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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Norway

Each country’s health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state provided healthcare in Norway at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

UK residents who do not have a UK, EU or EEA nationality are not covered in Norway. You may need to show your passport or other identification.

If you travel to Norway with the specific purpose of obtaining medical treatment, you must have applied for funding with NHS England in advance, otherwise you may have to pay the full costs of your treatment.

Read more information about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Find help in emergencies

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency, dial 113 for an ambulance. Emergency services are called Legevakt in Norwegian. 

Other useful emergency numbers include:

  • 110 - fire brigade
  • 112 - police
  • 120 - emergency at sea
  • 1412 - textphone

Health services and costs

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does not cover for private treatment. If you need medical care during your visit to Norway and it is not an emergency, you should visit the local municipal health centres (helsesenter). The responsibility for providing general medical care falls to the municipality, while hospitals are run by the central government.

You should be particularly careful if the healthcare arrangements have been made by a hotel or travel representative.

Public healthcare in Norway is not free and patients have to make a patient contribution. This also applies to tourists.

Ensure you have your EHIC with you as otherwise you may be asked to pay the full costs. You may also be asked for your passport or other identification.

If you plan to stay for at least a year then you are required to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which in return gives you access to public healthcare.

If you stay less than a year other rules apply. You are generally not covered and may have to pay the costs for your treatment in full. Ensure you have adequate private health insurance in this case.

For more details visit the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service (NAV) website. They provide some information in English.

HELFO is the Norwegian Health Economics Administration. They can help with general info about health services, help with health costs and reimbursements.  Download the How HELFO can assist you guidance (in English) to start with. You can also visit the HELFO website but most information is in Norwegian only.

Doctors

Tourists and residents pay a standard fee everytime they see a doctor.

If you are paying NIS contributions you will be given a list of local GPs you can register with.

 Finding a doctor whilst on holiday in Norway. You can search for doctors on the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO) website (Norwegian only). Click on “Fastlegeordningen” on the left of the page, then click on “Klikk her for å finne ledig lege“, which takes you to a search page for all public doctors in Norway.

Dentists

You will usually have to pay the full cost of any dental treatment.

Children under the age of 18 are entitled to free dental care from the public dental service. Young people between the ages of 19 and 20 are entitled to have 75 per cent of their dental care covered.

HELFO provides information on dentists and dental hygienists including a brochure about dental cover (in Norwegian only).

Hospital treatment

A doctor will usually need to refer you to hospital but in an emergency you can get treatment from a public hospital. Inpatient treatment, including necessary medication, is free of charge. Charges are payable for specialist consultations and outpatient treatment.

Prescriptions

You will have to pay for most prescribed medicines. However, if you are prescribed medicines by a doctor on a blue prescription (generally medication for chronic conditions), you should be charged less.

Ambulance

Ambulance and air ambulance transport is free of charge in an emergency.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

The most common treatments or conditions that require advanced arrangements are listed below. For all other conditions or treatments, you should consult your doctor. Remember, for all treatments abroad you must present your EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, however, most suppliers will be able to advise you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about travelling abroad with a lung condition.

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You will need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK Dialysis Unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Norway nearest to where you will be staying. You can look up UK renal units on The Renal Association website.

 Ensure you make arrangements according to your UK schedule. There also may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. The National Kidney Federation website offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients, and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in Norway

If you are planning to work in Norway for at least a year, you automatically become a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme from your first day of work. This means you must pay Norwegian national insurance contributions, but are entitled to NAV's services and benefits.

If you plan to stay for less than a year you should have adequate health insurance cover as you will not be covered by the National Insurance Scheme and have to pay in full.

If you are sent by your employer to work in Norway for a period of up to two years, you will normally remain covered by the UK's national insurance system. Your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

  • A1– this will show that NI contributions are paid in the UK
  • S1 (previously E106 or E109) – this will give you and your family the same medical cover as a Norwegian resident

Note: Ensure when you submit the forms that you mention relevant family members and dependants.

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - closed weekends and bank holidays

You'll also need a UK-issued EHIC to gain access to medical treatment in Finland.

Pensioners

If you Live in Norway and you receive a UK State Pension, or any other benefit that can be paid to you when you move abroad (exportable benefit), you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for form E121 (a certificate of entitlements) with the International Pension Centre:

Once you have registered your E121 with Norwegian health authorities, you'll be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC, allowing you to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries besides the one in which you are resident, including when you return to the UK.

Read more information about healthcare when moving abroad.

Early retirees

Since July 1 2014 you are no longer able to apply for residual S1 form.
If you already have a residual S1 this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Find out more about the new rules.

Students

If you're going to Norway to study as part of a UK-recognised course, you will need a EHIC. You will also need one for any dependants you may have. Your cover will last the duration of your course.

You cannot apply online or via phone for an EHIC to study in another European Economic Area (EEA) country. You should download the EHIC application form (PDF, 122kb) instead and return it to the NHS Business Services Authority, which processes all applications.

NHS Business Services Authority
EHIC Applications
Bridge House
152 Bridge House
Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 N6SN

Read more information about studying abroad.

Page last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

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