Diplomat in Norway

The purpose of this booklet is to provide information to diplomats and their families on how the various privileges and immunities under the Vienna Conventions are implemented in Norway, and to offer other information.

Table of contents

Foreword

1. Foreign Government Personnel and Agencies in Norway 1.1 Diplomatic agents 
1.2 Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission  1.3 Members of the service staff of the mission 
1.4 Private servants 
1.5 Diplomatic immunity 
1.6 Inviolability 
1.7 Persons enjoying diplomatic immunity 
1.8 Inviolability and immunity under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 
1.9 Family members  
1.10 Duty to respect laws and regulations of the receiving State

2. Visa Requirements

3. Agrément

4. Arrival
4.1 Arrival of Heads of Mission  
4.2 Arrival of military attachés 
4.3 Arrival of other members of the mission

5. Absence of Head of Mission

6. Departure
6.1 Departure of Head of Mission
6.2 Verbal note of the departure/termination of duty
6.3 Change of specimen signatures

7.  Identity cards and Residence cards foreign missions
7.1 Types of ID cards
7.2 General information on ID cards
7.3 General information on Residence cards foreign missions
7.4 How to obtain a Residence card foreign missions
7.5 Exemptions from the requirement of capture of fingerprints
7.6 How to give biometrical data for Residence card foreign missions
7.7 Renewal of Residence card foreign missions
7.8 What to do if a Residence card foreign missions is lost
7.9 End of tour of duty – return of Residence card foreign missions

8. Work permits for family members of members of missions or consular posts

9. Residence cards foreign missions and work permits for members of the service staff of the mission
9.1 Recruitment in Norway
9.2 Recruitment outside Norway
9.3 Family members of the service staff of the mission
9.4 Departure of members of the service staff of the mission

10. Private servants
10.1 Recruitment in Norway
10.2 Recruitment outside Norway

11. Pension insurance scheme

12. Payment of the employer's contribution

13. Health and social security
13.1 General information 
13.2 Who is covered by the provisions of the national insurance scheme?

14. Taxes and custom duties
14.1 Tax on capital and income
14.2 Real estate taxes
14.3 Sale of real estate property owned by an embassy
14.4 Customs duties

15. Gifts

16. Value added tax
16.1 Mission buildings
16.2 Other goods and services for official use
16.3 Goods and services for personal use
16.4 Application procedures for refunds, registration and documentation requirements, etc.
16.5 VAT in connection with new chancery buildings and new official residences

17. Alcoholic beverage and tobacco
17.1 General information
17.2 Import
17.3 Procedures
17.4 Serving alcoholic beverages outside diplomatic premises

18. Motor vehicles
18.1 Import and purchase of vehicles, including motorcycles
18.2 Sale of motor vehicles
18.3 Annual tax on motor vehicles, "EU inspection", studded tires
18.4 CD licence plates
18.4.1 Documents for applying for CD licence plates
18.4.2 Disposal or return of CD licence plates on departure from Norway
18.5 Driving licenses
18.6 Petrol

19.  Toll charges ("bomring")

20.  Parking and parking fees, cleaning of streets, towing away of cars
20.1 General information
20.2 Private parking
20.3 Parking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
20.4 General parking information in Oslo
20.5 Airport parking
20.6 Snow removal, roadworks, street cleaning
20.7 Towed-away cars

21. Parking spaces reserved for missions

22. Traffic violations

23. Traffic accidents

24. Driving and alcohol

25. Admission to Oslo Airport (Gardermoen) 

26. Embassy security
26.1 Protecting the premises of diplomatic missions
26.2 Embassy security office
26.3 Camera surveillance

27. Police assistance in connection with receptions

28. Information on the right to demonstrate 

29. Firearms

30. The diplomatic bag

31. Acquisition of real estate

32. Organisation number and D-number
32.1 Organisation number
32.2 D- number

33. Elections

34. TV and telecommunications
34.1 The Norwegian broadcasting fee
34.2 Satellite dishes
34.3 Official communication by radio transmitters

35.  Schools
35.1 Norwegian public schools
35.2 International schools
35.3 Norwegian language courses

36.  The A.T.A. carnet

37. Export of antiques and other cultural goods of

38.  Import of animals

39. Flag and emblem of the sending state

40. Flag-flying days in Norway

41. Emergency telephone numbers

Annex A: Pension Insurance Scheme

Annex B: Payment of the Employer's Contribution (Arbeidsgiveravgift)  

Foreword

Welcome to Norway!

The purpose of this booklet is to provide information to diplomats and their families on how the various privileges and immunities under the Vienna Conventions are implemented in Norway, and to offer information and advice on related rules, legislation and procedures, as well as practical matters.

The booklet is a living document and will be revised continually according to need. Users are advised to check the last updated version on: www.mfa.no

The Section for Diplomatic Relations will gladly assist you in any way it can with the various matters covered in this booklet.

Please note that the booklet is provided for information purposes only, and neither constitutes an authoritative legal statement of any kind nor commits or binds the Norwegian government in any way.

We hope you will find the information both helpful and useful.

Chief of Protocol Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oslo, 2 January 2014

1. Foreign Government Personnel and Agencies in Norway

The status of foreign government agencies and personnel, consular officers and representatives of international organisations in Norway is governed by the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), and bilateral and host country agreements. 

It should be noted that even though the guidelines in this booklet to a large extent also apply to the expatriate staff of international organisations, individual host agreements may in certain areas contain provisions that differ from these guidelines.

1.1 Diplomatic agents

A diplomatic agent is the head of a mission or a member of the diplomatic staff of the mission. Diplomatic agents should in principle be of the nationality of the sending State, in accordance with Article 8 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expects a diplomatic agent to be in possession of a valid diplomatic passport, to hold a recognised diplomatic rank, to perform diplomatic functions on a full-time basis, and to be on normal rotation. 

The holders of the following ranks are considered to be members of the diplomatic staff as defined in Article 1(d) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations: Ambassador (Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary), Apostolic Nuncio, Minister Plenipotentiary, Chargé d’Affaires en poste (Article 14, paragraph 1 (c)), Minister, Minister Counsellor, Counsellor, First Counsellor, Second Counsellor, First Secretary, Second Secretary, Third Secretary and Attaché. Certain variations on these titles are accepted, for example “Defence Attaché” (or “Military”, “Naval”, or “Air” Attaché), and “Commercial Counsellor”. 

A member of the staff of the mission who does not hold one of the diplomatic ranks listed above will be classified as a member of the administrative and technical staff of the mission.

1.2 Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects that members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission perform their duties at the mission on a full-time basis and to be in possession of an official (service) passport issued by the sending State.

1.3 Members of the service staff of the mission

Article 1(g) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations defines members of the service staff as those who are in the domestic service of the mission. Immunity in respect of acts performed in the course of their duties extends only to members of the service staff of the mission who are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway. 

Family members of the service staff of the mission are not covered by the provisions of the Vienna Conventions.

1.4 Private servants Members of the staff of the mission who employ private servants have employer responsibility for them. Pursuant to Article 37, paragraph 4, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, private servants do not in general enjoy privileges and immunities.

Family members of private servants are not covered by the provisions of the Vienna Conventions.

1.5 Diplomatic immunity

The term “diplomatic immunity” covers both inviolability and immunity from jurisdiction. Inviolability means that the Norwegian government may not take coercive measures such as the arrest or remand in custody of individuals (Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations), forced access to or seizure of buildings (Article 30) or seizure of goods and property. Norwegian courts are not competent to try cases where the defendant enjoys immunity under Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

1.6 Inviolability Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the following are inviolable:

  • A mission’s premises and its means of transport (Article 22).
  • A mission’s archives and documents (Article 24).
  • A mission’s official correspondence, the diplomatic bag and the diplomatic courier (Article 27).
  • Diplomatic agents (Article 29), members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission and members of their families forming part of their households (Article 37, paragraph 1, and Article 37, paragraph 2).
  • The private residences of diplomatic agents (Article 30) and members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission (Article 37, paragraph 2) as well as their papers, correspondence and property (Article 30, paragraph 2). Property is only inviolable when used by persons enjoying privileges and immunities.
  • Diplomatic agents and members of their families who pass through Norway, provided they are travelling to or returning from a post (Article 40).

1.7 Persons enjoying diplomatic immunity

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the following enjoy diplomatic immunity: 

  • Diplomatic agents (Article 31) and members of their families forming part of their households (Article 37, paragraph 1).
  • Members of the administrative and technical staff of the mission and members of their families forming part of their households (Article 37, paragraph 2).
  • Members of the service staff of the mission, when performing acts in the course of their duties (Article 37, paragraph 3).

1.8 Inviolability and immunity under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

Consular officers, i.e. Consul General, Consul, and Vice-Consul, are of two categories, career consular officers and honorary consular officers. The particular status of members of a consular post who are nationals or permanent residents of the receiving State is governed by Article 71 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Under the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations the following are inviolable:

  • The consular premises (Article 27, Article 31).
  • The consular post’s archives and documents (Article 33).
  • The consular post’s official correspondence (Article 35, paragraph 2).
  • The consular courier (Article 35, paragraph 5).
  • Consular officers, with certain exceptions (Article 41).

1.9 Family members

Family members forming part of the household of a member of a mission or a consular officer enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the member of the mission or consular officer. The privileges and immunities of family members forming part of the household are in general considered to be derivative. However, the Vienna Conventions do not provide any definition of the term “family”, and the definition of this term varies from one country to another. It is generally agreed that receiving States may formulate a reasonable definition in order to specify who may enjoy the privileges and immunities of this category of persons.

As a general rule, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs defines the term “family”, for the purposes of the Vienna Conventions, as including:

  • a spouse, or
  • a cohabitant/partner, on condition that this status is legally recognised by the sending State, and
  • unmarried children under 21 years of age who are not members of some other household and who reside exclusively in the household of the parent in question. 

Children between the ages of 21 and 23 will continue to enjoy privileges and immunities on condition that they are attending an accredited institution of higher learning (i.e. university or similar) on a full-time basis in Norway. In such cases, proof of enrolment must be presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the request for the issuance or renewal of the child’s ID card. (See Chapter 7.) 

1.10 Duty to respect laws and regulations of the receiving State

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects all members of missions and consular officers to fully respect Norwegian laws and regulations during their stay in Norway, cf. Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Members of missions are asked to pay particular attention to speed limits and to Norwegian legislation concerning speed limits, alcohol, and driving and parking regulations. (See Chapters 22, 24, 25 and 26 for further details.) 

Diplomatic and consular immunity does not relieve diplomatic and consular personnel of the duty to discharge all private financial obligations incurred during their stay in Norway.

2. Visa requirements

Members of the mission, consular officers and members of their families who are nationals of countries whose nationals are required to present a visa to enter the Schengen area must be in possession of a valid entry visa before arriving in Norway. The visa application should be submitted to the Norwegian Embassy/Consulate well in advance of departure for Norway, accompanied by a verbal note from the sending State containing information regarding the name, rank and function, family members belonging to the household, expected date of entry and commencement of duty, as well as expected duration of the tour of duty. The predecessor’s name and rank should also be specified.

Please note that a member of the mission may not enter Norway for the purpose of taking up his/her duties on an ordinary Schengen visit visa.

