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COVID-19

What are the new rules for travel between the US and Sweden?

It's now possible for fully vaccinated people to travel from the US to Sweden.

What are the new rules for travel between the US and Sweden?
File photo of Salt Lake City International Airport in March 2021. Photo: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

People who can show a Covid vaccination certificate issued in the US are as of November 5th able to travel to Sweden freely, without any entry bans or test requirements.

And fully vaccinated travellers from the Schengen area, including Sweden, can travel to the US as of November 8th.

“Sweden enjoys close and good relations with the US, and cooperates on important matters in many areas. Travel between Sweden and the US is therefore of major importance in many different ways. For example, it plays an important role when it comes to companies’ competitiveness and opportunities to conduct their activities,” read a Swedish government statement when it announced its new rules.

EXPLAINED: What’s the difference between exempt and approved countries?

The Swedish government also added vaccine certificates issued in Guernsey, Isle of Man or Jersey to the list of countries exempted from entry restrictions, following a previous decision to accept vaccine certificates issued in the United Kingdom.

It also decided to extend the entry restrictions for travel from within the EU/EEA until November 30th. These restrictions do not ban entry entirely, but state that travellers have to present a valid Covid certificate which shows they have either been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered (for a more precise rundown of the rules, visit the police authority’s website).

The Swedish government also last week extended the entry ban from non-exempt countries outside the EU/EEA until January 31st. This means that foreigners travelling from those countries must be covered by an exemption to the ban (such as having a residence permit, or travelling for especially urgent reasons or to carry out essential work) and present a negative test unless they’re exempt from that too.

It is still possible to enter Sweden without any restrictions at all from Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, regardless of your nationality, reasons for travel, testing or vaccination status, or your original point of departure.

The US is not the first country to have its vaccination certificates approved by Sweden. This list also includes the UK, Turkey, Israel, Ukraine and Switzerland, among others. A full and up-to-date list can be found on the Swedish police authority’s website.

The entry ban has been in place since March 2020, but has been extended and amended several times. In theory, the dates above could also be extended or lifted before the deadline.

Member comments

  1. Any thoughts on what will be considered acceptable proof of vaccination? I have a hard time believing the flimsy paper CDC vaccination card will be accepted at the border.

  2. Hi can you travel from the uk to Sweden directly ? A relative wants to visit and is full vacinated.

    It says you can on the Briish Embassy sight and the facebook page but the Swedish Police Web site is confusing. Does anybody know what is going on ?

    1. Hi Peter,

      That shouldn’t be an issue.

      Fully vaccinated Brits have been allowed to enter Sweden directly since the 11th October.

      From the Swedish government website “people travelling to Sweden who can present a vaccination certificate issued in the United Kingdom are exempt from the entry ban and test requirement”.

      Link here: https://www.government.se/press-releases/2021/10/vaccinated-travellers-to-sweden-from-the-uk-to-be-exempted-from-entry-ban-and-test-requirement/

      Obviously, this could change, so make sure you keep up-to-date with the rules. We will most likely report on any changes if they do happen though.

      Let me know if you have any more questions,

      Becky Waterton, The Local Sweden

  3. Could you please investigate and see if you need to be a resident of the approved countries or simply having a vaccination card from those countries is enough to enter Sweden?

    Police Border guard is not answering and is just referring me to their confusing website.

    1. Hi Alex,

      In short, it’s complicated.

      Exempt countries (i.e., countries who are no longer subject to the travel ban but whose vaccine certificates have not been approved), are residency based. So if you live in an exempt country, you can travel to Sweden if you have one of the following:
      – a negative covid-19 test
      – an EU Covid Certificate
      – a vaccine certificate from the EEA or an approved country.

      Approved countries are not residency based – their ‘approved’ status regards their vaccine certificate – Sweden deems their vaccine certificates to be equal to an EU-issued certificate. They are also exempt from the travel ban.

      From the police’s website: “fully vaccinated travellers holding a vaccination certificate issued in an approved country are allowed to enter Sweden, and can then enter without a test. Residence or citizenship in an approved country does not matter”.

      (link: https://polisen.se/en/the-swedish-police/the-coronavirus-and-the-swedish-police/faq/ See under “Exempted countries and approved countries”)

      Note that if you transit to Sweden via another country, you are processed as arriving from the last country you transit through before arrival in Sweden – not the country where you started your journey.

      Let me know if you have any questions – you can also email me at [email protected] if you’d prefer.

      Best,

      Becky Waterton

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: What’s behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

Travellers are reporting queues over an hour long at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. What's going on and how long is it expected to last?

EXPLAINED: What's behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

What’s the situation at Stockholm Arlanda airport? 

On Friday morning, there were queues lasting over an hour at Arlanda’s security controls. By 10am, they had been reduced to below half an hour, according to the live update the airport operator, Swedavia, maintains on its website here

Swedavia first began warning of long queue times on Monday, saying the queues were the result of a resurgence in travel combined with staffing shortages at Avarn, the contractor responsible for managing the security checks. 

“The wait times are due to a staff shortage with our security services contractor – which is caused by ongoing recruitment and absences due to illness,” the airport said on its website

What are travellers saying? 

Twitter is predictably awash with angry comments from travellers, including some well-known commentators. 

The terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp resorted to capital letters to bemoan the “CATASTROPHE” at the airport. 

The Financial Times’ Nordic Correspondent also compared the situation at Arlanda unfavourably with the smooth controls at Helsinki Airport

“Never seen anything like it and sounds like might be worse today. In Terminal 5 both queues, SAS and Norwegian, were well over 100 metres long,” he told The Local. “It took me 50 minutes to get through security. Don’t think it’s ever taken more than 10 in the Nordics before.” 

What should you do if you are travelling through Stockholm Arlanda at the moment? 

Swedavia recommends that you arrive “well in advance” when taking a flight. You can contact your airline here to find out when their check-ins and baggage drops open.  

Swedavia also recommends that you do everything possible to speed up the check-in process, such as:

  • checking in from home
  • packing hand baggage to make screening faster
  • checking the need for a face covering in advance
  • checking that you have the right travel documents ready 

If you can’t check in from home, Swedavia recommends seeing if you can check in using an automated machine at the airport.

What is the airport doing to to improve the situation? 

On June 15th, the airport is reopening Terminal 4, which might help somewhat, although the airport warns that as staffing is the major problem, having more space will not fully solve the problem over the summer. 

In a press release issued on Friday, Svedavia’s chief operations officer, Peder Grunditz, said opening a new terminal was “an important measure”. 

“We are now going to have the three biggest terminals back in operation for the first time since the pandemic,” he said. 

The company and Avarn are also making “big recruitment efforts” and taking “operational measures” to improve the queue situation, although the “challenging labour market” made that difficult. 

When will waiting times return to normal? 

In his press release, Grunditz conceded that waiting times were not likely to return to normal during the summer, due to the rapid growth in the number of people taking flights. 

“Even though we expect gradual improvements, the queuing situation is going to continue to be challenging during periods over the summer,” he said. 

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