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Cruise traffic in Norwegian waters

Information on rules for cruise vessels visiting Norway.

This information is not exhaustive. In the event of contradictions between applicable provisions in statutes or regulations and this information, statutory or regulatory provisions prevail.

Arrival, obligation to notify, documents Rule
When a cruise vessel arrives in Norway, the person in charge of the vessel shall ensure that the vessel proceeds directly to a municipality where there is a customs office.

cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-2-1 and
4-3-1 sub-section (6)

The person in charge of a vessel has an obligation to notify that the vessel is arriving.

cf. the Customs Act Section 3-3

Notification of arrival may be given by means of submitting a fixed schedule or by advance notification of each arrival.

cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-1-1 sub-section (4)
At the first port of call in Norway, the vessel must submit the following documents to Norvegian Customs:  
- Advance notification cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-3-1
- General declaration cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-3-2 sub-section (1) letter a 
- Health declaration when required, for example in the event of contagious disease of significance to international public health. See the regulations of 21 December 2007 related to notification of and measures in the event of serious incidents of significance to international public health, Section 5 (in Norwegian)
If the vessel proceeds to ports of call in other customs regions, it is as a rule sufficient to only provide advance notification.  
The person in charge of a tourist vessel (floating hotel or the like) in a cruise service is exempt from the obligation to present a crew’s effects and ship’s stores declaration if the vessel is not carrying goods to be unloaded in Norway. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-3-2 sub-section (8)
The customs authorities may upon application grant a vessel general permission for the vessel to proceed directly to a place where the customs authorities are not stationed. In the event of this, control by Customs and Excise must be facilitated where the vessels arrive. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-2-6
Provisions  
Where passengers in one way or another are on board when crossing borders en route from or to a foreign port, provisions that are brought along may be consumed without customs duty being payable cf. the Customs Act Section 5-2 sub-section (1) letter a and the VAT Act Section 7-3 sub-section (2).
Quota restrictions apply for alcohol and tobacco. The restrictions do not apply to use on tourist vessels in cruise service. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 5-2-1 sub-section (2) and (3)
However, the relief from customs duty ceases to apply if the vessel is reassigned to domestic routes, is laid up, sent to a vessel-repair facility or is in the customs territory for another reason and less than one-third of the crew is signed on, or remains in the customs territory for more than 30 days. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 5-2-1 sub-section (4)
With regard to provisions that are brought along, the sale of alcohol and tobacco products for taking ashore is not permitted when the vessel is lying in port or is in internal waters, with the exception of the Oslo Fjord. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 5-2-1 sub-section (5)
The following applies for the delivery of goods not cleared for free circulation in Norway: The use and sale of goods permitted for provisioning may only take place after the vessel has left the last port in Norway. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 4-23-4 sub-section (4)
Control of passengers  
Cruise passengers are treated in the same manner as other travellers to/from Norway. If application is made for special control regimes for passengers, often related to the transport of baggage between port and airport, this will be considered by the relevant customs region. Customs and Excise will in its consideration emphasize whether the opportunity exists to undertake a secure and simple feasible control of all passengers with accompanying baggage.  
If passengers wish to conclude the cruise at ports of call where customs authorities are not stationed, advance application of this must be provided along with submission of advance notification and sailing plan. If no such application exists, permission to call at places where customs authorities are not stationed is only provided under condition that all passengers continue with the vessel when this leaves the port of call. cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 3-2-6
The Customs Act and Customs Regulations apply for the import or export of goods. This entails that if the traveller brings along goods not cleared for free circulation, the goods must be presented and declared to Norwegian Customs.

cf. the Customas Act Sections 3-1 and 4-10.

Provisions on relief from duties and taxes correspondingly apply, cf. the right to restricted duty and tax free import of alcohol and tobacco after stays abroad, on Svalbard or on Jan Mayen.

cf. the Customs Regulations Sections 5-1-1 to 5-1-6

Provisions for hosting on board  
In the event of hosting visitors on board (i.e. all others than travellers to or from other countries) the provisions to be used within the customs area must be purchased with duties and taxes paid from a supplier on land. Visitors may be subject to control by Customs and Excise when leaving the vessel.  
Vessels may not bring with them passengers or travellers who exclusively undertake a domestic journey if duty and tax free provisions are used on board the vessel.    
The authority of Norwegian Customs for controls  

Customs and Excise has broad authority to exercise controls

Controls of persons who are on their way from or to the boundary of the customs territory may be carried out to ascertain whether there has been evasion of customs control in respect of goods.

The Customs Act's control opportunities and statutory authorities entail that it is up to the individual customs region to organise customs control.

cf. the Customas Act Sections 13

cf. the Customas Act Sections 13-1