Please see Chapters 9 and 10 for specific information concerning service staff and private servants.

3. Agrément

The processing time for an application for agrément for a proposed new Head of Mission, cf. Article 4 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, is under normal circumstances four to six weeks. In the summer months (June–August), the processing time may be somewhat longer.

An application for agrément may be submitted either by the mission accredited to Oslo, or, if so desired, in the proposed Head of Mission’s capital. The response is normally delivered through the same channels as those used for the original application.

4. Arrival

4.1 Arrival of Heads of Mission

4.1.1 Resident Head of Mission After an agrément has been given, the Mission should liaise closely with the Ministry’s Section for Diplomatic Relations on establishing a suitable time for the new Head of Mission’s arrival in Oslo. The time of arrival should be coordinated with the Ministry, so that presentation of credentials can take place soon after arrival. The available dates for presentation will influence this process.

A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will call on the new Head of Mission, normally at the chancery, a few days after his/her arrival to welcome him/her to Oslo and to go through the procedures for the presentation of credentials.

If the new Head of Mission arrives by plane, he/she may be met at the airport by a limited number of representatives of the mission. The Ministry will, if so desired, arrange for VIP facilities at the airport, and can also if necessary arrange for a car to pick up the new Head of Mission.

VIP facilities may only be arranged for a Head of Mission in connection with his/her first arrival in Oslo and his/her departure at the end of the tour of duty.

4.1.2 Non-resident Head of Mission After an agrément has been given, a non-resident Head of Mission will be invited to present his/her credentials when a date is available. The Mission should liaise with the Ministry’s Section for Diplomatic Relations on finding a suitable date.

A non-resident Head of Mission arriving at Oslo Airport (Gardermoen) may be met by a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided he/she does not arrive during a weekend, on a national holiday or after 18.00 on a weekday. In such cases, the Ministry’s representative will call on the visiting Head of Mission at his/her hotel to welcome him/her to Oslo and to go through the procedures for presentation of credentials.

4.2 Arrival of military attachés

The name and curriculum vitae of military attachés should be submitted to the Section for Diplomatic Relations for approval in accordance with Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations no less than two months prior to the date of commencement of his/her tour of duty.

The Ministry of Defence has published a “Guide for Military Attachés and Other Foreign Military Representatives in Norway”, which can be obtained from the Section for Diplomatic Relations.

4.3 Arrival of other members of the mission

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be notified of the arrival of all members of the mission and family members forming part of their household. Notifications of arrival should be sent to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with a duly completed registration form (may be downloaded from www.government.no/en/dep/ud - Diplomatic Relations), passport(s), two passport photographs and a specimen signature within one week of arrival in Norway. A specimen signature is not required for children under 15 years of age. The registration form must be signed by the Head of Mission and stamped with the Mission’s official stamp. Please see art. 7 for application for ID cards and Residence cards foreign missions.

5. Absence of Head of Mission

During the absence of the accredited Head of Mission, a Chargé d’Affaires ad interim shall act provisionally as head of the mission. The name of the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. should be notified by the Head of Mission before the latter’s departure. If such notification is not possible, the appointment of the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. should be notified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the sending State to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the receiving State, since under Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a Chargé d’Affaires a.i. may not notify his/her own appointment.

6. Departure

6.1 Departure of Head of Mission

An ambassador who is leaving his/her post in Oslo upon termination of the mission, may apply through the Section for Diplomatic Relations for a farewell audience with H.M. The King.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will arrange a farewell luncheon, hosted by the Secretary General of the Ministry.

The departing ambassador may request VIP lounge when leaving by air. There are no protocol arrangements for departing non-resident ambassadors.  

6.2 Verbal note of the departure/termination of duty

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be notified by verbal note of the departure/termination of duty of all members of the mission and consular officers. The same applies to service staff and private servants. 

The note should include the date of departure (or in the case of service staff and private servants, the date of termination of employment) and confirmation by the Section for Diplomatic Relations that all ID cards, Statoil credit cards and Oslo Airport access cards have been returned. 

The note should also include the same information for all family members forming part of the household of the member of the mission or consular officer leaving Norway.

If the members of mission and their family members hold Residence card foreign mission, they will need their card for departure. Immediately afterwards, the card must be returned to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through their mission in Norway, or it should be delivered to the nearest Norwegian mission. After the end of the posting in Norway the card will no longer be valid for travel in the Schengen area, and it will not be possible to cross the external border of the Schengen area with the card.

6.3 Change of specimen signatures

Missions are reminded of their duty to update lists of names (together with specimen signatures) of those authorised to sign applications for the refund of value added tax (VAT) and for applications relating to duty-free imports (see 18.4)).

7. Identity cards and Residence cards foreign missions

7.1 Types of ID cards

Red, blue, green and brown identity (ID) cards are issued by the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the various categories of personnel listed below, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

RED – Diplomatic agents Red ID cards are issued to diplomatic agents stationed in Norway and to members of their families, including children over 15 years of age forming part of their household.

BLUE – Members of the administrative and technical staff Blue ID cards are issued to members of the administrative and technical staff of missions and to their family members, including children over 15 years of age forming part of their household.

GREEN – Consular officers Green ID cards are issued to consular officers stationed in Norway and to their family members, including children over 15 years of age forming part of their household.

BROWN – Service staff Brown ID cards are issued to members of the service staff of a diplomatic mission or consular post who are in possession of an official (service) passport.

7.2 General information on ID cards

To apply for an ID card the mission must send a verbal note to the Ministry together with a duly completed registration form – «Registration of members of diplomatic missions», two colour passport photos, and a copy of the passport. Download the registration form from www.government.no/en/dep/ud - Diplomatic Relations. Please note that the same registration form is used for notifications, applications for ID cards and also Residence cards foreign missions. Use one form per person. The registration form must be signed by the  Head of Mission and stamped with the mission’s official stamp. The applicant must sign with a black felt pen. If not a black felt pen is used, the registration form will be returned to the mission.

When an ID card needs to be renewed, a request should be sent to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the form of a verbal note enclosing the expired ID card and a copy of the main page of the applicant’s passport.

Loss of an ID card should be reported to Majorstua Police Station, which will make a written report of the loss. A copy of the report is required before a new ID card can be issued. Majorstua Police Station can be contacted by telephone at 22 66 90 50, by e-mail to post.oslo@politiet.no, by post at PO Box 8101 Dep, N-0032 Oslo, or by a personal visit to Sørkedalsveien 27.

It is recommended that all members of missions and consular officers have their ID cards with them at all times. If they come in contact with a police officer, they should immediately clarify their status by showing their ID card, so that the police are able to treat them accordingly.

ID cards issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot be used as identity or travel documents outside Norway. ID cards must be returned to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry on departure from Norway at the end of the tour of duty, see section 6.2.

7.3 General information on Residence cards foreign missions

Oppholdskort/Residence card foreign missions” is intended for personnel posted to foreign missions in Norway and who require a visa to enter Norway. The Residence card foreign missions is introduced to secure free Schengen border crossing of accredited personnel at foreign missions in Norway.

This card is proof that the personnel are accepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that they are staying legally in Norway. The card holds biometrical data, like photo, signature and fingerprints.

Personnel accepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempted from the requirement to hold a residence permit in Norway. Holders of this card are entitled to travel freely in the Schengen area. They may stay for up to 90 days in another Schengen country during a 180-day period. A list of the countries belonging to the Schengen area can be found on http://www.landsider.no/en/info/europa/schengen

When travelling, holders of this card must always bring both their residence card and passport.

It is important that personnel check that the information on the card is identical to that given in their passport. If there are any errors or discrepancies, the mission should report this to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Please note:

  • The card is personal and must not be surrendered to anyone else.
  • The card is not valid as proof of identity.
  • The card shows how long the personnel are exempted from the general requirements to hold a residence permit in Norway, and the restrictions that apply to their residence here.
  • The card does not entitle the holder to take any other employment outside the mission.
  • The card does not entitle the holder to social security benefits from the Norwegian authorities.
  • If you already have a valid sticker in your passport, you do not need, and will not get a residence card until the sticker expires.

7.4 How to obtain a Residence card foreign missions

To obtain a Residence card foreign missions, send to the Section for Diplomatic Relations:

  • Notification. Personnel must be notified and accepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Passport(s).
  • Photo(s). Two recent, coloured, non-retouched passport photos according to ICAO standard.
  • Registration form. The new version of the registration form duly filled out. Download from www.government.no/en/dep/ud - Diplomatic Relations. Please note that the same registration form is used for notifications, applications for identity cards and also Residence card foreign missions, and please use one form per person. The registration form must be signed by the Head of Mission and stamped with the mission’s official stamp. The applicant must sign with a black felt pen. If not a black felt pen is used, the registration form will be returned to the mission.
  • Expired Residence card foreign missions, on renewal.
  • Meet in person at the Ministry to give biometrical data for the card. If exempted from capture of fingerprints, there is no requirement to meet in person, and the card may be collected at the Ministry only.

The Ministry will send a verbal note with acceptance of the newly arrived personnel and acceptance of application for Residence card foreign missions.

7.5 Exemptions from the requirement of capture of fingerprints Diplomatic agents and consular officers

Diplomats and their dependent family members are exempted from the requirement of capture of fingerprints and therefore not required to meet in person at the Ministry if they do not wish to do so. If the diplomats and their dependent family members do not wish to present themselves in person, please indicate this in the verbal note and the registration form. The Residence card foreign missions may be collected at the Ministry at a later stage.

Members of the administrative and technical staff

Members of the administrative and technical staff will follow the same procedure as for diplomatic agents.

Children under 6 years

Children under the age of 6 years are exempted from the requirement of fingerprints and signature.

Children between 6 and 10 years

Children between the age of 6 and 10 years are exempted from the requirements of signature. Dependent family members of diplomatic agents or administrative/technical staff are also exempt from giving fingerprints.

Service staff and private servants

There are no exemptions for members of service staff and private servants, and they must all present themselves at the Ministry for capture of biometrical data (including fingerprints).

7.6 How to give biometrical data for Residence card foreign missions Please bring

  • Passport(s).
  • Copy of the main page of the passport(s).
  • Copy of the verbal note containing the Ministry’s acceptance.
  • Identity card issued by the Ministry, if applicable, or expired Residence card foreign missions, on renewal.

Where and when to go

Personnel who shall give biometrical data to obtain Residence card foreign missions, should present themselves at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Address: Kronprinsens gate 10 Entrance: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consular Sectionen Tuesdays: 10.00-10.15: Diplomatic staff and adm/technical staff,                 10.15-10.45: Service staff and private servants

When the card is produced, it may be collected at the Ministry.                      

7.7. Renewal of Residence card foreign missions

A Residence card foreign missions cannot be prolonged, since the card’s validity is identical with the period as the personnel has been notified and accepted by the Ministry.  Renewal of Residence card foreign missions presupposes a renewal of the period of notification and acceptance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus, if the Residence card foreign missions expires and renewal is necessary, the mission must forward a verbal note with the required attachments to the Ministry, requiring a new card. The same applies if personnel changeposition or passport. It is important to request a new card at least one month before the expiry date of the present card. To obtain a new Residence card foreign missions, see 7.4.                          

