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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Norway

Norway - Consular Information Sheet
October 30, 2000

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Norway is a highly developed stable democracy with a modern economy. The cost of living in Norway is high, and tourist facilities are well developed and widely available. Tourism to Norway is increasing, and outdoor activities (especially hiking, cycling, skiing, skating, boating, and fishing) are popular. English is a popular second language in Norway. Additional information about Norway is available at http://www.usa.no.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens may enter Norway for tourist or general business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days. However, in accord with provisions of the Scandinavian Passport Union, the 90-day period begins with an entry into, and includes any time spent in, the following countries: Iceland, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faeroe Islands), Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Tourists who have stayed in Norway for more than 90 days without a visa are usually not permitted to re-enter the country until six months have passed. Tourists who enter without a visa cannot usually change status in Norway in order to reside or work. Travelers planning a long-term stay, marriage or employment in Norway should seek the appropriate visa before departing the United States.

For information concerning entry requirements, travelers can contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008-2714, tel. 1-202- 333-6000, or the nearest Norwegian consulate; and on the Internet at http://www.norway.org. Norwegian consulates are located in Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco.

CRIME INFORMATION: Norway has a relatively low crime rate. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property. Residential burglaries, auto theft, and vandalism to parked cars can also occur on occasion. Most high-end value vehicles, especially in Oslo, have visible alarm system indicators to discourage joy-riders or thieves. Persons who appear affluent or disoriented may become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Thieves frequently target tourists in hotels, particularly lobby/reception and restaurant areas, as the would-be victim is registering or enjoying a meal, typically buffets. The thieves tend to work in pairs, and use distraction as a method to steal purses or briefcases. While passports are frequently stolen in the course of these thefts, money, credit cards and jewelry are the actual objects of interest. In many cases, passports stolen in such a manner are subsequently found in the vicinity of the theft. Violent crime, though it can exist, remains the exception; weapons are almost never used by thieves or burglars.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are widely available and of high quality, but may be limited outside the larger urban areas. The remote and sparse populations in northern Norway, and the dependency on ferries to cross fjords of western Norway, may affect transportation and ready access to medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of emergency clinics in major cities.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Norway is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of roadside assistance: Good

Public transportation in Norway is generally safe, the maintenance and condition of urban and rural roads are generally good to excellent, and the availability of roadside assistance is also generally good. However, the roadway system beyond Oslo's limits and other major cities tends to be simple two-lane roads. In mountainous areas of Norway, the roads also tend to be narrow and winding, and there are many tunnels. The northerly latitude can also cause road conditions to vary greatly depending on weather and time of year. Many mountain roads are closed due to snow from late fall to late spring.

Automatic cameras placed by the police along roadways help to maintain speed limits, which are often lower than in other European countries. Frequent road checks with mandatory breathalyzer tests and the promise of stiff jail sentences encourage alcohol-free driving.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Norwegian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Norwegian Tourist Board office located at P.O. Box 4649, Grand Central Station, New York, New York 10163-4649 (tel. 212-885-9700; fax - 212/885-9710) or visit their web site on the Internet at http://www.norway.org/travel.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Norway's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Norway's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Norway's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Norway such as firearms, antiques, etc. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Norway in Washington or one of Norway's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Norway's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and trade fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

Travelers with pets should note that Norway is a rabies-free country and seek advance information about the strict quarantine requirements for all incoming pets.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Norway's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Norway are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Substances that are legal in some European countries, such as khat, are prohibited in Norway. The possession of small amounts of drugs (e.g. marijuana, hashish) even for personal use - which may not result in arrest in neighboring countries - can result in arrest in Norway. If drugs or controlled substances are discovered upon one's arrival in Norway, the result can be a charge of importation rather than simple possession. Penalties usually include detention, a hefty fine and deportation, usually back to the United States.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or visiting Norway are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Norway. The U.S. Embassy is located in Oslo near the Royal Palace at Drammensveien 18; tel. (47) 22-44-85-50, consular fax (47) 22-56-27-51. Information about consular services can be found in the Consular Section of the Embassy's home page at http://www.usa.no.

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