!!! In a later release, the Norwegian government has pointed out that the untightened travel restrictions as described below apply only to Norwegian citizens. Details will follow later today in a new article on this page.
The Norwegian government has untightened the strict entry requirements for travellers to Norway. This comes into force today (Thursday, 27 May), according to an official press release.
In very short words, until yesterday the system for entry into Norway has been for months: “who are you and what do you want”, with the result that entry was possible or not depending on nationality and travel purpose. And “not possible” was usually the answer for non Norwegian travellers, unless they had an accepted reason such as a visit to close relatives, business etc.
From now on, the question is again: “where do you come from”.
Entry not based on “who are you and what do you want”, but “where do you come from”
Travellers from the Schengen treaty area as well as the UK may now enter Norway again provided corona infection figures in their area of origin meet certain requirements. In the best case, the obligation to spend some time in a quarantine hotel may even be omitted: in these cases, travellers are allowed to spend quarantine time at home or another suitable place of their choice. This applies to travellers from European countries (Schengen area and UK) with a corona incidence of less than 150 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 2 weeks (! the figures usually communicated in most countries are based on one week), as long as the rate of positive tests is maximum 4 %. So it is important to keep a good eye on data, which may obviously change on relatively short notice.
There is no differentiation between necessary and unnecessary traves anymore.
Airport Oslo Gardermoen: may become a bit more lively again in the near future.
Many still have to do some time in a quarantine hotel
The following persons will need to spend some time in quarantine in an approved hotel. It still is a bit complicated when it comes to the details, but it applies to most travellers that they will have to spend at least 7 days in a quarantine hotel before they can get tested out. Everybody is obliged to spend 7 days in quarantine, but the question if this has to be done in an approved hotel near Oslo Gardermoen (the airport) or in another place of one’s own choice may make a huge difference for many travellers.
Travellers from countries outside the Schengen area or the UK still have to spend 7 days in a quarantine hotel.
Travellers from the Schengen area or the UK also have to spend time in a quarantine hotel if the corona incidence in their region of origin exceeds the values described above moderately. These persons have the chance to continue their quarantine at another suitable place of their own choice after a minimum of 3 days and a negative test. The quarantine ends after a minimum of 7 days and a negative test.
What about travellers from the Schengen area or the UK with a corona incidence that exceeds the values described above drastically? The Norwegian government has not yet decided on the details, but these travellers will have to spend at least 7 days in a quarantine hotel before they can be tested in order to potentially leave from quarantine.
Proper Norwegian authorities may give dispensation from the obligation to quarantine. Such dispensation will, however, only be given in special cases and this needs to be done before entering the country.
The door has opened – a little bit
As a bottom line, Norway has opened the door again a little bit after months of entry restrictions which were amongst the toughest in the western world. We are still far away from free travelling as known from times before corona, but travelling for tourists from European countries is at least not something completely unthinkable anymore. It is not yet known when and how the regulations now in force will be untightened further. Technical authorities have suggested 3 days in quarantine also for fully vaccinated people, but regarding this, no decision has been made as of now.
Entry for vaccinated and recovered people
Decisions are yet to be made, but everything points to more freedom, possibly up to free entry, for people who are vaccinated or who have recovered from a corona infection. Norway will join the European system of a digital vaccination certificate, which needs to be in place before we may see such facilitations. According to Norwegian news (e.g. NRK Dagsrevyen, 26.5), preparations for such a certificate are well advanced in Norway and the system may be operating at some point in June.
A negative corona test is still required to travel to Spitsbergen and nothing has been said about when this will be omitted.
SV Antigua in Spitsbergen, with a touch of eary winter. It is currently impossible to know for sure if Antigua and other ships will be able to operate in Spitsbergen in the late season, but there is still some hope.
It is also not know if opportunities to operate “coastal cruises” will come up this season. Months ago, the Norwegian government has announced to come back to this until the end of May, so there may soon be new information relevant to those who have plans for ship-based travels.