7.8 What to do if a Residence card foreign missions is lost

If a Residence card foreign missions is lost in Norway, it is important to report this to the police immediately. If such a card is lost outside Norway, it must be reported to the nearest Norwegian mission immediately, and personnel who are subject to visa requirements should apply for seven days visa if needed.

The embassy must furthermore send a verbal note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting a new card. To obtain a new Residence card foreign missions, see 7.4.                          

7.9 End of tour of duty – return of Residence card foreign missions

Upon termination of the posting in Norway, the card will be needed for departure. Immediately afterwards, the Residence card foreign missions must be returned to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the mission in Norway, or it should be delivered to the nearest Norwegian mission.

After the end of tour of duty in Norway, the card will no longer be valid for travel in the Schengen area, and it will not be possible to cross the external border of the Schengen area with the card.

8. Work permits for family members of members of missions or consular posts

Neither the Vienna Conventions nor Norwegian legislation contain any specific provisions prohibiting or limiting the employment of spouses or other family members of members of missions or consular officers. However, when working outside the mission they are bound by the general provisions relating to foreign nationals who wish to work in Norway.

It should be noted that the general restrictions on practising certain professions in Norway apply to holders of work permits in the same way and to the same extent as they apply to Norwegian nationals and permanent residents in Norway.

Spouses or other family members of members of missions or consular posts must enclose documentation/confirmation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with their application for a work permit. The procedure is that the mission 1) sends a verbal note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informing the Ministry that a family member wishes to work while staying i Norway, and that he/she intends to apply for a work permit during the stay. 2) A copy of the Ministry's reply note should be attached to the application for work permit, which should be sent/delivered directly to the police/UDI. It is thus of importance that the Section for Diplomatic Relations be contacted before the application is submitted.

The work permit which will be issued to the family member, will be valid only as long as the main person is accredtied to the mission. Should the tour of duty be terminated before the expiry of the work permit issued to the family member, the work permit will no longer be valid.

Please note that the above applies to family members who have been accepted as such by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For information on how to apply for a work permit in Norway, please see: www.udi.no.

9. Residence cards foreign missions and work permits for members of the service staff of the mission

Members of the service staff of the mission are in the domestic service of the mission (Article 1 (g) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations). Service staff should be distinguished from private servants, who are in the domestic service of a member of a mission.

9.1 Recruitment in Norway

In principle, there are no objections to the recruitment of Norwegian nationals or permanent residents in Norway as locally employed service staff at foreign missions.

Please note that non-EEA nationals who are resident in Norway are required to be in possession of a permanent residence permit issued by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration that gives the holder general permission to work and that is valid for the duration of their employment at the mission. 

9.2  Recruitment outside Norway 

Non-EU/EEA nationals who are not in a possession of a permanent residence permit issued by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they take up their duties at a mission. 

Members of the service staff who are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempt from general immigration legislation. The Ministry will issue renewable one-year Residence card foreign missions to approved members of the service staff.

Members of the service staff recruited abroad may be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they satisfy the following conditions: 

  • that the member of the service staff is posted for a limited period of time, and normally no longer than five years;
  • that the sending State will ensure that the member of the service staff leaves Norway  at the end of the person’s tour of duty;
  • for members of the service staff who are not in possession of an official (service) passport, that the sending State notifies the Section for Diplomatic Relations well in advance of the person’s planned arrival in Norway;
  • that the sending State confirms that the position concerned is a full-time position;
  • that the sending State confirms that it will be responsible for health insurance for the member of the service staff.

Consequently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not accept local recruitment of non-EEA nationals who are not permanently resident in Norway.  

Nor does the Ministry grant Residence card foreign missions to persons who have previously been employed by another mission or as private servants for any other individual employer, or to persons who at the time of employment are staying in Norway on a temporary residence permit, e.g. as a student or au pair. 

Residence card foreign missions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are granted in accordance with the provisions of the Immigration Regulations concerning exemptions for members of foreign missions. Such exemptions apply to members of staff who are rotated regularly and posted to Norway for a limited period of duty.  Residence cards foreign missions issued by the Ministry do not give permission to take up employment outside the mission, nor do they constitute grounds for granting a permit to settle permanently in Norway. 

9.3 Family members of the service staff of the mission

Family members of the service staff of the mission are not entitled to Residence card foreign missions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor are they exempt from the obligation to be in possession of a permanent residence permit issued by the Norwegian immigration authorities if they wish to stay in Norway.  Applications for a residence permit should be sent to the local Norwegian embassy/consulate accompanied by proof of means of subsistence and social security coverage. It should be noted that more time is required to deal with applications for family members of service staff than for the member of the service staff themselves.

In general, the Norwegian authorities do not accept family members of service staff or private servants as additional staff members of foreign missions. 

9.4. Departure of members of the service staff of the mission

The Section for Diplomatic Relations should be notified of the final departure date of a member of the service staff at least one week before the end of the tour of duty. The Residence card foreign missions will be needed for departure. Immediately afterwards, the card must be returned to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the mission in Norway, or it should be delivered to the nearest Norwegian mission.

10. Private servants

A “private servant” is defined as a person who is in the domestic service of a member of a mission (Article 1(h) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations). Private servants should be distinguished from members of the service staff who are in the domestic service of a mission.

10.1 Recruitment in Norway

In principle, there are no objections to the local recruitment of private servants who are Norwegian nationals or permanent residents in Norway. Please note, however, that before taking up employment as private servants, non-EEA nationals who are resident in Norway are required to be in possession of a permanent residence permit issued by the Norwegian  Directorate of  Immigration that gives the holder general permission to work and that is valid for the duration of their employment at the mission.

The Ministry does not accept the local recruitment of non-EEA nationals who are not permanently resident in Norway.

10.2 Recruitment outside Norway

When a private servant is recruited abroad, the mission concerned should, on behalf of the employer (i.e. the member of the mission), send a verbal note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval prior to the arrival of the private servant in Norway. The verbal note should include a copy (in either English or Norwegian) of the employment contract. Private servants who are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are exempt from general immigration legislation.

It should be noted that a Residence card foreign missions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not constitute grounds for granting a permit to settle in Norway.

10.2.1 Employment contracts The employment of a private servant by a member of the mission must be based on a full-time position. The contract of employment must meet certain minimum requirements with respect to means of subsistence (i.e. a salary corresponding either to the lowest grade (19) of the Norwegian Government Pay Scale or the cost of room and board plus a minimum salary of NOK 12.000 per month) and social security coverage (cf. Article 33, paragraph 2, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations).

The minimum salary applies only to those private servants living in the employer’s house (receiving room and board). In other cases, a minimum salary corresponding to grade 19 of the Norwegian Government Pay Scale (NOK 23.284 per month as of 1 May 2013) must be paid. These minimum rates apply to private servants who are not permanent residents in Norway and are consequently not liable for payment of income tax in Norway.

The employer must assume responsibility for medical expenses for the entire duration of the employment. The employer should take out health and accident insurance for this purpose, either by ensuring that the private servant is a voluntary member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme or through private health insurance. 

The contract must also stipulate that the employer is responsible for private servants' return to his/her country on termination of the employment.

Please note that the provisions of Norwegian labour legislation should be respected, especially with regard to working hours, holidays and termination of employment.

According to Article 37, paragraph 4, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, private servants who are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway are exempt from dues and taxes on the emoluments they receive by reason of their employment.

If the employment is approved by the Ministry and no visa is required, the person concerned may enter Norway.

A private servant may stay as long as the employer/diplomat is en poste at the mission, and as a rule may not take up a new position with another diplomat.

10.2.2 Visa and Residence card foreign missions Private servants who are nationals of a country whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area should apply for a seven-day entry visa at the nearest Norwegian Embassy/Consulate General. A copy of the verbal note of approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be enclosed. This procedure should be followed even if the private servant is accompanying the member of the mission and has been employed by him/her for some time.

Once an entry visa has been granted, the private servant may enter Norway. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be notified of the private servant’s arrival within seven days by a verbal note enclosing the private servant’s passport, employment contract and registration form. The Ministry will send a verbal note with acceptance of the newly arrived personnel and an acceptance of application for Residence card foreign missions. Please see art. 7.4 on how to obtain a Residence card foreign missions.

Please note that a private servant will not receive a Residence card foreign missions exceeding the period of service with his/her employer at the mission. The employer (i.e. the member of the mission) is responsible for ensuring that the employee (the private servant) is in possession of a valid Residence card foreign missions at all times during the latter’s stay in Norway.

Once the employment is terminated, the private servant must return to his/her country of origin. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must be notified at least one week prior to the termination of employment, including information on the departure date, flight number and destination. The Residence card foreign missions will be needed for departure. Immediately afterwards, the card must be returned to the Section for Diplomatic Relations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the mission in Norway, or it should be delivered to the nearest Norwegian mission. After the end of the posting to Norway, the card will no longer be valid for travel in the Schengen area, and it will not be possible to cross the external border of the Schengen area with the card.

The same cancellation procedure applies if the member of the mission who has employed the private servant leaves Norway permanently before the end of the private servant’s contract period. The cancellation will be effective from the date of departure of the member of the mission.

10.2.3 Social security for private servants In accordance with Article 33, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, private servants who are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway are exempt from Norwegian social security provisions. Special rules apply to EU/EEA nationals. A member of a mission who employs a person to whom this exemption does not apply must fulfill the obligations imposed on employers by the Norwegian national insurance system, including paying the employer’s contributions to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

An application for membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme should be made to the local national insurance office (NAV) in the municipality in which the member of the mission resides.

10.2.4 Family members Family members of private servants are not entitled to Residence card foreign missions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor, if they wish to stay in Norway, are they exempt from the obligation to have a residence permit issued by the Norwegian immigration authorities.

Relatives or family members of members of missions and consular officers will not be approved as private servants.

11. Pension insurance scheme

The Act relating to mandatory occupational pensions (Lov om obligatorisk tjenestepensjon, 21 December 2005) applies to all legal entities that have employees in their service. Diplomatic missions are considered to be legal entities that fall within the scope of the Act. 

For more detailed information, see Annex A.

12. Payment of the employers' contribution (arbeidsgiveravgift)

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic personnel who serve at a diplomatic mission in Norway are not subject to Norwegian dues and income tax. Nor are they covered by the provisions of the National Insurance Act concerning the National Insurance Scheme.

Locally employed personnel, however, are generally subject to Norwegian taxation. 

For more detailed information, see Annex B.

13. Health and social security

13.1 General information

Members of the staff of foreign missions who enjoy privileges and immunities in Norway are not covered by the provisions of the National Insurance Act.

A copy of the National Insurance Act (Folketrygdloven) can be found at www.lovdata.no (Norwegian only).

Members of the mission and consular officers who are taking up a posting in Norway and are not covered in Norway by the public health insurance scheme of their home country are advised to ensure that they have valid health insurance for the duration of their stay in Norway.

13.2 Who is covered by the provisions of the national insurance scheme?

13.2.1 According to section 2-11 of the National Insurance Act, persons employed in Norway by a foreign State are exempt from membership of the National Insurance Scheme provided that they are not Norwegian nationals. Special rules apply to persons permanently resident in Norway.

