Explained: What you need to know about travelling to Sweden this summer

The Local Sweden
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Explained: What you need to know about travelling to Sweden this summer
People with suitcases waiting for a platform at Stockholm Central: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

As Sweden prepares to welcome visitors and tourists this summer, restrictions remain in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. But for those living outside the EU/EEA, a holiday to Sweden may have to wait.


Who can travel to Sweden this summer?

Citizens or people travelling from EU/EEA countries including the UK, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland can enter Sweden with no restrictions. There is no quarantine or testing for arrivals from these countries.

But some countries have their own restrictions on whether overseas travel is allowed and the conditions for doing so. Those returning to the UK for example, will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Check with the authorities in your country of departure to find out if there are any quarantine requirements or other restrictions on visiting Sweden, such as advice against travel -- these could have implications for things like the validity of your travel insurance. 


Can I travel to Sweden from outside the EU?

This is more complicated. 

Since mid-March, Sweden has had a ban on arrivals to the country from outside the EU/EEA. This is an EU-wide measure currently in place until June 30th.

In other words, if you are planning to simply come on holiday or visit family or friends in Sweden, this is not possible if you are travelling from a country outside the EU/EEA and do not hold citizenship of Sweden or an EU/EEA country.

And it's not a guarantee that this will possible later in summer, as the ban may be further extended.

However at the beginning of June, the government announced changes which made it easier for people outside the EU/EEA with a residence permit in Sweden to join family in Sweden. So if you're making a long-term move to live in Sweden, you will be allowed to enter.

"In such cases, there is no requirement that the person entering Sweden has their home in Sweden at the time of entry," the government said. Previously, people needed to provide proof that they had an "established home" in Sweden.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT


Are there any exceptions?

There are exceptions to the ban on entry from non-EU countries, including if you have an urgent family need to travel to Sweden.

According to Swedish Police, all decisions regarding the application of exceptions will be made upon arrival at the border crossing point, and the Swedish Police Authority is not able to issue any kind of certifications or pre-approval notes in advance. If you fall into one of the below categories, it's a good idea to have all your relevant documents to hand when you arrive.

Swedish police state that the following groups are exempted from the entry ban:

  • Swedish citizens
  • Citizens of another EEA state, the UK, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican, or family members of an EEA national, citizen of the UK, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican, if they are returning home
  • Individuals with a residence permit in Sweden or another EEA  state, who are returning home
  • Holders of a national visa for Sweden, if returning home
  • Individuals moving to live in Sweden, if they have family ties to Swedish citizens or legal residents. Family ties can be e.g. spouse, common law partner and children. In such cases there is no requirement for the person who is entering Sweden, to live in Sweden at the time of entry
  • People travelling for urgent family reasons
  • Family members of Swedish citizens working for a Swedish company, a Swedish government agency or an international organisation abroad, if the employer is taking the employee and/or his or her family members home.
  • People travelling to work in essential functions in Sweden such as health care professionals, the transportation of goods such as food and medicines, and seasonal workers employed in agriculture, forestry and horticulture.

Travelling to visit friends and family, if this is not for urgent reasons, and travel for tourism purposes, are not therefore allowed from outside the EU.

Can I travel within Sweden?

Yes. If you are in one of the groups allowed to travel to Sweden, there are no restrictions on travel within the country. Everyone in Sweden who is healthy is free to travel around Sweden - something that changed on June 13th. But if you exhibit any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay at home and not have any contact with others.

Those in groups at high risk of serious illness from coronavirus, are still advised not to travel too far from home, and to avoid all environments where there are close social contacts.

If you don't fall into those categories, you can travel within Sweden, but are still expected to follow the guidelines currently in place to limit the spread of the virus.

Photo: Jessica Gow / TT


Which guidelines do I have to follow?

Sweden's guidance for the public applies to tourists and other visitors as well as residents. 

Measures put in place by the government include maintaining good hand hygiene, keeping distance from others in public, and limiting social contacts. There is also a ban of gatherings of more than 50, and everyone is asked to avoid larger gatherings. Find a full list of the guidelines here.

These restrictions may affect your trip in other ways, for example with limited seats available on trains. Of course, many of the large events that usually take place are cancelled, but there are other ways to enjoy the summer in a safe way.

At locations like campsites, tourist sights, and restaurants which can expect increased footfall during the summer month, Sweden's Public Health Agency said it expected "strengthened checks" on how the guidelines were working.

The Swedish Tourist Association, which operates cabin accommodation along some of Sweden's hiking trails, has made 44 of its cabins in northern Sweden available only to those who book and pay in advance. This is to ensure the company can avoid crowding and have a picture of how many people will visit at any one time.

People staying in tents will only be able to use the kitchens at certain times, guests must bring their own bedsheet and pillow case, and the company will try to ensure that only people from the same party will share rooms.

Hotel chain Scandic has also made changes, using markers to show how to keep distance by reception desks and lifts, reducing the seats in restaurants and public areas, and offering individually packaged breakfasts throughout 2020 rather than the typical buffet. Items such as notepads, pens and other loose objects have also been removed from rooms to reduce the risk of surface transmission.



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