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COVID-19

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

Travel to Norway is set to become easier with the country's scrapping its Covid-19 travel rules on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about 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

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. 

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

Travel from the USA to Norway

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. 

From Wednesday, January 26th, Norway will scrap its Covid-19 quarantine rules for travellers into the country. Travellers arriving in Norway will no longer be required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have a valid Covid-19 certificate.

READ MORE: Norway to scrap Covid-19 entry quarantine for all travellers

What measures are there in Norway? 

There are currently a number of measures in place in Norway. People are recommended to have a minimum of ten guests at home. Facemasks will need to be worn in shops, restaurants and on public transport. People are also required to maintain a social distance of one metre. 

Additionally, the number of people allowed to gather at private events in public settings, for example, restaurant bookings, will be increased to 30.

Museums, libraries, shops and shopping centres can stay open but are required by the government to be run in a way compatible with the current restrictions and recommendations. This means that they may opt to have capacity limits. Face masks are mandatory in these settings. Amusement parks, arcades and indoor play areas are all closed.

The rules on how many people can gather at an indoor public event, such as a show, allow up to 1,500 people indoors to be in attendance and 3,000 outdoors.

Guests will need to be split into cohorts of 200 and will need to be socially distanced from those not in their household.

Be wary, though, as some theatres have said that the cohort system makes it hard for them to operate near the new 1,500 person limit, meaning some venues may remain closed regardless of the relaxed rules.

READ MORE: What Covid-19 rules apply when going out in Norway?

If you test positive for Covid-19, the isolation period will be a minimum of six days but will not end until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine.

If you live with somebody or your partner has tested positive for the virus, you will need to isolate before testing on day seven. If the test returns negative, then isolation ends.

Other close contacts of people who test positive for the virus are no longer required to quarantine. Instead, they are asked to take a Covid-19 test on days three and five after being identified as a close contact and to keep an eye out for symptoms for ten days.

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For members

DRIVING

What’s it like driving from Scandinavia to the UK with a young family?

With the cost of airline tickets increasingly discouraging, is driving from Scandinavia to the UK becoming a more attractive option? The Local Denmark editor Michael Barrett gave it a try.

What’s it like driving from Scandinavia to the UK with a young family?

This summer has seen the return of large-scale international travel after a couple of Covid-hit years that have not been a picnic for anyone.

While the end of restrictions came as a relief, severe delays and disruptions at airports have added a new uncertainty around travel in 2022.

Scandinavia has not been an exception to this, with strikes at Scandinavian airline SAS and delays at Copenhagen and other airports among the problems faced by the sector.

Additionally, the increasing price of airline tickets in a time when inflation is hitting living costs across the board has become another factor discouraging air travel.

Finally, there’s the impact of air travel on climate to be considered. So is there an alternative?

The plan

Unlike colleagues who have made long distance journeys from France and Sweden respectively by rail, our plan was to make the trip from our home in Denmark to the UK by car.

There are a few reasons we picked this less climate-friendly option. I’ll readily admit they were driven (no pun intended) by our own needs, and not those of the planet. I hope we can offset this by using the train more than the car for longer journeys within Denmark, where costs are competitive.

Once we decided not to take our usual Ryanair flight, we only really considered driving. This is primarily because we have a toddler (age two), and felt that on such a long journey, the ability to control the timing and length of our stops would be crucial.

Secondly, the route would have taken longer and been more difficult logistically by rail, and would also have cost more. For example, we arrived at Harwich International Port late on a weekday evening, from where onward travel was to rural Suffolk. The thought of doing this on multiple local rail (possibly bus) services with a tired two-year-old makes me shudder a bit.

The route

From our home in central Denmark, we set out on a Monday morning and drove south on the E45 motorway, crossing the German border and continuing past Hamburg. We then got on to the A1 Autobahn and made for Bremen, where we stopped overnight.

Travelling non-stop, this journey takes just under four hours. It took us around five and a half. We stopped twice and were caught in traffic at Hamburg, where there is lot of construction going on around the city’s ring road.

Leaving early (just after 6am) the following day, we drove southwest and crossed the border into the Netherlands after a brief stop, but then managed to complete the journey to the port town Hook of Holland without a further break.

Our ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich was due to leave at 2:15pm and check-in time was an hour before that. This was the only deadline we had on our journey that would have been problematic to miss, so we gave ourselves plenty of time for the drive from Bremen. We arrived in Hook of Holland at around 11:30am.

