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Photo: Arild Lyssand/ MFA Norway.Photo: Arild Lyssand/ MFA Norway

Svalbard: Special visa and entry conditions

Below you will find updated information about Svalbard and conditions for visiting and staying on Svalbard. You can also find a check list for document requirements for a Schengen visa (type C).

About Svalbard

Svalbard is part of Norway and the archipelago is situated to the North of the Norwegian mainland, in the Barents Sea. The largest settlement is Longyearbyen, one of the northernmost settlements in the world (78 degrees north). There are no roads between Longyearbyen and the other settlements. More than 60 per cent of the archipelago is covered by ice and the climatic conditions are very demanding compared to most other places in the world. During winter the temperature can drop below -30 degrees C, and the average temperature in summer is 8-10 degrees C. Due to Longyearbyen's position so far north one does not see the sun from late October until the beginning of March. From mid November to February it is dark 24 hours a day. Polar bears are common in Svalbard, and it is not advisable to travel outside Longyearbyen without a proper weapon for self protection.

The Immigration Act and The Svalbard Treaty

In mainland Norway the Immigration Act regulates foreign citizen's entry to and residence in the country. Despite the fact that Svalbard is part of Norway the Immigration Act does not apply on the archipelago. This is due to the fact that Svalbard has a special status pertaining to international law. An international treaty, the Svalbard Treaty, provides for Norwegian sovereignty in the archipelago. Article 3 in the Treaty states that citizens and companies from all treaty nations enjoy the same right of access to and residence in Svalbard. As a consequence the Immigration Act does not apply and Svalbard is held outside the Schengen area.

Visa and entry to Svalbard

Everyone may, in principle, travel to Svalbard, and foreign nationals do not need a visa or a work or residence permit from Norwegian authorities in order to settle in Svalbard. Foreign nationals with visa requirements to the Schengen area do, however, need a valid Schengen visa if they travel through Schengen on their way to or from Svalbard. As all regular flights to the archipelago run between Longyearbyen and cities on the Norwegian mainland, all foreign nationals with visa requirements to the Schengen area do in practice need such a visa when traveling to and from Svalbard.
(This is an excerpt from the Governor of Svalbard's webpage, please visit here)

About visa and checklist

In order to visit Spitsbergen (Svalbard) the visa needed is a Schengen visa (type C) with at least two entries. Spitsbergen (Svalbard) is a visa free area as described above, but since there are no direct flights from Thailand (or anywhere else in the world), the person who wants to visit Spitsbergen (Svalbard) has to fly via Norway. This is the reason a Schengen visa is needed.

The document requirements for a Schengen visa to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) are listed in the following checklist: ENGLISH version

For more information on how to apply for a Schengen visa, please click here.