Congratulations Dmitry – you just made coming here a bit more annoying for everybody.
Airlines are now being required to submit the names of all passengers on all scheduled and charter flights to The Governor of Svalbard before traveling to the archipelago. In addition, persons banned in mainland Norway can now also be exiled from Svalbard due to a change in entry requirements announced Friday by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.
“This has been done to allow us to comply with our international obligations and to ensure regulations are similar in all of Norway,” Justice Minister Anders Anundsen told NRK, referring to the revised entry law.
The amended law will be in effect until Aug. 31, 2016. Anundsen said a permanent modification will be drafted during that time.
The change in the law and the renewed requirement for airlines to submit passenger lists – a policy enacted during the 1970s, but not enforced in recent years – were spurred by the controversial visit this spring by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is on a list on persons banned in Norway due to his role in the Ukraine crisis.
Rogozin – who sent numerous taunting social media messages during and after his surprise visit – asserted the ban on travel to Norway didn’t apply to Svalbard because of the Svalbard Treaty, which allows members of all signature nations to enter without passports or other security checks.
Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered the renewed enforcement of passenger lists following Rogozin’s visit.
“The Immigration Act does not apply to Svalbard,” Gov. Odd Olsen Ingerø told NRK, which first reported the decision Monday. “So the only way we have to find out who is coming here is to get those lists from the airlines.”
The lists will be reviewed to see if banned persons or others needing to be located by officials are aboard, Ingerø said. But “the lists will be shredded after reviewing them. We will not keep them.”
Ingerø told NRK there are still holes in monitoring who is arriving in Svalbard since it is possible to reach the archipelago by boat without notification. But he said large cruise ships do provide the names of all passengers to officials.