Sweden reveals new vaccine pass plan for restaurants and long-distance trains

If Covid-19 infections continue to rise, Sweden could start using vaccine passes at restaurants and long-distance public transport, according to a new government proposal.

Sweden reveals new vaccine pass plan for restaurants and long-distance trains
Sweden could introduce Covid vaccine passes in restaurants and other venues soon. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The Swedish government on Thursday submitted a proposal to extend the Covid vaccine pass scheme to restaurants, leisure and culture centres, shopping malls, venues for private events (i.e. private events held in rented premises, not gatherings in private homes) as well as long-distance public transport. Vaccine passes are currently only used at public gatherings and events with more than 100 attendees.

The proposed rules don’t automatically mandate vaccine passes – instead it will be up to individual venues or companies to decide whether to use them, either on their own or in combination with other infectious disease control measures.

If venues choose to use vaccine passes they will be exempt from other far-reaching restrictions such as limits on the number of visitors. They will also be able to refuse entry to people who are unable to show a valid pass. Proof of a negative test or recovery is not enough.

People who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 for medical reasons will be exempt from the rules (but they will have to show a doctor’s note), as will people under the age of 18. However, the proposal suggests that the age limit could potentially be lowered to 16.

The new rules could be rolled out in steps and will only be activated if authorities consider that it’s necessary due to the spread of infection.

Relevant authorities and organisations are now invited to comment on the proposals. They have until December 20th, so the rules will in any case not come into force before that date.

The Swedish Health Ministry has previously told The Local that a “technical solution” for letting groups who are currently excluded from Sweden’s Covid-19 vaccine pass scheme apply for their pass manually is ready, and should be launched on January 1st 2022.

This means that for example people with a reserve number should be able to apply for a vaccine pass more or less in time for any roll-out to restaurants and other venues. People who need to apply by post may however want to be prepared for long waiting times.

The government’s proposal notes that “Swedes who have been vaccinated in a third country, but who have moved back to Sweden or who are staying in Sweden for a long time” – also excluded from the scheme – should also be able to use the same manual system. The Local has contacted the Health Ministry to clarify whether this includes non-citizens who live in Sweden and got vaccinated in another country.

The government has previously told us that it plans to make sure “visitors” from third countries can also have access to events and venues that require a vaccine pass, if they can show that they are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine. However, the proposal confirms it is still reviewing “the legal and technical possibilities for this”, so it is not yet clear when this will be available to foreign tourists.

As The Local has previously reported, EU-issued vaccine passes and those from the non-EU/EEA countries that have joined the EU’s vaccine pass system are valid in Sweden, so if you fall into this category there is no need to convert your certificate to a Swedish pass.

In Sweden, “fully vaccinated” means that you have had either one dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, or two doses of Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) or Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), with the second dose administered at least two weeks previously.

Member comments

  1. So basically, if this is rolled out, any vaccinated tourist not from the EU won’t be able to enter any restaurant, or even take a long-distance train?

    We have two such trains booked and paid for. We have an 8 day Christmas vacation booked in Sweden. We’re in the verge of cancelling and going someone less draconian instead. Austria, for example. Even Germany accepts negative tests.

  2. People still do not get it. All vaccinated does not help. Why even bother. Have you heard of an infamous christmas party in Oslo? 120 out of 130 tested positive afterwards although all had vaccine and negative test beforehand. Bruuh

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How to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass if you got vaccinated abroad

Starting February 1st, foreign residents who got vaccinated in a third country are able to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass. But where can they apply, who is eligible, and how does the process work?

How to get a Swedish Covid vaccine pass if you got vaccinated abroad
Foreign-vaccinated Swedish residents may soon be able to attend events requiring a vaccine pass. Photo: Pär Bäckström/TT

Where can I apply?

As of February 1st, it is possible to get your overseas vaccinations added to a Swedish vaccine pass by applying at an in-person visit to a National Government Service Centre in Stockholm, at their locations in either Stockholm City or Liljeholmen (find their addresses here).

The service will be rolled out in Gothenburg, Malmö and Luleå – the only other Swedish cities that offer it – on March 1st.

You cannot currently apply for this service via post or online.

How does it work?

Visit one of the National Government Service Centres: those in Stockholm are open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm. You do not need to book an appointment. Note that Service Centres outside Stockholm will only be offering this service from March 1st.

At the Service Centre, you will need to show one of the following accepted ID documents:

  • ID card issued by the Swedish Tax Agency
  • Swedish passport with burgundy cover
  • Swedish national ID card
  • Swedish driving license
  • Swedish SIS-marked ID card issued by, for example, a bank, company, government agency or Svensk Kassaservice
  • Swedish service card (without SIS mark) issued by a government agency

You will also need to present “original documents” confirming your vaccination.

The Service Centre will verify your documents and forward your application to the eHealth Agency, which will then issue the vaccine pass to your digital mailbox. There is currently no information as to how long it will take for applications to be processed once they have been approved by the Service Centre, but the eHealth Agency has previously said that it aims to cut waiting times to a maximum of two weeks.

Who can use this service?

The service is available to people over the age of 16 who have a registered home address in Sweden (i.e. have a Swedish personal number) and a digital mailbox.

It is only possible for people vaccinated outside the EU to get a Swedish vaccine pass. However, the EU Covid certificate, as well as certificates from more than 30 non-EU countries, are valid as proof of vaccination in Sweden so they don’t need to be converted.

“You must have received the last vaccination dose in a series, in a third country,” said the eHealth Agency on its website about the requirements for receiving a Swedish vaccine pass. “Third countries are countries outside the EU/EEA as well as countries where it has not been possible to obtain a vaccination certificate, even though the country is connected to the EU’s digital Covid certificate system.”

It is not possible for foreign tourists or people who live in Sweden but don’t have a personal number to get a Swedish vaccine pass at this stage. The government has previously said it is looking into expanding the vaccine pass scheme to these groups, too.