Explained: Sweden’s new rules for travel from overseas

Explained: Sweden's new rules for travel from overseas
The terminal at Stockholm's Arlanda airport is unusually empty due to worldwide travel restrictions. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Sweden's government on Thursday made some clarifications to the entry ban currently in place due to the coronavirus.

Since mid-March, Sweden has had a ban on arrivals to the country from outside the EU/EEA.

That remains in place, but there are some exceptions, and some of these were made clearer today.

One of the main changes related to people with family links to Sweden, which the government said was done “to reduce the risk of splitting families and facilitate reunions among families”.

“The exemption for family members of Swedish citizens has been made clearer and this means that, among other things, it's easier for families who live overseas to travel home to Sweden. Clarifications have also been made to make it easier for people with a residence permit in Sweden to join family in Sweden. This could mean for example if you are a husband, partner or child of someone who lives in Sweden,” the government said in a statement. 

“In such cases, there is no requirement that the person entering Sweden has their home in Sweden at the time of entry,” the government said. Previously, people needed to provide proof that they had an “established home” in Sweden.

But if you are planning to simply visit family in Sweden, this is still not possible if you come from a country outside the EU/EEA and do not hold citizenship of Sweden or an EU/EEA country. Exemptions can be made by border police in individual cases, for example if there are urgent family reasons.

 

There is also a further exemption for some types of seasonal workers.

“Today's government decision means that seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry, and horticultural industries are added to the list of examples of people who can be exempted from the entry ban, with respect to the fact they carry out necessary functions in Sweden,” the government said, referring to guidance from the EU Commission. These job categories were earlier explicitly excluded from the exemption according to Swedish border police.

The changes come into force from June 8th. The ban itself currently applies up until June 15th, but may be extended further.

Further exemptions from the entry ban, which have been clear from the start, apply to citizens of the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. Swedish citizens are still able to enter the country, as are people with a residence permit who normally live in Sweden.

And the exemption for key workers applies not only to the industries referred to in Thursday's statement, but also to healthcare workers, diplomats, people working in food production, and people working with the transportation of goods such as food and medicines.

People with essential family reasons for travel or who needed to travel for humanitarian reasons were excluded from the entry ban too. It is up to the border police to make assessments of each individual case.


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