Age Restrictions and Verification in Norway

In Norway, strict laws and procedures govern the age verification process when purchasing age-restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco, and OTC medicine.

Individuals are required to verify their age both physically and online to legally access these products. Physical IDs are used in person while online verification commonly involves the use of BankID.

BankID is recognized as a secure and trusted method of online age verification. As ecommerce and delivery services are expected to grow, so does the importance of age verification in protecting underage consumers.

In this blog post we will cover:

  • The age restrictions in various industries
  • A comparison of age restrictions between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
  • The current online age verification process
  • Use cases of online delivery services using BankID

Current age restrictions in Norway

Here are the existing Norwegian age restrictions across nine different industries:

Industry

Age restriction

Alcohol

The age limit for beverages that contain less than 22% alcohol is 18.

For beverages above 22% alcohol, individuals must be at least 20 years old to purchase, regardless of whether they buy from shops or consume alcohol at bars and restaurants.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicine

Purchasing OTC medicine differs depending on where it takes place. In pharmacies, there are no age restrictions: It’s up to the staff to consider whether the person is old enough. They are also entitled to inform the customer of the health risks involved.

The age restriction for purchasing OTC medicines in shops or online is 18.

Gambling

The age limit for all types of gambling and betting is 18 years.

Tobacco

Tobacco products can only be purchased by individuals aged 18 and above. This includes, cigarettes, snus, rolling tobacco, tobacco paraphernalia, tobacco surrogates, and tobacco imitation products.

Energy drinks

There has been a lot of debate regarding age restrictions on energy drinks. The Norwegian parliament and Forbrukerrådet want to implement an age limit of 16 but there is currently no such law in place.

Electric scooters

Riders of electric scooters in Norway must be at least 12 years of age. Also,wearing a helmet is compulsory until the rider is above 15.

This age limit may vary depending on the provider of the scooter. Many of them often set their own age limits of 16 or 18.

Solarium

Due to the risk of skin cancer at a young age, indoor tanning is limited to 18. There are also strict requirements to verify your age both online and in person to ensure that no underage people receive access.

Fireworks

Individuals must be at least 18 to buy and use fireworks in Norway. However, small sparklers may be purchased from the age of 12.

Driving a car

Like many other countries, you must be 18 years of age to acquire a driver’s license.


How does Norway compare to Denmark and Sweden?

When it comes to age restrictions, here’s how Norway compares to its neighbors Denmark and Sweden.

1. Alcohol

Similar to Norway, Sweden enforces an age limit of 20 for stronger beverages (above 3,5%), which can only be purchased at the state-owned Systembolaget. Beverages below 3,5% can only be bought by consumers above 18. 

In contrast, Denmark has more lax drinking restrictions. Consumers above the age of 16 can purchase beverages up to 16,5%, and those above 18 can purchase stronger drinks. All types of beverages can be purchased in grocery stores, corner stores, and other private distributors.

2. OTC medicine

In terms of purchasing OTC medicine, Norway is different to Sweden where you have to be above 18, whether you’re buying at regular shops or pharmacies. In Denmark, there’s a general age restriction of 15. However, to purchase painkillers and group HX18 OTC medicines, you must be at least 18.

3. Driver's license, fireworks, tobacco, and gambling

Areas such as driving a car, purchasing fireworks, tobacco, and gambling are set at 18. In contrast, Denmark has a few minor exceptions for the driver’s license and fireworks. It's possible to acquire a driving license at 17 if the driver is accompanied by a person above 30 and lives up to a list of requirements. In terms of fireworks, it’s possible to buy smaller fireworks if you’re above 15.

4. Energy drinks

None of the countries have a limit on energy drinks, but there has been a lot of debate about it. Danish associations have been inspired by Norwegian movements and talks regarding an age restriction of 16. In Sweden, no law is in place, but the Swedish grocery trade (Svensk dagligvaruhandel) implemented an age limit of 15 in physical shops thanks to a national agreement in 2009.

5. Electric scooters

Norway and Denmark both have age restriction on riding electric scooters: 12 and 15 years, respectively. In Sweden, there’s no official limit, but many providers decide to incorporate a restriction of 18.

6. Solarium

Like in Norway, indoor sunbathing in Sweden is also restricted to 18. This was introduced in 2018 to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Denmark is the odd one, as there’s currently no age limit on using solariums.

Online age verification in Norway

The online verification process is not strictly regulated and differs slightly depending on the industry.

For alcohol, the same rules apply both for physical and online sales. It is illegal to sell alcohol online to anyone below the age of 18. The law does not specify how, but companies must perform some form of a trustworthy verification process.

From March 11, 2024, Vinmonopolet made it possible to verify one’s age through the Norwegian BankID app, digitizing the process and making verification more flexible. BankID can also be used at physical points of sale, for delivery, and at self-service checkout desks.

To order medicine, consumers must verify their age with a digital identity like BankID.

In solariums, access is strictly limited to consumers above 18—they need to order the tanning session online and verify their age digitally. This process must be done through an ID that offers the same level of security as those used in ID-porten, such as BankID.

Another area where age verification has been discussed is social media. Despite the age restriction of 13 on many platforms, almost half of Norway's 9-year-olds have a social media account. The Norwegian government aims to change the law to require social media platforms to implement a clear age verification system. One of the systems discussed is BankID. With BankID, children under the age of 13 would be prohibited from acquiring and logging into social media accounts.

The benefits of Norwegian BankID for age verification

Using BankID for age verification has the following advantages:

  • Security: BankID verifications always include the date of birth, ensuring the individual’s age. BankID with biometrics operates at an Assurance level of “Substantial” (in accordance with eIDAS), and regular BankID or BankID on mobile can be used for level “High” if necessary.
  • User experience: BankID with biometrics rolled out in 2022–2023 and significantly simplified the user experience. Users can complete a verification with biometric features like face ID or fingerprint in under 10 seconds. They also don’t need to remember passwords when verifying their age, so the process is both fast and frictionless.
  • Widespread adoption: BankID has 4,5 million users and is regularly used for identity verification for both private and public services. This makes it a natural choice for age verification in Norway.

Use cases: Delivery services and BankID age verification

In the next five years, the online food delivery service industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.48%. Many delivery services are offer not only food but also alcohol, OTC medicine, nicotine, and tobacco products.

Several delivery services already offer secure age verification with BankID. 

Read some of these real life use cases below.

foodora

foodora is a leading food and beverage delivery service in Scandinavia.

To adhere to the law, all users have to verify their age with BankID before placing an order for age-restricted products. This lets foodora ensure that every user is above the legal age and to continue providing a responsible delivery service.

foodora implemented BankID with Criipto.

Read the full customer story >

Aviant

Aviant is Scandinavia's first home delivery service using drones.

The innovative company currently delivers everyday products, groceries, and ready meals to Norwegian consumers through the air.

Aviant needed to ensure that users ordering OTC medicine were above the age of 18. The most efficient and secure way to verify a user’s age was through BankID. 

BankID was integrated with Criipto and added to the customer journey before checkout.

Read the full customer story >

Want to learn more about digital age verification?

Subscribe to our newsletter further down and stay up to date with age verification news.

 If you’d like to learn more, read these articles on age verification and restrictions in Sweden and Denmark:

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