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Information about travel and the coronavirus

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is maintaining its travel advice of 14 March cautioning against non-essential travel to all countries. The reason is the increased spread of the coronavirus internationally and the unpredictable and difficult situation faced by many travellers. This travel advice will remain in effect until further notice. Below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about travelling and the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates to all Norwegian citizens abroad that it is very important to pay attention to information and instructions issued by local authorities and to monitor the local and national news, especially regarding the spread of the virus and related information and advice. We point out once again that changes may occur rapidly and that countries are introducing measures quickly and at short notice, including travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine and border closings and other measures. 

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See information about coronavirus in other languages (helsenorge.no).

Request to all travellers abroad: Remember to register your trip at reiseregistrering.no. Regularly update where you are and the date you plan to return. Delete your trip when you have arrived home.

Important information to the public:

What is the Foreign Ministry’s travel advice for Norwegians?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against non-essential travel to all countries. This travel advice will remain in effect until further notice.

All travellers arriving in Norway are to undergo quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

What is ‘travel advice’?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues official travel advice when it sees a reason to advise Norwegians against travelling to a specific country, area or region, or to leave such a place. Until recently the usual reasons for issuing travel advice involved war, conflict or other forms of unrest ¬– safety risks deemed serious enough to warn Norwegian citizens against travelling to, or staying in, certain places. Official travel advice is issued and rescinded on the basis of a focused, overall assessment of how a particular situation affects the safety of travelling Norwegian nationals.

Is the Foreign Ministry now seeking to ban foreign travel?

No, travel advice is neither an order nor a restriction. Travel advice is advisory only. The Norwegian authorities can never guarantee it is safe to travel to a certain place or remain there. Implicit in the freedom to travel is the individual’s responsibility not only for determining whether a trip to a certain destination is justifiable, but also for the choices that are made while abroad.

What about countries for which the Foreign Ministry has already issued other travel advice? Which travel advice applies there?

For countries and regions where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously advised against travelling, the existing travel advice applies. This refers to countries and regions for which the Ministry has issued even sterner advice or advised against ‘all travel or stays’, such as Afghanistan, Syria, parts of Somalia, parts of Pakistan and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Overview of travel advice issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to 14.03.2020 (in Norwegian).

What does it mean that the travel advice applies ‘until further notice’?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel advice generally does not include an end date. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing when the situation will normalise. But we are continually assessing the safety situation for Norwegian travellers, and as soon as our overall assessment concludes it is safe enough, we will rescind the present travel advice.

How will I know the travel advice has been rescinded?

We will make this known at www.regjeringen.no, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel information (in Norwegian), in social media, and in the news media.

May I plan to travel on summer holiday?

We do not know when circumstances will allow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to amend its current travel advice. The Ministry is continually assessing the overall situation for Norwegian travellers.

What if I travel anyway? 

Norwegian nationals who travel abroad now despite this clear travel advice must not count on receiving consular assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to return home to Norway. That is the case in all situations where travel advice of this kind has been issued.

I have already booked a trip abroad. Should I cancel?

Questions about travel cancellations and travel insurance must be addressed to your insurance company or travel agency. 

Will the Norwegian authorities help Norwegians to get home? 

It has become difficult for many Norwegian citizens to get home. A great many countries have closed their borders and airspace, prohibited domestic travel and imposed states of emergency and other restrictions.

Norwegians who still have an opportunity to travel home by commercial route should do so now.

The Government wants very much to help Norwegians who are travelling outside the country to get home safely to Norway. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is therefore working closely with airlines and travel operators to assist Norwegians who are travelling abroad to return home safely, but such assistance depends on airspace and airports being open.

Read more in press release from 31 March 2020 (in Norwegian only).

To receive information about the particular country you are in, it is important to register at www.reiseregistrering.no.

Does this mean you are now evacuating Norwegians abroad?

No, the cooperative effort between Norwegian authorities and the airlines is not an evacuation.

Travellers must pay for their return journey themselves. At the same time, the Norwegian state is stepping forward to assume additional documentable costs the airlines and travel operators incur in maintaining certain flights that otherwise would be cancelled, or in  carrying out essential flights to Norway for a limited period.

The Ministry of Transport is administering the compensation scheme. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is assisting the airlines in obtaining landing permits as more and more countries impose air traffic restrictions and new quarantine rules.

Norway is not alone in facing these challenges. Very many countries are working simultaneously to bring their citizens home. We are in cooperation with Nordic countries and with the EU to identify possible solutions. This is an effort that will take time. Not everyone will manage to get home right away. Norwegians on trips must therefore prepare for the necessity of staying for a period in the country where they now are.

I am on a trip. Should I travel home?

