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Getting to Longyearbyen
When you have accepted a course of study at UNIS, you should arrive on, or a few days before the deadline specified in the acceptance letter.
There are two airline carriers that fly to Svalbard: Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Norwegian. Both companies have discounts for travellers under 26 (search for youth ticket at www.sas.no or use the campaign code UNDER26 at Norwegian). The travelling time is about 1.5 hours from Tromsø and about 3 hours from Oslo (if direct flight).
Important: Identity control of travelers to and from Svalbard
The identity of all travellers to Svalbard will be checked both upon entry and departure. This applies to both Norwegian citizens and foreign nationals. Passports, or national identity cards, satisfy Schengen regulation requirements for identity verification.
No visa is required for staying in Svalbard. If you are an international student from outside the European Union and travelling to Svalbard through Norway, you are required to obtain a transit visa if citizens of your country need a visa to go to Norway.
Visa/information for foreign students
- Please see the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration’s webpage for more information about visa regulations.
- More important public information about coming to Norway can be found here: Norway.no
- More important public information about coming to Svalbard can be found at the webpage of The Governor of Svalbard:
The student housing facilities in Longyearbyen are owned and administered by The Arctic Student Welfare Organisation (Norges Arktiske Studentsamskipnad). You have to apply for housing directly via Samskipnaden’s webpage.
Longyearbyen is a small city, and the airport is only a couple of minutes outside the city centre. To get from the airport to the student housing at Elvesletta you have to take the airport shuttle bus (costs NOK 70), or a taxi. You can pay the ticket in cash (NOK), or by card.
Make sure you have your housing information with you when you arrive. In the housing information you will find your house number, floor number and room number. The door to your room will be unlocked, and you will find your key inside your room.
If you have any questions regarding your housing, please contact the housing staff at email Svalbard@samskipnaden.no.
Spring semester students attending full semester bachelor courses, in addition to students following the AGF-301/801 + AGF-304/804 courses must participate in the Arctic Survival and Safety Course; AS-101. All other students join a mandatory safety course the first day(s) of the UNIS course period.
All students must participate in UNIS safety training in the initial phase of their stay at UNIS. The students will be introduced to some of the safety guidelines that apply in Svalbard. The safety guidelines form a foundation, upon which the students may continue to build.
UNIS has no responsibility for activities during leisure time. Students must make necessary preparations and safety precautions for private trips. In preparation of your UNIS stay you can have a look at the UNIS Health, Safety and Environment webpages concerning safety issues.
The UNIS campus
UNIS is the core institution of the Svalbard Science Centre, an international Arctic centre of expertise in research and education, inaugurated in April 2006. Other professional and scientific institutions in Svalbard, such as The Norwegian Polar Institute and Svalbard Science Forum, are also located in the building.
Campus facilities UNIS building
UNIS can offer new modern lab facilities, PC labs, wireless network all over the building (Eduroam), study rooms and a modern library.
There are a limited number of study rooms that have individual computer network connection for all desks. Subject to availability, students may connect their personal computers to the UNIS computer network and internet in these rooms.
Students also have access to computers in the PC labs, which should be used for educational purposes only. Everyone will have their own personal quota for copying and printing at UNIS. Additional copies and printing can be bought in the reception. Note that students are responsible for all other required study materials.
Students who stay in Longyearbyen for more than one week will obtain a key to the building. This gives the students access to the building 24 hours a day.
Campus facilities Elvesletta
The student housing at Elvesletta has a nice working space on the ground floor, for individual or group work (area A). As a student you can access the learning area at Elvesletta with your student housing key. If you are renting accommodation privately you can get access to the learning area by borrowing a key from the UNIS reception.
The learning area is open from 06:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Access to internet (WiFi) goes through Samskipnaden. Some of the working stations have screens that can be connected to personal computers.
Rifle/polar bear protection
To be allowed to rent a rifle from UNIS you must have:
- A valid license for owning a fire-arm similar to what UNIS have (rifle, shotgun or handgun)
- An approval from the police that you are allowed to rent a rifle
How to get this approval:
- Norwegian citizens without a proof of residence on Svalbard (typically short-term students, guest lecturers and others that are staying on Svalbard for a short period) must apply to their hometown police authorities to get this approval.
- Foreign citizens must apply directly to the Governor on Svalbard. You might be asked to upload a letter of good conduct from the police in your home country.
Common for both categories above are that you need to document sufficient skills in rifle handling as part of your application. The UNIS Polar bear/rifle course is recognized as a qualifying course. The Norwegian “Jegerprøven” (hunters license), completed military service or activity in an approved shooting organization is also approved as documented skills. It is the applicant’s duty to enclose such documentation with his/her loan application.
Time schedule and safety training
Below you will find a link to the time schedule called TimeEdit. In TimeEdit you will find details such as when and where your lectures and safety training will start. Make sure you check TimeEdit often, as changes occur.
I takes approximately 5 minutes to walk from Elvesletta to UNIS. There is no public transport in Longyearbyen.
Opening hours of Svalbardbutikken (the one and only supermarket):
When you arrive at UNIS you’ll be given a letter with start-up information including username/password for accessing the UNIS Wi-Fi and computers. You will also be given a personal ID-card, this also gives you access to the UNIS building outside office hours. Contact the UNIS Reception during office hours 08:00-15:30 to collect both welcome letter and ID-card. If you are a former UNIS student and already have an ID-card, please bring it with you so it can be revitalized.
Semester fee and course cost
There is no tuition fee at UNIS, but to attend a course at UNIS all students must pay a semester fee of NOK 670 (ca. EUR 60). Students already registered at a Norwegian university pay the semester fee to their home university (accessible via StudWeb). Students who are not registered at a Norwegian institution will receive an invoice upon arrival.
For some courses there is also a course specific cost for board and lodging during field work. The cost is specified in the course description and must be paid in the reception.