitable place. They cost 500 kroner per night for adults and 250 kroner for children aged 10-17. 

When in quarantine, you can’t go to work or school and should avoid long cross-country trips and visitors. You can exercise and head to the shops for essentials. 

What measures are there in Norway? 

Several Covid-19 restrictions have been announced by the Norwegian government to reduce social contact and slow the transmission of coronavirus, following weeks of surging cases and several outbreaks of the recently discovered Omicron variant in the country.

The restrictions include recommendations on the number of visitors allowed at home and a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars .The majority of measures were introduced on December 9th with updated measures such as the ban on alcohol being sold at bars and restaurants becoming effective on December 15th

READ MORE: Norway further tightens Covid rules with nationwide alcohol ban in bars

Social distancing and facemasks have been reintroduced. A maximum of ten guests at home will be recommended over the Christmas period. The recommended limit can be raised to 20 on Christmas Eve or for a party. 

Everyone is being advised to maintain a social distance of one metre around those not in their household. 

A maximum of 20 people will be able to meet at private gatherings in a public place, in or on rented premises. In addition, alcohol service is prohibited in bars and restaurants. Venues will also be required to have table service. 

Hospitality and one-on-one services such as hairdressers will need to register the contact information of customers, provided consent to do so is given. Some leisure settings will also need to register guests contact info. This won’t apply to shops, libararies and shopping centres, however.

Facemasks must also be worn when it is not possible to keep a social distance of one metre in shops, malls, restaurants, public transport, taxis and indoor areas at public transport stations.

If local areas do introduce the Covid certificate as a requirement to enter hospitality and leisure venues, then visiting friends and family won’t be able to go to bars and clubs where certificates are being used as they are only available to residents with an identification number.

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