Sweden to bar vaccinated foreign tourists without negative Covid test

Foreign tourists travelling to Sweden will have to show a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed into the country from December 28th, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated.

Sweden to bar vaccinated foreign tourists without negative Covid test
Swedish border police checking travel documents on the Öresund Bridge. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test no older than 48 hours according to the new rules, which will come into force on December 28th, the government confirmed on Wednesday.

The test requirement will apply to adults and children over the age of 12, regardless of whether you are travelling from the Nordic countries, the EU/EEA, or the rest of the world – with a series of exceptions. In practice, the rules are understood to mainly affect temporary visitors.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson confirmed to The Local on Tuesday that foreign citizens who live in Sweden will, just like Swedish citizens, not be required to show a negative test to travel to Sweden. The government’s frequently asked questions page about the travel rules reiterated that on Wednesday. An additional recommendation to get tested after arriving in Sweden applies to everyone.

Other people who are exempt from the negative test requirement include, among others, diplomats, children under the age of 12, and people travelling for urgent family reasons. Border commuters who work or study in Sweden only have to show a test that’s less than a week old, but can choose to instead show a valid vaccine pass, a spokesperson for the Justice and Home Affairs Minister told The Local.

Tests must have been carried out 48 hours before arriving in Sweden, leaving long-distance travellers with tight margins.

At a press conference on Tuesday, when the government first announced that a new test requirement was in the pipeline, Andersson said that a PCR test would be required. However, the government’s statement on Wednesday did not specify what kind of test would be needed, and directed people to the Public Health Agency. The agency currently says that an antigen test, PCR, LAMP or TMA are all approved.

Sweden has had an entry ban in place in various shapes and forms since March 2020, but it has changed several times. There are several exceptions, both to the entry ban itself and in regards to what documents you need to show on the border, depending on your country.

There have also been different rules for EU and non-EU countries, “exempt” countries and “approved countries”, where travellers from “exempt” countries could travel to Sweden for any reason if they had a negative test, and people with a vaccine pass issued by an “approved” country could travel to Sweden without showing a negative test. As of December 28th, everyone has to show a negative test.

People who have a vaccine pass issued in Albania, Andorra, Armenia, El Salvador, the Faroes, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Israel, Jersey, Kap Verde, Lebanon, Morocco, Moldova, Monaco, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Panama, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, the US and the Vatican will still be able to travel to Sweden after December 28th, but in addition to the vaccine pass they also need to show a negative test no older than 48 hours.

People from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Canada, Kuwait, Macao, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan and Uruguay will as before have to show a negative Covid test on the border, but note that after December 28th the test may be no older than 48 hours (as opposed to 72 hours, which is currently the case).

People travelling from the EU will also need to show a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.

And as we wrote above, certain categories of travellers, such as Swedish residents, are completely exempt from the requirement to show a test, regardless of where they travel from.

The above information was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. Please be aware that we are not a government authority and cannot issue any guarantees about whether or not you will be able to travel to Sweden. We always advise readers to also consult the official information on the Swedish border police’s website before travelling.

Member comments

  1. Oh dear! And Sweden has been so sensible so far. Will this be the style of the “new” Swedish Government? I drove today from Blekinge to Kastrup and back to pick up our daughter and family arriving from London. No checks or controls driving into Denmark. No checks on our daughter and family entering Denmark and none at London Norwegian Air check-in apart from a cursory look at one of their vaccine certificates.
    Driving back across the Oresunds bridge into Sweden chaos at the Swedish end with passport, customs and vaccine checks. Greta would be appalled at the carbon emissions caused by the back up of cars, vans and trucks.
    Why on earth would Sweden depart from its previous policy and for a virus variant that is going to spread rapidly anyway regardless of such controls and is more benign in terms of symptoms and deaths than previous variants?

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What can SAS passengers do if their flight is affected by pilots’ strike?

Scandinavian airline SAS has issued advice to passengers likely to be affected if the company does not come to an agreement with its pilots to divert a strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

What can SAS passengers do if their flight is affected by pilots’ strike?

Passengers can rebook equivalent flights for free and are advised to check whether their flight will be affected, SAS said.

A deadline for resolution of an ongoing conflict between the two sides has been set for Tuesday night. If no agreement is reached, SAS pilots in Norway, Sweden and Denmark will begin striking on Wednesday.

In a statement, SAS said that several services and thereby many passengers will be affected by the strike.

But it also stated that some services would still operate on Wednesday if the strike goes ahead.

“SAS is taking precautionary measures to support customers whose flights will be impacted by a potential strike,” SAS said.

“Due to peak season, the availability of equivalent flights will be highly limited. Therefore, SAS is taking precautionary measures to enable customers to plan alternatives to their scheduled flight,” it said.

“SAS offers passengers booked on SAS flights between June 27th [and] July 3rd 2022  the option of rebooking the ticket, free of charge. Passengers can rebook to a SAS flight on another date, within the next 360 days, to the same destination if the same service class as the original ticket is available,” it said.

To see if their flight is likely to be affected, passengers are advised to check the status of their flight on the SAS website. Rebookings can be made via the “My Bookings” section.

Passengers who booked their ticket via a travel agent or tour operator should contact them directly, SAS said.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Rebooking may take longer than usual, especially for passengers contacting the airline over the phone.

“The potential strike is causing a high pressure on SAS’ customer service and the waiting time is longer than usual,” SAS said.

“Customers will continuously receive information and updates via SMS, email and on our website. To be able to support customers impacted by a potential strike, SAS is strengthening customer service and call-centres for rebooking where possible,” it said.

The strike, involving around 1,000 SAS pilots, is scheduled to begin on June 29th after the collective bargaining agreement by which the pilots’ salary and working terms are determined expired in April. Pilots are currently working under the terms of the expired deal.

The creation of two SAS subsidiaries, SAS Connect and SAS Link, is reported to be a point of contention in negotiations over a new collective agreement.

Pilots’ unions in all three Scandinavian countries will take part in the strike, should mediation not achieve a result.

READ ALSO: SAS pilots’ strike scheduled to begin on June 29th