Norway – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: July 7th, 2020

Work permit holders now permitted to enter

What is the change?

As of July 1, those with a work permit may travel to Norway, provided they meet certain requirements.

Key Points:

  • Work permit holders must be visa exempt or have an issued entry visa.
  • Entry visas can be issued through a Norwegian Consulate or VFS center.
  • The immigration authorities will send work permit holders a letter, which they must bring when traveling to Norway.

Those who need a visa to enter should expect delays since many consulates/visa centers remain closed or have a backlog of requests

Update: March 24th, 2020

Foreign travel restrictions tightened and online applications

What is the change?

The Norwegian government recently announced the tightening of foreign travel restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Key points

  • Effective from March 16, Norwegian airports and ports are closed to foreigners that do not have a resident permit for Norway
  • The borders are also closed to foreigners without Norwegian residence permits
  • Foreigners who have been granted a residence permit and who are from a country that has a visa free agreement with Norway can travel to Norway. The same applies for foreigners (from outside of EU/EEA) who have been granted a residence permit and have received an entry visa from the embassy. All persons who have been abroad, will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Norway
  • Normally, inbound travelers will not be subject to quarantine, as long as they have completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine which applies to all foreign travelers. However, several counties in the North of Norway have implemented local quarantine regulations. The Minister of the Department of Justice has stated that such regulations must be repealed and the government has stated that they will assess the legality of this practice
  • For the internal Schengen area border, entry and exit checks will be implemented
  • Domestic flights remain in operation
  • The Directorate of Health has advised against all foreign travel.

The new travel restrictions will impact the movement of foreigners to Norway. Employers should account for affected travelers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly. Significant delays may occur for consular and in-country processing.

The immigration authorities have implemented a regulation that temporarily will make it possible to submit applications for work and residence permits online. This will be possible until the service center for foreigners (SUA) and police administrative services have re-opened. The regulation came in to effect on 23 March 2020. This applies to applicants who are in Norway, or that have a power of attorney in Norway who will apply for a residence permit in their behalf. Foreigners who have been granted a residence permit will however be subject to the foreign travels restrictions as described below.

Update: March 20th, 2020

Foreign travel restrictions tightened and online applications

What is the change?

The Norwegian government recently announced the tightening of foreign travel restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Key points:

  • Effective from March 16, Norwegian airports and ports are closed to foreigners that do not have a resident permit for Norway. 
  • The borders are also closed to foreigners without Norwegian residence permits.
  • Foreigners who have been granted a residence permit and who are from a country that has a visa free agreement with Norway can travel to Norway. The same applies for foreigners (from outside of EU/EEA) who have been granted a residence permit and have received an entry visa from the embassy. All persons who have been abroad, will be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Norway.
  • Normally, inbound travelers will not be subject to quarantine, as long as they have completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine which applies to all foreign travelers. However, several counties in the North of Norway have implemented local quarantine regulations. The Minister of the Department of Justice has stated that such regulations must be repealed and the government has stated that they will assess the legality of this practice.
  • For the internal Schengen area border, entry and exit checks will be implemented.
  • Domestic flights remain in operation.
  • The Directorate of Health has advised against all foreign travel.

The new travel restrictions will impact the movement of foreigners to Norway. Employers should account for affected travelers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly. Significant delays may occur for consular and in-country processing.

The immigration authorities have implemented a regulation that temporarily will make it possible to submit applications for work and residence permits online. This will be possible until the service center for foreigners (SUA) and police administrative services have re-opened. The regulation came in to effect on 23 March 2020. This applies to applicants who are in Norway, or that have a power of attorney in Norway who will apply for a residence permit in their behalf. Foreigners who have been granted a residence permit will however be subject to the foreign travels restrictions as described below.

Update: March 17th, 2020

Immigration and administrative services closures announced

What is the change?

The Norwegian government has closed all immigration service centers and police administrative services to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

From March 13 onwards, immigration service centers in Bergen, Kirkenes, Oslo, Stavanger, and Trondheim will be closed for an indefinite period. During this time, foreign workers will not be able to file work permit applications or meet for appointments for the purpose of effectuating their residence permits and order residence cards.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing from March 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work and residence permits used by foreigners in Norway.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign workers in Norway.
  • Business impact: Foreign workers who are in Norway can temporarily no longer use the closed immigration service and residence permit facilities, which may impact their ability to work in Norway. For employees that have already been granted a residence permit that gives the right to work, the employee can start working even though he or she has not met with the police to order the residence card/effectuate their permit. The conditions is that the employee has booked an appointment with the police to order a residence card (either via the application portal or otherwise).
  • Next steps: The new restrictions are in place until further notice. Employers with employees who in Norway may face delays in work permit and residence applications. Additional restrictions are possible in the coming months.

Residence permit applications and meetings for appointments will likely also experience disruptions or delays because administrative services in all Norwegian police districts have also been suspended. All Norwegian tax offices have also been closed, which means appointments made for ID-control will not be able to be held, for the time being.

Foreigners whose work visas are expiring must register an online application for renewal and pay the application fee. If this is done within 5 weeks before their permit expires, the foreigner can continue to work even though they have not had the possibility to file the application physically at the service center or the local police station (the application process in Norway is a 2-step process: an online registration and pay of fee, and then meet to file the application documents physically over desk). The foreigner must file the application physically as soon as possible when the offices have re-opened.

Foreigners whose work visa/travel visa are expiring and who are unsure if they will be able to leave Norway in time: They must keep track of whether their flight is going as planned or not. If the flight is canceled, they must try to book another flight. People who are not allowed to return to China or Iran can apply for visa extension or a residence permit due to canceled flights: Learn more

Foreigners whose work visa/travel visa are expiring and have been quarantined: They can stay in Norway until the quarantine is over and then they must leave as soon as possible.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, Norway closes airports and ports for foreigners without a residence permit in Norway and introduces extensive border control. Domestic flights will continue.

The government also closed the border for foreigners without a residence permit in Norway. They will be rejected at the border on the basis of the Anti-Infection Act. In addition, temporary entry and exit checks will be introduced on the internal Schengen border, according to the Ministry of Justice. The Directorate of Health advises against all travel.

All travelers who come to Norway from countries outside the Nordic countries will be quarantined for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

The new immigration and police administrative services closures represent Norway’s latest effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Employers of foreign workers in Norway can expect some permit delays at this time. The COVID-19 outbreak is an emerging situation that is changing rapidly and Deloitte will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly.

 

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