13.2.2 Spouses and children of such persons as described in section 13.2.1 above are exempt from membership of the National Insurance Scheme provided that they are not Norwegian nationals and do not support themselves by working.

13.2.3 Private servants of such persons as described in section 13.2.1 above are exempt from membership of the National Insurance Scheme provided they are not Norwegian nationals. (As stated above, special rules apply to persons permanently resident in Norway.)

13.2.4 Persons who are already members of a foreign national insurance scheme may be exempted from membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme even if they do not fall into the categories mentioned in sections 13.2.1 to 13.2.3 above.

13.2.5 Persons who are not exempt as described in sections13.2.1 to 13.2.4 above will automatically become members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme when taking up residence in this country. Under Norwegian law, a person is considered to have taken up residence when he/she has stayed in Norway legally for more than one year or settles in Norway with the intention of staying longer than one year.

13.2.6 It should be noted that the Norwegian provisions on exemption from compulsory membership of the National Insurance Scheme are more liberal than those laid down in Article 33 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

13.2.7 The Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) includes provisions that entitle nationals of EEA states to sickness and maternity benefits when employed in an EEA state other than the one to whose social security system they belong. The benefits provided are the same as for nationals of the state in which they are employed. Consequently, a person from another EEA country who is employed in Norway is entitled to the same sickness and maternity benefits as Norwegian nationals. The persons concerned do not have to make any contribution to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, but will have to pay the user fee (egenandel), which is set by the authorities, when they receive treatment. In order to receive treatment, form E 106 should be sent to HELFO utland, P.O. box 6721 Etterstad, 0609 Oslo. The names of dependent family members of the person employed in Norway should be included in the form.

13.2.8 For those countries having health insurance agreements with Norway (bilateral, Nordic), see: http://www.nav.no/Internasjonalt/Medlemskap+i+folketrygden/Trygdeavtaler  For a list of the relevant agreements, see also: http://www.nav.no/rettskildene/Forside/Hovednummer/151669.cms

13.2.9 Information on exemption from membership (as described in 13.2.4 above) and on voluntary membership can be obtained from NAV and its local offices, see: www.nav.no

13.2.10 The following is general information on the Norwegian health and social security system.

Two of the main pillars of the system are the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) and the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO), which is a subordinate agency of the Norwegian Directorate of Health. The latter’s annual budget includes direct payments to various health service providers and reimbursement to individuals for certain medicines, etc.

The Norwegian public health care system is based on the principle of cost-sharing between HELFO, the individual patient and the municipality in which he/she lives. However, costs are only shared if the patient is treated or referred for treatment by a doctor who has an agreement (fastlegeavtale) with the municipality, and if the patient is a member of the national health insurance scheme. The municipality does not as a rule cover the expenses of medical treatment in private hospitals or clinics.

Dental services are not covered by the municipalities/HELFO.

For more information about reimbursements and rights in connection with health services for members of the National Insurance Scheme, see: www.helfo.no  You may also send an e-mail to: utland@helfo.no, or phone HELFO utland, 21 06 92 30. 

14. Taxes and customs duties

14.1 Tax on capital and income

14.1.1 Exemption from national and municipal wealth and income tax is granted to:

a) Diplomatic agents and career consular officers stationed in Norway.

b) Members of the families of persons specified in a), provided they form part of the household of the person in question and are not Norwegian nationals.

c) Members of the administrative and technical staff of missions, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

d) Members of the families of persons specified in c), provided they form part of the household of the person in question and are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

14.1.2 The tax exemption does not apply to private income derived from sources in Norway, income derived from shares in joint stock companies and companies of similar status registered in Norway, or wages and other remuneration for work carried out in Norway.

14.1.3 Persons belonging to the service staff of missions are exempt from taxation on wages received from the sending State, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

14.1.4 Private servants of persons falling into the tax exemption categories set out in sub-sections 14.1.1a) and c) above are exempt from taxation on wages received for their employment as servants, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

14.1.5 Honorary consular officers are exempt from all dues and taxes on salary and other remuneration received from the sending State for the performance of their functions, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway (see the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations).

14.2 Real estate taxes

All owners of real estate in Norway, including foreign governments, have to pay municipal dues such as electricity, water, rubbish collection and chimney sweeping. Missions and diplomatic agents are exempt from VAT on municipal dues. Exemption may be granted from the municipal property tax (which is a general tax and not levied for specific purposes), as set out below.

a) Premises owned by a sending State and used as a chancery or residence for the Head of Mission or other members of a mission are exempt from municipal property tax.

b) Premises not owned by a sending State are not exempt from municipal property tax, even if owned by a member of a mission and used by that member for residential purposes.

c) Rented premises are not exempt from municipal property tax. According to Norwegian tax legislation, however, it is the landlord, not the tenant, who is liable for the municipal property tax.

14.3 Sale of real estate property owned by an embassy

The current laws and regulations governing exemptions from sales tax and transfer fees on real estate property are as follows:

There is no sales tax (VAT) imposed on sale of property in Norway, as property does not fall within the scope of such taxes.

When registering/filing a deed transferring title to a property,  a government imposed fee of 2,5 per cent of the sales value has to be paid, in accordance with the Storting’s decisions regarding document fees para 1. In accordance with the decision’s para 2.b, an exemption applies to diplomatic and consular missions when property is transferred to foreign diplomatic and consular missions. However, when property is transferred from foreign missions, transfer fees have to be paid by the buyer.  Transfer fees are normally paid by the buyer. No other special taxes are imposed.

Registration fees in connection with filing of deeds are not within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, but as a general rule embassies have to pay such fees which are, however, very small.

14.4 Customs duties

14.4.1 Missions are exempt from customs duties on goods/products imported for official use, including alcoholic beverages purchased through bonded stores, and motor vehicles. Alcoholic beverages imported free of duty by diplomatic missions may not be used for commercial purposes.

14.4.2 Diplomatic agents and consular officers are exempt from customs duties on:

a) household effects and luggage; and b) other goods/products imported for their personal use only, including alcoholic beverages purchased through bonded stores or imported from other countries, and motor vehicles.

14.4.3 Members of the family of a diplomatic agent or consular officer are exempt from customs duties as set out in section 14.3.2, provided they form part of the household of the agent or officer and are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway.

14.4.4 Members of the administrative and technical staff of missions and members of their families forming part of their households are exempt from customs duty on their household effects and luggage when they first arrive in Norway, provided they are not Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway. In order to be eligible for the exemption, such effects and luggage should arrive no later than three months after the arrival of the person in question.

14.4.5 Honorary consular officers who are Norwegian nationals or permanent residents do not enjoy any customs privileges in Norway. However, office accessories (flags, coats of arms, printed matter, etc.) provided by the sending State and intended for official use may be imported exempt from customs duty.

14.4.6 Goods imported exempt from customs duty and other dues become subject to such duties and dues when they are sold or transferred to persons in Norway who do not enjoy privileges under the Vienna Conventions. Applications for sale or transfer should be made by verbal note to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For further details of the rules relating to motor vehicles, please see Chapter 15.

14.4.7 In principle, goods for display at exhibitions and commercial samples are not exempt from customs duties. Exemption may, however, be granted by Oslo and Akershus Regional Customs Administration (Tollregion Oslo og Akershus), on the express condition that all the items in the exhibition (except brochures) are re-exported.

For import of various goods for exhibitions see also the A.T.A. Carnet (International Customs Agreement), Chapter 38.

It should be noted that the purpose of the privileges mentioned is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions and consular posts.

Duty-free imports shall therefore not exceed the quantities necessary for direct utilisation by the mission, consular post or persons concerned. Other uses of the goods, such as sales, would be contrary to the Vienna Conventions and Norwegian law.

Members of the service staff, locally employed staff, honorary consuls who are Norwegian nationals or permanent residents in Norway, and foreign government agencies, such as tourist offices, cultural institutes, etc., and their personnel do not enjoy exemption from customs duties under the Vienna Conventions or under Norwegian law.

Further information is provided on the home page of the Customs Administration: www.toll.no Telephone Infosenter 03012, visiting address Tollbugata 1A, Oslo .

15. Gifts

Norwegian governments have developed a set of practical guidelines aimed at preserving the trust and confidence in our civil servants. These guidelines are available in Norwegian at www.regjeringen.no. and state that elected politicians and civil servants, at both local and national levels, are required to act with integrity, neutrality and professionalism to the benefit of the and public good.

Thus, all gifts received by civil servants must be registered by the appropriate government ministry or agency and only gifts of insignificant monetary value may be kept by the recipient. All registries of gifts are considered public information.

Furthermore, at the Royal Palace all gifts received from private companies or other commercial interests will be returned to the sender. All other gifts to the value of Norwegian kroner 1000,- or more are registered the registry is made public.

16. Value added tax

Value added tax (VAT) ( merverdiavgift, mva or moms) belongs to the category of indirect taxes that do not fall under the general tax exemption rules for sending States, diplomatic agents and career consular officers contained in Article 34 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Ministry of Finance has, however, granted an exemption from VAT for certain kinds of goods and services intended for the official use of a sending State or for the private use of diplomatic agents or career consular officers posted in Norway.

For some of the goods and services in question the exemption takes the form of a relief at the time of the purchase (i.e. the purchaser does not actually have to pay the VAT)

The relief system applies to the following items:

  • Motor vehicles
  • ,Petrol (when purchased with the special Circle K petrol card),
  • Alcoholic beverages,
  • Carbonated soft drinks,
  • Goods bought through bonded stores

For other kinds of goods and services the exemption takes the form of a refund based on application.

An application for refund of VAT applies to the purchase of goods/services positively listed in the Regulation to the VAT Act sections 10-2-1 to 10-2-3:

16.1 Mission buildings

Input VAT is refunded for purchases of the following goods and services that concern the real properties of a foreign country:

a) water, sewage, sanitation and chimney sweep services

b) repair and maintenance of real property, including cleaning and snow clearance services

c) estate agency fees for the purchase of real property

16.2 Other goods and services for official use

Input VAT is refunded in connection with purchases of the following goods and services for official use by embassies and consulates:

a) furniture, mirrors, lamps, tableware, glass and porcelain goods, curtains, blinds, carpets, mattresses and furnishing fabrics

b) electric fans, humidifiers and air purifiers

c) electric kitchen equipment, washing machines, electric cookers and cleaning machinery

d) office machinery

e) alarm and security systems, including security guard services and operation of security alarms, emergency generators

f) fire safety equipment

g) lawnmowers and snow blowers

h) printing of items of modest value

i) electric power

j) telephone, telex, fax and internet subscriptions

k) cleaning and snow clearance services

l) radio equipment, tape recorders, record players, TVs, stereo systems, video recorders, antennae for radio and TV

m) tyres and wheel rims for cars

n) estate agency fees for the leasing of real property.

o) rental of parking spaces

Letter (d), (e), (f) and (j) also apply to VAT on rental, repair and maintenance.

