Sweden extends pandemic travel warning for non-EU countries into next year

The Swedish foreign ministry has extended its pandemic-related advisory against non-essential travel to all countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen area.

Sweden extends pandemic travel warning for non-EU countries into next year
Aircraft parked at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

As far as the Swedish foreign ministry's travel advice goes (and there may of course be several other reasons not to travel at this stage), Swedish residents can currently travel freely for any reason, including tourism, to:

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • The Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • The United Kingdom
  • The Vatican

For other countries in the EU (which currently leaves only Estonia, Ireland and Latvia) the warning remains in place until at least November 18th, 2020. And for countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen area, the advice against non-essential travel was on Monday extended from November 15th, 2020, to January 31st, 2021.

To any British readers wondering how Brexit will affect the UK's status, the Swedish foreign ministry has clarified that the travel warning remains lifted for the UK for now, and Monday's decision does not change that. But bear in mind that the UK last week reintroduced 14-day quarantine rules for travellers from Sweden.

Those dates are not set in stone, and could be extended or – perhaps less likely – scrapped early.

“There's great uncertainty, and it is not possible to predict when it will be possible to travel safely and freely around the world with regards to the corona pandemic and its consequences,” read a Swedish foreign ministry statement on Monday.

The foreign ministry's advice against non-essential travel is not a legally binding ban, but has other implications that residents in Sweden may want to take into account before deciding to travel, for example that your Swedish travel insurance may not be valid if you disregard the advice.

The guidance has been in place since an early stage in the pandemic, due to global uncertainty and travel bans. It relates to restrictions in place for travellers rather than being based on the spread of infection in the countries. But travel warnings for more and more countries have been lifted in the past couple of months.

However, this does not mean that there are no restrictions at all in countries that the foreign ministry has lifted its warning for.

Travellers may, for example, be asked to show a negative coronavirus test on arrival, and they are of course expected to comply with any other pandemic-related rules or recommendations in the country. In addition, some countries may have reintroduced quarantine without the Swedish foreign ministry changing its advisory.

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