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Home* News and Stories → Fur­ther excep­ti­ons for dri­ving licen­ses

Fur­ther excep­ti­ons for dri­ving licen­ses

The dri­ving licen­se ques­ti­on was one of last year’s major issues in Lon­gye­ar­by­en: in Novem­ber, it was sud­den­ly found out that dri­ving licen­ses from a num­ber of count­ries are not valid in Spits­ber­gen. The reason invol­ves a lot of juri­di­cal small print: dri­ving licen­ses need to meet the requi­re­ments of the Vien­na Con­ven­ti­on on Road Traf­fic to be valid in Spits­ber­gen. This con­ven­ti­on was rati­fied by 85 count­ries – this lea­ves many which are not part of that club, such as the United Sta­tes, Cana­da and Indo­ne­sia, to men­ti­on just a few.

The­re are many citi­zens of the­se count­ries living in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, and many of them need to dri­ve as part of their work or ever­y­day life. The thought of not having a valid dri­ving licen­se has sho­cked many of them. It is said that the­re are cases whe­re peo­p­le have alre­a­dy lost their jobs and home. In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, many employees get their accom­mo­da­ti­on sup­pli­ed by their employ­er. If you lose your job, then you lose your accom­mo­da­ti­on at the same time.

In Decem­ber, the Sys­sel­mes­ter announ­ced excep­ti­ons for cer­tain types of dri­ving licen­ses after nego­tia­ti­ons with rele­vant Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties. This was a reli­ef for many, but not for all who are con­cer­ned.

Car and driving license issue, Longyearbyen

The amount of road traf­fic in Lon­gye­ar­by­en is remar­kab­le, and so are some of the cars that you can see the­re.

Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties now went a step fur­ther, as the Sys­sel­mes­ter announ­ced today: now the­re are excep­ti­ons for dri­ving licen­ses from count­ries that have rati­fied that Gen­e­va Con­ven­ti­on of 1949 on road traf­fic. This includes a num­ber of count­ries that are not part of the Vien­na con­ven­ti­on, such as the USA and Cana­da. This may be hel­pful for citi­zens of the­se count­ries who live in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, but also for tou­rists who want to rent a car or dri­ve snow mobi­le.

The excep­ti­on is valid through 2023. During this year, Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties want to work with the issue to find a pro­per long-term solu­ti­on.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the title “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2023-01-24 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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