Historical archive

Norway planning to ease restrictions on travel to and from other European countries

Historical archive

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher: The Office of the Prime Minister

The Norwegian Government is planning to allow people resident in the Schengen area/EEA to enter Norway from 15 July, provided that they live in a country or region where the level of infection is acceptable. From the same date, quarantine will no longer be required on entry from these countries and regions. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer advise against travel to countries and regions that are excepted from the rules on quarantine on entry.

Assessments of the infection situation will be based on the criteria already set for the Nordic countries, but these can be adjusted as necessary.  

‘There are some countries where the number of cases is rising rapidly, and the situation is unstable in many places. With a low rate of infection at home, imported cases of infection probably represent the greatest risk of a new flare up in Norway. We have seen new outbreaks, often local and unpredictable, in various parts of Europe and the rest of the world. On the other hand, we cannot keep Norway’s borders closed forever. We have to find a balance that keeps us as safe as possible and minimises the risk of infection,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

The criteria for removing travel restrictions between Norway and the other Nordic countries include the incidence of COVID-19 (i.e. new cases) relative to population size, the number of people recently admitted to intensive care, and the proportion of positive tests. Other criteria relate to test, track and trace systems and information for people travelling.

If there is an increase in the spread of infection so that a country or region no longer meets the criteria, the requirement to go into quarantine after entering Norway may be reintroduced.

‘Even though the Ministry is making exceptions from its travel advice from 15 July for the countries recommended by the Institute of Public Health, this should not be taken as encouragement to travel. Anyone planning to travel abroad must make sure they know what restrictions and infection control rules apply in the country they are visiting,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

If there is an increase in the spread of infection so that a country or region no longer meets the criteria, the requirement to go into quarantine after entering Norway may be reintroduced.

Measures to reduce the spread of infection
‘The Institute of Public Health has been asked to draw up a list of countries and regions where the infection level is acceptable. This will be updated once every two weeks, and will include the Nordic countries. We have also asked the Norwegian Directorate of Health to propose ways of avoiding an increase in the spread of infection when we lift some of the quarantine restrictions,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie. 

The rules on quarantine on entry to Norway will continue to apply after 15 July for people who are resident in countries or regions within the Schengen area/EEA where the level of infection is too high, or in countries that cannot provide sufficient documentation of the infection situation.

However, entry to Norway will be permitted for people who can produce a booking or a written agreement that documents that they will be staying at one registered address in Norway for the first 10 days of their stay here, or for the entire period of their stay in Norway if this is shorter than 10 days.

The map and criteria are available here (Norwegian Institute of Public Health)

Testing workers from abroad
On Monday 22 June, the Ministry of Health and Care Services introduced another exception from the rules on quarantine on entry for people resident in the Schengen area/EEA who come to Norway to take up a job. They will be able to leave quarantine early if they test negative for SARS-CoV-2. From 15 July onwards, this exception will also apply to workers from regions of Europe where the infection situation is not acceptable.  

Two tests will be required after arrival in Norway, the second at least 48 hours after the first. The second test can be taken at the earliest on day five after arrival. Until a negative test result is received, a person must follow the quarantine rules. If the first test is negative, the person may work in Norway but must follow quarantine rules outside working hours. If the second test is also negative, the person is excepted from the quarantine rules both while at work and outside working hours.

A person who receives a positive test result is required to go into isolation, and their employer or client is required to notify the municipality so that it can start tracking and tracing contacts. The employer in Norway is responsible for organising, carrying out and paying for these tests. It is up to employers to decide whether to make this system for shortening the quarantine period available to people who will be arriving from abroad to work for them.