The coronavirus situation: Information regarding quarantine hotels

In order to limit imported cases of COVID-19, rules have been drawn up regarding travel quarantine and the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel.

Amendments to the COVID-19 Regulations entered into effect from Thursday 3 June at 12 pm which mean that, subject to specific terms, protected people and minors will be exempt from the duty to complete travel quarantine at a quarantine hotel.

People who provide documentation to the competent authority that they are protected by logging in to helsenorge.no are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel pursuant to section 5 subsection 4 (g) of the COVID-19 Regulations. The definition of protected people follows from section 3 subsection 5 of the COVID-19 Regulations, and includes people who:

  1. have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2
  2. have received the first vaccine dose, and 3–15 weeks have elapsed since vaccination
  3. have received a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 using an approved laboratory method, from the time of leaving isolation until 6 months after the test

Instead, they will complete travel quarantine in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service.

At present, no other documentation of a person's status as protected is accepted than that which is provided by logging in to helsenorge.no. A printout or screenshot is not adequate. If there is any suspicion that a person is presenting a falsified image on their phone, the person performing the check may, for example, ask the traveller to navigate between different menu options. This will be done without displaying other sensitive personal data. A person's status as protected must be documented to the ‘competent authority’. At border control this is the police, and at quarantine hotels it is the municipality, the County Governor or whomever acts on their behalf.

Minors who travel alone, or with a parent/guardian who is protected, are also exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. This follows from section 5 subsection 4 (h) of the COVID-19 Regulations. They may complete their travel quarantine at other suitable accommodation, such as their own home. There is no requirement of a private room, separate kitchen, etc. However, if a minor travels with a parent/guardian who is not protected and must stay at a quarantine hotel, the minor will also need to stay there.

People who have only visited areas with a low rate of infection during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway are exempt from travel quarantine and the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. The areas covered by this exemption are specified below. Certain groups stipulated in sections 6a to 6i of the COVID-19 Regulations are also exempt from travel quarantine. You can find more information about these groups here: Coronavirus in Norway: International travel – helsenorge.no.

People who have visited areas mentioned in Appendix A to the COVID-19 Regulations during the 10 days prior to their arrival in Norway must quarantine for 10 days, see Appendix A (in Norwegian only). The quarantine period will end following a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than 7 days after arrival.

Comprehensive changes were made to the quarantine hotel programme on 27 May. The former distinction between necessary and unnecessary travel was removed, and the purpose of the travel is no longer a factor in terms of the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel.

Instead, the place in which travel quarantine is completed depends on the infection situation in the area or areas visited by the traveller during the 10 days prior to their arrival in Norway. This is regulated in appendices B and C to the COVID-19 Regulations. The lists in the appendices are valid until they are updated, and a change in the rate of infection will not impact on the rules until the appendices have been updated. For people who have visited several countries during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, whether or not they must stay at a quarantine hotel will be determined on the basis of the area they have visited that is subject to the strictest rules. Travellers are divided into three categories based on the areas they visited prior to arrival in Norway. These categories will determine where they must complete their travel quarantine:

  • People who, during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, have visited areas listed in Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations, must spend the full duration of their quarantine at a quarantine hotel. See the list of areas in Appendix B
  • People who, during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, have not visited areas listed in Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations, but have visited areas listed in Appendix C, must complete a two-part travel quarantine. Travellers arriving in Norway must stay at a quarantine hotel until they have a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than 3 days after arrival. The rest of the travel quarantine may be completed in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service. See the areas in Appendix C.
  • People who, during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, have not visited areas listed in either Appendix B or C to the COVID-19 Regulations may complete their quarantine in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service. They must also meet the test criteria in section 4d of the COVID-19 Regulations. See the list of areas.

People who must stay at a quarantine hotel must do so at the place of arrival in Norway. The duration of the stay at a quarantine hotel cannot exceed the travel quarantine.

