We recommend students staying two semesters or more to apply for a Norwegian personal identification number as soon as you have registered at the local police. Apply for this number at the local tax office (Skatt Nord). When your ID number is issued, you are automatically a member of the Norwegian fee-based National Insurance Scheme (NIS). For more information, please check studyinnorway.no
If you are in doubt about your rights, please contact the Student Counselling Centre.
- National Insurance Scheme (NIS)
If you are from a European Union country, you will need to show proof of insurance from your home country covering the entire first year of your studies (usually the European Health Card). However, you may also be entitled to a Norwegian membership. Please contact the International Student Counsellor for assistance.
Students from countries outside the EU who are staying for one year or more don’t need to bring health insurance from their home country. However, please note that per the rules of the NIS, if you require medical care you must cover up to NOK 2,185 (2016 rate) per calendar year of your medical expenses before being entitled to free care.
- Need to see a doctor?
Getting a regular GP
When your Norwegian ID is confirmed, you will receive an invitation letter by mail to register for a regular GP. There are many medical centres throughout the city. We generally advise you to choose a doctor at a medical centre located close to where you live or with a direct bus connection from your student housing. Younger doctors tend to be more fluent in English than, while some students will prefer a male or female doctor. You are welcome to contact the International Student Counsellor for assistance.
You can choose your regular GP online, but you will require electronic ID (e.g. bank ID).
Alternatively, you can call the national telephone hotline (800 43 573) for assistance. The Student Counselling Centre can help you to make that call. For information in English, please check helsenorge.no
Why should you go choose a regular GP? The consultation fees are lower when you use your regular GP than when using other medical centres or clinics, such as the emergency clinic. It may also be an advantage to consult the same doctor each time you require medical assistance. He or she will remember you and can easily check notes/results from previous consultations.
Consultation fees will vary depending on whether you consult your regular GP or not, whether your consultation is in the daytime or evenings and whether specialist equipment and/or lab tests are required. In general, consulting your regular GP is cheaper than the emergency clinic. Fees will vary from NOK 141 to 250 per consultation. Consultations during pregnancy are free of charge. Hospital consultations with specialists are more expensive. For more information, please check helsetorget.no
What to do if you need to consult a doctor
How to get the help you need will depend on the urgency of the matter and the type of help you require. There is a distinction between regular consultations and emergency consultations.
Regular consultations and access to specialist treatment
A regular consultation implies that you can wait a few days from when you contact the medical centre to arrange the appointment until you have the appointment without your health problem becoming more severe. If you are unsure of whether you need an emergency consultation or not, you may discuss this with the receptionist when you call to make the appointment. You will find out which medical centre to call when signing up for a regular GP.
If you think your problem requires specialist treatment, you still need to book an appointment with your regular GP first. Following the consultation, he/she will refer you to a hospital specialist if necessary. You cannot go straight to the hospital and ask to see a specialist.
If the reason for seeing a doctor relates to sexuality, contraceptives or pregnancy, we recommend you to use the Student Health Clinic instead of your regular GP as services at the health clinic are free of charge for students.
- Emergency consultation
If an urgent matter arises and you need to consult a doctor the same day, your medical centre usually reserves some appointments each day for emergencies. These are normally allocated in the morning, so if you call too late in the day there may be no emergency consultations left that day. Some medical centres have drop-in appointments for emergencies in the morning, but this varies from place to place. The opening hours for most medical centres is 8am - 4pm Monday to Friday.
If you have an emergency after 4pm or at night, go to the Emergency Clinic (Legevakt) beside the university hospital. Simply turn up and take a queue number when you enter. A general consultation at the emergency clinic costs around NOK 240.
If you are in doubt of whether you need to consult a doctor, you can contact the Emergency Clinic in advance by phone: (+47) 116 117.
If you have a serious accident or injury, the emergency number to call an ambulance is: (+47) 113.
- Need to See a Dentist
Dental care in Norway is privatised and is not covered by the Norwegian insurance scheme. Consequently, it is very expensive. Fortunately, there is a clinic on campus operated by dentistry students and, providing they have capacity, you may get an appointment at half the cost of a regular dentist. For more information, please check: http://www.tromsfylke.no/Tjenester/Tannhelse/Offentlige-tannklinikker/Universitetstannklinikken
To find a regular dentist, check www.1881.no and look under “Tannlege”. In the event of an emergency after office hours, go to the emergency clinic (Legevakt). Refer to Need to see a Doctor.
If you have any questions regarding your rights or procedures, please contact the Student Counselling Centre.
- General Advice – Common Ailments
If you have a common cold, you generally don’t need to consult a doctor. Symptoms include a sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing and moderate cough and will often last about two weeks. A slight temperature for the first three days is also common. This is caused by a virus, which cannot be treated by medicine. It is recommended that you take it easy, drink a lot of liquids and cut out physical exercise if you are feeling run down. If the fever lasts more than three days and you get worse instead of better, it is a good idea to consult a doctor.
Influenza resembles a cold but is accompanied by muscle pain and a higher temperature from the start. You feel sick and run down and the temperature may last for a week or so. You don’t generally need to consult a doctor for influenza either unless you experience fever for several days. We don’t advise taking antibiotics to treat a cold or influenza unless a doctor assesses your condition and recommends you do so.
