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USA Travel Information

USA Travel InformationThe Foreign Ministry does not advise travel to the United States which is not strictly necessary. On March 11, US authorities announced that the United States is imposing entry restrictions that apply to travelers from Norway, among others. Read more under Entry. On March 13, the United States introduced a national state of emergency. For other information about coronavirus, see Health.

Safety

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages all Norwegian citizens who are temporary in the United States to consider returning home as soon as possible. More information, including recommendations for residents, can be found via the coronavirus theme page, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/koronavirus/id2692388/

The United States introduced a state of emergency on March 13 to secure authorizations and opportunities to mobilize resources to deal with the corona pandemic. Several states are asking the population to stay home. The situation is rapidly developing. Norwegian citizens in the country are asked to follow the authorities' advice and directions.

Please note that the validity of travel insurance may be affected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing travel advice. The individual should check if the travel insurance is valid if staying in the country. It is strongly encouraged to have valid travel insurance.

For more information on the coronary pandemic, see Entry and Health.

The United States is a relatively safe country to travel in, and most trips run smoothly. Crime is generally low, but can be high in some areas of the big cities. The risk of being exposed to pickpockets in big cities is present, especially on public communication. Violent crime occurs but is rare. Demonstrations may occur. It is recommended to pay special attention to one's behavior if one is stopped by police in the United States. It should be noted that small arms are relatively widespread in the United States.

US authorities are constantly assessing the danger of terrorist acts. Travelers are generally advised to follow directions from US authorities, police, security personnel and tour leaders.

There is no particular security threat associated with being a Norwegian citizen in the United States.

Following the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, there has been a high level of preparedness for terrorism in the United States. US authorities are constantly assessing the danger of terrorist acts. US authorities' assessment of the threat picture and information on terrorism is widely published in the media and on Homeland Security's website. The public is encouraged to report suspicious activities - especially when using public communication.

  • Countryaah: Washington, D. C. is the capital of United States. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

As a tourist, you will experience the high level of preparedness for terrorism through identification requirements and security checks at airports, public buildings and other places. Travelers should never joke about bombs or weapons, for example, as all such utterances will be treated as serious security risks.

Crime is generally low in the United States, but may be high in some areas of the big cities. Such areas will not be found in the tourist areas, but one should pay special attention to this when using a car. The risk of being exposed to pickpockets in big cities is present, especially on public communication. Always bring your purse, or item from you; the perpetrator can carry weapons. Valuables such as Jewelry should be kept in a safe in the hotel room. Don't go with many credit cards on you at the same time. Violent crime occurs but is rare.

There is high transportation safety in the United States. However, tourists on car and motorcycle holidays should be aware that in urban areas there are very many signs to deal with at the same time, and that many send SMS while driving. In the evening one should be aware that there may be some driving - especially in cities. On highways in the United States there is high speed. Be especially careful when passing and getting on/off. If you are stopped by police, always act polite and calm, never threatening and pay attention to language use.

Demonstrations may occur. Follow the media, and advice from local authorities should always be followed.

The United States is a large country with varied geography, and different natural disasters occur in different parts of the country, and vary by season. In the US, natural disasters are more common than in Norway. The locals are usually used to, and prepared for, such events. The most common disasters are tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes and floods. Alerts about imminent natural disasters must be taken seriously and local authorities' instructions should be followed. During and after a natural disaster, local television broadcasts, radio and the Internet are good sources of information from the US government.

Below is some information about some of the most common natural disasters in the United States.

Earthquake and forest fire: The west coast of the United States is in an earthquake zone. Therefore, there is a general risk of earthquakes on the west coast, especially in California. Strong earthquakes are very rare, but can have great destructive power. Earthquakes also occur on the east coast.

Every summer and fall, forest fires are so common in parts of the United States that one speaks of a "four season". Particularly vulnerable are western states such as California, Arizona and Nevada.