As a traveller, you are under the obligation to register what area or areas you have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway in the entry registration system. You can find the entry registration system here: entrynorway.no. Upon arrival, border control may ask you which country or countries you have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, and you may need to show your plane ticket, hotel reservation etc. to document the information you have given. No documentation is required at the border that your quarantine accommodation meets the requirements of a private bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc.

Some groups are exempt from staying at a quarantine hotel, regardless of which country or countries they have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, if they meet the test criteria in section 4d of the COVID-19 Regulations. This means people who:

  • travel to Norway to perform work or assignments and who, upon arrival, can present documentation that their employer or client will provide suitable accommodation that has been approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority under chapter 2 A in which it is possible to avoid close contact with other people, with a private room with TV and internet access, a separate bathroom, and a separate kitchen or food service
  • have received approval of their application to the Directorate of Immigration on compelling compassionate grounds or on the basis of other weighty considerations
  • are asylum seekers or resettlement refugees
  • cross the border in connection with arranged or scheduled contact with minors pursuant to the Children Act or the Child Welfare Act
  • are able to provide documentation that they are covered by sections 6b, 6d subsection 3, 6f, 6h subsection 3, or 6i of the COVID-19 Regulations – this includes groups with special arrangements for completion of quarantine, for example, long-distance hauliers, defence personnel, employees on vessels at Norwegian ports, Norwegian elite athletes, and people who commute between Norway and Sweden/Finland, and who meet the conditions in section 6b
  • are foreigners as stipulated in sections 1-4 or 1-5 of the Immigration Regulations, and can produce a diplomatic/service passport or national passport together with a Norwegian ID card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or in combination with a Schengen residence card for embassy personnel – the same applies to diplomats with dual accreditation, and diplomatic couriers

Spouses, cohabitants, and the children they share may stay in the same accommodation during the quarantine period, without the requirement of a private room, if they travel to Norway together and live together in their home country. There is no requirement of a private bedroom in connection with travel quarantine for people who are granted dispensation from staying at a quarantine hotel on compelling compassionate grounds, or for asylum seekers and resettlement refugees, people who cross the border in connection with arranged contact, and foreign diplomats.

The documentation the travellers will use to confirm that they are covered by one of the exemptions from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel must be in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, or English. Travellers cannot expect documentation presented in other languages to be accepted at the border.

It must be stressed that an exemption from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel does not entail an exemption from travel quarantine. People who are in travel quarantine can only go outdoors as long as they avoid close contact with any other person than those with whom they are staying. People in quarantine are prohibited from going to a workplace where other people are present, or to a school or a kindergarten. There is also an obligation to take a test on day 7 after arrival, regardless of where the person spends their quarantine period.

People are prohibited from taking any other form of public transport than that from the place of arrival to the place of quarantine or transport from the quarantine hotel to another suitable place of quarantine. Use of public transport from the place of quarantine to the place of departure is permitted if a person leaves Norway during the quarantine period.

More information about the different exemptions:

Employee with accommodation approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority

People who travel to Norway for the purpose of performing work or assignments without obtaining a fixed address in Norway are only exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel if the employer’s quarantine facilities have been approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority prior to arrival. Upon arrival, the employee or contractor must present documentation of approval of the accommodation.

More information about the approval programme can be found here: Website of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Accommodation that is approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority must allow the employee or contractor to avoid close contact with other people during leisure time, and the person must have a private room with TV and internet access, a separate bathroom, and a separate kitchen or food service. This means that the employee or contractor must have a private bedroom, a separate bathroom, and a separate kitchen for preparing food. The requirement of a separate kitchen does not apply if the person can be served food at the accommodation.

Dispensation programme for people with compelling compassionate grounds or other weighty considerations

You may apply to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration for dispensation from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel on compelling compassionate grounds or other weighty considerations which indicate that you cannot complete your quarantine period at a quarantine hotel upon arrival. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration will have the application system in place by 1 June. If you arrive in Norway before 4 June, you must provide documentation of compelling compassionate grounds to the police at the border, who will help you determine whether you are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. You can find more information about the application programme and about the process at the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.

