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When will it be possible to travel freely to Sweden from the US again?

The US is still one of the countries affected by an entry ban to the EU via Sweden, but there are a few exceptions.

When will it be possible to travel freely to Sweden from the US again?
Tampa International Airport in the US. Photo: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Are US travellers exempt from the entry ban to Sweden?

No, not in general.

There is currently (and has been since March last year) a ban in place on travel to Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries (Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican count as EU/EEA countries for this purpose), although it is important to note that it is dependent on the country you travel from, not nationality or residency.

Only the following non-EU/EEA countries are currently exempt from the ban, which means you can travel to Sweden from them regardless of the purpose of travel, including tourism: Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. This is in accordance with the EU’s recommendations on entry restrictions and is based on how safe those countries are considered to be in terms of coronavirus.

Are there any other exceptions that do apply to US travellers?

If you are a Swedish citizen travelling from the US or elsewhere, you are always permitted to enter Sweden, but there are exceptions for foreign nationals, too.

These include: people who live in or are moving to live in Sweden or another EU country, people with a close family connection in Sweden (siblings or cousins are generally not included), people studying in Sweden, or people who are travelling for urgent family reasons or work in certain key jobs. That’s not an exhaustive list and you can find a full and up-to-date list on the Swedish police authority’s website.

Remember that it is up to you to bring evidence that prove you are covered by one of the exemptions, and it is up to the border police to decide whether or not to accept it. That will be done on the spot, and it is not possible to get advance approval.

Do I need to show a negative Covid-19 test?

It depends.

The requirement to show a negative Covid-19 test result applies only to adults over 18. It does not apply to Swedish citizens, nor to people who hold a residence permit (including if you’re moving for the first time), have urgent family reasons, work in the healthcare transport sector, work in goods transport, work in international police or customs work, are entitled to humanitarian protection, or who need urgent healthcare in Sweden. Note that the list of exceptions is not identical to the entry ban exceptions, so do make sure you check both categories.

Also note that the test must be no more than 48 hours old, and there are certain criteria that have to be met in terms of what types of tests and test certificates are accepted.

Even if you aren’t legally obliged to show a negative test on the border, everyone apart from young children are strongly recommended to get tested on the day of arrival in Sweden and again five days after that, and to self-isolate for at least seven days.

Can I come to Sweden if I’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19?

Proof of vaccination isn’t currently a factor in whether you are allowed to enter Sweden, so unless you’re covered by one of the exemptions above, the short answer is no.

This will probably change before the summer, with several plans for “vaccine passes” under way which would allow vaccinated people to travel more easily. The European Union is also working on developing a common framework for “digital certificates” among member states, with the bloc’s tourism chief announcing on Sunday that the certificates should be available within “two to three months”.

In the US meanwhile, President Joe Biden in January ordered agencies to start looking at developing an international vaccine certificate.

As more and more countries issue digital or physical certificates showing vaccination, antibodies or other immunity, Sweden is likely to include that in its entry requirement, probably in concert with other countries in the European Union.

Strictly speaking, you didn’t answer the question in the headline. Restrictions have been in place for a year now – when will it be possible to travel freely from the US to Sweden again?

Sorry, we tried to answer as much as we could! But unfortunately there is little we can say with certainty at the moment, as it depends on the health situation in both countries and how it develops in the future.

We can tell you that Sweden’s entry ban for non-EU/EEA travellers is currently in place until May 31st, but it has been extended several times in the past year, often at relatively short notice, so you may want to hold off on booking tickets for a June trip to Sweden.

Before travelling to Sweden, check with national authorities for information on the latest restrictions and exemptions – that’s the police and the government. Be aware that information provided elsewhere, for example on the ReOpen EU website, may not be up to date. The “updated” time shown at the top of the article you’re reading right now shows when The Local last confirmed the information on this page.

What happens when I arrive in Sweden?

First, remember to follow the advice to get tested on the day of arrival and on the fifth day, and to self-isolate for a week.

Then there are more guidelines to be aware of, such as observing social distancing and staying at home if you have symptoms. Face masks are recommended on public transport during rush hour (or all day in some regions). Be aware that the situation may change fast, so check Swedish crisis information site Krisinformation to make sure you’re aware of the current health and safety recommendations.

Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news in Sweden via The Local’s coronavirus page or our paywall-free blog.

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COVID-19

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

Covid-19 has not been classified as a "critical threat to society" in Sweden since April. But the Swedish Public Health Agency still recommends that everyone aged 12 and above get vaccinated. So when should you get your next dose?

When should I get my next dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Sweden?

As winter approaches, it’s a good time to check that you’re up to date on your booster shots.

If you’re aged 12 or older, the agency recommends that you should at least have completed your primary dose of the vaccine, which comprises two shots. Because vaccine efficacy wanes over time, if you are aged 18 and above, you should have already had your third dose.

The booster dose, called a påfyllnadsdos, can be administered a minimum of four months after the primary dose or the most recent booster. A booster shot is recommended even if you have tested positive for Covid-19 since your most recent vaccination, because the protection offered by a vaccine is more reliable than that offered by an infection.

The agency has also warned that the Omicron BA.5 variant spreads more easily than previous Covid-19 mutations.

Deliveries of two of the new vaccines targeting the new variant, Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 and Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron BA.1, have arrived in Sweden but have not yet reached all health regions, meaning it is not certain that if you will currently receive the updated vaccine. 

A third vaccine, an adapted version of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), is expected to arrive in Sweden in October. 

READ ALSO: When will the new Covid-19 vaccines be available in Sweden?

The höstdosen, or “autumn vaccine”

On September 1, the agency issued new guidelines for a höstdosen, or autumn vaccine dose.

During the campaign, all adults aged 18 and over who belong to an at-risk group are recommended to get a booster dose, as are seniors aged 65 and above. 

Risk categories include people who are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, have heart and lung diseases, or have Down syndrome.

You can get the autumn booster regardless of how many vaccine doses you may have received, which means it might be a fourth shot for some people, and a fifth for others.

The autumn vaccine is also available for those aged 18-64 who do not fall into any of the at-risk categories but would like a fourth dose. The Swedish Public Health Agency has said that regional health providers must make booster doses available to those who want them.

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Folkhälsomyndigheten

Chart showing recommended vaccination schedules. Chart: Swedish Public Health Agency

How do I get an appointment for the autumn dose? 

Region Stockholm has been offering appointments for an autumn vaccination to everyone over 18 since September 12th. You can book a dose through the Alltid Öppet app

In Region Skåne, the region responsible for healthcare in Malmö and Lund, appointments for an autumn vaccine have been available since August 22nd. Appointments are available for vaccinations in Region Stockholm, as are drop-in times at locations listed on 1177.se.

In Region Västergötland, the region responsible for healthcare in Gothenburg, health centres, or vårdcentraler, are prioritising people aged 80 and older.

Those in other categories, including at-risk adults 18 and older and seniors over 65, are requested to make their vaccination appointments with other providers through 1177.se

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