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Norway travel guide

About Norway

From precipitous glaciers to steep-sided gorges and crystalline fjords, Norway’s natural beauty is impossible to overstate. The unspoilt wilderness of the Arctic north is one of the few places where the sun shines at midnight during the summer and where the magnificent Northern Lights brighten the skies during the long winter nights.

Further to the south, the picturesque cities of Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen are brim-full of buildings showing off Scandinavia’s age-old flair for design in cosmopolitan surroundings. Oslo is the present-day capital and financial centre, while the country’s second city, Bergen, is a picturesque former Hanseatic trading port and gateway to the fjords of Norway. Stavanger is the focal point of the Norwegian oil industry and former capital, Trondheim, is a long-established centre of Christian pilgrimage, and more recently, technical research.

Though the weather can be a tad grim in Bergen, the UNESCO-listed waterfront adds a flash of colour with its wooden warehouses and shimmering harbour. Oslo’s waterfront is no less beautiful and has an ice-white Opera House that could give Sydney’s version a run for its money.

Stunning though the cities are, the real wonders of Norway are to be found outdoors. In the far north, the glacier-covered sub-polar peninsular of Svalbard is one of the few areas where polar bears can be seen in the wild and Norway’s miles of Arctic tundra double up as a destination for skiing and spotting the Northern Lights.

Elsewhere, a ferry trip along Geirangerfjord must rank among the world’s prettiest voyages with pine-topped cliffs giving way to icy green water, regularly topped up by the waterfalls that cascade down the fissured sides of the ravine. Indeed, you’d be hard pushed to find a part of Norway’s northern fjord area that isn’t strikingly beautiful, with snow-capped peaks and looming forests almost everywhere you look.

Key facts

Area:

385,186 sq km (148,721 sq miles).

Population:

5,271,958 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

14.3 per sq km.

Capital:

Oslo.

Government:

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state:

King Harald V since 1991.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Erna Solberg since 2013.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Norway on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Norway.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Norway

The Norwegian Government regularly monitors the risk of coronavirus, and adjusts measures in line with the levels of infection to contain the spread of the virus.

The current advice is to avoid all unnecessary domestic travel. See guidance available online from Helsenorge for the latest information. If you do travel, check the website of the municipality (kommune) you are visiting as restrictions and recommendations between regions can vary.

See also the Norwegian Government’s coronavirus website for more detail.

Public spaces and services

Social distancing guidance remains in force.

There are restrictions on public events and large parts of the hospitality and service sectors. Establishments serving food are allowed to open but social distancing restrictions apply.

The Norwegian authorities have issued recommendations that people avoid using public transport unless strictly necessary.

For the latest guidance, including on wearing masks, visit the Norwegian Institute of Public Health website.

Restrictions and recommendations do vary between regions. Check the website of the relevant municipality (kommune) for the latest guidance.

You can sign up for official email alerts providing the latest information from the Norwegian government.

Healthcare in Norway

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet) website has a dedicated English language page on the coronavirus providing updates and guidance. There are also two coronavirus hotlines (open Monday-Friday, 08.30-15.30) on +47 815 55 015 for general enquiries and +47 116 117 if you believe you have been infected.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers and healthcare for UK nationals vising Norway.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Norway.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Norway

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications

All foreign nationals living in Norway will be covered by Norway’s vaccine roll out as per a set priority order. The Norwegian authorities have issued guidance on vaccine rollout in Norway. You should log into the national health portal to find out how you will get the vaccine. The council linked to your residence should have sent out an SMS as part of the vaccine programme. If you have not received an SMS, please check with your ‘kommune’.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organisation COVID-19 vaccines page.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Norway, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Crime levels are low, but there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly at airports and railway stations in and around Oslo. Take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards.

Remain alert when walking home alone at night, and stick to main roads and well lit areas. Avoid shortcuts and quiet roads with no other pedestrians.

Road travel

In 2019 there were 108 road deaths in Norway (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 2.0 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Licences and documents

Visitors can drive in Norway using a valid UK or other EU/EEA driving licence. There is no need for an International Driving Permit (IDP). Make sure you have the correct vehicle insurance cover before you arrive.

If you’re living in Norway or planning to stay for longer than 90 days, check the Living in Norway guide for information on requirements for residents.

Road safety

Distances are great, speed limits generally lower than in the UK, and driving takes longer than you might think. Narrow and winding roads may be hazardous and impassable, especially in winter.

Driving regulations

Car drivers must use winter tyres if there is snow or ice covering the roads. When winter tyres are used, they must be fitted on all wheels and must have a minimum tread depth of 3mm. You may also need to use studded tyres or snow chains for extra grip in icy conditions when permitted. You can find more information on the use of tyres and snow chains on the State Highways website.