16.3 Goods and services for personal use

Input VAT is refunded on purchases of the following goods and services for personal use by diplomatic personnel and consular officials:

a) radio equipment, tape recorders, record players, TVs, video recorders and stereo systems, antennae for radio and TV and PCs

b) furniture, mirrors, lamps, tableware, glass and porcelain goods, curtains, blinds, carpets, mattresses and furnishing fabrics

c) organs and pianos

d) electric kitchen equipment, washing machines, ironing machines and irons, vacuum cleaners and sewing machines

e) tyres and wheel rims for cars

f) electric power, telephone, alarm and security systems for the residences of ambassadors and permanent chargés d'affaires

Input VAT is also refunded on telephones for persons who act as head of a station for a period of time. It is a condition for the refund that confirmation is provided by the station that the person concerned has performed the functions of the ambassador or permanent chargé d'affaires during the period for which a refund is being sought.

It is a condition for the refund that each purchase of goods amounts to at least NOK 1,500, inclusive of VAT. This does not apply to goods and services referred to in letter (f).

16.4 Application procedures for refunds, registration and documentation requirements, etc.

Application for refunds must be sent to the tax office via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the end of each quarter. Applications must only cover paid acquisitions during the quarter.

Applications must include a list with an overview of the sales documents. Sales documents must be retained for three years from the end of each quarter.

The Directorate of Taxes may stipulate a form to be used for applications and enclosure lists.

Application forms for VAT refunds may be obtained from the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please note that only the original application form is to be submitted along with only one set of invoice copies.

Applications, stamped and signed by the Head of Mission or another member of the diplomatic staff duly appointed by the Head of Mission, should be submitted to the tax office (Skatt Øst) via the Section for Diplomatic Relations on a quarterly basis following the calendar year (for example invoices dated January to March are sent in for the first quarter). The processing of applications will be more effective and the refunds can be paid earlier, if copies of the invoices are enclosed with the applications.

The relevant tax office, Skatt øst – Moss, may be reached by telephone: +47 800 80 000, or by e-mail marked "refund for missions": vatrefund@skatteetaten.no

16.5 VAT in connection with new chancery buildings and new official residences cf. the VAT Act and Regulation to the VAT Act section 6-12.

VAT relief may be granted in connection with the construction of new chancery buildings and new official residences. This applies only to invoicing from the main contractor. Sub-contractors have to include VAT in their invoices to the main contractor, which is deductible from the VAT paid by the main contractor. Refurbishing of such buildings does not qualify for VAT relief, but may be eligible for VAT refunds.

VAT refunds are not given for refurbishment of rented premises.

Embassies are strongly recommended to check the rules and regulations thoroughly before starting such processes, either by contacting Skatt øst directly or via the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry.

17. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco

17.1 General information The import, retail sale and serving of alcoholic beverages are strictly regulated in Norway, by the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages Act and municipal regulations pursuant to the Act.

Further general information on the import and sale of alcoholic beverages can be found on the home page of the Directorate for Health and Social Affairs www.shdir.no.

Alcoholic beverages or cigarettes that have been imported exempt from customs duties and other dues are for the official use of the mission or for the private use of its diplomats only. It is illegal for diplomats to order such products on behalf of embassy personnel or for any third person not eligible for such exemption. As stated in the Customs regulation § 5-3-1 goods imported exempt from customs duty and other dues becomes subject to such duties and dues if or when sold or transferred to a third person in Norway. A prior application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its explicit acceptance should always be made.

17.2 Import Missions, diplomatic agents and consular officers may purchase a reasonable amount of alcoholic beverages and/or tobacco (cigarettes, etc.) free of duty and taxes through bonded stores or import them from abroad.

Alcoholic beverages may only be imported free of duty for official use by the mission within the generally accepted sphere of diplomatic activity, or for the personal use of accredited diplomats and consular officers.

Alcoholic beverages imported free of duty may not be served at events organised by the mission if the purpose of the event is of a commercial or promotional nature.

Events such as trade fairs, wine-tastings and promotion of alcoholic products on behalf of agents or for resale in Norway are considered to be commercial. Permission will not be granted in cases where there is a co-host who is not part of the mission, such as a club, organisation, private company, tourist office or art gallery.

17.3 Procedures Applications from missions for exemption from customs and other duties on goods intended for official use in their chanceries and official residences, or for the personal use of those members of their staff who are entitled to the exemption, must be made on numbered forms (A2-form) supplied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The forms must be stamped and signed by the Head of Mission or another member of the diplomatic staff duly appointed by the Head of Mission, and must be verified by the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before being submitted to the customs authorities.

The application for duty-free import must contain the following:

  • Date, 
  • Information about the company, country or bonded store from which the goods will be ordered,
  • A specified number of litres (not bottles) of spirits and wine and the number of cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos (under “quantity”),
  • A declaration stating whether the goods are intended for official use by the mission or the personal use of a member of the diplomatic staff (in the latter case, the name of the diplomat must be stated), 
  • The name of the person authorised to sign the application, written in capital letters or printed below the signature, 
  • The order form, interim invoice or other documents showing the content of the consignment.

Exemption only applies to imports into Norway, and it should therefore be noted that VAT will not be refunded on alcoholic beverages purchased in Norway.

The A2-form should always be forwarded to and stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before imported products exempted from customs duties and dues can be released from bonded stores. Missions should never receive such products without making sure that the required procedures have been followed.

17.4 Serving of alcoholic beverages outside diplomatic premises The serving of alcoholic beverages in public places in Norway is generally subject to licensing by the municipal authorities. In special cases, the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may temporarily grant mission premises status to premises other than those of the mission in order to enable the mission to serve alcoholic beverages at for instance a national day reception held at a hotel.

In such cases the following conditions apply:

a) The Head of Mission must be present at and hosting the event.

b) The event must be restricted to specially invited guests and closed to the general public.

c) The owner of or the authority responsible for the premises concerned must agree to the arrangements outlined above.

d) The purpose of the event must not be of a commercial nature, see also 17.2.

Missions should apply for permission for such events by submitting a verbal note to the Section for Diplomatic Relations. The verbal note should state the intended location of the event and the measures taken to ensure that the event complies with the conditions set out above. A copy of the verbal note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be sent by the mission to the relevant authority or the owner of the premises where the event is to take place.

Non-resident Heads of Mission are subject to the same rules as mentioned above concerning import of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of holding receptions outside mission premises during their temporary visits to Norway. The quantity of alcoholic beverages must be in proportion to the number of guests, and a new application must be submitted for each new event.

18. Motor vehicles

18.1 Import and purchase of motor vehicles, including motorcycles

Motor vehicles may be imported free of duty by the mission, by diplomatic agents, members of the administrative and technical staff and consular officers on condition that the vehicles are imported or purchased exclusively for the official use of the mission or for the personal use of the importer or family members forming part of the household of the person in question. More information in English on the import and registration tax on motor vehicles can be found at the home page of the Customs Administration (see www.toll.no).

Duty-free import and purchase of motor vehicles are subject to the following restrictions:

a) The mission may import or purchase free of duty such number of vehicles as is reasonable in relation to its size, as determined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

b) Diplomatic agents may import or purchase free of duty one vehicle at a time, or two vehicles if the member in question is accompanied by a spouse, partner or cohabitant.

c) Members of the administrative and technical staff may import or purchase free of duty a total of one vehicle during their tour of duty in Norway.

To import a motor vehicle free of duty, those entitled to do so must submit the appropriate form “Application for duty-free import”, duly filled in by the applicant and stamped and signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to the relevant regional customs administration. The form should be attached to the customs declaration to confirm that duty-free clearance of the vehicle has been granted.

Vehicles that may be imported free of duty are also exempt from value added tax (VAT), the recycling deposit and the initial registration tax (engangsavgift), as well as the taxes on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

The following steps should be taken in this order:

  1. Application for duty-free import signed by the Head of Mission and a copy of the vehicle registration (vognkort) or a copy of the sales contract should be forwarded to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval.
  2. The form should specify: type of car, year of manufacture, chassis number, registration number and name of the car dealer or export country.
  3. Proof of insurance, which must be arranged before collection of the number plates.
  4. The application for duty-free import, vehicle registration or sales contract, passport and diplomatic ID card, to be presented in person at the customs office in Tollbugata 1, Oslo.
  5. Visit to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Risløkka trafikkstasjon), bringing all necessary documentation including the documents mentioned in point 4, to collect the number plates and for possible technical control.

For the address and telephone number of Risløkka trafikkstasjon, see 17.3.4.1.

18.2 Sale of motor vehicles

For general information see the Customs and Excise Regulations at www.toll.no (under motor vehicles).

Vehicles that have been imported free of duty by missions, diplomatic agents, members of the technical and administrative staff or consular officers may be sold at any time. However, if the vehicle is sold to a person who does not enjoy the privilege of duty-free import, the initial one-off registration tax, recycling deposit and taxes on HFCs and PFCs become payable by the seller.

The buyer has to pay the “omregistreringsavgift” (the re-registration tax charged when change of ownership is registered in the Norwegian Central Motor Vehicles Register).

The general discounts that are applied when a vehicle is sold by missions, diplomatic agents, members of the technical and administrative staff or consular officers to a person who does not enjoy the privilege of duty-free import are set out section 3-3 of the regulations Forskrift om engangsavgift på motorvogner. However, for vehicles sold by missions, members of missions and consular officers, the following special deductions are granted:

  • Vehicles more than two years old: 45% deduction on the tax normally payable.
  • Vehicles more than three years old: 65% deduction on the tax normally payable.

An application for a special deduction on the tax normally payable (one-off registration tax) should be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the form of a verbal note enclosing a copy of the vehicle’s registration documents. The registration and chassis number of the vehicle, and the owner’s name should be stated in the verbal note. The original note will be endorsed by the Ministry and returned to the Mission.

The verbal note bearing the Foreign Ministry’s endorsement together with the vehicle’s registration documents should then be scanned and sent by email to the Tax Administration at the following email address: SKO-engangsavgift@skatteetaten.no.

The Tax Administration will consider the application and decide whether a deduction can be granted.

The approval of the Tax Administration together with the vehicle’s registration documents and sales contract should then be taken to the Norwegian Public Road Administration, Risløkka trafikkstasjon, for registration of change of ownership.

Questions regarding the one-off registration tax should be directed to the Tax Administration who may be contacted on phone number 800 80 000.

18.3 Annual tax on motor vehicles, "EU inspection", studded tyres

18.3.1 Missions, diplomatic agents, consular officers and members of the administrative and technical staff are exempt from the annual tax on motor vehicles. Members of the families of diplomatic agents, consular officers and members of the administrative and technical staff are also exempt from the said tax as long as they form part of the household, are not nationals of or permanent residents in Norway, and are not engaged in any professional or commercial activity for personal profit in Norway.

18.3.2 In order to drive legally, all owners of motor vehicles are required to:

  • hold a valid insurance,
  • fulfill periodic technical inspections ("EU inspection"), and
  • hold a valid driving licence. 

The status for all vehicles regarding insurance and "EU inspection" are verified by manual camera inspections (road traffic control) along public roads. 

18.3.3 CD-registered cars are exempted from the charge normally levied on cars using studded tyres during the winter months (November–April) in the city of Oslo. For inquiries please contact: COWI AS, P.O. box 123, 1601 Fredrikstad. Telephone: 40 00 65 56 e-mail: post@piggav.no.  For further information see: www.piggav.no.

