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Norway loosens entry for most visitors from Finland

Queues of several kilometres built up on the Finnish-Norwegian border on Monday following the easing of travel restrictions.

En fjord med turkos vatten och ett stort berg. Några små hus i gult syns på bilden.
Lovely Lofoten: The islands are a popular destination, but be careful of quarantine rules. Image: Jan Wlodarczyk / AOP

Norway was a popular destination for people driving across the border from Finland last summer. As the pandemic drags on into a second year and air travel remains off limits to many, Norway remains a popular choice.

However, new quarantine rules introduced by Norwegian authorities mean that not everyone in Finland will be able to go there without self-isolating when they arrive.

Norway's public health body categorises overseas regions based on their current coronavirus infection rates. Travellers from green regions can enter the country without mandatory quarantine being imposed. Unvaccinated travellers from orange and red regions cannot.

The latest version of the map, published on 5 July, shows Kainuu in orange and the rest of Finland in green. It's updated every week, so the map could change rapidly throughout the summer.

For now, though, Kainuu residents must quarantine for 10 days on arrival unless they are fully vaccinated. The map will next be updated on Monday, 12 July.

Queues of several kilometres built up on the Finnish-Norwegian border on Monday following the easing of travel restrictions.

The Norwegian news agency NTB reported long lines of traffic on both sides of the border. Norwegian police said motorists should be prepared to wait several hours at the border.

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What are the rules?

If you're travelling from a green area, you can go to Norway without needing to quarantine or show a vaccination certificate.

From a red or orange area, you can enter Norway without having to quarantine if you have received both vaccine shots and can prove it with an EU Covid-19 vaccination certificate.

You can get the certificate from the online My Kanta service. If you don't have a certificate, you will have to spend 10 days in quarantine on arrival in Norway.

If you've only had one jab - as is still the case for most adults in Finland - and you're coming from a red area you can end your quarantine after three days by testing negative for coronavirus. This is only an option if 3-15 weeks have passed since receiving your vaccine dose.

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Koronavirusrokotepakkauksia.
Fully vaccinated visitors can enter Norway without having to quarantine or register in advance. Image: Patrick T. Fallon / AFP
If you've caught and recovered from coronavirus in the last six months, you can also travel to Norway from a red area without quarantining.

However, Norway requires these travellers to show a certificate stating that they've had the virus. This information won't be available from My Kanta until the EU Covid-19 recovery certificate is rolled out on 14 July.

If you are travelling to Norway, you must also register in advance. This requirement does not apply to those who have been fully vaccinated.

In addition, travellers must be able to prove where they live in Finland. This can be done by showing a certificate of residence, which can be ordered online from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

Football infections might block travel

The spike of Covid infections linked to football fans returning from Russia could stop some Finnish regions from moving on to Norway's green list in the coming weeks.

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Suomalaiskannattajia katsomossa EM-kisojen ottelussa Venäjää vastaan 16.6.2021.
Football fans returning from Russia have been linked to the growing spread of the Delta variant in Finland. Image: Tomi Hänninen

Norway defines red areas as areas with an infection rate above 25 per 100,000. As of Monday, Norway is planning to harmonise its map with the rest of Europe, so the new limit for red areas will be 50 infections per 100,000.

This may mean some Finnish regions will become green areas. However, the recent spike in cases related to Euro 2020 football travel could prevent worst-hit regions like Uusimaa from qualifying for quarantine-free travel.

Can you drive through Sweden?

One of Norway's most popular destinations is the Lofoten islands, located on the country's west coast. Anyone planning to drive there from Finland needs to understand Norway's rules on transiting a red area, however.

To avoid having to quarantine after passing through Sweden - a red area - visitors from Finland's green areas must cross the country in their own car without spending the night there and without coming into contact with anyone.

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Rajavartiolaitos suorittaa rajatarkastuksia Torniossa Ruotsin rajalla
Border guards check vehicles at the Finland-Sweden border in Tornio. Image: Juuso Stoor / Yle

How can you prove you didn't spend any longer in Sweden than necessary? Travel site Kerran elämässä (link in Finnish) suggests filling up on fuel before you cross into Sweden and keeping the receipt to show the time and date you left Finland.

5.7: Updated with latest map information.

5.7: Updated with border delays.

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