Visiting the United States

Official Travel Information

General information for visitors to the USA:

Secure Flight
Under the Secure Flight program, TSA prescreens required passenger data, full name, date of birth, gender, and Redress Number (if available), against government watch lists for international and domestic flights into, out of, within, and over the United States.  In addition to facilitating secure travel for all passengers, the program helps prevent the misidentification of passengers who have names similar to individuals on government watch lists by providing an intergraded redress procedure.

Customs and Border Protection
Information for travelers to the United States who are visiting for the purpose of working, studying, business travel or immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) is part of a continuum of security measures that begins overseas and continues through a visitor’s arrival in and departure from the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Links to individual state and territorial Tourism Offices can be found as part of the site which is operated by the Travel Industry Association of America

All visa-related questions should be directed to Please note that you will be able to ask visa questions via the phone and e-mail through the link above. No other sections will be able to assist with such queries.

The webpage U.S. Visas is a Department of State information source about U.S. visa policy and procedures.

Note that the most commonly asked questions about visas are answered here.

The United States has an agreement with most countries whereby the renter’s full national driving license may be used for a period of up to one year in the United States. This applies to the full Norwegian driving license. Provisional licenses are not acceptable. People who drive in the United States must have a valid driver’s license. Some states require an International Driving Permit (IDP) from foreign nationals, in addition to a valid license from your own country. Contact the motor vehicle department of each state you will drive in for its requirements. IDPs are only valid in conjunction with a full national driving license. They should not be accepted on their own. It is recommended that drivers who possess a full national license that is in script other than Roman, i.e. Cyrillic or Arabic, should also obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Most car rental companies require that you have held a full license for at least one year, regardless of age. The minimum age for renting a car is normally 21 although it can be as high as 25. Often an additional charge is levied on drivers who are under 25 years of age.

Young drivers may wish to obtain an International Driving Permit to use as a photo ID, in place of a passport, for entry into bars and nightclubs where the minimum age for entry is 21 years.

We suggest that you check the requirements of your prospective automobile rental company by contacting them direct.

More information on disabled parking permits as well as contact information for many states is available on our disabled parking permits for visitors page.

The National Park Service Website provides general information about visiting National Parks in the U.S. together with an alphabetical list of parks with detailed, park-specific information.

The minimum age for buying and consuming alcohol in the U.S.A. is 21 years, as it is for gambling or entering casinos. Photo ID may also be required for entry to bars and nightclubs (see International Driving Permits above).

The Weather Channel, a 24 hour cable channel, and the national newspaper USA Today are among a number of websites providing current weather reports and 5 day forecasts for U.S. cities.

The American Embassy in Oslo cannot provide tickets to tour the White House. Please be aware that it is difficult for non-U.S. citizens  to visit the White House as tourists. Further information is available from The White House web site, or from the 24-hour Visitors Office Info Line at [1] (202) 456-7041.

The United States does not charge a federal value-added tax (VAT), like for instance Norway or many other European countries. Instead, a sales tax is often charged on the state level, and as such, the federal government (i.e. the embassy) does not refund sales tax to foreign visitors. For more information, please see here.

As this website notes, “you will want to contact the State taxation authority in the state where you will be making the purchase.  They will be able to inform you of their criteria for refunding any sales tax paid.” Note that travelers are not guaranteed to be able to claim a refund on the sales tax. For visitors to New York, the NY State Department of Taxation and Finance would be the appropriate office.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates the import of pets to the United States.

For information on how to bring a pet into Norway, you should consult Mattilsynet, the Norwegian agency responsible for regulating such import rules.

You can find information about how to permanently export a firearm from the United States on the webpages of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Authority.

Here is further information from Tollvesenet about obtaining an import permit.

General information queries should be directed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Authority has information on their web page about bringing firearms to the United States for hunting purposes.

Please note that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulates the use of firearms in the United States.

Find more FAQs here.