Keep headlights on at all times. Fines for exceeding the speed limit are high. On roads which are not marked with a priority sign (a yellow diamond), drivers must give way to traffic coming from the right.

Alcohol limits for drivers are far stricter than UK levels. There are frequent roadside checks for alcohol. Penalties for driving under the influence are severe and can lead to a prison sentence.

See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides to driving in Norway.

Road hauliers

Winter tyres are mandatory for heavy goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from 15 November to 31 March. These vehicles must also be equipped with tyres with a tread depth of at least 5mm and a sufficient number of snow chains. A truckers’ guide in English issued by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration can be found at Donna Diesel.

Svalbard

Follow the advice of the Governor of Svalbard, including on how to protect yourself from possible polar bear attack, the risks of glaciers, avalanches and other dangers outside the main town of Longyearbyen.

Extreme weather and crises

Extreme weather, floods and landslides can occur. The Norwegian government’s website provides information and advice to the public before, during and after a crisis.

Visiting in summer

Mosquitoes and midges can be a problem in forest, lake and mountainous regions. Bans on campfires are strictly enforced in many areas during the summer months. If you plan to go off the beaten track or out to sea, seek local advice about weather conditions and have suitable specialist equipment. The weather can change rapidly, producing Arctic conditions even in summer on exposed mountain tops.

Visiting in winter

The winter is long (it can last well into April) and temperatures can drop to -25°C and below. There is also a high wind chill factor, particularly in unsheltered areas and mountain ranges. Weather conditions can worsen quickly.

Bring warm clothes and practical footwear to cope with icy roads and pavements. You can buy special clamp-on grips (brodder) locally to give extra security in icy conditions. If you are taking part in skiing, hiking or other off road activities use the correct equipment. You can get advice at local information centres, which in smaller places tend to be connected with skiing equipment rental shops. You can also find safety advice for outdoor activities, including skiing, on the Visit Norway website.

Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. You should follow all safety instructions carefully given the danger of avalanches in some areas and in particular in times of heavy snow. Always check with the local tourist offices on current snow and weather conditions on arrival. You can get information about the risk of an avalanche by visiting the websites of the Norwegian Avalanche Warning Service or the European Avalanche Warning Service.

Read more about how to Ski Safe.

Terrorist attacks in Norway can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Drugs and drink driving laws are stricter in Norway than in the UK. Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even small quantities can lead to heavy fines and/or imprisonment.

Whale meat is available in Norway but importing it into the UK/EU is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Any importation of whale meat to the UK will result in seizure of the goods, possibly a fine of up to £5,000 and a custodial sentence.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to Norway for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

From 1 January 2021 UK nationals are no longer classified as EU/EEA nationals and will not be allowed to visit Norway unless they meet certain exceptions. You may be exempted if for example you are resident in another EEA/EU country or if you are a close family member of a Norwegian resident. Please see the UDI website for more detail on these exceptions.

However, these restrictions do not apply to UK nationals who were legally resident in Norway by 31 December 2020. Those who are legally resident will be allowed to re-enter the country when travelling but may need to show evidence of residency. This could happen at the Norwegian border or at an airport outside of Norway. The Norwegian authorities are introducing a residency card for eligible UK nationals living in Norway to help prove their status when travelling. The application process opened on 4 January 2021.

UK nationals residing in Norway and under the scope of the Separation Agreement, can use one of the following documents to prove their residence status on entry into Norway:

  • certificate of application under sections 19-33 to 19-35 of the Immigration Regulations
  • certificate for job seeker
  • registration certificate or proof of permanent residence issued under the registration scheme for EEA nationals
  • residence card
  • residence certificate from the National Population Register
  • receipt for registration under the registration scheme for EEA nationals, dated prior to 1 January 2021

For more information contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre online here or ring 0044 300 123 7379.

Testing and quarantine requirements

Travellers who arrive in Norway from a dark red country (which currently includes the UK) must present a negative COVID-19 test certificate upon arrival in Norway. The test must have been taken within the 24 hours prior to departure and be in English, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, French or German. The approved testing methods are PCR or Rapid antigen test. You may be denied entry at the Norwegian border, or boarding at the airport, if you do not produce a valid test certificate when required. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. For details on exemptions, see here.

You are also required to complete a self-declaration form within 72 hours prior to arrival and you should expect to be tested on arrival.

Quarantine requirements for the UK ,EU, EEA and Schengen countries are specific to each country. From 19 July, travellers from the UK legally allowed to enter Norway are required to stay in a quarantine hotel. For guidance on quarantine hotels, including the cost, see the HelseNorge website. You should expect to be asked to complete 10 days of quarantine. However, a negative PCR test taken no earlier than three days after entry may allow you to leave the quarantine hotel early. The remaining part of your quarantine can be spent in a ‘suitable location’. A further negative PCR test taken no earlier than seven days after entry may allow the period of quarantine to be shortened.

