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UPDATED: Who can travel to Sweden now Covid-19 travel rules are lifted?

UPDATED: Sweden's last remaining Covid-19 travel restriction, the non-EU entry ban, expired on March 31st. This means that travel to Sweden is now the same as it was before the pandemic broke out.

UPDATED: Who can travel to Sweden now Covid-19 travel rules are lifted?
File photo of passport control in an airport. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

Who can now travel to Sweden who previously could not? 

The entry ban for non-EU arrivals, which expired on March 31st, meant that travellers from outside the EU, ETA, EFTA and Schengen areas, could not come to Sweden unless they were from one of 16 so-called “exempt countries”, had a Covid vaccine pass issued by one of 26 “approved countries”, or were a returning resident of Sweden.

Now the ban has been lifted, travellers from many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America who were barred under the previous travel rules can now travel to Sweden. 

Who does need to show a vaccination or test certificate, who previously had to? 

Travellers from the 26 approved countries, which included the UK, from April 1st are no longer be required to show a vaccination or test certificate to enter Sweden. 

What travel restrictions still apply? 

Ordinary entry requirements still apply, with travellers from countries which need a visa to enter the Schengen Area required to have a visa or residency permit from Sweden or another Schengen country. 

Do I have to wear a face mask? 

From April 1st, it is no longer recommended to wear a face mask when in airports in Sweden, so if you prefer to wear one, you may find yourself almost alone. 

What about testing? 

There is no longer a recommendation to get a Covid-19 test on arrival in Sweden. There are still testing centres in the departure area for travellers flying outside of Sweden, but the testing stations on arrival at Stockholm Arlanda and Gothenburg Landvetter have closed down.

Have any new travel rules been brought in due to the invasion of Ukraine? 

Yes, from the end of March up until September, passengers travelling by ferry to Sweden from another country will need to present valid ID to the company operating the ferry. The ID does not need to be a travel document or passport. It can be a driving license, or other national identity card.

You can find the announcement of the new checks here, and the latest information from the Swedish Transport Agency, which is responsible for checking that ferry companies are recording the information, here

What about for Ukrainians fleeing the war? 

Ukrainian citizens can enter Sweden without a visa for up to 90 days with a biometric passport. If you do not have a biometric passport, you no longer need a visa so long as you claim asylum at the border. At that point, your case will be passed on to the Swedish Migration Agency. 

There are normally no border controls for people arriving in Sweden from Poland, Denmark, or Germany, but it is still best to have identity documents with you, even though they are not necessary for claiming asylum. 

Under the EU’s temporary protection directive, Ukrainian citizens, can get a temporary residence permit.

You can apply for this digitally using the Swedish Migration Agency’s new e-service or in person at the offices of the Migration Agency. 

You will need to upload a scan of your biometric passport or other Ukrainian identification documents. You will not have to visit the Migration Agency until your case has been decided. 

Member comments

  1. Thank you for your informative articles. As new residents of Sweden, they help us navigate the sometimes confusing regulations of our new, and wonderful home.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023

The EU has announced that its Covid travel certificate will be extended until 2023 - so what does this mean if you have a trip planned this year?

EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023

Cleaning up the phone and thinking of getting rid of that Covid app? Just wait a minute. 

The European Union has decided to extend the use of EU Covid certificates by one year, until June 30th 2023. 

The European Commission first made the proposal in February as the virus, and the Omicron variant in particular, was continuing to spread in Europe. At that point it was “not possible to determine the impact of a possible increase in infections in the second half of 2022 or of the emergence of new variants,” the Commission said. 

Now tourism is taking off again, while Covid cases are on the rise in several European countries.

So the EU has taken action to ensure that travellers can continue using the so-called ‘digital green certificates’ in case new restrictions are put in place after their initial deadline of June 30th, 2022. 

What is the EU ‘digital green certificate’?

If you have travelled within the EU in the last year, you have probably already used it.

On 1st July 2021, EU countries started to introduce the ‘digital green certificate’, a Covid pass designed by the European Commission to facilitate travel between EU member states following months of restrictions.

It can be issued to EU citizens and residents who have been vaccinated against Covid, have tested negative or have recovered from the virus, as a proof of their health status. 

Although it’s called a certificate, it isn’t a separate document, it’s just a way of recognising all EU countries’ national health pass schemes.

It consists of a QR code displayed on a device or printed.

So if you live in an EU country, the QR code issued when you were vaccinated or tested can be scanned and recognised by all other EU countries – you can show the code either on a paper certificate or on your country’s health pass app eg TousAntiCovid if you’re in France or the green pass in Italy. 

Codes are recognised in all EU 27 member states, as well as in 40 non-EU countries that have joined the scheme, including the UK – full list here.

What does the extension of certificates mean? 

In practice, the legal extension of the EU Covid pass does not mean much if EU countries do not impose any restrictions.

It’s important to point out that each country within the EU decides on its own rules for entry – requiring proof of vaccination, negative tests etc so you should check with your country of destination.

All the EU certificate does is provide an easy way for countries to recognise each others’ certificates.

At present travel within the EU is fairly relaxed, with most countries only requiring negative tests for unvaccinated people, but the certificate will become more relevant again if countries impose new measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

According to the latest data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, countries such as France, Portugal and parts of Italy and Austria are in the red again. 

The EU legislation on the certificate neither prescribes nor prohibits such measures, but makes sure that all certificate holders are treated in the same way in any participating country. 

The EU certificate can also be used for access to venues such as bars and restaurants if countries decided to re-impose health or vaccines passes on a domestic basis.

So nothing changes?

In fact, the legislation introduces some changes to the current certificates. These include the clarification that passes issued after vaccination should reflect all doses administered, regardless of the member state where the inoculation occurred. This followed complaints of certificates indicating an incorrect number of vaccine doses when these were received in different countries.

In addition, new rules allow the possibility to issue a certificate of recovery following an antigen test and extend the range of uthorised antigen tests to qualify for the green pass. 

To support the development and study of vaccines against Covid, it will also be possible to issue vaccination certificates to people participating in clinical trials.

At the insistence of the European Parliament, the Commission will have to publish an assessment of the situation by December 31st 2022 and propose to repeal or maintain the certificate accordingly. So, while it is extended for a year, the certificate could be discontinued earlier if it will no longer be consider necessary. 

The European parliament rapporteur, Spanish MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, said: “The lack of coordination from EU governments on travel brought chaos and disruption to the lives of millions of Europeans that simply wanted to move freely and safely throughout the EU.

“We sincerely hope that the worst of the pandemic is far behind us and we do not want Covid certificates in place a day longer than necessary.”

Vaccination requirements for the certificate

An EU certificate can be issued to a person vaccinated with any type of vaccine, but many countries accept only EMA-approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Valneva and Janssen) – if you have been vaccinated with another vaccine, you should check the rules on the country you are travelling to.  

Certificates remain valid for 9 months (270) days following a complete vaccination cycle – so if you had your vaccine more than nine months ago you will need a booster in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

There is no requirement for a second booster, so if you have had a booster you remain ‘fully vaccinated’ even if your booster was administered more than 9 months ago. 

As of 1st March 2022, EU countries had issued almost 1.2 billion EU Covid certificates, of which 1.15 billion following vaccination, 511 million as a result of tests and 55 million after recovery from the virus. 

France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Austria are the countries that have issued the largest number of EU Covid certificates. 

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