Updated on 24 September 2021 with the following amendments:
- New items 1 and 8 have been added to the checklist
- Items 2, 4, 6 and 7 in the checklist have been updated
- Chapter 3 has been updated
- Chapter 4.1 has been updated
- 4.2.1 has been removed. Previous 4.2.2 is new 4.2.1
- 4.2.2 has been amended
- Previous 4.2.3 has been removed
- Previous 4.2.4–4.2.7 are now 4.2.3–4.2.6
- New 4.2.3 has been amended
- New 4.2.4 has been amended
- 4.3 has been removed
- Previous 4.4 is now 4.3
- Chapter 7 has been updated

This document contains information about rules relating to crew changes in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the document is to provide an overview of the rules and guidelines that are relevant for seafarers.

Please note that the Norwegian health authorities are responsible for legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the legislation is regularly amended as the situation develops.

The links below will keep you up to date.

Please refer to the COVID-19 Regulations and other relevant legislation for a complete understanding of the rules.

The NMA considers these guidelines to be consistent with the IMO protocols for safe crew changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For inquiries, please send an e-mail to post@sdir.no or call +47 52 74 50 00.

0 Checklist, COVID-19

  1. All persons residing in the EEA/Schengen area or the United Kingdom, or individuals from a country referred to in Appendix C of the COVID-19 Regulations, may travel to Norway, cf. section 2 (a) of the Regulations relating to entry restrictions for foreign nationals out of concern for public health.

    Read Appendix C here (available in Norwegian only).

  2. Seafarers not referred to in item 1 who are enroute to or from active service and have an identity card for seafarers are exempt from the entry restrictions, cf. section 3 (j) of the Regulations relating to entry restrictions for foreign nationals out of concern for public health. 

  3. Persons arriving in Norway from an area that requires quarantine must complete a registration form prior to entry, cf. section 5b of the COVID-19 Regulations.
    The travellers must register 72 hours before entry at the earliest.
    Please register here: entrynorway.no. See chapter 2 for more information.

  4. Seafarers as referred to in item 2 must be prepared to present the following information at the border:
    - a receipt to confirm completed digital registration;
    - sea service book/identity card for seafarers;
    - documentation of employment.

  5. Testing at the border is mandatory. See chapter 3 for more information.

  6. Fully vaccinated persons who can present a COVID certificate from Norway, Sweden, Denmark or the UK or complying with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, and which has a QR code that can be verified by Norwegian authorities, are exempt from entry restrictions and entry quarantine.
    This also applies to persons who, by means of an approved COVID Certificate, can show that they have received a positive test result for COVID-19, from the time of leaving isolation until6 months after the test date.

  7. Persons arriving in Norway to take up work on a vessel at a Norwegian port may spend the quarantine period in a single cabin on board the vessel. Persons undergoing quarantine in a single cabin on board a ship can get out of quarantine with a negative test result from a rapid antigen test taken no earlier than 4 days upon arrival.

  8. Employees in transit in Norway on their way to a vessel which is scheduled to leave a Norwegian port within three days after the employees’ arrival in Norway and to remain outside the Norwegian territorial waters for at least 10 days are exempt from entry quarantine during working hours when they have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 within the first 24 hours upon their arrival in Norway.

1 Information from Norwegian health authorities for representatives of shipping companies and shipping agents

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has published information about their expectations of shipping agents and companies managing seafarers in transit in Norway, as well as seafarers that intend to work on vessels in Norwegian ports.

It is expected that shipping agents and companies are familiar with this information and share it with their seafarers prior to departure to Norway.

The information provided by the health authorities can be found here:

2 Registration required before entry into Norway

Persons arriving in Norway must complete a registration form prior to entry, cf. section 5b of the COVID-19 Regulations.

This also applies to Norwegian citizens, and seafarers are not exempt.

Fully vaccinated persons who can present a COVID certificate from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK or the EU which has a QR code that can be verified by Norwegian authorities are not required to register before entering Norway.

The registration form must be completed prior to entry into Norway, and the travel must be registered no more than 72 hours before arrival.

The form is to be completed electronically. The receipt of a completed online registration must be presented to the police at the border check.

More information on registration as well as an online registration form can be found here.

3 Requirement for testing on arrival in Norway (section 4d)

Persons who during the 10 days before arrival in Norway have been in an area that requires quarantine, as set out in Appendix A of the COVID-19 Regulations, shall be tested for COVID-19 at the border crossing point in Norway.

Exemption is granted to persons with an approved and valid COVID Certificate (see item 6 of the checklist).

Furthermore, exemption is granted to persons on coastal cruises who go ashore and to persons entitled to the exemption of section 6a (c) (see 4.2.6 below).

The test shall be a rapid antigen test.

PCR tests may only be used exceptionally.

Persons tested using rapid antigen tests must, as far as practicable based on the facilities, wait at the test station until the test result is ready.