Examples of compelling compassionate grounds:

  • a disease or disorder which requires special care and facilities that cannot be provided at a quarantine hotel
  • travel to Norway to visit a close relation who is seriously ill or dying – a close relation may be a spouse, cohabitant, romantic partner, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, parents-in-law, or others with whom the person has a close personal relationship
  • travel to Norway to attend the funeral or burial service of a close relation
  • travel to Norway to be present at the birth of one's own child
  • people returning to Norway after collecting an adoptive child
  • minors who are travelling alone to Norway or who for other reasons would have to stay at a quarantine hotel alone if no exemption is made

The category ‘other weighty considerations’ is meant as a safety valve and must only be used for exemptions in very specific cases. Examples of this are:

  • People who are exempt from a duty to quarantine during working hours pursuant to section 6e of the COVID-19 Regulations for whom staying at a quarantine hotel during their leisure time would not allow them to perform their tasks during working hours, and where unpredictability at the place of work means that it is not practical to apply to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority for approval of the accommodation under section 5 subsection 4 (b). An example of a situation that may provide grounds for an exemption is people who work with strictly necessary maintenance of the Norwegian public safety network and who travel large distances every day during their period of work in Norway.
  • Students who are taking a home examination during their quarantine period.

These are very narrow grounds for dispensation and the reason for the travel out of the country is not generally relevant to the assessment of whether to grant dispensation. The deciding factor in the assessment is the situation upon arrival in Norway. In principle, the fact that a person left Norway to attend a funeral or visit a close relation who is ill therefore is not considered compelling compassionate grounds which justify an exemption from a stay at a quarantine hotel.

If the compelling compassionate grounds arise unexpectedly, for example, sudden illness on the part of a close relation, it will occasionally not be possible to apply for and receive a decision prior to arrival in Norway. In such situations, it will be possible to provide documentation of compelling compassionate grounds upon arrival. In these cases, it must also be possible to present documentation that the need for the exemption arose suddenly.

Exemption for people who cross the border in connection with an arranged contact visit

People who cross the border into Norway in connection with an arranged or scheduled contact visit between children and parents or children with a dual domicile, as defined in the Children Act and the Child Welfare Act, are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. The quarantine must be completed at suitable accommodation, without the requirement of a private room, separate bathroom, or separate kitchen. In addition, the person arriving in Norway is exempt from travel quarantine during work or school hours, but not during leisure time. Contact visits are nonetheless also permitted during leisure time.

Upon arrival, it must be possible to provide documentation of the trip having been made in connection with an arranged or schedule contact visit. Documentation of this can be provided by presenting a contact agreement or an agreement regarding dual domicile for the child.

Any person who travels in connection with such an arranged or scheduled contact visit will automatically be exempt from having to stay at a quarantine hotel and will not need to apply to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration for dispensation on compelling compassionate grounds. In principle, people who have care for minors in Norway, but who are not covered by this exemption, for example if the parents are still in a relationship and therefore do not have a contact agreement, are not exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. If there are special circumstances that indicate that a stay at a quarantine hotel would be an unreasonable burden or would particularly hinder contact between children and parents, it will nonetheless be possible to apply to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration for dispensation from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel on compelling compassionate grounds. For example, this may be if a person has sole parental responsibility for minors or if both parents work shifts in such a way that the children will not have any other caregivers while one of them is at the quarantine hotel. It may also be applicable to people who have the type of work that means that they must travel abroad regularly in such a way that a duty to stay at a quarantine hotel in practice would mean that they would be unable to meet their children at all. The condition of compelling compassionate grounds may also be met if the traveller is responsible for children with a special need for care or other people with a special need for care. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration will perform a case-by-case assessment of whether the requirement of compelling compassionate grounds has been met.

Exemption from travel quarantine for people with special arrangements

Pursuant to section 5 subsection 4 (e) of the COVID-19 Regulations, an exemption has been made for people who can provide documentation that they are covered by sections 6b, 6d subsection 3, 6f, 6h subsection 3, or 6i of the Regulations.

