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Free COVID-19 tests for Svalbard residents travelling home are being offered at Gardermoen Airport in Oslo and the Tromsø city center, and those meeting eligibility requirements can seek reimbursement if they have already paid for such tests, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
Eligible persons must show documentation of showing they are in the population registry of Svalbard or, for Barentsburg residents who cannot be in the registry, work confirmation from Trust Arktikugol. The tax office in Longyearbyen maintains the registry list and issues valid documentation, which can be obtained by contacting them by e-mail.
“An e-mail with confirmation from the tax office in Svalbard which is newer than two months” is valid, according to the health directorate. “When an automated solution for issuing a residence permit is in place, a digital residence certificate that is newer than two months will also be valid documentation.”
Parents and guardians of children under 18 register and can seek proof of residency from the tax office.
All people travelling to Svalbard have since January needed to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure, with some specific exceptions for special circumstances. The cost and logistics of obtaining such tests have prompted numerous complaints from local residents and officials who say it places sometimes unreasonable hardships on travel for regular purposes such as work and medical treatment.
Free tests at Gardermoen are being provided through an arrangement with the Dr. Dropin test station in the departure area. Tests in Tromsø are available at the designated municipal test station in the city center.
Svalbard residents who have already paid to obtain such tests since Feb. 19 can seek a refund through the Svalbard tax office if receipts are kept. However, the health directorate states such payments will not be processed until after Easter.
“It is also possible to apply for a refund via this scheme if you complete the test before departure at a place other than the above test stations,” the directorate notes.