For persons who get a positive result from a rapid antigen test and have been outside the EEA and Schengen area during the last 10 days, a PCR test at the border crossing point is required. For others who get a positive result from a rapid antigen test, a PCR test must be provided within 24 hours upon arrival.

At the border check, the authorities may give instructions to travellers to let them know which test station they are required to go to for testing immediately after entry into Norway.

The testing should, if possible, be done at the airport or other border station. If this is not possible, the traveller must contact the municipality or other test station to book a test.

Tests are currently free of charge.


Seafarers must be in good health when entering Norway.

Anyone who develops symptoms while travelling or at the border must immediately notify the tour guide, agent or border personnel, who will then contact a doctor/health personnel.

4 Quarantine requirements

4.1 On quarantine in general

The main rule of the COVID-19 Regulations is that anyone arriving in Norway from a region that requires quarantine must undergo entry quarantine for 10 days, cf. section 4.

This also applies for transit in areas that require quarantine.

If the person arrives via an area that does not require quarantine, the quarantine period is shortened by the amount of time the person had spent in the quarantine free area.

Staying on board a ship heading for Norway is not considered staying in an area not requiring quarantine. The quarantine period starts on the day of arrival in Norway.

The quarantine period may be shortened by a negative PCR test taken no earlier than 3 days after arrival, cf. section 4c first paragraph.  

Contact the municipality or a test centre to be tested.

Seafarers undergoing quarantine in a single cabin on board a ship may take a rapid antigen test on the 4th day after arrival instead of a PCR test no earlier than 3 days after arrival. See 4.2.2 for more information.

It is permitted to leave Norway during the quarantine period.

For more information about transport, see 4.5 below.

Persons in transit travelling directly from the airport or other place of arrival to the vessel are exempt from entry quarantine, provided that the vessel leaves the Norwegian port immediately.

During the stay in Norway, however, Norwegian quarantine and testing regulations must be complied with.

Persons who develop acute respiratory infection with a temperature, cough or heavy breathing during the quarantine period, must contact the health services and be tested.

Persons who are required to undergo quarantine upon arrival and do not have access to a suitable location may stay in a quarantine hotel.

4.2 Exemptions from the entry quarantine requirement

There are some exemptions from the entry quarantine requirement of the COVID-19 Regulations.

The most relevant exemption for seafarers is found in section 6h (see 4.2.2).

We refer to the COVID-19 Regulations for a full overview of the exemptions.

4.2.1 Fully vaccinated / positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, from the time of leaving isolation until 6 months after the test date

Entry quarantine does not apply to fully vaccinated persons who are able to present a Norwegian, Swedish or Danish COVID-19 certificate with a QR code which can be verified by Norwegian authorities, or who hold a certificate which comply with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, cf. the COVID-19 Regulations section 4 fourth paragraph.

Such persons must either be fully vaccinated in Norway or be able to document a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 by means of an approved laboratory method in Norway taken in the last six months.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not hold a COVID-19 certificate from Norway, Sweden, Denmark or the UK, or a certificate which comply with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, must undergo entry quarantine like those who have not been vaccinated.

4.2.2 Exemption for workers arriving in Norway to start work on vessel in a Norwegian harbour (section 6h)

Section 6h reads:

“Persons arriving to take up work on a vessel at a Norwegian port are required to spend the quarantine period on board in a single cabin. This requirement does not apply to workers in transit in Norway on their way to a vessel which is scheduled to leave a Norwegian port within three days after the worker’s arrival in Norway and which will not call at a Norwegian port within 10 days after departure.

Persons arriving to take up work on a vessel at a Norwegian port may take a rapid antigen test on the 4th day after arrival instead of a PCR test in accordance with section 4c. If the test result is negative, the entry quarantine requirement is no longer applicable.

Employees in transit in Norway on their way to a vessel which is scheduled to leave a Norwegian port within three days after the employees’ arrival in Norway and to remain outside the Norwegian territorial waters for at least 10 days are exempt from entry quarantine during working hours when they have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 within the first 24 hours upon their arrival in Norway.

The employer or client is responsible for arranging and carrying out the tests in Norway.

In the event of a positive test, the person must go into isolation (see section 7), and the employer or client must notify the municipality in which the person is staying, or last stayed if the ship has left the port.

This provision does not apply to persons arriving in Norway to take up work on coastal cruise ships, ships operating on passenger routes or laid-up vessels.”

4.2.3 Exemption from entry quarantine for crew on passenger ships on a regular service

Crew members on a passenger ship on a regular service to an area that requires quarantine who start their work in Norway and do not leave the ship are exempt from entry quarantine when they arrive in Norway and sign off, provided that:

a. they are tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in Norway and three days after arrival;

b. they avoid close contact with passengers.

Passenger ships on a regular service to Norway coming from an area that requires quarantine may not call at a Norwegian port with more passengers requiring testing pursuant to section 4d than what has been agreed with the municipality in charge of the test station in the port of call, cf. section 6m.

