Q&A: Quarantine rules, travel restrictions and immigration

Deloitte Advokatfirma

Business is global, and closed borders and quarantine regulations have a direct impact on businesses in all industries. It can be difficult to find accurate and up-to-date information on quarantine rules, travel restrictions and immigration as a result of COVID-19. We have here gathered the most common questions and answers about the corona situation in Norway. Please note that the Norwegian Government stated on 18th Mary 2020 that travel restrictions implemented due to COVID-19 may apply until 1st January 2021.

Published 23.04. Last updated 05.08.2020.

As for updates on international travel, please see our Global Digital Map:

For non-EU/EEA nationals with work permit/resident permit in Norway:

Can employees continue to work in Norway even though the application for renewal cannot be filed physically at the service center/police?

Yes, employees can continue to stay in Norway on the same conditions if an application for renewal or permanent residency is registered online and the fee is paid no later than seven calendar days before the permit expires. Please note that after the online application form is registered, then the employee can request the police to upload application documents online, instead of waiting for the police to re-open and book an appointment for handing on application documents over the desk.

What must be done if the residence permit is about to expire, but the employee is not able to leave Norway?

It will not have any consequences for the employee if unable to leave Norway before the residence permit expires due to corona restrictions. UDI or the police do not need to be notified. Please note that the employee does not have the right to work after the permit has expired.

Can employees work in a reduced position and keep their work permits?

If employee have an employer in Norway, they normally need to have an 80% position. If employees have been laid-off, other rules may apply. The immigration authorities have not yet concluded if being laid-off will have any consequences for your current work permit, renewals, or application for permanent residence. However, employees do not need to report to the UDI or the police if they are laid off.

What happens if the employment is terminated?

If an employee has a residence permit as a skilled worker with an employer in Norway and the employment contract is terminated, normally the employee must report this to the police within seven days. Since the police are closed, employees will have to contact the police when they open. Employees can stay in Norway to apply for a new job for up to six months. His/her residence permit must still be valid throughout this period.

If the employee gets a new job with a new employer, the employee must apply for a new residence permit if they change their position.

Can an employee receive daily unemployment benefits if he/she has been laid-off?

This depends on the employee’s social security membership. Our specialist within social security and pension can evaluate your rights and discuss solutions.

Can employees renew their seasonal worker permit?

Yes, they can renew their permit if the employee is going to do seasonal work in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, fishing, or the fishing industry. Employees can work for the same employer as before, but they can also work for a new employer. Employees can renew their permit with a duration of surpassing 6 months.

Will it have any consequences for the employee’s family’s immigration application if they have been laid off?

It might. With regard to the requirement for future income, the unemployment benefit is not counted as income. Therefore, if the employee receives unemployment benefit when the application is processed, and the employee does not have other income that exceeds NOK 264 264 per year pre-tax, the application may be rejected.

For citizens outside the EU/EEA who are abroad

How can your employee apply for a work/residence permit in Norway?

As of 23 March 2020, the requirement for personal attendance when submitting applications for residence permits and permanent residence to the police is temporarily removed. This means that applications (all except an application for citizenship) can be submitted online.

This applies only to those who are already in Norway and are legally allowed to apply here, or those allowed to be represented by a legal representative in Norway. The applications will then be processed. Please note that foreigners who have been granted a permit may not be allowed to travel to Norway yet due to entry restrictions and this will, among other factors, depend on the permit type. Please be aware that this also applies to employees who do not need a visa to travel to Norway.

Can an employee travel to Norway as a visa-free citizen if they have submitted and been granted an application for work/residence permit in Norway?

As of July 1, foreign nationals who hold a work permit may travel to Norway provided they are visa-exempt or have an entry visa.

Entry visas can be issued through a Norwegian Consulate or VFS center. Those who need a visa to enter should expect delays since many consulates/visa centers remain closed or have a backlog of requests.

Immigration authorities will send work permit holders a letter confirming that they are permitted to enter Norway. Foreign nationals must carry this letter with them when traveling to Norway.

