The rule change means that people who can present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate issued in Albania, Andorra, the Faroe Islands, Israel, Morocco, Monaco or Panama will be exempt from both the ban on entry from most non-EU/EEA countries, and from the requirement to show a negative Covid-19 test on arrival in Sweden. This change will come into effect starting on September 27th.
“This should be seen as a step in a gradual and responsible opening of travel to Sweden for vaccinated people from other countries,” the government said in a statement announcing the rule change.
It comes after the European Commission said that vaccination certificates from these countries could be considered equivalent to those issued within the EU.
Under current Swedish travel rules, entry from most non-EU countries is not permitted unless the traveller falls into one of several exempt categories. Those categories include all Swedish residents and EU citizens, as well as people travelling for urgent family reasons and certain business travel, as well as from a small number of non-EU countries considered as “safe”, for example.
This ban came into force on March 19th, 2020, initially for 30 days but has been extended multiple times since then. It is currently in place until at least October 31st, 2021.
The EU recommends that member states allow vaccinated travellers (at least those who have received a Covid vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, EMA) to travel to their countries from outside the EU, but Sweden has so far not followed that principle.
Early in September, the Swedish government said it was “exploring the possibility” of exempting “fully vaccinated residents of certain third countries”, including the UK and US, but offered no indication as to when that might happen.
On Thursday, the government said: “Additional countries, including the United Kingdom, are awaiting a decision from the European Commission in the near future. The intention is to continuously add more countries to the Swedish rules [exempting them from the entry ban and negative test requirement] following Commission decisions. The Government will provide information about this on an ongoing basis.”