18.4 CD licence plates

18.4.1 Documents for applying for CD licence plates  The following documents must be submitted together with the application for CD licence plates:

a) A copy of a valid third-party liability insurance policy or personal traffic insurance card. It is compulsory under Norwegian law to have one of these forms of insurance.

b) A customs clearance certificate issued by the customs authorities and certified by the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or, if not applicable, written confirmation from the Section that the applicant is entitled to CD registration.

c) A certificate of inspection issued by an official vehicle inspector. 

Norwegian CD licence plates may be obtained from:

Risløkka trafikkstasjon (Norwegian Public Roads Administration) Østre Aker vei 50 PO Box 342 Økern 5013 Oslo Tel:02030. 

A fee for covering the production cost is payable for the licence plates.

18.4.2 Disposal or return of CD licence plates on departure from Norway When the owner of a motor vehicle with Norwegian CD licence plates is transferred to another posting, it is compulsory under Norwegian law to inform the authorities that the car is being taken out of Norway permanently. 

There are three options for the disposal or return of CD licence plates: 

a) They may be returned to Risløkka trafikkstasjon at the address given in 18.3.4.1.

b) The authorities of the sending State must send confirmation (in writing) to Risløkka trafikkstasjon or to a Norwegian mission abroad stating explicitly that the licence plates have been destroyed. 

c) The plates may be delivered to a Norwegian diplomatic mission or consulate abroad. 

d) If licence plates are not returned or if their destruction is not confirmed, this may affect the possibility for the mission to register new cars.

18.5 Driving licences

The Norwegian authorities do not issue special CD driving licences. Provided that they are not nationals of or permanently resident in Norway, a foreign driving licence is valid for the following individuals during their tour of duty in Norway: 

a) Members of missions and consular officers,

b) Consular officers serving at honorary consular posts,

c) Consular employees (administrative and technical staff) serving at honorary consular posts,

d) Members of the service staff and private servants,

e) Members of the families of the persons mentioned above apart from family members of private servants.

Drivers must on request be able to present a valid foreign national driving licence and an ID card issued by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Staff not possessing an ID card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, may instead present their passport with a valid Residence card foreign missions.

The driving licence must be in accordance with and in a language acceptable under valid international road traffic agreements. Where this is not the case, a notarised translation of the driving licence in a language commonly understood in Norway should be attached.

Expired driving licences may be replaced by a Norwegian driving licence for a specified period of time and on certain specified conditions.

For questions with regard to driving licences, contact:

Risløkka trafikkstasjon, telephone 02030.

18.6 Petrol

In this chapter the term “petrol” refers to both petrol and diesel fuel.

a) Missions, diplomatic agents and consular officers (and their family members who have a car at their disposal) have the right to purchase petrol exempt from all duties. Administrative and technical staff are not covered by the exemption.

b) Duty-free petrol can be purchased at Circle K filling stations throughout the country on presentation of a special-issue Circle K petrol card.

Application forms (“Firmakort”) should be obtained from Circle K Norge AS (www.circlekeurope.com).

The completed form should, together with a verbal note, be submitted for approval to the Section for Diplomatic Relations, which will forward it to Circle K Norge AS. The applicant will then be issued with a Circle K petrol card equipped with a personal identification number (PIN). Card-holders have full responsibility for the proper use of the card. They will receive regular invoices for purchases from Circle K and are responsible for full and prompt settlement of each invoice.

c) Petrol purchased at any other filling station in Norway is also exempt from VAT. Applications for VAT refunds should be made by verbal note to the Section for Diplomatic Relations, which will forward them to the regional tax administration. The applications, which should be forwarded on a quarterly basis, must contain the original invoices and the applicant’s bank details. VAT refunds are paid directly into the applicant’s bank account.

d) The exemption for petrol also applies to petrol for use in leisure boats.

e) The exemption does not include motor oil.

f) At the end of their tour of duty in Norway, diplomatic agents and consular officers (and their family members who have a car at their disposal), should return the Circle K petrol card to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry. Failure to settle the accounts may influence the availability of such cards to the mission, and may even lead to the freeze of all petrol cards at a mission.

19. Toll charges ("bomring")

CD-registered cars are exempted from paying tolls on the Oslo toll road. The exemption applies only to the toll roads around Oslo, and not to other toll roads in Norway. All cars entitled to this exemption must have a special pre-programmed AutoPASS tag attached to the windscreen, without which they will not be exempted. This presupposes an AutoPASS contract with the company Fjellinjen AS, registered under the embassy's name, and with the name of the diplomat as reference.

To obtain a tag, an order should be made to fritak@fjellinjen.no containing the name of the embassy and diplomat and documentation identifying the vehicle as a diplomatic car.

The tag will be sent to the mission by ordinary mail. Payment of a deposit is required, which will be refunded when the tag is returned to Fjellinjen AS at the end of the tour of duty. The tag is valid only for a specific car and is not transferable.

The contract with Fjellinjen AS must be cancelled at the end of the tour of duty.

20. Parking and parking fees, cleaning of streets, towing away of cars

20.1 General information

While CD-registered vehicles (diplomatic vehicles) are generally considered to be inviolable, they may not obstruct traffic or endanger public safety. Diplomatic vehicles are subject to Norwegian parking regulations and their owners are held responsible for parking violations. Parking fees are not considered to be fines.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not, under normal circumstances, involve itself in matters relating to parking violations, including failure to pay parking fees. However, a list of arrears is regularly sent to the Section for Diplomatic Relations. The Ministry may therefore raise the question of non-payment of parking fees with the mission responsible.

20.2 Private parking

It should be noted that many parking areas are privately owned and thus regulated by private law.

20.3 Parking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A special parking area at Victoria terrasse, outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is reserved for diplomatic vehicles for visits to the Ministry and other official visits in the centre of Oslo. Traffic to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is subject to access control.

20.4 General parking information in Oslo

For further information regarding parking in Oslo see: http://www.oslo.kommune.no/english/traffic_and_parking/ or contact the City of Oslo Traffic Authority:

Bymiljøetaten, Divisjon trafikk PO Box 9336 Grønland 0135 Oslo Telephone 23 48 20 00.

20.5 Airport parking

There are five complimentary short-term parking spaces for diplomatic vehicles at Oslo Airport (Gardermoen), departure level (upper level). The reserved spaces are located on the right-hand side outside the parking barrier system, and are marked "Reservert CD". In addition there is one space at the arrival terminal for leaving/entering a car (marked "B11 VIP CD").

20.6 Snow removal, roadworks, street cleaning

Snow removal and the annual spring cleaning of public streets is organised by the municipality of Oslo. The plans and dates for specific cleaning operations (which may be subject to change at any time) can be found on the website: www.bym.oslo.kommune.no.

Missions are also advised to follow local news for information on dates, times and locations in Oslo for these activities, in order to avoid having cars towed away.

Diplomats are requested to make sure when parking that they respect parking signs. The space where the car is parked should be checked at least once every 24 hours for temporary signs during periods of snow removal, roadworks, cleaning, etc. Please note that temporary signs are valid from the time of the appearance of the sign, and that vehicles that have not been removed from the street will be towed away and subject to fines. During periods of roadworks, etc. embassies are kindly requested to make use of alternative parking.

20.7 Towed-away cars

For towed-away cars, call 23 48 21 50 or see www.bym.oslo.kommune.no.

21. Parking spaces reserved for missions

Requests for reserved parking spaces for the use of diplomatic missions should be made in writing to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will forward these to the appropriate authorities. The reservation procedure takes approximately one month.

Requests for permanent reserved parking spaces are considered first by the police and then by the municipality or the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, depending on which agency is responsible for the location in question. Missions or residences that have sufficient parking spaces on their own premises, particularly in areas where public street parking is limited, will normally not be granted reserved street parking.

Missions are entitled to VAT refunds for rental of private parking spaces.

Parking spaces outside missions labelled "parkering for biler tilhørende..." are intended for the use of the mission's own CD vehicles, and not as parking for visitors. Unauthorised parking of non-CD vehicles in the reserved lots does not justify illegal parking by diplomats.

Non-CD vehicles will incur fines for parking in reserved spaces. If a vehicle is parked on the reserved parking space of a mission, the Traffic Authority should be contacted by telephone 23 48 21 50 (open 24 hours) for removal of the vehicle. In the event of a reserved parking space being temporarily unavailable due to unauthorised parking or other circumstances such as snow removal or street cleaning, CD vehicles are expected to abide by local parking regulations.

22. Traffic violations

Under Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, it is the duty of all persons who enjoy privileges and immunities under the Convention to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State.

When missions or their personnel incur fines for violations of traffic regulations, they are expected to pay such fines. Any failure to pay a fine will be reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the municipal parking authorities (for parking fees) or by the police.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not normally deal with complaints or appeals relating to traffic violations. Such complaints or appeals should be directed to the body or authority issuing the fine in accordance with that body's complaints/appeals procedure.

23. Traffic accidents

Anyone who becomes involved in a road accident, whether or not they are to blame, has a duty to stop immediately and provide all necessary assistance. Other persons in the vicinity or who arrive at the accident scene also have a duty to provide such assistance as may be necessary.

Individuals who are involved in a traffic accident are obliged to exchange names and addresses. The drivers of the vehicles must also exchange the names and addresses of the persons who own the vehicles and the vehicles' licence plate numbers.

When a traffic accident has caused death or serious injury, no traces of the accident should be removed, and nothing else that could be important in a subsequent investigation into the accident should be altered unless strictly necessary (e.g. in the interests of a victim's health or safety) until the police arrive at the scene. Those involved in the accident also have a duty to try to prevent any such removal or alteration.

Vegtrafikkloven (the Road Traffic Act) can be found at: www.lovdata.no.

24. Driving and alcohol

Norway has strict legislation on driving and alcohol consumption, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious offence. Under normal circumstances the penalty is a substantial fine or a prison sentence. If the driver has a blood alcohol level of more than 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (0.2 ‰), he/she is deemed to be under the influence of alcohol for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act.

The provisions dealing with driving or attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating or narcotic substance are to be found in section 22 of the Road Traffic Act.

The general traffic rules set out in the Road Traffic Act should be observed, including those dealing with speed limits, which are low in Norway, and traffic accidents.

25. Admission to Oslo Airport (Gardermoen)

Access to certain areas of Norwegian airports is restricted in the interests of passenger safety. Diplomats do not enjoy any privileges in connection with access to restricted areas of an airport under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The airport authority may, on request and if the need is real, issue special access cards for restricted areas of Oslo Airport. Such special admission cards may for example be issued to embassy personnel authorised to deal with or carrying the diplomatic bag.

The number of permanent access cards allocated to the embassies is limited for security reasons, and is based strictly on the embassy's needs. Embassies may themselves decide which members of the staff should possess the allocated cards. A new access card is normally only issued on return of the old one.

Applications for access cards should be submitted electronically to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For further information see: http://www.osl.no/idcard.

At the same time the embassy should send a verbal note to the Ministry requesting that the application be forwarded to the Oslo Airport Authority.

Please note that a permanent access card for restricted areas of Oslo Airport is no longer valid if it has not been used for a period of three months. Only personnel whose duties require them to have frequent access should therefore apply for a permanent card.