It is important to dress in warm woollen clothing and sensible footwear to suit the climate. Stay active if you are out in the cold for a longer period. Frostbite can occur if you are outside for a long time and are not dressed appropriately. If you suspect frostbite (usually in extremities such as fingers, toes, nose and ears), you should gradually warm yourself up without rubbing the affected area or running hot water on it.
If you are in doubt or need advice about this or other health issues, please contact the Student Counselling Centre for advice.
Polar Night and Midnight Sun – some common reactions to different light conditions
Students arriving in the autumn will experience a gradual darkening day by day until the Polar Night is at its darkest on 21 December. In Tromsø, the Polar Night (when the sun does not rise above the horizon) lasts for two months, from 21 November – 21 January. It will not be completely dark the whole time, but is like twilight for several hours in the middle of the day. From 21 December, it will gradually become brighter day-by-day. Students arriving in the spring will experience the brightening.
In Tromsø, the Midnight Sun (when the sun does not rise drop below the horizon) starts around 20 May and the longest day is 21 June. From then onwards, the days will gradually become shorter, and the Midnight Sun season end around 21 July although it will still be bright at night for some time.
Some students may react to these changes in light conditions. During the darkness of the Polar Night, common reactions include a feeling a lack of energy or disturbed sleep patterns. A conscious focus on nutrition, being outdoors for a while during the middle of the day or visiting the Polar Night Café in the morning in front of full spectrum lamps may help. During the bright nights in summer, students may find it hard to sleep in the evenings. The best advice is to cover your bedroom window so the room is dark when you are trying to fall asleep. Moreover, if you are kept awake by the sound of bird singing at night, try closing your window.
If you experience severe problems, please contact the Student Counselling Centre.
- Need other Health Services?
In addition to the staff at the Student Health Clinic, a general practitioner can also provide guidance counselling regarding contraceptives. They will write prescriptions for birth-control pills, fit a diaphragm or insert an IUD. You can buy condoms at any supermarket or get them for free from the Student Counselling Centre or the Student Health Clinic.
Women in Norway have free choice when it comes to abortion. This means the woman has the final decision of whether to have an abortion or not. This is a very difficult situation to make. The International Student Counsellor, a general practitioner or the staff at the Student Health Clinic are available to discuss the situation with you, and to provide counselling and support.
Unless it is necessary to see a specialist due to a medical condition, eye tests are not covered by the NIS. You may arrange a basic eye test through certain opticians in the city centre (where spectacles are sold). The cost of spectacles is not covered by the NIS.
People from countries where malaria is widespread may have a considerable degree of inherent immunity to this type of illness. However, two or more years of residence in a country that is malaria-free, such as Norway, will reduce this immunity. You are therefore advised to seek guidance before travelling home. For advice, please contact the Vaccination Office, +47 777 56 280.
Apart from remedies for common colds or fevers, medicine is normally only available at pharmacies and you will generally require a doctor’s prescription. You can buy remedies for common colds and fevers at supermarkets and, if necessary, you can ask the staff for assistance. You generally need to pay for any medicine yourself. However, if you suffer from a chronic or serious illness, you will be given a 'blue' prescription, which entitles the holder to subsidised medicine at the pharmacy.
Mental Health Services
Services at the Student Counselling Centre are confidential and free of charge. We often experience that if you have struggled with some issues in your life prior to moving to Norway, they may reappear. It’s easy to get an appointment and we offer drop-in appointments for urgent matters.
A varied diet is important for good health. It’s especially important in this part of the world to get enough vitamins during the winter by eating vitamin rich foods, taking multi-vitamins and cod liver oil (in liquid or capsule form). Human skin is unable to convert sufficient nutrients from the diet to vitamins A and D in the weak light we have during the winter. Further information will be given at information meetings during the autumn, but feel free to ask the counsellor if you have any questions.
You will find pharmacies in the city centre, at the Jekta Shopping Centre and at the hospital. Outside regular opening hours, VitusApotek Svanen (Killengreens gate 5, Austadbygget, phone: 77 21 26 00) is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 6pm – 8pm for emergencies. An extra charge applies for non-prescription items during this period. In the event of emergencies, the Emergency Clinic (Legevakta) also has some prescription medicines available after hours.
Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Pregnancy tests may be taken at the Student Health Clinic free of charge. Health care, including all prenatal checks, is free for pregnant women. Please contact the International Student Counsellor for further information on benefits and assistance. Please note that pregnant students will not be expelled from the university. If students choose to have babies, maternity leave from the university can be granted on request.
The most common STD in Norway is chlamydia which if untreated can result in infertility or other problems. Effective medicines are available to treat this illness quickly. Herpes and venereal warts can also be transmitted sexually. Gonorrhoea and syphilis occur as well, but their frequency has decreased significantly. Although HIV (AIDS) is not very common in Norway, it is present and it is important to take precautions. Choose your partner carefully and use a condom. If you worry about whether you are infected or if you need counselling or professional advice, please contact the Student Health Clinic.
All services are confidential and free of charge