Travel restrictions lifted for business travelers from Nordic countries

Norway has lifted some immigration and travel restrictions that were put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Business travel is now permitted for nationals or residents of Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Sweden who are traveling from one of these six countries/regions.
  • Business travelers coming from Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands or Greenland are exempted from quarantine. Business travelers from Sweden are also exempted from quarantine requirements but must avoid close contact with other people as much as possible when working and traveling.
  • Nationals or residents of Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands or Greenland can, from June 15, travel to Norway on vacation and are exempted from quarantine. This means that quarantine-on-arrival and entry restrictions will no longer apply to travelers who are residents of one of these countries/regions.
  • EU/EEA nationals who have a contract to begin working in Norway can now travel to the country. They can be joined by family members (spouse or partner and minor children), provided the family members are also EU nationals. Travel remains restricted for family members who are not EU/EEA nationals. Such family members will be permitted to travel to Norway if they can do so without a visa (i.e., if they hold a residence permit in an EU/EEA country or are nationals of a country for which Norway does not have a visa requirement).
  • Travelers arriving in Norway will be quarantined, but the time of the quarantine was recently reduced from 14 days to 10. As noted above, business travelers from the Nordic countries and holiday travelers from the Nordic countries, except Sweden, are exempt from the quarantine requirement

For EU/EEA citizens in Norway

Will it have any consequences for the employee if they have been laid-off?

If your employee has been employed for more than a year, he/she will keep their status as an employee if he/she can document that they are laid-off and have registered as a job seeker with NAV. If the employee has been employed for less than a year, they can keep his/her status as employed for six months, but he/she needs to prove that he/she has been laid-off and registered as a job seeker with NAV. The employee does not have to present a copy of his/her registration certificate.

Will it have any consequences if the employee’s stay in Norway exceeds 90 days while waiting to register with the police?

No, this will not have any consequences, but the employee should register as soon as the police re-opens and it is possible to get appointments to register as an EU/EEA-citizen.

For EU/EEA citizens abroad

Can an employee travel to Norway if he/she already lives and work here?

Yes. EU/EEA citizens and their immediate family already living/working in Norway can travel to Norway. Please be aware that the border control may ask the EU/EEA-citizen and their family to document that the EU/EEA-citizen lives or works in Norway, e.g. by a registration certificate, work contract, rental contract. Also, the border control may also request that the family relationship is documented by e.g. a Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate.

Can an employee travel to Norway if he/she already has a work contract in place, but has not previously lived in Norway?

Yes, an EU/EEA-citizen who will start working in Norway can travel to Norway. Please make sure that the employee brings a copy of the work contract when traveling to Norway.

Can family members of an EU/EEA citizen travel to Norway?

Yes, immediate family members of an EU/EEA-citizen who already live in Norway or will settle here, can travel to Norway. It is important to bring documentation which proves the relationship between the family member and the EU/EEA-citizen, e.g. Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate.     

C-visa/visitor visa in Norway

If a person is in Norway on a tourist visa and is subject to quarantine, can one stay during the rest of the visa period when one is no longer are quarantined, or must one leave as soon as possible?

If the person has completed the 10 days quarantine and does not show any signs of illness, the person can continue to be in Norway for the period the visa is valid.

What should a person do if their visa has expired, but they are not able to go home?

If a person is in Norway on a visitor’s visa, a visa-free permit, or on a residency permit, and is not able to travel out of Norway before the expiry date, it will not lead to any negative consequences.

They do not have to notify UDI or the police that they are not able to travel out of Norway before the visa expires. At the same time, it is still important that they try to get an exit out of Norway as soon as possible.

What should you do if you are in Norway on a visa-free visit or a visitor’s visa and want to apply for a residence permit, but cannot hand in the application to the police?

If you are legally staying in Norway (visa-free or on a visitor’s visa) and you are entitled to apply for a residence permit in Norway, you can apply through the UDI online registration portal. If you are unsure of whether you are entitled to apply for a residence permit from Norway, our immigration specialists can evaluate their rights.

C-visa/visitor visa abroad

Can an employee apply for a visa to Norway?

The embassies, consulates and the UDI (Norwegian Directorate of immigration) are currently not issuing any visas to Norway.

Is it possible to withdraw the application and get the fee back if a person has registered an application for a visa or residence permit and paid fee, but have not turned up and delivered the documents yet?

Yes. If they were to apply from abroad, they must contact the embassy to which the application should be sent. If they were to submit the application from Norway, they must contact the police office where they were to submit the application.

Travel and entry quarantine

Must an employee who is arriving from an EU-member state be quarantined?

The employee is subject to quarantine when arriving from an EU-member state that is categorized as unsafe on the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s website.

Must an employee who is arriving from for example the USA be quarantined?

Yes, in general, must anyone who is arriving Norway from abroad be quarantined, however, some specific groups of persons are exempted from quarantine, eg. business travelers arriving from Nordic countries and all travelers arriving from EU-member states that are categorized as safe as mentioned above.

GoWork – COVID-19 Digital Map

The GoWork – COVID-19 Digital Map provides information in real time, so companies can access the most up-to-date information. 

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