Sweden never closed its borders to EU travellers at any point throughout the coronavirus crisis, and only closed its borders to non-EU tourists after the European Commission urged member states to do so.
The entry ban to the EU via Sweden has been in place since March 19th, with a number of exceptions.
From July 1st the EU started reopening its external borders to visitors from “safe countries”, and Sweden has generally fallen in line. So what's the situation for people who want to travel to Sweden from India?
European travel ban
As of August 5th, people from the following countries are allowed to travel freely to Sweden for any purpose: Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. As you can see, that list excludes for example the US, Russia and India.
Sweden has extended the entry ban for other non-EU/EEA visitors, including those travelling from the India, until August 31st – unless you belong to a number of categories exempt from the ban (see below).
It is possible that non-essential travel from India to European countries may be allowed later this summer, as the EU “safe countries” list is to be reviewed on an EU level every two weeks and adjusted depending on the latest coronavirus spread in each country. Each country is allowed to impose its own border restrictions, so the EU recommendations are not binding; however, Sweden generally follows them.
Countries can also be removed from the list, which has happened to Serbia, Montenegro and Algeria.
The EU criteria to decide which third countries to open up to depends on the coronavirus situation in that country, primarily the following criteria, quoted from this page:
- number of new Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on June 15th, 2020)
- stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
- overall response to Covid-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account
A man wearing a face mask takes a selfie at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Who can travel from India to Sweden?
These are some of the exceptions to the entry ban, for example:
- Individuals with a residence permit in Sweden or another EEA state, and their family members
- Holders of a national visa for Sweden
- People travelling for urgent family reasons
- People travelling to Sweden for the purposes of studying
- People travelling to work in essential functions in Sweden such as health care professionals, the transportation of goods such as food and medicines, and seasonal workers employed in agriculture, forestry and horticulture.
Note that as of July 4th, residence/student permit holders no longer need to already be residing in Sweden in order to enter – having a permit is enough, even if you are moving to Sweden for the first time.
Read a full list of exceptions to the entry ban here. Whether or not other people will be able to travel to Sweden eventually will also depend on India's own travel advice and the availability of international flights.
What happens when I arrive in Sweden?
Sweden does not require travellers from any country to spend time in quarantine, you do not need to show a document stating that you have tested negative for the coronavirus, and there are no rules stating that you need to wear a face mask in public (you may however do so if you want).
However, there are several guidelines to be aware of, such as observing social distancing, staying at home if you have symptoms, and avoiding public transport if you are travelling through Sweden. There is a ban in place on public gatherings of more than 50 people, so many events and venues may allow pre-booking only.
If you find yourself in need of medical help in Sweden, or have other questions about the coronavirus outbreak here, print out or bookmark this article which contains several useful phone numbers.
Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus news here (paywall-free).
The situation is changing fast so if you are planning to travel we recommend that you keep up-to-date with the latest information from Swedish and Indian authorities. Read more about Sweden's entry ban here. We may not be able to answer all questions, but you are always welcome to email our editorial team.