Sweden extends travel warning for non-EU countries beyond Easter

Sweden extends travel warning for non-EU countries beyond Easter
A man and a dog walk through an airport in the US, one of the countries to which Sweden has extended its travel warning. Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Sweden's foreign ministry has extended its advice against non-essential travel to non-EU countries by several months – beyond both the winter sports school break and the Easter holidays.

Sweden on Tuesday extended its advisory against non-essential international travel until April 15th, said Foreign Minister Ann Linde at a press conference. It had previously been set to expire on January 31st, although it has been extended several times since it was first introduced in mid-March last year.

The guidance relates to restrictions in place for travellers rather than being based on the spread of coronavirus infection in the countries. That is of course another reason to avoid non-essential travel, but the foreign ministry has lifted the advice against such travel to most countries in the EU, EEA or Schengen area.

That does not mean that travel within the EU is encouraged – Linde emphasised that travelling in general right now is “in no way risk-free” but added that it is easier to get home to Sweden from other EU countries if need be.

“But the way I see it you have to really think about whether it is necessary,” she said.

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A previous decision to reintroduce the advice against non-essential travel to the UK and Norway, over concerns of the spread of the new B117 variant of the coronavirus, remains in place until further notice.

The foreign ministry's advisory 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.

“Non-essential” travel includes for example tourism, but travelling for work normally counts as essential under the foreign ministry's rules. However, people are still urged to think twice before travelling, as restrictions may change fast (and it's worth bearing in mind that domestic and international travel is generally discouraged at the moment).

“Even if you have to carry out a necessary business trip you need to read up on what applies, follow the rules once you're there, and have a plan for your return journey,” said Linde.

This advice applies to residents of Sweden travelling elsewhere, and separate rules apply for travel from other countries to Sweden.

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