Can I use a foreign Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter Sweden?

Can I use a foreign Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter Sweden?
'Green card' vaccine certificates are set to be launched in late June, but it's not currently clear how people in Sweden who were vaccinated overseas can access them. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT
The short answer is that this hasn't yet been made clear, but here's a look at what the EU and Sweden have said on the subject.

I was vaccinated overseas and want to enter Sweden. Can I?

For now, proof of Covid-19 vaccination is not in itself enough to exempt you from Sweden’s entry bans, or from the requirements for a negative Covid-19 test and to isolate on arrival.

At the time of writing, this means that if you are travelling from another EU/EEA country, you can enter Sweden for any purpose, so long as you can show a negative coronavirus test that is less than 48 hours old. Residents and citizens of Sweden, as well as a few other categories, are exempt from the test requirement. Everyone (except for a few more narrow categories, such as cross-border commuters and students) is asked to isolate for seven days on arrival in Sweden, and proof of vaccination does not currently exempt you from that.

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If you are travelling from outside the EU, you can only enter Sweden if you show a negative coronavirus test no older than 48 hours, and also fall into a category exempt from the entry ban: that includes Swedish citizens or residents, or people who meet one of a list of exceptions, for example travel for urgent family reasons. 

I live in Sweden but was vaccinated overseas. How will I get the “green card” for travel within the EU?

Sweden plans to issue everyone with a digital green card (called Gröna Beviset in Swedish) as part of an EU-wide initiative to facilitate travel.

At the time of writing, it is not yet available, but the target date is late June, according to the Swedish eHealth Agency. Two things need to happen first: the European Parliament needs to make a decision on its own vaccine certificate regulation (which is expected on June 26th) and then the Swedish authorities need to launch their e-service.

You will need to have a Swedish digital ID (like BankID) to get the digital certificate – though the eHealth Agency says “the authorities are working to make it possible to obtain a vaccination certificate without the requirement for e-identification” – and you need to have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

If you were vaccinated in an EU country, the situation should be quite straightforward. The eHealth Agency has told The Local, “If you were vaccinated in an EU country, you can get a green card from that country”.

For people who received their vaccine outside the EU, it’s less simple. The Local has contacted Sweden’s eHealth Agency and asked whether these people will be able to get the green card, and what they need to do. 

We were told: “We are currently working on this issue and will get back to you with a clarification as soon as we can.”

Do I need the green card in order to travel from Sweden?

No, travel will continue to be dependent on countries’ individual entry requirements. The aim of the card is to make travel simpler within the EU, but it is likely you would be able to travel without it, subject to the entry requirements of your destination country. For example, you may need to show a recent negative Covid-19 test before travelling, or quarantine on arrival, in the same way that applies in many countries today.

The eHealth Agency is also working on including things like proof of a negative Covid-19 test, or even proof of recent infection and recovery from Covid-19, to the online green card, but this will not be part of the first version.

Does Sweden have separate guidelines for vaccinated people?

At the moment, no. People who have been vaccinated have been told they may expand their circles of close contacts slightly (for example, if they were only meeting one family member previously, they may meet another family member), but since the national recommendation is to “limit your social contacts to a close circle”, there aren’t separate sets of guidelines – it’s all a matter of judgment.

While some countries are allowing vaccinated people greater access to restaurants or shops (usually with the same options available to people who can provide a recent negative Covid-19 test as well), this is not the case in Sweden. Public health authorities have said their focus is on reducing the level of the spread of infection so that society can open up in general, rather than having different guidelines for vaccinated people.

So the green card will not affect your ability to access, for example, shops, restaurants or events within Sweden, although in future it may be used domestically within Sweden if the government decides on this.


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