4.2.4 Special exemption from the entry and infection quarantine for personnel in critical public functions (section 6e)

Persons whose presence is essential to maintain the proper operation of critical public functions or to attend to fundamental needs of the population, including persons who perform commercial transport of goods and passengers are exempt from entry quarantine when they have tested negative using a rapid antigen test on the day the work is to be completed.

Crew members who are part of the vessel's minimum safe manning, and who are needed to operate the vessel, may be considered “strictly necessary” to ensure responsible operation of critical public functions.

The employer or client is required to plan for the operation of the company for the application of the exemption to be avoided to the greatest extent possible. The Norwegian Maritime Authority recommends that assessments related to the application of the exemption of section 6e are logged or documented internally in each individual case.

A list of companies with critical societal functions and key personnel is available on the Norwegian Government’s website (in Norwegian only).

4.2.5 Exemption from entry quarantine for travellers who had a short stay in countries or areas with high levels of infection, etc. (section 6a (c))

Persons who sign on vessels in Norway crossing the territorial borders of Norway and only stay on board until the vessel is back in Norway, are exempt from entry quarantine when they return to Norway, provided that no passenger or crew member has boarded the vessel or been ashore in a foreign port.

Ordinary cargo operations can be carried out in port, provided that close contact is avoided.

Crew members may sign off.

4.2.6 Exemption from entry quarantine for certain employees and clients (section 6b)

The exemption applies to persons who frequently arrive in Norway from areas in Sweden or Finland that require quarantine, in order to work in Norway.

The conditions of section 6b must be met.

See the attached link to the provision.

4.3 Transport to/from the vessel

Persons in transit must be transported from the border to the vessel/destination by the fastest route possible.

A private vehicle should be the first choice of transport.

Wearing a face mask during the entire voyage is compulsory when travelling on public transport.

Furthermore, a distance of at least 1 metre is recommended, where possible.

For public transport, it is recommended to book tickets ahead and make a seat reservation.

Please see the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's guidelines for travelling with public transport (available in Norwegian only).

If overnight accommodation is needed in order to board or leave the ship, this must be pre-booked by the employer or client. The accommodation must be in accordance with quarantine requirements and recommendations. 

Persons in infection quarantine may be permitted by the chief municipal medical officer to use public transport in exceptional cases.

A face mask must be worn during the entire journey. Link to sections 5 and 5a.

5 Requirement for risk assessment

The NMA has published guidelines for risk assessment and emergency preparedness in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These guidelines apply to Norwegian ships and are based on the requirements of Regulations of 1 January 2005 No. 8 on working environment, health and safety for the persons working on board ship.

The COVID-19 virus is a biological agent, and the company shall perform a special risk assessment based on all available information, including facts and recommendations from competent national and international authorities.

Such risk assessment will be updated to reflect any changed circumstances and form part of the ship’s safety management system.

The maritime industry has industry guidelines that provide additional information.

Please see, for instance, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers, published by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

6 Notification in case of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19

Ships arriving from abroad carrying suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board have a duty to notify Norwegian authorities in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Regulations relating to notification of and measures in the event of serious incidents affecting international public health.

The master of the vessel must notify the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s vessel traffic services in Vardø by telephone (+47 78 98 98 98), and an online notification form must be completed at SafeSeaNet Norway.

7 Coastal cruises

Passengers and crew on coastal cruises in Svalbard or along the Norwegian mainland coast are not permitted to go ashore in Svalbard or Norwegian mainland if:

a. the coastal cruise starts in a country requiring quarantine;

b. the vessel has taken on board persons who have stayed in a country requiring quarantine, including crew members and passengers who have gone ashore during the voyage; or

c. someone on board was subject to the duty to quarantine at the time of boarding.

This prohibition shall not apply to persons under the age of 18 or persons who have an approved and valid COVID Certificate (see item 6 of the checklist in chapter 0).

The company shall check the COVID Certificate of all disembarking persons and verify compliance with the certificate conditions.

The quarantine duty does not apply to crew members who are signing off ships offering coastal cruises in Svalbard or along the Norwegian mainland coast while travelling to carry out crew changes and during their work in connection with crew changes. Crews members who are signing on ships offering coastal cruises in Svalbard or along the Norwegian mainland coast must have completed the entry quarantine if they are covered by the exemptions from the quarantine requirement. If the crew is to undergo entry quarantine, this cannot be done on board the ship.

There are specific requirements for performing coastal cruises in Svalbard, see section 10a of the COVID-19 Regulations.

For more information, please read: Changes to infection control measures for travel operations in Svalbard and for cruises along the Norwegian coast

Contact details of the Norwegian Directorate of Health:

E-mail: postmottak@helsedir.no
Postal address: Norwegian Directorate of Health, P.O. Box 220, Skøyen, N-0213 Oslo
Website: https://www.helsedirektoratet.no/english

8 Useful links