Yes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is urging all Norwegian nationals travelling abroad to consider returning home if possible. But not everyone will be able to make it home to Norway right away. So Norwegians now on trips abroad must also prepare themselves to have to stay in the country where they presently are in the period to come.

Can you help everyone to get home? If not, why not?

No, for the time being the Norwegian authorities will be unable to contribute to the return home of all Norwegian citizens who are on trips abroad. Closed boundaries, airspace closures, strict quarantine provisions, curfews and states of emergency, restrictions on domestic travel and other restrictive measures are being introduced in an increasing number of countries. This makes it hard for airlines and tour operators to assist with homeward travel for all their customers. The Norwegian authorities are unable to influence infection-control measures implemented by other countries. We have also introduced strict infection-control measures in Norway that foreign citizens and other countries are required to respect.

Norwegian authorities can provide advice and travel information. We are working systematically to handle the most challenging cases and cooperating closely with the airlines and our embassies and consulates. Some issues are complicated and difficult to address. The work will take time.

We are working with the authorities of other countries to keep air traffic flowing and to secure landing permits and transit rights for the airlines. But in many countries we must contend with increasingly stringent entry and exit restrictions due to infection control concerns. This greatly limits which flights can be carried out and from where.

It is therefore important that travellers who are unable to return to Norway contact their travel insurance company. They should also monitor information provided by the Norwegian authorities as well as the information and advice issued by local authorities.

The ability of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide travellers with consular assistance will be limited during the period when borders and airspace are closed, domestic travel is prohibited/restricted and other restrictions are in force in the countries where travellers are presently staying.

Remember to register your trip at reiseregistrering.no. Update your whereabouts and planned departure date for home on an ongoing basis. Delete the information when you have returned home.

How do I report that I have returned home?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is grateful to those who have used www.reiseregistrering.no to share information with us on their travels. We now need to clarify who is still out travelling. If you have ended your trip we ask you to log into www.reiseregistrering.no to delete your trip. If you are still travelling we ask that you continually update where you are staying and your planned departure at www.reiseregistrering.no.

How do I order a ticket and who pays?

Travellers who are still able to use commercial routes should do so now, booking their tickets in the usual way on the airlines’ websites. 

Flight information will be available on the websites of the airlines and tour operators. Norwegian nationals who have registered at www.reiseregistrering.no will be informed if extraordinary flights are being planned from the country they are in.

Monitor the websites of the airlines and tour operators. Information on extraordinary flights will be available there. Travellers must pay for their own journeys home.

Why are extra flights being added from some places, but not from others?

We are in dialogue with the airlines to assess what is needed and what is possible in practice. We urge Norwegian nationals travelling abroad to keep watch for travel opportunities that appear on the airlines’ and travel operators’ websites and to book tickets as soon as possible.

Why does information on travel opportunities differ between the Nordic countries when you are working together to arrange flights?

We share information on commercial flights as soon as it is confirmed. Travellers themselves must buy tickets from the airlines and otherwise organise their journey home to Norway. Flight information is sent to those registered at www.reiseregistrering.no, and the embassies share it on social media.

When a country, including Norway, sets up extraordinary flights, the tickets are offered first to its own citizens. Then citizens from other countries are offered tickets. We cooperate closely with the Nordic countries and other European countries on such flights.

We report our need for seats on flights arranged by other countries, but we cannot offer these seats to Norwegians until we confirm there is room for them on the flight. As a result, some time may pass before availability information can be shared. We prioritise persons who are ill, travellers with special needs and minors.

What does it mean that Norway is cooperating with the EU to bring its citizens home?

Norway participates in the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) through the European Economic Area agreement. Countries taking part in this coordination mechanism, including Norway, share information on flights that can accommodate nationals of other countries. Embassies in the country from which the flight is to depart coordinate with regard to available seats. So far Norwegians have been accommodated on extraordinary flights from several continents.

I am staying abroad. What rights do I have to health care?

Everyone should have a valid travel insurance policy. For Norwegian citizens living abroad, health care is subject to a number of different provisions. For students, pensioners, employees and posted workers in and outside the EEA and in Switzerland, helsenorge.no provides information

For tourists or for short stays in the EEA and Switzerland, the European Health Insurance Card is available to all members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and normally lasts for three years. It entitles holders to the same health-care services as the inhabitants of the host country. Valid travel insurance should be maintained in addition to having the health card.

Emigrated pensioners may to a certain extent also obtain a European Health Insurance Card, but must submit a form to the health authorities in the country of residence (in Norwegian only).

I am a Norwegian citizen or have permanent residence in Norway. Will I be let into the country when the borders are closed?

Yes, but you must undergo quarantine for 14 days. Information on home quarantine and isolation for persons arriving in Norway from abroad may be obtained on the helsenorge.no website.

