Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
As of August 1, 2022, there are no entry restrictions to Norway due to the corona situation: https://www.udi.no/en/about-the-corona-situation/
Business customs are largely similar to those in the U.S. and practically all businesspeople speak excellent English. Under normal circumstances, Norwegian businesspeople tend to travel extensively, so meetings should be scheduled well in advance. It is recommended to use the 24-hour clock. This will avoid confusion over any references to a.m. and p.m. Punctuality is valued for both business and social occasions. If you are late for a business meeting, call your counterpart and explain the delay.
The typical greeting in Norway is a firm handshake with everyone in the room when you arrive and before you leave. Maintain moderate eye contact. Business cards are still widely used, but many also invite to connect directly through professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. Although many Norwegians tend to dress more casually, you should dress conservatively – at least until the host opens up for an open-shirt dress code.
Norwegians are often direct and do not focus on rituals and social environments for negotiations. In the initial meeting, Norwegians are ready to talk business after only a few minutes of small talk. Norwegians are straightforward in business meetings. Presentations should be precise and concrete, and you should not make any promises that you cannot keep - your honesty will be respected. There is no need to be uncomfortable talking about price and payment.
Business lunches and dinners are common. The one inviting is the one who pays. If you are the host, arrange for reservations in advance. Smoking is banned in all places of business. Do not smoke in someone’s home without asking for permission.
Norway, with 5.4 million people settled over an area larger than the United Kingdom or Germany, has a very low population density. This gives the opportunity for a large variety of outdoor sports, hikes in the mountains, skiing, sailing, hunting, golfing, etc. Many Norwegians own their own cabins or vacation homes in the mountains, on the coast, or both, where they spend many of their weekends and vacations. If invited to a local Norwegian home or to an “offsite” meeting, you are experiencing an honor and sign of genuine interest, and you should definitely consider accepting.
U. S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help us get in touch with your friends and family in an emergency. Here is the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: https://step.state.gov/step/.
The American Embassy in Oslo is located at Morgedalsvegen 36, Tel: 011 (47) 21 30 85 40, E-mail: OsloACS@state.gov. For additional information, please visit the Embassy’s website at https://no.usembassy.gov/
Norway has a relatively low crime rate. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property, e.g., residential burglary, auto theft, or vandalism to parked cars. Persons may become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, especially in hotel restaurants and in certain parts of the Oslo area. Violent crime, although rare, occurs and appears to be increasing. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport in Norway should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. The Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad provides useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the laws of Norway, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict. Some substances that are legal in other European countries are prohibited in Norway. These include ephedrine, for example, an ingredient available in some over-the-counter drug preparations. The possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use that may not result in arrest in neighboring countries can result in arrest in Norway. Penalties usually include detention, a hefty fine and deportation.
A passport is required. U.S. citizens may enter Norway without a visa. Norway is a member of the Schengen Agreement. Travelers may not stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any six-month period. For information regarding entry requirements travelers can contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008-2714, Tel. (202) 333-6000, or the nearest Norwegian consulate. Consulates are located in Houston, New York, and San Francisco. Information is also available on the Internet at https://www.norway.no/en/usa
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.
State Department Visa Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html
U.S. Embassy, Oslo – including Consular Services: https://no.usembassy.gov
The currency used in Norway is the Krone (NOK) and Ore (1 Krone = 100 Ore) and one USD is, as of August 2022, valued at around NOK 9.7. Generally speaking, all major credit cards are accepted, but there have been some reports of limitations using cards like American Express or Diners Club with some vendors. Traveler’s checks are not often used. E-payment has seen rapid growth and is increasingly popular, both at grocery stores and public transportation.
Norway has one of the most modern and advanced telecommunications networks in Europe. The following cellular phone systems can be used in Norway: GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS/WCDMA, 3G, and 4G/LTE. High-speed network connections are widely available. Commercial 5G networks have been rolled out in more populous areas in 2021-2022 and will soon be more widely available in more remote regions. Full national coverage of 5G is expected in 2024.
There are still a few public telephones where payment can be made with Visa, American Express, Diners Club or Eurocard/ Mastercard. For an operator, you can dial 1881 for numbers in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and 1882 for numbers in all other countries. When calling another country from Norway, dial 00 first.
In Norway, in the event of an emergency, call:
- 110 - Fire Department
- 112 - Police
- 113 - Ambulance
Fiber, broadband, ADSL lines and 3G, and 4G wireless networks are widely available. 5G networks are being rolled out and are widely available in major cities throughout Norway as of 2022 and plans for nationwide access by 2023.
Electricity in Norway is 220 V AC with 50-Hertz cycles. Plugs used are round-ended, two-pronged, continental plugs.
Norway has an excellent transportation system. Car rentals are expensive but easily available. Those choosing to drive themselves should exercise caution. Because of the mountainous terrain, most roads are narrow and winding. The northerly latitude can cause road conditions to vary greatly depending on weather and time of year. Speed limits vary from 40-110 km per hour (25-70 miles per hour). Fines for traffic violations are extremely high and can easily exceed USD 1,000 for speeding. Roadblocks for checks of drivers under the influence of alcohol are frequent, and submission to a breathalyzer test is mandatory. Norway has adopted a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. One drink may put a person over the legal limit and could result in a fine. More than two drinks could result in a jail sentence.
The three Scandinavian countries – Norway, Denmark, and Sweden - are closely related in terms of language, ethnic roots, religion, history, and a host of other ways. The languages are to a lesser degree related to English, Dutch and German.
Americans with business interests in Norway benefit from the ease of communication as most Norwegians speak English. American culture, including movies and TV series, is pervasive. Unfortunately, news about Norway in English is sparse, limited to a few Internet services that provide only brief summaries of major events.
There are two official languages, bokmål and nynorsk, with equal status both in official use and in schools. The Norwegian alphabet contains 29 letters, including three letters not found in the English alphabet – æ (ae), ø (oe), and å (aa).
Medical care is widely available. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Travelers have found that supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved useful in some cases. 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. Further information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at Tel: (877) 394-8747, or via their Internet site at https://www.cdc.gov/
Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays
Local time in Norway is Central European Time (CET) and Central European Summer Time CEST. Business hours are generally between 08:00 – 16:00.
Businesspeople should note the following local holidays during 2022 and 2023:
Some Norwegian manufacturing plants and major businesses are closed for 3-4 weeks during the summer holidays from mid-July to mid-August. Easter (10-day holiday season for many Norwegians) and the week between December 23 and New Year also are periods of low business activity.
Note that the U.S. Embassy in Oslo is closed for regular business on U.S. Federal Holidays. For contact details in case of emergencies and additional information, visit the Embassy’s website at https://no.usembassy.gov/