Hurricane and Flood: In the southeastern states, severe storms and hurricanes are not uncommon, especially in late summer and fall ("hurricane season"). The storms form over the oceans southeast of the United States, or in the Atlantic Ocean, and can move over the coast. They weaken when they reach land, so areas near the coast (including all of Florida) are most at risk. The hurricanes can also hit land along the entire east coast, but Louisiana and Texas are also at risk. In the hurricane it is dangerous to move outdoors. Floods due to heavy rainfall also represent a significant danger. Most injuries and deaths related to the hurricane occur as a result of floods.

Another significant problem is that society's infrastructure is being put out of business. You risk being "stranded" for days without electricity (light, air conditioning), gas (stove, heat), food, water, medicine, the possibility of transport, or communication with the outside world. The roads become impassable due to countless overturned trees. Internet connection, landline and mobile phone networks can be expected to be out of service. SMS messages will sometimes work (they also use low battery). Battery powered radio is the best way to obtain information in such situations.

The weather forecast in the United States follows storm systems closely, and will usually provide several days' notice. Evacuation occurs. Travelers are strongly advised to leave an endangered area well in advance of a hurricane. If you wait too long to travel, you run the risk of being evacuated due to queues.

Tornado: Tornadoes are very dangerous and can travel at speeds of 100 km/h. Never try to take a picture of a tornado. Seek cover in the basement immediately if a tornado is observed in the immediate area ("tornado warning").

Tornado is a phenomenon we do not know very well from Norway. A tornado that crashes into the ground will destroy buildings, destroy vehicles and generally cause major damage in the impact area. Tornadoes can occur in large parts of the United States, especially in the middle and southern parts known as the "tornado alley." When weather conditions facilitate tornadoes, follow local media and take recommended precautions.

Basement or shelter is the safest place. If you do not have access to the basement, go to the bathroom on the ground floor. Vehicles are not a safe haven. Immediately leave the vehicle/car and seek shelter indoors. US authorities use two terms. "Tornado watch" means that weather conditions are a danger of tornadoes. A "tornado warning" means that a tornado has been observed in the area and that coverage should be sought immediately.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) is an agency under the Federal Department of Security (DHS). Fema is responsible for coordinating the response of US authorities to serious events, such as earthquakes, major fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Fema has a smartphone app that can provide important information about events you are staying in the US.

Travel registration: Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or longer period in the US are encouraged to register their travels on reiseregistrering.no

The United States is a high-cost country if you are in a situation where you need medical treatment, or need a hospital. Always have travel insurance in place, even when traveling to the United States.

Emergency/immediate assistance in the United States: Call 911. Applies to all emergency services: police, ambulance and fire department.

In an emergency/emergency situation, the public can contact the embassy during business hours (0900-1600 Monday-Friday) at telephone number: 1-202-333-6000

Washington, DC
Royal Norwegian Embassy
2900 K Street NW
Washington DC 20007
Tel: (+1) (202) 333-6000
Fax: (+1) (202) 469-3990
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador: Kåre R. Aas

Houston, TX
Royal Norwegian Consulate General
3410 West Dallas Street
Houston TX 77019
Tel: (+1) (713) 620-4200
Fax: (+1) (713) 620-4290
Email: [email protected]
Consul General: Hilde Janne Skorpen

New York, NY
Royal Norwegian Consulate General
1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 2 nd Avenue, 35 th Floor, New York
Tel: (+1) (646) 430 7500
Fax: (+1) (646) 430 7599
E-mail: cg.newyork @ mfa.no
Consul General: Harriet E. Berg

San Francisco, CA
Royal Norwegian Consulate General
575 Market Street, Suite 3950
San Francisco CA 94105
Tel: (+1) (415) 882-2000
Fax: (+1) (415) 882-2001
Email: cgsfo @ mfa. by
Consul General: Your lockbox

Outside the working hours of the consulate and embassy, ​​travelers can contact - UD's 24-hour operating center on Tel: +47 23 95 00 00 or by e-mail: [email protected]

Entry

President Trump announced in a speech on March 11 that the administration will introduce new entry restrictions. The restrictions mean that anyone who has been in Norway or other parts of the Schengen area for the past 14 days will be denied entry to the United States, except for certain visa categories. The restrictions also apply to travel from a number of other countries. The regulations apply for 30 days from midnight Friday, March 13, 2020 and until further notice.

