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Last updated:
November 15, 2009
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American Women's
Club of Oslo

P.O. Box 3101 Elisenberg 0207 Oslo, Norway
(47) 22 64 10 12

 
 
 

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General information on driving in Norway may be obtained from Norges Automobil Forbund (NAF), Storgaten 2, 0155 Oslo, 22 34 14 00, or the Kongelige Norsk Automobilklubb, Drammensv. 20C, 0201 Oslo, 22 56 19 00.  

Visit the Trafikketaten Web site for Oslo parking regulations in English.

We wish to thank the Fulbright Foundation, Norway, for their contribution to this page.

 
 
 
 

Norwegian Drivers License with the New Rules

 
 

Americans are not allowed to drive indefinitely on their U.S. drivers licenses. A Norwegian license must be secured. Driving on a U.S. license for longer than the permissible time is the same as being without a license, and if an accident should occur, it would not be covered by insurance.

How do you get a Norwegian license?
It is now required that everyone wishing to get a Norwegain drivers license take the driving test. If you change your license within one year of getting your residence permit you are not required to take the theory test, but you MUST take the driving test.

These are the new steps:
1. Go to the trafikkstasjon to exchange US license (see information below.)
2. Contact a local driving school after you have received a letter from the trafikkstasjon saying you are cleared, so you can rent a car from them for the test.
3. Make an appointment to take the driving test either through your trafikkstasjon, or your driving school can do it !

Some schools do not require practice hours with them before renting the car, but there other schools that require you to have practice hours before you areallowed to rent their schools' car for the exam.

Renting the car is about 2200 NOK, the driving exam is 835 NOK, and if you pass the license is 345 NOK. If you are required to have practice driving hours, they are about 450 NOK per hour.

A foreigner planning to live in Norway longer than 3 months must register at the Folkeregister. She then has one year in which to exchange her American license for a Norwegian førekort. This is done at the Trafikkstasjon (equivalent to the department of motor vehicles) in her municipality.

In Oslo:
Risløkka Trafikkstasjon
Visiting address:
Østre Aker vei 50
0581 Oslo

Postal address:
Postboks 342 Økern
0513 Oslo
815 22 000

In Asker and Bærum:
Billingstad Trafikkstasjon
Stasjonsveien 21
Postboks 253
1377 Billingstad
815 22 000
Faks: 66 77 29 01/02

In Akershus:
Lillestrøm Trafikkstasjon
Gåsevikveien 1
Postboks 55
2027 Kjeller
815 22 000

Phone first to be verify opening hours and the information you are required to have with you, usually the following: proof of registration with Folkregister, valid U.S. license, proof from your state license bureau that you have driven for 3 years, and the required fee. If you wear glasses or contact lenses you will also need a signed exam by an optometrist. Pick up the form at the Trafikkstasjon before your appointment.

General Numbers:
Driver's License 22 72 50 30
Car Registration 22 72 50 10

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 Spot Checks on the Road
by KvS and published in the January 1992 Fjord Flyer
 
 

Spot checks, conducted by the police, are to ensure motor vehicle and traffic safety.  Two types of checks can occur at anytime while driving; an automobile check or a traffic law check.  At either of these, several police officers will be stationed at the roadside to flag-down motorists.

An automobile spot check entails looking at  items required to be in each vehicle as well as seeing that your car is in good working order.  Whenever you drive, you must carry:  your driver’s license, the car’s registration papers (also registration papers for the trailer you pull), a European Accident Statement form (available from your insurance company-ask for the English version), a red warning triangle, and a reflective vest, within reach of the driver's seat.  All passengers must have their seat belt fastened and children under 11 years (or weigh under 80 pounds) must have an approved child’s seat or pillow.

This check continues with an inspection of the car:  brakes, lights, windshield wipers and tires (minimum tread in only 1 mm).  Deficiencies result in a fine and a mangel lapp listing the car’s shortcomings.  Repairs must now be fixed by a garage, where the mangel lapp will be signed and sent to the police.  A car considered not fit to drive, will have its license plates removed and must be towed.

Several traffic laws are also pin-pointed at spot checks.  Here police officers are located at strategic points to observe traffic and stop violators.  Specific laws enforced in this manner include:  speed zones, complete stops at stop signs, use of the taxi lane by unauthorized vehicles.  At a spot check for alcohol, all vehicles will be stopped and drivers asked to breathe into a breath analyzer.  Positive results will merit at trip to the local hospital for a blood test.  Refusal is an admission of guilt.  Fines for these types of traffic violations are high-most over NOK 1000.  The penalty for drinking and driving is loss of license for one year, 21 days in  jail (no exceptions), plus a fine.

Drive safely no matter where the road leads you.

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 Driving Rules in Norway 
 

International rules for driving apply in Norway and are essentially the same as in the U.S.  However, you should be aware of a few important exceptions:

  • The speed limit is indicated in kilometers per hour.

  • The driver coming from your right at an intersection always has the right of way, unless the road you are driving on is marked with a yellow diamond-shaped sign.

  • Traffic circles are commonly used in Norway instead of 4-way stop sign intersections.  You must yield to cars from your left.  Use your turning signal to indicate your intention to exit the circle.

  • Norwegian laws regarding drinking and driving are stricter than in the U.S.  The allowable blood-alcohol content while driving is so low that even one glass of wine or beer can put a driver over the legal limit.  Police often set up alcohol checkpoints along the road and give balloon tests to all drivers; during the holiday season, they may set up check points early Saturday or Sunday morning.  Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by at least 1 day in jail and a heavy fine and the loss of the driver's license

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 Automobile Insurance 
 

Liability insurance (Nordisk Automobil Forsikring) is mandatory in Norway and valid in the four Scandinavian countries.  Collision insurance (KASKO) is optional and may be purchased to cover a specified number of kilometers driven per year.  Both types of insurance are available from most Norwegian insurance companies;  See the yellow pages under “Forsikringstjenester” (Insurance Services).

A letter from your U.S. insurer stating number of years of accident-free driving helps if you do plan to purchase insurance .  With this documentation, you can receive a discount of up to 70% on insurance rates from many Norwegian insurance companies.

It is also advisable to check with your current U.S. insurer about the availability and rates of collision insurance for driving in Norway and other European countries.

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 Parking Regulations  
 

Paid parking is common during weekdays  along city streets as well as in many parking lots.  (On Saturdays in Oslo all downtown parking is free):  The most common system used in Norway is the automated parking meter (P-automat).  To use this system, first park your car, get out and purchase a parking ticket from the nearest P-automat (a gray, rectangular machine which accepts 1, 5, 10 and 20 kroner coins), return to your car and place the ticket on the left-hand side of the dashboard in a clearly visible location.

Parking garages (P-hus) are also common in cities, especially near large shopping and commercial areas.  Usually, you take a ticket as you drive into the parking garage and pay at an automated machine or manned booth before you get in your car to drive out.

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