They include:

  1. People who arrive in Norway more than once over a 15-day period from areas in Sweden or Finland in connection with travel between their place of work and place of residence, and who are subject to the test regime in section 6b of the COVID-19 Regulations, are exempt from travel quarantine during working hours, but must quarantine during their leisure time. They are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel if the travel quarantine can be completed in their own home or other suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others.
  2. People who have been abroad on behalf of the Norwegian authorities and who are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel for weighty reasons relating to foreign policy.
  3. Long-distance hauliers and train staff who do not work on freight trains and who arrive in Norway from areas that are subject to a duty to quarantine are exempt from the duty to quarantine during working hours but must complete travel quarantine in their leisure time. People in this group are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel in their leisure time if they can complete the travel quarantine in a private room in the vehicle or on the train, and this is suitable for overnight accommodation.
  4. Some foreign workers who have been abroad in connection with sports competitions are exempt from travel quarantine during working hours on specific conditions. They are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel in their leisure time if they can complete the quarantine at suitable accommodation where it is possible to avoid close contact with others and stay in a private bedroom with a separate bathroom and kitchen or food service.
  5. People who arrive in Norway to sign on to work on a vessel at a Norwegian port are exempt from the duty to quarantine during working hours after having taken two tests for SARS-CoV-2 with a negative result after arrival in Norway. People in this group are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel if they can complete their quarantine in a single cabin on board the vessel. The exemption from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel covers the full quarantine period.
  6. Defence personnel who arrive in Norway before or after training or operations etc. authorised by the Ministry of Defence are permitted to complete their quarantine in a garrison, military camp, tented camp, the field, etc. The quarantine arrangements must be approved by the Norwegian Joint Medical Service. These people will then be exempt from the obligation to stay at a quarantine hotel during the quarantine period.

Minors

Minors who stay at a quarantine hotel alone must be able to have caregivers present at the quarantine hotel. This will only be relevant in specific cases. Most situations where children travel alone are covered by the contact visit exemption or the application programme of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. Reference is made to the discussion above regarding the exemption relating to contact visits and the application programme.

Svalbard and Jan Mayen

The rules regarding a stay at a quarantine hotel also apply to people travelling to Svalbard and Jan Mayen. People in travel quarantine are prohibited from travelling onward to Svalbard or Jan Mayen before the end of their quarantine period. People who reside in Svalbard and who are not covered by any of the exemptions must stay at a quarantine hotel. People travelling to Svalbard to perform work or assignments may quarantine at accommodation provided by the employer or client on the mainland, provided that the accommodation is approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Transitional rules

People who enter Norway before 3 June and who, on compelling compassionate grounds or other weighty considerations, cannot stay at a quarantine hotel during the quarantine period are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel if this can be documented upon arrival. See the discussion above regarding the exemption on compelling compassionate grounds or other weighty considerations for further information about this.

Information about quarantine hotels at the border

For travellers arriving by land and sea, the police are responsible for providing information about the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel at the place of arrival. The police must notify the municipality’s contact point about new travellers who will be staying at a quarantine hotel. At border control, the police must inform the traveller how to contact the municipality’s representative.

For travellers who arrive by air, the municipality is responsible for receiving travellers after they pass border control.

People in travel quarantine must stay at a quarantine hotel at the initial place of entry into the realm during their quarantine period. If there is no space at the quarantine hotels at the place of arrival, the police at border control will relay contact information to the municipality’s representative, who will refer the person to a quarantine hotel with space.

Municipalities with a quarantine hotel must ensure that the hotel has a list of the people who are in travel quarantine, and must make sure that the hotel registers information as stipulated under section 5b subsection 4. In practice, the hotel registers the guests in the hotel's databases and in the entry registration system (IRRS) through a separate portal in IRRS. Based on the hotels' lists of people in travel quarantine, the municipalities must be able to check that these people are staying at the hotel and that they are complying with the guidelines. Any breaches of the duty to quarantine must be reported to the police, which will consider imposing sanctions.