Read more about the entry restrictions on Proclamation Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronaviruses or contact the US Embassy in Oslo.

If you have booked a trip to the United States, contact your travel operator.

The rules include that travelers who have been in the Schengen area during the past 14 days will not be able to enter or stop in the United States. Assessment will basically be done by the airline at the departure point, in consultation with US border authorities.

Some citizens from Schengen countries (including Norway) have experienced that their Esta has been canceled even though they have not been in the Schengen area for the last 14 days. If Esta is canceled, one should first and foremost go through the airline, which works with US border authorities. The Department of Homeland Security has a website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/) and a telephone number (+1 202 325 8000) where you can check status or apply for new Esta.

Norwegian citizens with a valid Esta or visa, who have been outside the Schengen area for 14 days, can stop in the US. If, however, it has not been 14 days since you were in a country in the Schengen zone (also by stopover), you must either wait until you have been outside the Schengen area for 14 days before trying to travel to the United States or find another route.

Norwegians located in the United States may in some cases apply for an extension of Esta, see CBP Offers Flexibility to Departing Visa Waiver Program Travelers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages all Norwegian citizens who are temporary in the United States to consider returning home as soon as possible. More information, including recommendations for residents, can be found via the coronavirus theme page.

The United States introduced a state of emergency on March 13 to secure authorizations and opportunities to mobilize resources to deal with the corona pandemic. Several states are asking the population to stay home. The situation is rapidly developing. Norwegian citizens in the country are asked to follow the authorities' advice and directions.

Please note that the validity of travel insurance may be affected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing travel advice. The individual should check if the travel insurance is valid if staying in the country. It is strongly encouraged to have valid travel insurance.

For other information about travel restrictions due to coronavirus, see "Health".

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

All travelers to the United States are encouraged to investigate rules regarding entry with the US Embassy in Oslo well in advance of departure.

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Conditions regarding entry to the United States * are regulated and enforced by the US authorities. Norwegian citizens traveling to the United States without a visa ("Visa Waiver Program" - Esta) must register online on the Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) database before departure. There is a requirement for a valid visa/Esta also when landing in the US. US authorities are closely monitoring all those entering the United States, and long immigration queues are occurring.

The US Embassy in Oslo can provide additional information on visas and stays in the United States. You can find information on the Esta website of the Department of Homeland Security. Please note that the eligibility requirements for travelers under Esta have changed from 21.01.2016. Read more on the US Department of State website.

The changes mean that travelers in the following categories can no longer travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) regulations:

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or stayed in Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria as of March 1, 2011. A limited exemption applies to military and diplomatic personnel who have traveled to these countries in the capacity of their work.
  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.
  1. February 2016, additional restrictions were introduced in relation to the "Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015." Libya, Somalia and Yemen are now added to the list of countries restricting travelers from using VWP. Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or stayed in Libya, Somalia or Yemen can no longer travel to the United States under VWP.

Currently, citizens of VWP countries who are also citizens of Libya, Somalia or Yemen can travel to the United States under VWP.

Norwegian passports must be machine-readable in order to use Esta (so-called e-passports). See information about e-passports. The passport must be valid throughout your stay in the United States. See also the website of the US Embassy in Oslo. The emergency pass is not machine readable. Travel document for refugees (green travel document), travel document for people staying on a humanitarian basis (blue travel document) and emergency passport are accepted as entry documents, but require a visa.

Customs rules in the United States are strictly enforced, including the ban on the introduction of fruit, meat and some other foods. See the website of the US Embassy for more information on the rules for entering the United States.

If you are traveling and have disabilities, you may want to contact the Transportation Security Administration in advance. You can find further information on this topic on their website. Artists, cultural practitioners and athletes have their own visa requirements.

* By the United States is meant the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands (US) and the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands (north).

