Easing of the rules regarding testing prior to departure to Svalbard

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The Norwegian Government is easing the rules regarding travel to Svalbard. This means that permanent residents, people who are fully vaccinated, and people who have recovered from COVID-19 no longer need to get tested prior to departure to Svalbard. The change will simplify travel between the mainland and Svalbard for permanent residents and tourists.

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‘The exemption we are introducing now from the requirement to get tested prior to departure to Svalbard will benefit all people who live in the archipelago, the local business sector in general, and the travel industry in particular. However, it is not time to remove the test regime completely. The health service in Svalbard has limited capacity, and a rising infection rate and high sick leave rate could be even more problematic than on the mainland,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.

As a result of the Omicron variant, a requirement was introduced before Christmas 2021 for people travelling to Svalbard to present a certificate showing a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to departure. People who can document that they are permanent residents of Svalbard or who can produce a COVID-19 certificate showing that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 no longer need to present such a certificate before departure to Svalbard. All people who arrive in Svalbard must still get tested for SARS-CoV-2 within 24 hours of arrival.

‘I am glad that Svalbard can also benefit from the easing of measures. However, the infection rate in society is high, and the emergency preparedness in Svalbard is vulnerable. That is why we need to keep some measures in Svalbard for the time being,’ says Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl.

The exemption from the requirement of testing prior to departure is being introduced on the basis of input from the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

The change will enter into effect on 1 February at 11 pm.