The coronavirus situation: Information regarding quarantine hotels

In order to limit imported cases of COVID-19, there are rules that establish travel quarantine and a duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. The rules are presented below.

Quarantine at home or at a hotel?

The rate of infection in the country travellers have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway determines whether the first part of their travel quarantine must be completed at a quarantine hotel. Layovers are also considered a visit in this context. People who must stay at a quarantine hotel must do so at the place of arrival in Norway.

The list of countries which trigger a duty to stay at a quarantine hotel follows from Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations. People who have visited an area listed in Appendix B will have a two-part travel quarantine. They must stay at a quarantine hotel until a negative result from a PCR test taken no sooner than 3 days after arrival is presented. 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. People in travel quarantine who have not visited areas listed in Appendix B during the 10 days prior to arrival in Norway, and have 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, are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel.

The duty to stay at a quarantine hotel only applies to people who are subject to travel quarantine. If you are exempt from travel quarantine, this means that you are also exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. You can find more information about which people are exempt from travel quarantine here.

Regardless of the rate of infection in the country a person has visited, there are also exemptions from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel for people who:

  1. are protected and can document this in a secure and verifiable way as described in Appendix D to the COVID-19 Regulations
  2. are minors
  3. can provide documentation upon arrival that the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has approved suitable accommodation for them
  4. have received approval of their application the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration on compelling compassionate grounds or on the basis of other weighty considerations
  5. are asylum seekers or resettlement refugees
  6. are crossing the border in connection with an arranged or scheduled contact visit with a minor child, in accordance with the Children Act and the Child Welfare Act
  7. 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, allied military units, employees on vessels at Norwegian ports, elite athletes, and people who commute between Norway and Sweden/Finland, and who meet the conditions in section 6b
  8. 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
  9. police officers returning from international service

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 other people than those with whom they are staying. People in quarantine are prohibited from going to a workplace where other people are present, to a school, or to a kindergarten.

No other form of public transport may be taken than that from the place of arrival to the quarantine hotel, or transport from the quarantine hotel to another suitable place of quarantine. People who choose to leave Norway during their quarantine period may use public transport from the place of quarantine to the place of departure.

Further details about the different exemptions:

The infection rate in the areas you have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival determines whether you must stay at a quarantine hotel or not. Layovers are also considered a visit in this context. A visit to a country or area listed in Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations triggers the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations is updated by the Ministry of Health and Care Services at fixed intervals. A change in the infection rate has no effect until the appendix is amended.

As a traveller, you are under an obligation to register the area or areas you have visited during the 10 days prior to arrival 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.

If you have not visited an area listed in Appendix B to the COVID-19 Regulations, you are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel and may complete travel quarantine in your 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.

  • Exemptions for protected people

Protected people are not under an obligation to stay at a quarantine hotel during their travel quarantine. The quarantine for this group may be completed in each person’s 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. The following people are considered protected:

  1. people who are fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2
  2. people who received their first dose 3–15 weeks before arrival
  3. people who 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 date

People who belong to the groups in points 1 and 3 above are also exempt from travel quarantine in full.

How do you document your protected status?

In order to be exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel, you must be able to provide documentation that you are protected in a way specified in Appendix D of the COVID-19 Regulations.

Norway accepts valid EU Digital COVID Certificates from all EU/EEA countries (and certain third countries). These certificates are verifiable and connected to the EU’s gateway. A list of the countries that are connected to the EU’s gateway can be found here: EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Entry of international COVID-19 vaccination into the Norwegian Immunisation Registry SYSVAK. Printouts and screenshots are not accepted.

  • Exemptions for minors

Minors are exempt from the duty to stay at a quarantine hotel. This includes all people under the age of 18. If the minor is travelling with a person who will be staying at a quarantine hotel, the minor must be given the opportunity to stay there with the adult.

Minors can document their age by presenting identification.

  • Exemption for employees with accommodation approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority

People who travel to Norway for the purpose of performing work or assignments are 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 employer or employee must present documentation of approval of the accommodation.

More information about the approval programme 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. 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 – special diets and food allergies normally do not provide grounds for an exemption from quarantine hotel here
  • 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

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 the duty to quarantine during working hours pursuant to section 6e of the COVID-19 Regulations and 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 can only spend brief periods of time in Norway, so 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 international 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.

What about people travelling to Svalbard and Jan Mayen?

The rules regarding the duty to 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.

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 people 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 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 are travelling to a quarantine hotel 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 at quarantine hotels

The municipality must offer a test to people who are staying at a quarantine hotel. The quarantine period will be shortened if the person provides documentation of a negative result from a PCR test taken during their quarantine period no sooner than 3 days after arrival. The day on which the test is taken will depend on the infection rate in the area/country you have visited.

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 shortened 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:

Visit a close relation who is seriously ill or dying.

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.

Transport from the place of arrival to the place of quarantine

People are not permitted to use any other public transport than that from the place of arrival to the quarantine hotel, or transport from the quarantine hotel to another suitable place of quarantine. People who choose to leave Norway during their quarantine period may use public transport from the place of quarantine to the place of departure. People who are travelling to a quarantine hotel 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.

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 in travel quarantine may only spend time outdoors if they are able to avoid close contact with other people than those with whom they are staying. People in quarantine are prohibited from going to a workplace where other people are present, to a school or to a kindergarten. There is also a duty to take a test within 7 days of arrival in Norway, regardless of where the person completes their travel quarantine.