Norway Set to Bar People from the UK
11th December 2020
Last modified on December 13th, 2020
On January 1st the border will be closed as Covid-19 restrictions coincide with Brexit changes. Skiing will be off limits for people from the UK. There are growing concerns that UK citizens might be barred from all EU countries in three weeks. UPDATED
It comes as the UK transition period for leaving the EU ends and the Norwegian authorities deem the levels of coronavirus in the UK too high.
UK skiers and snowboarders are currently allowed to travel to Norway as it comes under the same rules as EU countries.
Norway, though not an EU member state, has signed up to those rules.
There is currently a 10-day quarantine requirement on entering Norway.
Returning from Norway requires no self-isolation in the UK as there are relatively small numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The details can be found on the web site of The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
It poses this question:
“I am a British citizen or a citizen of another country and a resident of the UK. Can I still travel to Norway after 1st January 2021 if the corona restrictions apply?”
And it gives this answer:
“No, you cannot, unless you belong to one of the exceptions who can enter or are a British citizen residing in Norway and have legal residence before 31st December 2020.
The United Kingdom left the EU on 31st January 2020.
According to the immigration regulations, when the transition period expires on 31st December 2020, British citizens will no longer be considered EU/EEA citizens.
This means that British citizens and other citizens residing in the United Kingdom cannot enter Norway after 1 January 2021 unless you belong to one of the exceptions for citizens living outside the EU/EEA.”
Fans of skiing in Norway will be bitterly disappointed.
Here at PlanetSKI we were hoping to ski on it slopes this winter, but that now looks highly unlikely.
It is though a decision based on Covid-19 cases and with a vaccine now being administered Norway should be welcoming British skiers back next winter.
We’ll be first in the queue.
There are serious questions now about whether similar restrictions will be put on people heading to the ski nations in the EU this winter.
We reported on the situation earlier this week.
With both sides in the Brexit negotiations now saying a ‘No Deal’ looks the most likely outcome there is a fear that the ski slopes of France, Austria, Italy, Germany and other EU nations in the Alps will simply be off limits.
The slopes of Andorra, Spain and France in the Pyrenees would also be out-of-bounds.
The situation with regard to entry into Norway could be replicated across the EU making skiing and snowboarding near impossible, except in Switzerland which is not in the EU.
At present the EU’s external borders are closed to non-essential travel from all countries apart from those on its short list of safe countries.
The UK is not on that list and is unlikely to make it due to its high number of coronavirus cases.
The European Commission currently says that travel is allowed for any reason between EU and Schengen zone countries.
So, will the European Commission make an exception for the UK?
“At the end of the transition period, the Council will have to consider the addition of the United Kingdom to the list of third countries exempted from travel restrictions,” said a statement from the Commission.
“This is a decision for the Council to make.”
At present no date has been given for this decision or indeed whether or not the Council even plan to make one.
It is thought this depends on the ongoing Brexit talks between the UK and the EU.
EU states can override the Council’s decision and decide to allow in British holidaymakers after January, so the hopes for skiers and snowboarders might rest with bi-lateral agreements.
But they need to be made quickly.
With time running out and Christmas holiday disruptions the situation is looking distinctly bleak.
As things stand UK citizens will be unable to enter EU countries from January 1st 2021.
Anyone who is a permanent resident in an EU country will be allowed to return home from the UK after January 1st.