On 16 March the border was closed to foreign nationals who do not have a residence permit in Norway. They will be turned away pursuant to Norwegian law relating to control of communicable diseases. Exemptions will be granted for persons with a valid residence permit. Extensive information about exemption from the border rejection rules is available at the website of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

Norwegian airports are not closing. Domestic flights are continuing. If where you land in Norway is not your final destination, onward flights to the final destination will be accepted, with quarantine to begin there. Offshore helicopter traffic is operating as normal and all freight is being allowed to proceed as normal.

Information on Norway’s minimum-level of air traffic (in Norwegian only).

Information about staying in Norway, entering Norway and visas for EU/EEA nationals and for nationals of countries outside the EU/EEA is available on the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). There you will find contact information for UDI, which has responsibility for the rules.  

Can EEA nationals, including Nordic nationals, travel through Norway to get home?

Yes, they can. This is the case for all transport, but must be viewed in connection with the quarantine rules.

I’m planning to travel by plane to Norway. Will I be able to stop in another country on my way home?

We recommend that you contact your travel agency, airline and/or insurance company for information about your return trip. They will be able to provide information on through-transit rules that apply in each country. Monitor the websites of airports and airlines for travel updates. It is important to buy a ticket that takes you all the way home to Norway.

See information on the website of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

What if I am in a country without a Norwegian embassy and I require help?

Our embassies and consulates do all they can to assist, but such assistance is often more challenging in countries where we do not have an embassy of our own. The Nordic countries cooperate closely to provide support to Nordic nationals. This means you may contact another Nordic embassy if you are in a country where Norway is not represented. It is important that you yourself contact the airlines to investigate travel options from the country you are in. 

What does the Foreign Ministry recommend for students and exchange students studying outside of Norway? Should they travel home?

See the Ministry of Education and Research’s recommendations for students abroad (in Norwegian).

The Foreign Ministry’s advice to consider returning home applies first and foremost to those who are travelling, i.e. who have no place of residence or permanent accommodation abroad. In many cases, graduate students staying abroad over several years will be considered residents, while exchange students often stay shorter periods. But this is not an absolute distinction or recommendation.

The situation varies greatly from country to country, so individuals must consider local conditions, their own circumstances and the available options for travelling home. Everyone who returns home now must undergo quarantine in accordance with the Directorate of Health’s guidelines.

They should ask themselves the following:

How widespread is the infection? Are they in a group at special risk? Are they young and in need of family support? How is the local health system? Will they be able to remain indoors over time if the community around them shuts down? Do they have a local network? Are there exit restrictions or other problems that already affect the chances of returning home? 

Must I undergo quarantine?

Quarantine and isolation of persons coming to Norway from abroad are governed by specific regulations. The regulations exempt certain persons from quarantine, including those who travel in connection with work between their home and place of work, and in so doing cross the borders between Norway, Sweden and Finland. Information on quarantine for persons arriving in Norway from abroad can be found in the revised circular relating to quarantine upon arrival in Norway.

General guidelines and advice about home quarantine and isolation is available at the helsenorge.no website.

Families that must cross the national border in order to carry out contact or divided residence with a child are exempt from the duty to undergo quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Norway. For more information, see the press release of 8 April (in Norwegian).

Can Norwegians on their way home travel through other Nordic countries?

Yes. The Nordic countries have agreed that Nordic nationals will be allowed to transit through Nordic countries in order to return to their respective home countries.

May I bring my pet home?

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority administers the veterinary regulations for live animals. If you plan to travel with a pet to or from Norway, you should contact the Norwegian Food Safety Authority in advance of your trip to learn the rules that apply. Read more about the veterinary regulations on the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s website

See also: https://www.toll.no/en/goods/animals/travelling-with-pets-to-and-from-norway/  

Do the Norwegian authorities have an overview of travel restrictions in other countries?

The overview of other countries’ travel restrictions changes daily. The situation is unpredictable. Countries with outbreaks of the coronavirus are now introducing travel restrictions and other measures that also affect Norwegian nationals, such as border closings, domestic travel restrictions, curfews and mandatory quarantine. Many flights are being cancelled, often without the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being informed in advance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes travel information for all countries at regjeringen.no. The situation is rapidly changing so it is important that travellers take the initiative to pay careful attention to information provided by local authorities and by airports, airlines and travel agencies.

I want to drive my own car home from Spain. Can this be done? 

It should be possible to drive your own car from Spain to Norway, via France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The EU has ordered borders to be kept open for transit. However, it appears that different countries have different transit practices. Some countries ask travellers to display a residence certificate in addition to a passport. If problems arise due to lack of a residence certificate, the nearest embassy can assist by issuing a confirmation from the National Population Register.