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Cases of coronavirus have been detected in all US states and the country introduced national emergency on March 13. Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of how the situation is developing. Follow local government advice and instructions on how to act. You can find more information about the corona virus from the US government on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

The CDC recommends that you keep at least two meters away from everyone outside your own household, and that you use face masks of clothing to limit infection in areas where many people travel, such as in the store.

Several states are asking the population to stay home. The situation is rapidly developing.

Please note that the validity of travel insurance may be affected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing travel advice. The individual should check if the travel insurance is valid if staying in the country. It is strongly encouraged to have valid travel insurance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages all Norwegian citizens who are temporary in the United States to consider returning home as soon as possible. More information, including recommendations for residents, can be found via the coronavirus theme page.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

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Doctors, hospitals and dentists are of a generally good standard, and the United States has many highly reputed hospitals and health care institutions. If you become ill while traveling in the United States, it is okay to contact the Seamen's Churches or Norwegian foreign service missions for guidance. In case of acute illness call 911.

Medical treatment and hospital stays in the United States are very expensive. Travel insurance, with coverage up to USD 500,000, is strongly recommended. Only immediate help is treated without an insurance guarantee, and further treatment can be denied without an insurance guarantee or deposit. Recommended vaccines for the whole of America can be found in the pages of the Institute of Public Health.

There is generally good access to medicines, both without a prescription and prescribed by a doctor. However, the price level is very high compared to Norway. Diseases that are eradicated in Norway may occur. Drinking tap water is usually not hazardous to health, but drinking water is added to chlorine and in many places does not taste very good. For more information on possible outbreaks, see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

As in other countries, capacity problems may arise in the US health care system in connection with pandemics such as COVID-19 where a large number of people fall ill and need treatment at the same time.

Practical information

The United States is a multicultural society with many religions, widely differing political views and many subcultures. American customs and customs are similar to those found in Norway. Most Americans are outgoing and nice. They think it is natural to talk to strangers if they have something on their hearts.

Currency: US Dollar (USD).

Credit cards are widely used in the United States and are accepted in most stores, restaurants and the like. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club (Discover) are most prevalent. Other cards are also accepted to varying degrees. At the restaurant, the waitress brings the card and returns with payment instructions for signature.

The United States has no official language. There is also no official language standard. In practice, English is dominant. Nevertheless, many in the United States speak little English and use especially Spanish and Asian languages ​​as their first language. Authorities and organizations often operate with information, forms, street signs and the like in several languages. Due to significant immigration from Latin America, Spanish is widespread.

Phone: Calling in the United States - key 1 in front of the 10-digit number.
Call from the US to Norway: Dial 011-47 in front of the 6-digit number.
Call from Norway to the United States: Dial 001 in front of the 10-digit number.

Most newer mobile phones can be used in the US. Older models will often not work or have reduced coverage. European standard mobile coverage (GSM) is good in cities and along main roads, but varying outside cities and limited in outlying areas. Traditionally, mobile networks in the United States do not follow GSM standards and GSM networks are still under development. A different frequency is used on GSM than in Europe (1900 MHz), but newer mobile phones usually handle this. The largest GSM operators in the US are AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Most cities and towns have internet cafes and broadband hotels.

Power: 110-120 volts AC, 60Hz. Both voltage, frequency and plug are different from the Norwegian standard. American plug is two-point or three-point. Electronic equipment purchased in Norway requires an adapter or converter, which should be purchased in Norway due to limited availability in the United States. Equipment that only handles Norwegian voltage must have an inverter for 220-240 volts, while appliances that can handle both voltages only need an adapter to fit the plug.

Banks are usually open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Shops are open most of the day until approx. 21:00. Some shops are closed on Sunday. It is usually possible to find 24-hour grocery stores and pharmacies in the cities.

Car rental is well organized in the US. A Norwegian driver's license may be used if the stay does not extend beyond twelve months. American cities have high roads and high traffic. Also note that motorists stop to a small extent in pedestrian lanes. The traffic signs are different from Europeans and use text to a greater extent. Americans drive on the right side of the road. The American road network consistently maintains a high standard.

