3. Two main categories
4. The UDI’s travel request to the IOM and the foreign service mission
5. The IOM’s responsibility
6. The foreign service missions’ responsibility
7. Control of persons
8. Different practical procedures relating to the travel preparations
9. Procedure for emergency cases
10. Procedures in countries in which Norway does not have a foreign service mission
In this circular, we describe the foreign service missions’ responsibilities in connection with resettlement refugees travelling to Norway. We describe both the actual case processing procedures and the guidelines for issuing laissez-passers and entry visas (D visas). The foreign services missions already practice most of the procedures we describe here. The circular is intended to help you who work at the foreign service missions to understand the procedure for travel preparations for resettlement refugees. We hope to achieve a uniform practice at all foreign service missions.
In cases involving resettlement refugees, the foreign service missions cooperate with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The UDI grants entry permits and residence permits to resettlement refugees, cf. Section 35 first and third paragraphs of the Norwegian Immigration Act. The foreign service missions are to issue entry visas (D visas) pursuant to Section 12 of the Immigration Act, cf. the Section 3-13 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations.
There are two main categories of cases:
1. Cases in which the UDI has conducted an interview (selection mission cases)
The majority of the cases fall under this category. The UDI interviews the applicant in his/her country of residence before he/she travels to Norway. Before the applicant enters Norway, the UDI will already have decided whether to also grant him or her refugee status, cf. Section 28 second paragraph of the Immigration Act, cf. Section 28 first paragraph.
2. Cases in which the UDI has not conducted an interview (dossier cases)
In these cases, the UDI does not interview the applicants before they enter the country. We grant them an entry permit, cf. Section 35 first paragraph of the Immigration Act. Once the Norwegian police have interviewed the applicant, the UDI decides whether the applicant will be granted a residence permit as a refugee pursuant to Section 28 or a residence permit pursuant to Section 38.
It is the UNHCR that submits most of the applications, and the organisation is also usually involved in the travel preparations. In other cases, the body that has submitted the application can be involved in the travel preparations. The latter type of cases is not described here.
The UDI makes a decision to grant entry. We notify the UNHCR and the foreign service mission in the foreign national’s country of residence. We then send a travel request to the IOM and to the Norwegian foreign service mission in the applicant’s country of residence. A copy of the travel request is sent to the UNHCR’s field office. In the travel request, we state a period of two weeks during which the applicant is to arrive in Norway. The two-week period is decided by an agreement that the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) has entered into with the settlement municipality.
We send the travel request by secure email. The subject field of the email can for example read as follows: Secure: Travel request Sudan-Norway, Sauherad municipality (TRF), 7 persons
The code TRF is IATA’s airport code for Torp Sandefjord airport.
The IOM is to book tickets with an arrival date within the two-week period stated by the UDI. If the entry, for various reasons, does not take place within the stated period, the IOM must notify the UDI of this. In such case, entry must take place as soon as possible after the stated two-week period.
Together with the UNHCR, the IOM must obtain an exit permit, if necessary, and assist the refugees in connection with their departure.
In the travel request, we ask the foreign service mission to cooperate with the IOM and/or the UNHCR to obtain the information the foreign service mission needs to issue a laissez-passer and an entry visa (D visa).
The foreign service missions issue a laissez-passer and an entry visa (D visa) that are valid for 90 days. The validity period must not exceed the period for which the entry permit is valid. Entry permits expire six months after the UDI’s decision date.
A laissez-passer can be issued to a person who has been granted an entry permit to Norway, but who has neither valid travel documents nor any possibility to obtain such documents, cf. Section 12-9 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations. A laissez-passer can therefore be issued to persons who have been granted an entry permit by the UDI pursuant to Section 35 of the Immigration Act. The laissez-passer is only valid for a single journey.
An entry visa entitles its holder to stay in the Schengen area for seven days, cf. Section 3-13 of the Regulations. The seven days must be within the 90-day period of validity. This means that the refugee must contact the Norwegian police within the first seven days after his/her arrival in order to have the residence permit issued.
The 90-day validity period is intended to give the IOM and the UNHCR time to book the necessary tickets and make other formal arrangements relating to the departure. The foreign service mission is to find a suitable 90-day validity period together with the IOM and/or the UNHCR.
The foreign service missions have access to the principal person’s decision in NORVIS.
The IOM will inform the UDI if the laissez-passer or visa expires before the applicant’s arrival. In such case, the UDI will instruct the foreign service mission to issue a new laissez-passer and visa.
By agreement with the UDI, the foreign service missions may exempt certain groups of applicants from appearing in person. This applies to resettlement refugees, among others, and is described in the UDI’s circular 2011-040.
In many cases, the refugees will be given their travel documents by the IOM on departure. The purpose is to ensure that the person travelling is the same person that the travel document was issued for. In other cases, the UNHCR will collect the travel documents at the foreign service missions, for example when it needs them to apply for an exit visa for the refugee.
The practical procedures differ in selection mission cases and dossier cases.
Selection mission cases
The UDI holds a meeting with the Norwegian foreign service mission and the IOM before sending the selection mission. The UNHCR is also present in most cases. At the meeting, we establish points of contact with the different representatives and clarify the division of labour. It is an advantage if the embassy staff member who is to issue the laissez-passers and entry visas (D visas) is present at this meeting. The UDI gives the foreign service mission information about the approximate number of persons who are to be issued with laissez-passers and visas, and keeps minutes of the meeting.
When the selection mission has returned to Norway, the UDI prepares a list of the refugees who are to come to Norway. We also include two passport photos of each applicant. The list and the photos are delivered or sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a double envelope. The UDI marks the inner envelope with the name of the foreign service mission, and the outer one with the following address:
Postboks 8114 Dep.
The consignments are sent from the MFA once a week.
The foreign service mission contacts the IOM to obtain the information and the material it needs to issue laissez-passers and entry visas. This includes two passport photos of the applicants. The UDI does not take the photos itself.
Some of the cases are processed in accordance with the procedure for emergency cases. This applies to both selection mission and dossier cases. In an urgent case, the UDI makes a decision on entry within 48 hours. IMDi’s goal is for a municipality to have made a decision to receive the refugee within the next 48 hours. In such cases, too, we notify the UNHCR and the foreign service mission in the foreign national’s country of residence of the decision. We then send a travel request to the IOM and to the Norwegian foreign service mission in the applicant’s country of residence. We send a copy to the UNHCR’s field office. The UDI then requests the IOM to book tickets with the soonest possible arrival date. We also request that the foreign service mission issue a laissez-passer and an entry visa as soon as possible.
The subject field of travel requests in these cases may look like the example below:
Secure: EMERGENCY travel request Sudan-Norway, Sauherad municipality (TRF), 7 persons
In cases like this, the foreign service missions must contact the IOM and/or the UNHCR immediately, so that the travel can take place as soon as possible.
If the resettlement refugee is travelling from a country in which Norway does not have a foreign service mission, the UDI shall contact the MFA’s Section for Consular Affairs and Immigration as soon as possible. The MFA will let the UDI know whether the foreign service mission that covers the country in question can take responsibility for issuing a laissez-passer and an entry visa (D visa). If not, the MFA and the UDI must find another solution together.
Head of Department
Contact: The Asylum Department, Resettlement unit