Can the Norwegian authorities get Norwegians out of quarantine abroad, or provide assistance to Norwegians in quarantine or under curfew abroad? 

Many countries have introduced travel restrictions and other measures, such as quarantine for travellers, at short notice. There is little the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can do to assist Norwegian nationals who have been placed in quarantine abroad. The Norwegian authorities are unable to influence or appeal against infection control measures that other countries have imposed. Norway itself has introduced strict infection control measures that citizens of other countries must accept.

What is meant by ‘short-term stays abroad’ and why are Norwegians who live abroad not being encouraged to return home?

‘Short-term stays’ refers to temporary trips out of Norway by Norwegian citizens who are registered as permanent residents of Norway. Long-term residents of other countries have a closer relationship to the country where they live, and should follow the advice and instructions of local authorities. 

What is your best advice for Norwegians travelling abroad? 

Travellers should pay attention to information and updates about the coronavirus. Norwegian citizens are also urged to follow advice and instructions issued by the authorities in the country where they are staying. In addition, Norwegians should register at www.reiseregistrering.no so we can reach them with updates and information. They should also make sure to have valid travel insurance at all times and keep an eye on flight departures being offered by the airlines.

What is your best advice for Norwegians living abroad long term? 

Norwegian citizens residing in other countries should keep abreast of information in the country where they are and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities. They should also make sure to have the necessary health insurance , register at reiseregistrering.no and keep track of flights on offer by the airlines and travel operators.

Will my insurance reimburse me in case of a cancelled trip?

Questions about travel cancellations and travel insurance must be directed to your insurance company or travel agency.

What do I do if my stay lasts longer than the validity period of my travel insurance? 

If it is not possible for you to travel home before the expiry date of your travel insurance, you must contact your travel insurance company.

I need help at a Norwegian diplomatic or consular mission. Why can’t I come to the mission?

As a result of the pandemic, diplomatic and consular missions have had to reduce staffing and introduce infection control measures. Many missions are therefore less able than before to perform tasks requiring close contact with the public, and have had to limit public visits temporarily.

The missions abroad are evaluating public reception options on the basis of local infection control circumstances, staffing availability and guidelines issued by local authorities. That is why the opportunity of the public to visit varies from mission to mission.

It is important to be aware that personal attendance is a legal requirement for a number of administrative services, including passport issuance. When foreign missions are closed to public visits, it is unfortunately the case that Norwegian nationals abroad are unable to carry out their errands.

Diplomatic and consular missions will inform the public as soon it becomes possible to reopen their ordinary public reception areas.

I am trying to reach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for assistance. Why am I not getting immediate help?

This is a challenging situation for many travelling Norwegians. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ operational centre is experiencing extraordinary demand, as are many diplomatic and consular missions despite limited capacity at some of them due to the coronavirus situation. We have deployed extra resources at the Ministry to assist by telephone and email. It is hoped that this article will provide answers to many of your questions. 

Some of those contacting us are friends and family members of people out travelling. We therefore encourage travellers abroad to maintain contact with their friends and family in Norway.

General information for travellers

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the situation. Norwegians abroad who need urgent or special assistance may contact the nearest embassy or the Ministry’s operational centre at +47 23 95 00 00 or via email: [email protected]
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges all Norwegian citizens who are travelling abroad to consider returning home as soon as possible, in a safe and calm manner, in consultation with their travel agency or airline.
  • Travellers should pay attention to information and updates provided by the media. They are also urged to follow the advice and instructions of local authorities in the country they are travelling to.
  • The situation may change rapidly. Infrastructure such as buses, trains and air traffic may be affected. Local authorities may introduce travel restrictions and other measures, such as quarantine for travellers, at short notice.
  • Any country is free to impose measures and restrictions to try to prevent further infection. The Norwegian authorities are unable to influence or appeal against measures that other countries impose on travellers.
  • In Norway, the Institute of Public Health (FHI) is responsible for infection control advice related to travel.
  • Have a question about the novel coronavirus? If you do not find the answer at fhi.no, call 815 55 015 (only from Norway).
  • The police have assembled answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus situation here.

Information to travellers in specific countries

For updated information on all countries, please see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel information as well as that issued by relevant national and local authorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages all travellers abroad to register at www.reiseregistrering.no so they can receive information and updates by text and email on the countries where they are travelling. While abroad, please remember to update where you are and the date you plan to return. We also ask travellers who have arrived home in Norway to delete their trip.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates to all Norwegian citizens abroad that it is very important to pay attention to information and instructions issued by local authorities and to monitor the local and nationals news, especially regarding the spread of the virus and related information and advice. We point out once again that changes may occur rapidly and that countries are introducing measures quickly and at short notice, including travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine and border closings.

 

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