From September 12, close family members and romantic partners of Norwegian residents will be finally be able to enter Norway from countries outside the EU/EEA.
Announced by prime minister Erna Solberg during a coronavirus press conference, the move marks a significant change in Norway’s approach to its border control during the pandemic. Within the EU/EEA, anyone who is fully vaccinated or traveling from a ‘green’ country has been able to visit Norway for any reason since early July.
A further relaxation of border control
It has been just a few months since Norway relaxed its rules on family visits for just a handful of non-EU/EEA countries, which it termed ‘purple’ countries. The change now effectively classifies every non-EU/EEA country as purple.
Residents of non-EU/EEA countries will now be able to visit family members in Norway provided they fall into one of the following groups:
- Adult children and stepchildren, as well as parents and stepparents of adult children/stepchildren. This comes in addition to the already in-place rules for visiting younger children/stepchildren and their grandparents/grandparents.
- Grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Boyfriends and girlfriends over the age of 18, together with their children (under 18). Those in this category must apply in advance to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
Anyone planning to visit under these exceptions must also meet general conditions such as any visa requirements.
Quarantine obligation remains
An important note is that Norway’s rules for quarantine will not be relaxed for the above groups. This means that many of those now allowed to visit Norway will have to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival for three days until a negative test result is obtained.
The government has confirmed that those fully-vaccinated with vaccines approved in the U.K., U.S. and by the WHO will be able to skip the entry quarantine on the same basis as those with EMA-approved vaccines. However, it is a prerequisite that the proof is given via a QR-code enabled digital certificate in accordance with the EU solution to which Norway connects.
At the moment, only the EU certificate and the NHS Covid Pass for residents of England, Wales and Northern Ireland is accepted. Others will have to wait until their system can be integrated. “It will take some time before the system for these people is in place,” stated the government website.
Norway is dealing with a fourth wave
Despite loosening the entry restrictions, Solberg announced a delay in the planned relaxation of coronavirus measures within the country.
Previously it had been announced that Norway’s “fourth phase” of reopening would take place in mid-September. But since that announcement, infection numbers have spiked to record levels throughout the country driven largely by infection within student communities.
“Further opening now gives the risk of more infection. We will not take that risk when there is such a short time left before all adults have been given the opportunity to protect themselves with a vaccine,” said Solberg. As of August, just 57.27% of Norway’s population had been fully vaccinated.
Solberg added that when vaccination rates are sufficiently high, Norway would move directly to a normal condition, skipping the planned fourth phase. Until then, restrictions including mandatory registration at public venues, limits on public event capacities and a strong recommendation to work from home will continue.