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Tight connections in Oslo - is there customs in Oslo after connection in Iceland?

We are going to fly from Denver via Reykjavik to Oslo on Icelandair, then fly out of Oslo to Alesund on Norwegian air the same day. We bought the Icelandiar and Norwegian air tickets separately. We had a nice 2 hour layover, but then Norwegian air announced today they are changing the flight schedule, so we now have only 1 hr 20 minutes. Ahhhh!

I understand that both Iceland and Norway are part of the "Schengen" area for unified customs/immigration control. Will we just go through customs and immigration once when we change planes in Reykjavik and not in Oslo? This would save us some time. We seem to remember that the last time we went through Iceland to another Schengen country a couple years back we went through customs in Iceland and not in the final country.

Anybody done this route?

Do you think we have enough time?


Posted by
16894 posts

You do go through immigration in Iceland. I have not been to that airport, but I believe it's pretty small. Will you have checked luggage or carry-on?

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for the comment.

Unfortunately we have checked luggage so we will have to retrieve this in Oslo and then check it in to the next flight. (We bought two tickets so cannot check bags through)

Posted by
5837 posts

...went through customs in Iceland....

You more than likely went through passport/immigration control in Iceland. Customs is usually at the point you collect or would your checked baggage. Oslo's customs is basically self regulated with most walking through "nothing to declare" even after they stocked up on alcohol at the duty free.

After retrieving you checked bags and exiting customs you would need to go to the departure level, recheck bags and go through security.

My nephew had to pay for his checked bag on Norwegian Air. It was suppose to be cheaper prepaying via Internet but he had difficulty getting his or his parents cards (Visa?) accepted on line. The also didn't take cash (in New York), but his sister's Master Card worked in New York.

Posted by
4175 posts

We are researching a similar trip using Iceland Air. I think you can also fly them from Keflavik to Alesund (through Oslo or Copenhagen).

Did you choose to switch to Norwegian because of price or schedule or both?

The last time we flew Iceland Air, we cleared passport control and customs at KEF and not Frankfurt, our final destination.

Posted by
8889 posts

"understand that both Iceland and Norway are part of the "Schengen" area for unified customs/immigration control". Not quite.

  • "Schengen" is a Passport Union, that is a common immigration control.
  • The EU is a Customs Union, that is a common customs area

Most countries in mainland Europe are in both Schengen and the EU, that is why there are no border controls or customs checks when travelling from France to Germany, or Spain to Greece,
But, Iceland and Norway are not in the EU, so travelling from Reykjavik to Oslo involves customs but not passport/immigration control. But if you stay 'airside' within the airport (AKA transit) at Reykjavik, you will not go through Iĉelandic immigration and have to go through both passport and customs at Oslo.

Conversly, the UK is in the EU but not in Schengen. Thta is why travelling from France to the UK (or vice-versa) you go through passport/immigration control but not customs.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks everyone for your comments and knowledge. I did not realize that the Schengen area was for Immigration control and not customs. Learn something new every day!

We chose these flights because the connections were great (when I booked) with 2 hour layover in Oslo, price was right, and I could not find these connections on the search engines I was using - like Hipmunk - so we had to book two separate tickets. Icelandair does not fly to Alesund - not even through their partner airlines.

We have flown Icelandair before from Denver and the connections through Iceland are great - small airport, short layover, all controlled more or less by one airline. So we wanted to book Icelandair (and avoid United like the plague, as well as any change of plane in Frankfurt which we do not like).