Alert: COVID-19 Information – March 31, 2020

On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 Global Travel Advisory recommending U.S. citizens avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and various cruise operators have suspended operations, cancelled trips, and/or encountered difficulties receiving permissions to dock.  If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States, consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available and have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. government for assistance.

Country-Specific Information:

Entry and Exit Information:

  • On March 16, 2020, the Norwegian Government closed the border to foreign nationals who lack a residence permit in Norway. Temporary entry and exit controls have also been introduced at the Swedish border.
  • However, Norwegian airports are not closing. The airports remain open for international flights enabling foreign nationals to depart.
  • Many travelers are having trouble finding flights due to route suspensions and widespread flight cancellations.  However, flights continue between many U.S. cities and European transit hubs such as Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Frankfurt, among others with flight connections to Norway. Please continue to work with your airline and explore travel with other airlines that are offering flights to the United States.
  • The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has posted a link with information for foreign nationals that cannot leave Norway due to COVID-19.
  • Effective March 17th, 2020, European Union (EU) leaders agreed to apply a temporary restriction on all non-essential travel into the passport-free Schengen zone by non-EU nationals for at least 30 days.
  • The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise to avoid all unnecessary travel.

Quarantine Information:

  • As a general rule for all infections, sick people should stay at home and not go to work/place of study/school/childcare center. If you have more serious symptoms, contact your doctor by telephone. If you cannot reach your doctor, ring the emergency out-of-hours clinic (116 117).
  • The Norwegian government is allowing symptom-free people in quarantine to leave Norway provided sound infection control measures are in place during transport from the place of quarantine to the place of departure. For more information, please see the Norwegian government’s guidance for foreign nationals without symptoms.
  • Anyone that has traveled outside Norway in the past 14 days must follow home quarantine procedures. See the Health Norway travel advice page.
  • For more information, see the NIPH’s site for general information to the public.

 COVID-19 Prevention Measures:

  • Retail and grocery stores are open. Follow the advice of national security authorities about what to keep at home.
  • The transportation sector operates as normal.  However, avoid travel unless strictly necessary.
  • All educational institutions are closed until further notice.
  • Bars are closed, some restaurants remain open. Cultural events, sporting events, and several beauty services are prohibited. Swimming pools and gyms are closed.
  • Additional restrictions are in place for visitors to health institutions. Do not visit people at institutions in vulnerable groups, such as the elderly or the sick.
  • Healthcare professionals working in patient care may not travel abroad (valid until end of April).

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Question—Will the Department of State or U.S. military be evacuating U.S. citizens?

  • Answer – There are currently no plans to evacuate US citizens from Norway.  We are aware the governments of some other countries have announced suspension of air travel.  In those countries, the State Department is considering all options to assist U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens should monitor our travel.state.gov website and enroll in STEP.state.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Question—Are Norway’s airports closed?  Am I stranded in Norway?

  • Answer – The Government of Norway issued a March 15 press release to clarify that it has implemented stricter border controls, but airports are not closed completely.  Flights continue for the moment so Norwegian citizens and residents abroad may return and residents of other countries and foreign tourists may depart Norway.  However, airlines have cancelled many international flights and availability of flights and routes is unpredictable.

Question— I am an American citizen trying to fly home to Norway or the United States but cannot find a flight.  What are your recommendations?

  • Answer – Many travelers are having trouble finding flights due to route suspensions and widespread flight cancellations, but flights continue between many U.S. cities and European cities outside Norway.  Please continue to work with your airline and explore travel with other airlines that may still be offering flights to your destination.

Question—Are healthy quarantined American citizens allowed to leave Norway?

  • Answer—Yes, the Norwegian government is allowing symptom-free people in quarantine to leave Norway provided sound infection control measures are in place during transport from the place of quarantine to the place of departure.  For more information, please see the Norwegian government’s March 17 update for foreign nationals.

Question – Is there a quarantine for passengers upon arrival in the United States?

Question – Is there a quarantine for passengers upon arrival in Norway?

  • Answer – Yes, currently for passengers who have traveled abroad within the past 14 days or for those that appear to have COVID-19 symptoms.  For more information about travel to and quarantine in Norway, see the following Quarantine Information from Helse Norge.  

Question – What will happen if I overstay my visa in Norway due to quarantine or cancelled flights?

  • Answer – the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has jurisdiction over residency and length of stay in Norway.  A March 20 statement from UDI notes that foreign nationals who are not able to depart Norway before their visa or residency permit expires will not face negative consequences.  UDI’s Question and Answer page further explains that it is not possible to apply for an extension with the police closed and that you do not need to contact UDI, but that you should try to depart Norway as soon as possible.  We advise that you document your efforts to depart.

Question—How long will the Worldwide Level 4 Health Advisory remain in effect?

  • Answer – The Department of State uses a wide range of tools (including Travel Advisories and Alerts) to communicate clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information that helps U.S. citizens make informed decisions about travel overseas.  The Department of State routinely updates our Travel Advisories and country information for all countries and jurisdictions based on a comprehensive review of all available safety information and ongoing developments.  Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators, and offer specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there.  The “H – Health” indicator reflects the presence of health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure.  The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice may be a factor.  Additionally, U.S. embassies and consulates abroad issue Alerts as needed to notify U.S. citizens of specific events and changes happening locally, in real time.

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