Norway, or to give it its official name, the Kingdom of Norway, is one of the Nordic countries and is situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. Bordered by Sweden, Russia and Finland, Norway has a long and rugged coastline pitted by many fjords and inlets. Because of its northern location and the influence of the North Atlantic Ocean and Barents Sea, Norway has a maritime climate with high rainfall, mild summers and cold winters, particularly in the northernmost part of the country.
Established in 872 with the union of numerous minor kingdoms, Norway remained neutral in both World Wars but was, nonetheless, invaded by the German army in 1940 who remained in control of the country until the end of World War II.
One of the wealthiest countries per capita in Europe, with a universal health care and an impressive social welfare system for its citizens, Norway is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) but has never been a member of the European Union. Although Norway is not in the EU, it is a Schengen member state having signed up to the Schengen Agreement in 2001 along with near neighbours Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Appropriate Visa Type
Under the rules of the Schengen Agreement, citizens of countries that are not Schengen members require a Schengen Visa to enter any of the member states. However, an agreement with the European Union means that citizens of any EU country are visa-exempt to enter the Schengen Zone. This visa-free arrangement with the EU also applies to approximately sixty other listed countries across the globe and the list currently includes the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Citizens of countries that do not qualify for visa-exempt entry are deemed to be “world travellers” and must possess the appropriate type of Schengen Visa before arriving in a Schengen country. Which type is required will depend upon the primary purpose of the visit.
Famous for its rugged coastline, fjords and skiing, Norway attracts many visitors annually. While the bulk of visitors may travel to Norway for a short break or holiday this is not the only reason for visiting the country and the Tourist Visa is far from being the only type of visa available.
Purpose of Visit to Norway
Choosing the visa that best describes the purpose of the visit is the first (but crucial) step in applying for a Norwegian Schengen Visa as arriving with the wrong visa type can result in needless confusion and delay. Each type of visa will require its own accompanying documentation.
The most commonly applied for Schengen Visa types are:
If the sole purpose for entering Norway is to make a connecting flight, an Airport Transit Visa is required. This may not be a requirement for all world travellers as some exemptions do apply.
- Valid visa for final destination country (where necessary)
- Airline tickets for onward flight
This form of visa is similar to the Airport Transit Visa but applies to seaports and usually only affects seamen and crews of ships.
- Valid visa (if applicable) for final destination country
- Booking or ticket for onward journey
- Copy of Seaman’s Book (seafarers only)
- Copy of employment contract (seafarers only)
Visiting Norway for a short break or holiday requires a standard Tourist Visa.
- Covering letter outlining main purpose of the visit
- Itinerary of planned outings while in Norway
- Proof of adequate finances (Previous six month bank statements)
- Proof of adequate Schengen Area health insurance coverage
World travellers arriving in Norway to spend time with family members of friends residing in the country should possess a Visitor Visa rather than a Tourist Visa.
- Letter of invitation from family member or friend
- Daily travel itinerary while in Norway
- Copy of the host’s passport
- Host’s Residency card (where applicable)
- Proof of any relationship with host
If the sole or main purpose of visiting Norway is to carry out business, a Business Visa is the best choice as these are easier and faster to acquire than other forms of visa.
- Letter of invitation from the Norwegian business concerned
- Details of company including address, main contact and purpose of the visit
- Letter from visitor’s employer outlining the reason for the visit
- Proof of sufficient funding for the duration of the visit including accommodation and expenses
Students enrolled in an educational course, or trainees undergoing an internship, require a Study Visa which will only cover courses of up to 90 days duration. Longer courses will require a long-term Student Visa.
- Students require a letter of No Objection from the educational authority confirming their intention to leave Norway at the end of the course
- Interns should possess an internship agreement signed by the relevant Norwegian company
World travellers arriving in Norway to undergo a medical procedure or receive treatment require a Medical Visa for this purpose.
- Medical report from the applicant’s doctor or hospital confirming the need for medical treatment in a Norwegian hospital or clinic.
- Letter of confirmation from relevant Norwegian medical authority detailing dates of appointment and the treatment being undertaken
- Proof of payment made, or payment plan, for treatment
Restricted to members of official delegations, an Official Visit Visa covers delegates visiting Norway.
- Copy of official letter of invitation
- Detailed schedule of planned meetings (where, when, who etc.)
These are not the only types of Schengen Visa available for Norway though some are rarely used. There are also specific visas for world travellers wishing to attend or partake in religious, sporting or cultural activities.
Standard Schengen Visa
The standard Schengen Visa (regardless of which country it applies to) follows the 90/180 rule. This states that the visa holder may only spend a maximum of 90 days within the Schengen Area out of a block of 90 days. The 90 days may be continuous or broken up into a number of smaller visits once the ninety day limit is not exceeded.
A Schengen Visa issued for one country also entitles the holder to travel within the entire Schengen Area. This means, for example, that a world traveller holding a Norwegian Schengen Visa is permitted to cross the borders into Sweden for a short period of time.
The rule is that world travellers should apply for a visa to the country in which most time will be spent. If more time will be spent in Sweden than in Norway then a world traveller will require a Swedish Schengen Visa and not one issued by Norwegian authorities.