Gaining access to Norway's towns, mountains and fjords isn't too tricky for most travelers © Peter Sundt / 500px
Gaining access to Norway's towns, mountains and fjords isn't too tricky for most travelers © Peter Sundt / 500px

Do you need a visa to travel to Norway?

TripFalcon October 07, 2021

Last Update: 2021-10-07 00:18:26

Like most countries in the Schengen area, Norway is easy to travel to if you’re from a country within the EU or EEA. If you live elsewhere, your dream trip to the land of the fjords, Vikings and northern lights could take a little more planning and may require a tourist visa.  

Here’s our guide to tourist visa requirements for Norway, including information about Schengen visas, how much it costs and how to apply.

Understanding the Schengen area

Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a member of the EEA and it’s one of the 26 countries that form the Schengen area. When you’re granted a visa to any of the countries in the Schengen zone, your visa is also valid for travel to any of the other Schengen countries. This is why you’ll often hear the term “Schengen visa.”

The countries in the Schengen area are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

You’ll need to go through passport control when you’re entering and leaving the Schengen area. You don’t usually have to show your passport when you’re crossing the border between Schengen countries.

Visa-free travel

EU/EEA citizens

If you’re a citizen or recognized resident of an EU or EEA country (and Switzerland), you don’t need a tourist visa to travel to Norway and you can stay for up to three months. There’s no minimum period of time you have to wait before you can return, but you must have proof that you’ve left the country. You’ll need a valid travel document to visit, such as a European Union ID card or passport.

Citizens of other countries

Norway also has agreements with several countries outside of the EU/EEA, allowing their citizens to travel to Norway without a visa. These countries include the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Japan.

Even if you don’t require a visa to travel to Norway, you need to be aware of some conditions for visiting. These include that:

  • you can stay in any of the countries in the Schengen area (including Norway) for a combined total of 90 days in any 180-day period
  • your passport must be valid for at least three months after you leave Norway
  • you must have means of traveling back to your country of residence
  • you should not be planning to work
  • you should have at least NOK 500 (approximately US$58) for each day you’re staying in Norway.

This isn’t an exhaustive list – be sure to check the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website for full details before you travel.

Visitors admire the view from a mountaintop near the village of Leon, Norway © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Travelers who need a visa 

If you want to travel to Norway as a tourist and you’re not on the visa-free list, you’ll need to apply for a visitor’s visa. Citizens of countries including China, India and South Africa require a visa to travel to Norway.

Applying for a visa

To apply for a visitor’s visa you’ll normally need to register your application online and then visit a Norwegian embassy, consulate, or Visa Application Center in person with all the required documents. 

A visitor’s visa is valid for travel throughout the Schengen area – including Norway – for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You should submit your visa application at least four weeks in advance but you can apply up to six months before your trip.

If you’re traveling to several Schengen countries on the same trip, you should apply for a visa for your main destination. This is normally the country you’re staying in the longest or the one you’ll be arriving at.

When you apply, you’ll need to state how many entries you require on your visa. This is especially important if you’re going on a multicountry trip that involves traveling outside of the Schengen area (for example to the UK or Russia), and then returning.

At the time of writing, the standard fee for a visitor’s visa is €80 (approximately US$93) per adult.

Extending your visa

Schengen visas (and therefore visas for Norway) cannot be extended. Once you’ve reached 90 days, you must leave the Schengen area or apply for a residence permit. 

If you’ve left the Schengen zone and want to re-enter but you’ve used up the number of entries on your original visa, you’ll need to apply for a new Schengen visa.

Working holiday visa in Norway

Norway doesn’t have a specific working holiday visa scheme, but seasonal workers in some industries, for example in agriculture, can be granted special permits. 

That said, Visit Norway does promote traveling to the country for a “workation.” This means that you could work as a digital nomad, doing your regular job remotely from the fjords or deep within the Arctic Circle. Be sure to check the conditions of your own visa before traveling for this purpose.

Traveling to Svalbard

Although Svalbard is a Norwegian territory, it has different rules for travel than the rest of the country. In particular, Svalbard is not in the Schengen area, but you’ll have to travel through the zone to reach it. If you plan to go to Svalbard, make sure that you have enough entries on your visa to cover your visit.

Source: lonelyplanet