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EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Sweden in October?

People celebrate the re-opening of nightclubs in central Stockholm
People celebrate the re-opening of nightclubs in central Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
With changes to Covid-19 and travel restrictions as well as other things to look out for, here's an overview of what Sweden's October changes mean to you.

    Sweden’s global travel advisory lifted

    As of October, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry no longer advises against non-necessary overseas travel. Throughout the crisis, the advisory has been extended and some countries had already been removed from the advice.

    The ministry’s advice against travel was never legally binding, but it has important implications, for example linked to validity of travel insurance or availability of consular help for those who travelled against the advice.

    Travel from Sweden overseas will still be affected by the rules in your destination country, so it’s important to keep up to date with regulations in the country you wish to travel to. For example, from October 4th, the UK will no longer require people fully vaccinated from ‘amber’ countries (which includes Sweden) to present a negative test on arrival, while Australia has announced plans to re-open its border for the first time since the pandemic began, although only from November.

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    Changes to Sweden’s entry ban

    The entry ban on travel into Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries is currently in place until October 31st, but could be extended again. Exemptions to this ban include those living in Sweden, EU citizens, those travelling for certain purposes such as urgent family reasons and vital work, or those travelling from certain low-infection countries which are decided at the EU level. 

    It is likely that further exceptions to the ban will be introduced soon. Fully vaccinated people travelling from seven non-EU countries were exempted from the ban as of late September, and the government has said it is working on exemptions for vaccinated travellers from other countries including the UK and possibly the US.

    Events and hospitality are open again

    Most of Sweden’s pandemic restrictions were lifted at the end of September, so October will be the first month since spring 2020 with no recommendations on working from home or legal restrictions in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and large events.

    New guidelines for unvaccinated people

    While most of Sweden’s pandemic guidelines have been lifted, adults who are not fully vaccinated are subject to specific recommendations (unless they were advised against vaccination). These include continuing to keep a distance from everyone outside your close circle, being particularly careful to avoid close contact with people in risk groups, and avoiding places with a possibility of crowding. Authorities have said that in practice this means unvaccinated people should avoid bars, clubs and large events.

    These restrictions do not have a specific end date – the People’s Health Agency will keep them as long as they are “motivated from the perspective of infection control or public health”, so it is hard to say whether they will be lifted in October.

    Vaccinations offered to 12-15-year-olds

    Originally planned to start in November, the Public Health Agency is now recommending that vaccination of 12-15 year olds start in October, with many regions already having opened booking for a start date of October 11th. Vaccinations of this age group will be carried out in dialogue with schools.

    Possible updates to Sweden’s vaccine pass for foreign residents

    Many people in Sweden who lack a personnummer (personal number) have been unable to access the country’s vaccine pass, as The Local has reported.

    The eHealth Agency are due to present their plan to the government on 1st October to resolve the issue of access. When The Local contacted the agency on September 30th they were unable to share any details, but this could mean that people without a personnummer will soon be able to access the pass. 

    Several forms of pandemic compensation end

    Sweden introduced several temporary benefits and policies to support individuals and companies through the pandemic, several of which end as of October 1st.

    This means that the first day of sickness will again be unpaid (this is known as a karensavrag or ‘waiting period’ in Swedish), a doctor’s note will once again be required to receive benefits from the eighth day of sick leave or care for a sick child (VAB) rather than from the 22nd day as was the case previously, and compensation for people who belong to a Covid-19 risk group and cannot work.

    If you were eligible for these benefits, it will be possible to apply retroactively for days before October 1st even once they are lifted; to do this, you contact the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

    Nobel Prize announcements

    In non-pandemic news, October 4th-11th will see the winners of this year’s Nobel Prizes announced. 


    Member comments

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    1. I would like to see mandatory retirement age abolished in Sweden. It has been abolished in Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. Why not in Sweden? If a person likes to do something to earn money, has the mental capacity to do so and keeps up with the latest advances in their profession, he or she should be able to work in Sweden regardless of how old they are. The exceptions might be in those professions where physical performance is essential.

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