Next was a six-hour ferry crossing to the East Anglian coast. We booked a cabin – they are inexpensive on daytime crossings – which gave us a chance to relax after the drive and our daughter a comfortable spot for her afternoon nap.

After a queue at customs in Harwich which took around 45 minutes, we were driving through the Essex countryside just before 9pm local time. The final drive to our destination took an hour and a half.

What went right

It’s not the most relevant information for anyone considering a similar trip, but I have to mention our car. A 2003 VW Polo we bought two years ago that has never had any mechanical issues, I was nevertheless braced for possible problems given its age (and ensured I had roadside assistance for outside of Denmark, more detail on this below).

However, there was not so much as a hint of an issue of any kind at any point during the 900 kilometres it covered on the journey, nor on the way home. Respect.

Our plan to split the trip into two days paid off. I think you could do it in one day (there are also overnight ferries) if you shared the driving and needed less flexibility. I should also recognise here that we live relatively close to Germany and our destination was close to the east coast of the UK. If you were travelling, for example, from Copenhagen to Cardiff, you’d have significantly more driving to do.

For us, knowing we could take long breaks if we needed them took a lot of stress out of the journey and allowed us to adapt to our toddler’s needs – changing nappies, finding a service station playground or stopping for an ice cream.

Stopping overnight also gave us the chance to see some new places (we switched things up on the way back and stayed in Groningen in the north of the Netherlands, instead of Bremen) and gave us a feeling of being on our own little bonus holiday.

What went wrong

In all, things went as well as we possibly could have hoped for and our conclusion after we got back home was that we’d like to travel this way again.

We were stopped by traffic police in Groningen city centre because I failed to understand signs showing we were entering a public transport-only zone. The officers who stopped us then offered to escort us to our accommodation a few streets away.

The ferry, operated by Stena Lines, had far less to do on board than we’d imagined there would be on a six-hour voyage. Two tiny off-duty shops, a cinema showing a superhero film and a minuscule play area (which our daughter nevertheless enjoyed) were about the extent of it. We hadn’t downloaded any films ourselves or brought much entertainment with us from the car, so we got a bit bored during the crossing. This is hardly a serious gripe and an easy one to rectify on the return trip.

The practical stuff 

Roadside assistance is obviously crucial for a journey like this, and it’s also important to double check your insurance is valid once you leave the country in which your car is registered and insured – Denmark, in our case.

Foreign authorities can check your insurance is valid. You can document this with the International Motor Insurance or “Green” card, which serves as proof you have motor insurance when you drive outside of the EU (you don’t need it within the EU).

This means that (in theory) you can be asked to present it in the UK. We weren’t asked for it.

The Green Card can be printed via your insurance company’s website. You’ll need your MitID or NemID secure login to access the platform and print off your document. Here is an example of the relevant page on the website of insurance company Tryg. If you can’t find the right section on your insurance company’s website, contact them by phone.

A number of Danish companies specialise in roadside assistance, including Falck and SOS Dansk Autohjælp. You can also include roadside assistance as part of your motor insurance package. We have the latter option, but in either case, I’d recommend calling your provider to make sure you are covered for breakdown in the EU and non-EU countries like the UK (if that’s where you’re going). Obviously, you should add such cover to your existing deal if you don’t have it, or change to a different deal.

The company which operates the ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich is Stena Line. Both directions have daytime and overnight departures.

There is a range of prices, and I couldn’t cover all the options here if I tried. However, I’d recommend a cabin on the daytime departures, because it’s inexpensive and gives you a bit of personal space and privacy, which is useful with children.

After calculating what our approximate fuel costs would be, the price of the hotel stays and ferry tickets, we found that the trip cost around 1,500 kroner more than we would have paid to fly from Billund Airport to London Stansted with checked-in baggage with Ryanair on the same dates. In return, we could take as much luggage as we want with us (and back), we got to see Bremen and Groningen and had our own car with us in the UK. This was more than worth the additional expense.

I also spent 50 kroner on a “DK” sticker for the tailgate of the car (because the car is so old it predates the EU number plates that include the country code) and 70 kroner for some headlight stickers which prevent full beam headlamps from dazzling oncoming drivers when you are driving on the left in the UK.

As I busily fixed them onto my car as we waited to disembark the ferry, however, a lorry driver parked next to us said these were, in fact, entirely unnecessary.

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