For guidance on what the Norwegian authorities regard as a ‘suitable location’ and how to quarantine, please see the FHI website. You should expect to be asked for evidence that your planned place of quarantine meets the requirements.

For more details on Norway’s quarantine rules please see the FHI and MFA websites.

You can also find more information regarding quarantine and quarantine hotels on the Norwegian hotline for entry, testing and quarantine:

From Norway: 815 55 015

From abroad: +47 21 93 78 40

A free coronavirus testing service is available at many international airports in Norway.

Further updates will be published when available. Check our advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.

For more information, contact the Norwegian Embassy in London. Detailed guidance is available on the MFA website.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status

Demonstrating your vaccination status from the UK is not formalised for entry into Norway, so you should follow alternative advice for entry. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Currently, Norway only accepts Norwegian, Danish, Swedish or EU digital COVID certificate as proof of vaccination or previous illness.

Transiting Norway

Non-residents are still able to transit via Norwegian airports as long as the final destination is not within Norway, but please check with your airline before departing.

Cruises

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.

A number of Norwegian ports are restricting passenger embarkation and disembarkation. The situation can change rapidly so check with your cruise provider for the latest information.

Visas

The Norwegian authorities have confirmed that if your visa has expired or is at risk of expiring, you will be not punished if you overstay as a result of COVID-19 or airline cancellations. You are not required to notify UDI or the police, but are asked to try to leave as quickly as possible.

UK military arrivals

Separate arrangements are in place for UK military arrivals in Norway, who should consult their unit.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.

  • if you are travelling to Norway and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.

  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Norwegian government’s entry requirements. Check with the Norwegian Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, you may need

  • if you stay in Norway with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

Any time you spent in Norway or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At Norwegian border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Norway. If you are resident in Norway, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Norway guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Svalbard

You’ll need your passport with you to travel to and enter Svalbard.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Norway.

Pets

Check with the Norwegian Embassy in London before travelling with pets.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Norway on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Norway.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

If you are a UK national ordinarily resident in the UK, you can use your UK passport to access state provided medical treatment, if it becomes necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Norwegian nationals.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. Use of your passport is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. This does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

From 1 January 2021, most people cannot use a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to get medical treatment in Norway. Check whether your card is valid.

If you’re living in Norway, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Norway guide.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 113 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

Seafood

Seek local advice if you intend to eat mussels harvested off the coast and certain types of fish from lakes and fjords.

The currency of Norway is the Krone (NOK). Norway can be very expensive. Make sure you have access to plenty of money. Bank opening hours are shorter than in the UK - especially in summer. Credit cards are widely accepted, but are not so widely accepted as a means of payment in Norwegian supermarkets and petrol stations as they are in the UK. You may be asked to provide ID if you cannot pay by chip and PIN. You can send money electronically to Norway via Forex and Western Union.

There are limits to the amount of currency you can carry into or out of Norway. This is currently set at 25,000 Norwegian Krone (about £2,500). If you bring any more than this into the country, you must declare it to Customs on arrival. Exporting currency from Norway in excess of the set limit has to be approved in advance by Norwegian Customs and transferred through a bank. Forms for this and further information can be found at Tollvesenet. Failure to comply with these rules can lead to arrest, a substantial fine and temporary confiscation of the excess currency which may then be released only through a bank.

Large numbers of British nationals travel successfully and safely in and around the Arctic each year. The Arctic is, however, a vast region, comprising the northerly areas of Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Alaska (United States). In addition to reading the specific travel advice for each of these countries, prospective visitors to the Arctic should also consider carefully the potential remoteness of certain destinations from search and rescue, evacuation and medical facilities. Independent travellers are particularly advised to develop contingency arrangements for emergency back-up.

The most popular way of visiting the Arctic is by ship. As some areas of the Arctic - specifically the more northerly and remote regions - can be uncharted and ice-covered, you should check the previous operational experience of cruise and other operators offering travel in the region. You should also consider the on-board medical facilities of cruise ships and talk to cruise operators as appropriate, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

The 8 Arctic States take their international search and rescue obligations very seriously, and have recently signed a binding agreement on search and rescue co-operation in the Arctic. However, in the highest latitude regions of the Arctic, cruise ships may be operating in relative isolation from other vessels and/or inhabited areas. You should be aware that in these regions, search and rescue response will often need to be despatched from many hundreds of miles away, and assistance to stranded vessels may take several days to arrive, particularly in bad weather. Search and rescue assets are also likely to offer only basic transport and basic medical care, and are unlikely to be capable of advanced life-support. Responsible cruise operators should happily provide additional information relevant to the circumstances of the cruise they are offering, and address any concerns you may have.

Consular assistance and support to British nationals in the Arctic will be affected by the capacity of national and local authorities. You should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment or potential repatriation.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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