For other members of the staff having official business at the airport, the embassy may request a temporary visitor's card.

Access cards are only valid if accompanied by officially approved identification (such as the ID card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a passport or a driving licence).

To obtain an access card, the applicant is required to complete an airport course on health, safety, including fire safety, and environment. Ambassadors are exempt from this requirement.

Applicants who are Norwegian nationals or permanently resident in Norway are subject to a background check and must present a police certificate (utfyllende politiattest), before they can attend the health and safety course.

The training courses are organised by Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Department of Oslo Airport. Embassy personnel are exempt from paying the course fees. Signing up for courses should be arranged by contacting the EHS Department at Oslo Airport, either by telephone at 64 81 91 20 or by e-mail to kurs@osl.no.

Please note that all communication with regard to access cards for the restricted areas of Oslo Airport (Gardermoen) should go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ID office at the Oslo Airport, which issues the access cards, is situated in the Flyporten building (on the first floor).

Should a mission require an access card to Torp Airport Sandefjord for reasons of official business, the Section for Diplomatic Relations should be contacted. Only temporary visitor's cards are issued in such cases. For airport parking, see 20.5.

26. Embassy security

26.1. Protecting the premises of diplomatic missions

Under international law, cf. Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Norway as the receiving State has a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of diplomatic missions and diplomatic agents on its territory. The Norwegian authorities are therefore responsible for the protection and external security of the embassies on its territory.

Embassies have the right (and duty) to implement appropriate security measures on their premises, including the residence of the Head of Mission. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and customary international law, it is the duty of all persons enjoying the privileges and immunities referred to in the Convention to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State. Security measures implemented by diplomatic missions must therefore comply with Norwegian law. The exercise of public authority by a foreign State on Norwegian territory without the permission of the Norwegian authorities is prohibited.

If an embassy wishes to implement security measures that extend beyond the premises of the chancery and the residence, this must be formally cleared with the Norwegian authorities through diplomatic channels. Should an embassy desire stronger security measures in terms of external protection, a request to this effect must be formally submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Section for Diplomatic Relations.

Several bodies cooperate on embassy security in Norway. Oslo Police District has the main responsibility for the embassies' security, and is the normal contact point for security questions.

As the national security service of Norway, the Police Security Service (PST) is responsible for preventing and investigating offences against the security and independence of the State, including sabotage or politically motivated violence or coercion The embassies' security situation is regularly reviewed by Oslo Police District and the PST. If it is decided that particular police protection measures are required for an embassy, an ambassador or other specified personnel, these are implemented by Oslo Police District.

26.2 Embassy Security Office

The overall responsibility for embassy security lies with the police. The Embassy Security Office (ESO) of Oslo Police District handles all security-related inquiries from diplomatic missions.

The security measures implemented at embassies are strictly based on threat assessments by the PST.

Day-to-day matters should be raised directly with the ESO, which will on request also advise missions on the implementation or review of their own security measures. Matters of principle may be communicated to the police via the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ESO can be contacted at:

Telephone: 22 66 86 57 or 22 66 86 59 E-mail: eso@politiet.no.

The telephone numbers for contact outside office hours (Monday–Friday 0900–1500) are given below.

Police – Immediate assistance/emergency: 112 Police – General inquiries: 02800 Oslo Police Command and Communication Unit/Duty Officer (24 hours): 24 17 20 60 Oslo Police District, switchboard: 22 66 90 50

Offences may be reported either to the local police station or to one of the other police stations in Oslo. Sentrum Police Station is open 24 hours a day. Reports of simple thefts of bicycles, cell phones, criminal damage to buildings or vehicles, etc. may be sent to: www.politi.no.

For general information about the Oslo Police District, see www.politi.no/oslo.

26.3 Camera surveillance

Camera surveillance of persons who can be recognised is considered a violation of privacy in Norway and is regulated by law. Unnecessary camera surveillance is by definition illegal.

The Data Inspectorate has issued a guide to the legal provisions governing camera surveillance. Camera surveillance must be marked by a sign clearly stating who is responsible so that anyone entering the surveyed area is aware of the surveillance. The Data Inspectorate should be notified at the latest 30 days in advance of the establishment of camera surveillance. For further information see: www.datatilsynet.no.

27. Police assistance in connection with receptions

Requests for police assistance in connection with receptions or other arrangements may be made in writing to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry, which will forward these to the police or directly to the ESO (see 26.2). Requests should be made well in advance of the planned event (at least two weeks is recommended).

28. Information on the right to demonstrate

Freedom of speech and thought in Norway is enshrined in the Norwegian Constitution. Demonstrations are one form of expression of these fundamental human rights.

Certain requirements must be observed when demonstrations are to take place in public places. The police should be notified well in advance of the demonstration, although in principle a notification of intent to demonstrate may be given to the police by the demonstrators at the site of a demonstration. Spontaneous demonstrations are considered legal provided that the demonstrators adhere to the rules laid down by the police.

The police may prohibit or break up demonstrations in public places if they are held in spite of having been banned or fail to meet the conditions imposed on them, or if for example they provoke a serious breach of public order or obstruct traffic. The police may also break up a demonstration if there is reason to fear that it will become violent, or in order to prevent anyone suffering physical harassment.

When a demonstration has been announced in the vicinity of a diplomatic mission or the residence of a Head of Mission, the police will inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and seek to inform the relevant mission.

It should be noted that lawful, authorised demonstrations that take place in the vicinity of an embassy/residence may not be the object of surveillance for registration purposes.

29. Firearms

The acquisition, possession and holding of a licence to carry firearms does not fall within the scope of international relations. These questions are solely within the jurisdiction of the receiving State.

In Norway it is prohibited by law to carry a weapon (including firearms, knifes, stun guns, tear gas, pepper spray etc.) in public spaces. The right to possess firearms is strictly limited. All weapons require a licence from the Police.

A license to acquire, possess and carry firearms for the purpose of self protection will normally not be given. On the basis of a threat assessment, a short term (three months) license issued to a professional security staff, may however be considered by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST). The firearm can only be carried under the supervision of the Norwegian police. Any application for such license should be forwarded through the Section for Diplomatic Relations.

In accordance with Norwegian law, individuals can acquire, possess and carry firearms for bona fide hunting or sporting purposes. Individuals who wish to import/purchase/possess firearms and ammunition for use in hunting or sport, and who otherwise meets the legal requirements for such licenses, must submit an application to the Norwegian police in the municipality in which they reside. This also applies to diplomatic missions and consular posts and their staff.

A firearm acquired for hunting or sport should be handled with great care at all times. Such firearms may only be brought outside of the premises of the Mission when securely locked down in a weapons case or bag. Hand weapons may only be brought to target practice at a shooting range or for participation in competitions. Firearms intended for hunting, should be safely stored in a bag or weapons case when travelling.

Firearms acquired in Norway will need an export license from the relevant Norwegian authorities, before they can be exported. A small fee will apply. A valid export licence should also be presented to the relevant authorities when a firearm is taken out of the country on a temporary basis for participation in hunting or sport.

In Oslo, applications for licences regarding weapons for hunting or sport should be addressed to the police arms office (Våpenkontoret).

Please use the following address:

Oslo Politidistrikt Våpenkontoret P.O. Box 8101 Dep. 0032 Oslo e-mail address: Oslo.vapenkontor@politiet.no.

30. The diplomatic bag

Official courier mail (the diplomatic bag), which must bear visible external marks of its character, may not be opened, detained or x-rayed. The diplomatic courier must be provided with an official document indicating his/her status, and must be protected by the receiving State in the performance of his/her functions.

Airport security personnel must be able to verify that the bag is official courier mail to or from a diplomatic mission in Norway by means of these measures, cf. Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The air carrier personnel who receive the diplomatic bag must also be able to verify that it has been delivered by an official diplomatic or consular representative.

Diplomatic agents or career consular officers travelling as diplomatic couriers are required to complete normal identity and security controls.

Diplomatic agents and career consular officers and their personal hand luggage are subject to normal airport security controls. Diplomatic immunity may not be claimed, since a passenger's admission to the aircraft is entirely subject to the authority of the captain of the aircraft.

31. Acquisiton of real estate

The real estate market in Norway is open and is regulated by supply and demand. As a rule Norway's commitments under Article 21 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations are considered to be met through the real estate market.

Local regulations may apply to the use of real estate by foreign nationals. The purpose of the use of the property and other aspects may also be subject to regulations, and it may be necessary to obtain relevant permits from the municipal planning and building authorities (Plan- og bygningsetaten).

It is therefore important to maintain contact with the planning and building authorities of the municipality during the acquisition process, especially when the property concerned is subject to special regulations or if its use will be changed (for example from a home to an office/chancery). As a general rule legal advice should be sought when planning to acquire real estate.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not possess a list of real estate agencies (eiendomsmeglere), and it is recommended to consult the yellow pages of the telephone catalogue at: www.gulesider.no.

32. Organisation number and D-number

32.1 Organisation number

All companies and legal entities in Norway have an organisation number (organisasjonsnummer). Although there is no general obligation for embassies to apply for such a number, it should be noted that an organisation number is useful in many contexts, for example when opening a bank account in the embassy's name and purchasing or renting office premises. However, an organisation number is necessary when employing Norwegian nationals or permanent residents in Norway, for example in connection with payment of the employer's contribution to the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

An application for an organisation number should be addressed to the Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities - Brønnøysundregistrene:

www.brreg.no/englishwww.brreg.no/blanketter/bin/BR1018_en.pdf.

The name of a contact person with either a Norwegian identity number or, for foreigners not considered residents in Norway, a D number, must be included in the application. Other required documentation is also listed on the application form.

32.2 D number

Foreign personnel at diplomatic missions and career consulates in Norway are not considered to be resident in Norway and are thus not entitled to an ordinary Norwegian personal identity number. However, they may apply for a D number, which is an identity number issued to non-residents who need to identify themselves when dealing with Norwegian authorities or financial institutions. For example diplomats and other embassy personnel normally need a D number in order to open a bank account. In such cases the bank will apply for a D number on behalf of the customer. All organisations and institutions that require a D number must themselves request one, since individuals may not request one themselves. See http://www.skatteetaten.no/no/Person/Skattekort-og-forskuddsskatt/Utenlandsk-arbeidstaker/D-nummer/Hvem-kan-rekvirere-D-nummer/.

33. Elections

Diplomatic missions may make arrangements to ensure that their nationals resident in or visiting Norway may participate in elections or referendums to be held in their home country.

Prior to a planned election, the diplomatic mission should request in writing the Ministry's consent to hold elections in Norway. Permission will normally be granted on the basis of reciprocity.

The verbal note should provide the Ministry with accurate information as to where and when the arrangements for the election are planned to take place. If the planned location is outside the premises of the mission, prior consent must be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the owner of the premises. With regard to publicly owned premises, the Ministry will need to approve the specific location prior to giving its consent. Missions should submit to the Ministry a written copy of the letter of consent from the public institution.