Completing quarantine at a quarantine hotel

The quarantine hotel programme is an arrangement that determines where people spend their quarantine, but it does not mean that a person is isolated at the hotel:

  • People staying at a quarantine hotel may go outdoors as long as they avoid close contact with any other person than those with whom they are staying.
  • However, people in quarantine are prohibited from going to a workplace where other people are present, or to a school or a kindergarten. Travel by public transport is not permitted, except for the trip from the place of arrival to the place of quarantine and any transport from the quarantine hotel to another suitable place of quarantine. People who choose to leave Norway during the quarantine period may use public transport in connection with their departure. People over the age of 12 must wear a face covering on public transport. People who have visited a country outside the EEA or Schengen area during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway cannot take public transport from the place of arrival to the quarantine hotel. If these do not offer private transport, the municipality must provide transport to the quarantine hotel.

Quarantine hotel fee

The quarantine hotel fee is regulated by section 22 of the COVID-19 Regulations. The fee to be paid by employers and clients for the accommodation of employees and contractors at a quarantine hotel is NOK 500 per day. Individuals who stay in a quarantine hotel during their quarantine period must pay a fee of NOK 500 per day. No fee is charged for children under the age of 10 who are staying in a room with a parent or guardian. A fee of NOK 250 per day is charged for children between the ages of 10 and 18.

The hotels will collect the fees for each person covered by the quarantine hotel programme. The time at which the fee is due will vary between payment upon arrival, reservation of the amount upon arrival, and payment at checkout.

Since 27 May 2021, Norwegian citizens who quarantine at a quarantine hotel, in accordance with section 5, after returning to Norway from studies abroad do not have to pay the fee. Each individual must present documentation that confirms their studies and their nationality. This provision does not have retroactive effect. This means that these students must pay a fee until 27 May 2021, and that they will not receive a refund for the fee paid before that date. Students who meet this criterion and who are staying at a quarantine hotel on the date on which the provision entered into effect, 27 May 2021, will not pay a fee for the part of the stay that takes place after the provision entered into effect.

Testing a quarantine hotels

People in travel quarantine must take a PCR test on day 7 after arrival. This applies regardless of where the person spends their quarantine period. The municipality must offer such a test to people who are staying at a quarantine hotel. The quarantine period will be reduced if the person provides documentation of a negative result from a PCR test taken during their quarantine period no sooner than 7 days after arrival.

If a person can complete the quarantine period in their own home or other suitable accommodation after a negative test taken on day 3, the municipality must offer a test on day 3. The quarantine period will not be reduced for these people, but the person may change their place of quarantine.

Suitable accommodation for transmission quarantine and isolation

The same requirements for suitable accommodation should apply to travel quarantine, transmission quarantine, and isolation. It must be possible to avoid close contact with others, and there must be a private bedroom, a separate bathroom, and a separate kitchen or food service. It is nevertheless important to realise that considerably stricter requirements continue to apply to people in isolation compared to people in quarantine They must isolate themselves from everyone else in their home or accommodation and, as far as possible, also from all the other household members.

Exemption from travel quarantine in connection with serious illness, or a funeral or burial service for a close relation

People who can provide documentation of a negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 may be exempt from quarantine when they, on the same day they are tested in Norway:

  1. Visit a close relation who is seriously ill or dying.
  2. Attend the funeral or burial service of a close relation.

The definition of a close relation is a spouse, cohabitant, romantic partner, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, parents-in-law, or others with whom the person has a close personal relationship.

The exemption from the duty to quarantine will only apply in connection with execution of the intended purpose. The duty to quarantine will otherwise apply.

People who have been granted an exemption from the duty to quarantine must avoid close contact with other people with whom they do not live insofar as this is possible.

The exemption from the duty to quarantine will lapse if a person develops acute respiratory symptoms, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and they are assessed by a physician as a suspected case of SARS-CoV-2.