The United States does not have "official" holidays in the same sense as in Norway, and the days will vary to some extent between different companies and organizations. US Foreign Service Stations are normally closed on the following days: January 1 - New Year's Day, second last Monday in January - Martin Luther King Day, second last Monday in February - Presidents' Day, Good Friday, May 1, May 17, last Monday in May - Memorial Day, July 4 - Independence Day, first Monday in September - Labor Day, second Monday in October - Columbus Day, Fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving Day, 1st and 2nd Christmas Day.

Some helpful tips about American culture: Most Americans are outgoing and nice. They think it is natural to talk to strangers if they have something on their hearts.

If you want to pass someone, you say "excuse me". It is considered rude to get into strangers, and if that happens, you apologize ("sorry"). You will often hear "how are you?", "How 'you doin'?", "How is it going?" or similar variants when people meet. It is usually not an invitation to stop and talk, but is answered only with a short "good - how are you?" Or similar.

Many Americans drink less than is common in Norway, and many find it inappropriate and uncomfortable with visibly intoxicated people. The limit for buying and enjoying alcohol is 21 years throughout the United States. It is recommended that you always bring your ID if you want to buy alcohol, also in the restaurant. Many places ask for identification even if you are obviously older than 21 years. Some places check everyone, anyway.

Tips are used to a greater extent in the United States than in Norway, and in many service professions constitute a significant and expected part of the income. The following can be used as a starting point for what is common in the United States. At a restaurant with table service, 18-22 percent tips are expected. Be aware that lower amounts are likely to be perceived as not pleasant or as an expression of dissatisfaction.

Some restaurants even tip the bill for larger groups, so you don't have to add on. Give a few bucks to a bartender who mixes drinks. Calculate 10-15 percent tips for taxis. Pizza bids expect three to five dollars. Give one to five dollars if pikkolo carries luggage (one to two dollars per package). It is thoughtful to give tips to the hotel's cleaning staff by adding two to three dollars on the bedside table each day if you are satisfied. It is common to give ten percent, up to 20 percent in tips for hairdressers, masseurs, at the spa and similar places.

Americans generally follow the rules and guidelines closely. Employees who have contact with the public often have little decision-making authority. If you feel unreasonably treated, you can ask to speak to the manager ("may I speak to your supervisor, please"). A manager is more free to make decisions. Americans often make a clear distinction between what is your responsibility and what is their responsibility - and do not necessarily feel the need to solve problems they perceive as your responsibility.

When abroad, you are subject to laws in the country and state you visit. The United States has strict drug legislation - also for possession - and generally has a much higher level of punishment than Norway. Please note that the Norwegian authorities cannot intervene in the host country if you are arrested or prosecuted abroad. This applies even if you are a Norwegian citizen. Should you be arrested, call the Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC. The opening hours are + 1 202 333 6000. 9 to 16. Outside working hours you will be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 24-hour guarded telephone.

Shooting episodes occur. There have been several "active shooter" episodes, both at educational and other public places where many people are gathered (eg shopping malls).

The United States is a complex society, and attitudes toward LGBT travelers vary from state to state. In this regard, reference is made to legislation recently introduced in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. A good link on this topic in the US is the Human Rights Campaign.

LGBT travelers are advised to familiarize themselves with local law in the state they are visiting. Many travel books and local LGBT groups provide good information.

Other useful links:

  • International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Some taboos: Americans are sensitive to hints of racism and discrimination in a broad sense (including disability, religion, etc.). Never use the word "negro" as it is considered offensive. Instead, use "African-American", possibly "black" (less formal). Similarly, "European-American", "Asian-American", "Hispanic" and terms are used as "Norwegian-American".

Americans are significantly less comfortable with body and nudity than you are in Norway, especially if children may be present. It is not okay to sunbathe topless, and even young children are expected to wear bathing suits - also covering the upper body of girls.

Avoid cursing as many are more easily supported by this than one might think. It can often be difficult to know what is offensive to whom when speaking a foreign language.

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