34. TV and telecommunications

34.1 The Norwegian broadcasting fee

Diplomatic agents, career consular officers and administrative and technical staff who are not Norwegian nationals or permanent residents in Norway are exempt from paying the Norwegian broadcasting fee. A written request for a free licence should be addressed to the Licence Department of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), giving the reason why the writer is entitled to exemption. Such licences are valid for one year at a time.

NRK Lisensavdelingen, 8607 Mo i Rana, or e-mail: lisens@nrk.no.

See also: www.nrk.no/lisens.

34.2 Satellite dishes

Installation of satellite dishes may be subject to special regulations. For example special permission is required for installing a satellite dish with a diameter of more than 1 metre.

An application should be made to the Agency for Planning and Building Services of the City of Oslo:

Plan- og bygningsetaten Vahls gate 1 0187 Oslo E-mail: postmottak@pbe.oslo.kommune.no. Telephone 02 180//23 49 10 00

For further information check the Agency's home page: www.plan-og-bygningsetaten.oslo.kommune.no.

34.3 Official communication by radio transmitters

The use of radio transmitters for official communication by a diplomatic mission requires permission from the competent Norwegian authorities (see also Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations).

Missions may, on the basis of reciprocity, be licensed by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority to install, operate and use radio communications equipment for:

official communication with the sending State,security purposes within and around the mission premises,visits from VIPs that require special security measures, including the use of radio communications equipment.

In such cases the licence is subject to a time limitation. A licence application may be submitted with a verbal note to the Section for Diplomatic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The application should include information on the location and type of equipment, frequencies, call signs, hours of operation, transmitter output power, classes of emission, bandwidth and antenna characteristics, and should be addressed to the Post and Telecommunications Authority (Post- og teletilsynet).

Before any changes are made to the parameters of the licensed transmission equipment, a request for permission to make such changes should be made to the Post and Telecommunications Authority via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Post and Telecommunications Authority will investigate any instances of interference caused by a mission's radio transmitters and may impose such modifications or improvements to the installation as are necessary to resolve the problem.

The installation and operation of radio communications equipment/transmitters must be in conformity with the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union, the International Radio Regulations, and any special conditions set by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority.

The Post and Telecommunications Authority's home page can be found at www.npt.no. It should be noted that installation of antennas may in addition require special permission from the municipal authorities. (The contact details for the Agency for Planning and Building Services can be found in 36.2.). 

35. Schools

35.1 Norwegian state schools

Diplomats and other embassy personnel who wish to register their children with a Norwegian state school should contact the school of their choice.

Further information on primary education (and child care institutions) may be found on Oslo Municipality's website at: http://www.utdanningsetaten.oslo.kommune.no/.

Information on secondary education may be found on Oslo and Akershus County Council's website, under Utdanning (education), at: www.akershus.no.

35.2 International schools

There are several English-speaking and other international schools in the Oslo area as well as schools offering the International Baccalaureate. The international schools in the following list are commonly used by foreign mission personnel, but the list is not exhaustive.

English: Oslo International School Gamle Ringeriksvei 53 NO-1357 Bekkestua Telephone: +47 67 81 82 90 Fax: +47 67 81 82 91 Website: www.oslointernationalschool.no.

French: Lycée français René Cassin d'Oslo Den franske skolen Skovveien 9 NO-0257 Oslo Telephone: +47 22 92 51 20 Fax: +47 22 56 06 99 Website: www.rcassin.no.

German: Deutsche Schule Oslo - Max Tau Den tyske skolen Sporveisgata 20 NO-0354 Oslo Telephone: +47 22 93 12 20 Fax: +47 22 93 12 30 Website: www.deutsche-schule.no.

35.3 Norwegian language courses

A number of institutions in Oslo offer Norwegian language courses. For further reference see: www.gulesider.no.

36. The A.T.A. carnet

The A.T.A. Carnet is an international customs document used worldwide to facilitate customs clearance of goods that are temporarily imported into a member country. Its legal basis is the Customs Convention on the A.T.A. Carnet for Temporary Admission of Goods, which entered into force in Norway in 1965. Use of the Carnet eliminates the need to make deposits at the time of importation, and simplifies customs procedures.

The Carnet may be used for example in connection with the import of commercial samples and goods intended for exhibitions organised by a diplomatic mission or consular post.

The Carnet may be used for the transit of goods through more than one country, and may be used several times for goods forming part of the same exhibition. It is valid for up to one year. The A.T.A. Carnet system is administered by chambers of commerce in the member countries.

Further information on the A.T.A. Carnet can be found on the website of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce at www.chamber.no.

Diplomatic missions and consular posts of countries that are not party to the Customs Convention on the A.T.A. Carnet, and that wish to import goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events, should contact the Oslo office of the Directorate of Customs and Excise at www.toll.no.

37. Export of antiques and other cultural goods from Norway

As a general rule antiques and objects of artistic, cultural or historical value may not be exported from Norway without special permission, unless they have been legally imported by a member of a mission taking up his/her post in Norway. (Please also note that the A.T.A. Carnet must be used for the temporary import of antiques for exhibitions, cf. Chapter 36.)

Information on the export of antiques and other objects of cultural value from Norway, together with the relevant application forms, can be found on the website of Arts Council Norway, at www.norskkulturrad.no.

Arts Council Norway P.O. box 8052 Dep, 0031 Oslo Telephone 22 47 83 30 post@kulturrad.no.

See also: Directorate of Customs and Excise www.toll.no Customs information centre, telephone: 03012.

38. Import of animals

Missions and mission personnel should acquaint themselves with the relevant Norwegian legislation well in advance of bringing in pets, etc.

No diplomatic privileges are extended in connection with the import of animals into Norway. Bringing in pets (such as dogs and cats) is strictly regulated to prevent the introduction and spread of disease. The quarantine regulations are also very strict, due to the fact that mainland Norway has had no incidents of rabies in recent times. The relevant regulations should therefore be studied well ahead of importing a pet.

If the import requirements are not met, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority can decide to expel, quarantine or put down the animal(s) in question. The animal's owner is responsible for all expenses incurred in connection with import of the animal. It should be noted that heavy penalties are imposed for violation of the rules for import of animals to Norway.

It is prohibited to import certain dog breeds (both purebred and crossbred) to Norway. It is also prohibited to import reptiles (except certain tortoises, provided a special permit has been granted), other exotic animals, animals that represent a danger to Norwegian nature, and protected animals.

Private import of dogs and cats is regulated by the Regulations of 1 July 2004 No. 1105 relating to the animal health requirements for non-commercial transportation of pets (Forskrift av 1. juli 2004 nr. 1105 om dyrehelsemessige betingelser for ikke-kommersiell transport av kjæledyr).

For further information, including the rules for other animals, plants and food, see the home page of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet): www.mattilsynet.no.

39. Flag and emblem of the sending state

Under Article 20 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, a diplomatic mission and its head have the right to use the flag and emblem of the sending State on the premises of the mission, including the Head of Mission’s residence, and on the Head of Mission’s means of transport. 

If the mission is located in rented premises, the owner of the property has to grant permission.

40. Flag-flying days in Norway

Norwegians in general feel a strong personal attachment to their flag. Important days (such as Constitution Day and even special family occasions), are often celebrated by flying the Norwegian flag. Local authorities also use a variety of local flags. Government buildings are required to fly the state flag on official flag-flying days, of which there are 16:

1 January  New Year’s Day
21 January HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s birthday
6  February Sami People’s Day
21  February HM the King’s birthday
1  May Labour Day
8  May Liberation Day 1945
17  May  Constitution Day
7 June  Union Dissolution 1905
4 July  HM the Queen’s birthday
20  July HRH the Crown Prince’s birthday
29  July St. Olav’s Day
19  August HRH the Crown Princess’s birthday
25  December Christmas Day
  Easter Sunday
  Whit Sunday
 

Parliamentary election days (stortingsvalg)

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may instruct government institutions to fly the flag on other occasions, for example special Royal Family events and state visits to Norway. 

The flag-flying regulations state that the flag should only be flown between 08.00 and 21.00 from March until the end of October. From November until the end of February, the flag-flying hours are 09.00 until sunset, and in the three northernmost counties, the flag may be flown between 10.00 and 15.00 from November to the end of February.)

41. Emergency telephone numbers

The following telephone numbers may be used in cases of emergency:

Fire/rescue  110
Police                        112
Ambulance                113

             

Annex A: Pension Insurance Scheme

Every diplomatic mission is obliged to establish an occupational pension scheme for all employees in its service who are compulsory members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden). This obligation applies to all employees who are Norwegian nationals, regardless of whether they are employed by a foreign state or mission, by the Head of Mission or by any other member of the mission.

Foreign nationals employed by a state or diplomatic mission, or by the head or any other member of the mission, are not compulsory members of the National Insurance Scheme. Special rules may, however, apply to EU/EEA nationals.

Inquiries should be addressed to the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet): Telephone: 22 93 98 00 www.finanstilsynet.no.

Annex B: Payment of the Employer's Contribution (Arbeidsgiveravgift)

Under section 6-2 of the Taxation Act, missions are obliged to inform the local tax authorities about locally employed personnel and their salaries, and to send in a pay statement. Missions are also obliged to pay the employer’s contribution to the National Insurance Scheme for all locally employed personnel who are not exempt, see section 23-2 of the National Insurance Act. The employer’s contribution is calculated as a percentage of the wages and/or other remuneration paid to employees. Foreign employers in Norway are required to pay the employers’ contribution to their local tax authority.

Locally employed personnel who are nationals of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and who are employed at the mission of the country of their nationality may be exempted from the National Insurance Scheme on the basis of EU legislation.

A condition of exemption is that the employee is covered by a national insurance scheme in his/her country of nationality, and that this can be confirmed. If the employee is exempt, the employer may also be exempted from paying the employer’s contribution to the National Insurance Scheme.

Locally employed personnel from EEA member states who are not employed at the mission of their country of nationality are generally subject to Norwegian taxation and to compulsory membership of the National Insurance Scheme.

Locally employed personnel who are nationals of a country that is not covered by the EEA Agreement and that has not concluded a bilateral social security agreement with Norway may apply for exemption pursuant to section 2-13 of the National Insurance Act and Regulations No 314 of 15 April 1997 to the Act. Confirmation must be provided to the effect that the person in question has adequate coverage under a similar scheme in another country.

Locally employed domestic servants working at a diplomat’s residence are generally subject to taxation and compulsory membership of the National Insurance Scheme.

As the rules and legislation governing the payment of the employer’s contribution to the National Insurance Scheme fall outside the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, any queries on these matters should be directed to the international section of the Oslo Tax Collector’s Office (Oslo kemnerkontor, arbeidsgiverinformasjon utland).

Telephone at 23 46 91 53, E-mail: utland@kem.oslo.kommune.no, or Postal address: Oslo kemnerkontor Arbeidsgiverinformasjon utland, P.O-box 2, St. Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo

The Tax Collector’s Office will be able to provide information brochures and forms related to the payment of tax for local employees. In addition, general information is available on: www.skatteetaten.no  and on the website of the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation (NAV) www.nav.no.

The Norwegian Labour Inspections Authority’s website www.arbeidstilsynet.no also contains information on these matters.

The Ministry also refers to its circular note of 19 June 2006 regarding the Norwegian mandatory pension scheme (the content of which is to be found in Annex A).