EXPLAINED: What are the rules on travelling to Sweden right now?

Travellers from some countries are exempt from all restrictions, some are not, and some have to follow additional guidelines after arriving in Sweden. Here are the main rules you need to be aware of.

Travellers at Arlanda airport in Stockholm. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
The rules that apply to people travelling to Sweden depend on both where you're travelling from and your reason for travel.. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

If you’re travelling from another Nordic country:

If you are travelling to Sweden from Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, there are no entry restrictions in place. 

That means you can travel for any reason, without needing to show a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination, regardless of your country of nationality or citizenship. Of course, there are other reasons to limit travel during the pandemic, so it is still a good idea to choose modes of transport that limit the number of new contacts you make, and to take other measures to reduce your risk of catching and exposing others to Covid-19. You should avoid travelling anywhere if you have symptoms. 

If you’re travelling from another EU/EEA country:

If you are travelling to Sweden from another country in the EU or EEA, then you can travel to Sweden for any purpose (including tourism or visiting family or friends) regardless of your citizenship. You’ll need to show one of the following: an EU Covid certificate or equivalent document that shows proof of vaccination against Covid-19 (a vaccine certificate), a negative test result taken within 72 hours from the time of border crossing, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 (a recovery certificate).

This requirement is in place until at least August 31st. You can find out more about the EU Digital Covid Certificate here

Some people are exempted from the test requirement, including Swedish citizens and residents, or those travelling for urgent family reasons, like a funeral, or vital work. 

The certificate should be in the official language of the issuing country and English and should be issued in an EU country or one of the exempted countries. The vaccine needs to be one of those approved by the EU Medicines Agency (EMA) and two weeks need to have passed since your first dose before you can use a vaccine certificate rather than a negative Covid-19 test to enter Sweden, according to the Swedish police

If you’re travelling from outside the EU/EEA:

There is currently a ban in place on travel to Sweden from most non-EU countries (this includes the UK). People travelling from certain countries, decided at the EU level, are exempt. As of July 26th, these include Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macao, Montenegro, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine or the US.

There are several other exceptions to the rule, so you may travel to Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries not on the exempt list if you are a Swedish or EU/EEA citizen, if you live in Sweden, or if you are travelling for certain purposes including urgent family reasons and vital work. The exemptions are listed on the Swedish Police website

In addition to belonging to one of the exempted categories, you also need to show a negative Covid-19 test no older than 48 hours (measured from the time you cross the border). The Justice Ministry confirmed to The Local that people travelling from outside the EU/EEA will not be able to show proof of vaccination as an alternative to a negative Covid-19 test.

Some people are exempted from the test requirement, including Swedish citizens and people who live in Sweden, but further recommendations about testing and isolating on arrival may apply to you regardless of your citizenship and residence status (see below).

Who should test and isolate?

The regulations above are legally binding rules that control who is allowed to enter Sweden. The Public Health Agency has in addition released a set of guidelines about whether or not you are advised to get tested and self-isolate after you arrive in the country.

If you arrive in Sweden from a country that is not exempt (i.e. a country outside the EU/EEA which is not on the EU’s exempt list of third countries), the Public Health Agency urges you to get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible after arriving, preferably on the day of your arrival, if you did not get a test before departure, which is often a requirement for entry. Tests are available on arrival at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, and you can also call the 1177 healthcare helpline to find out more information about booking a test (they are free for returning travellers)

You should also take a second test five days after arrival, and self-isolate and avoid contact with other people for seven days after arriving. That means not going to shops, work or using public transport, and not meeting friends or having people visit you at home.

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, using a vaccine that has been approved for use in the EU (AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer) and having received the second dose at least two weeks before arrival in Sweden, still need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result on entry but are exempt from the recommendation to get tested and self-isolate even if they travel to Sweden from a non-exempt country (although they also need to be covered by an exemption to the travel ban in order to enter Sweden).

If you arrive in Sweden from a country that is not in the Nordics but in the EU/EEA, or a country that is on the EU’s exempt list of third countries, the Public Health Agency urges you to get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible after arriving. You don’t have to take the second test on the fifth day, and you don’t have to self-isolate completely, although you should be “careful” about who you meet, avoid meeting risk groups, keep a physical distance to other people and pay special attention to possible symptoms.

If you have been travelling within the EU and received your first dose at least three weeks before arriving in Sweden or had Covid-19 in the past six months, you are exempt from the recommendation. You should however get a coronavirus PCR test if you develop symptoms.

If you arrive in Sweden from a Nordic country (Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland), you don’t have to get a test or self-isolate.

However, it is important to note that even if you are exempt from the requirements to get tested and isolate, you must still follow the recommendations that apply in Sweden to curb the spread of Covid-19, whether you live here or are visiting and whether you are vaccinated or not. Those include for example limiting contact only to your closest circle, working from home if you can, avoiding use of public transport as much as possible, and staying at home if you experience symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

There are Covid-19 testing stations at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

Where can I find out more?

All information was correct at the time of publication, but the situation can change at short notice. You can check the “Updated” time in the top left corner of the article to see when we updated this webpage. The Local recommends that before any travel, you check Sweden’s national authorities for information on the latest restrictions and exemptions:

Be aware that information provided elsewhere, for example on the ReOpen EU website, or by non-official sources, may not be up to date.

Member comments

  1. Hej

    Where are you getting this updated information? and have not been updated since June.

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‘A game changer’: Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

Industry associations representing airlines have called on European authorities to plan a “public communications campaign” to alert non-EU nationals about new requirements to enter and exit the Schengen area.

'A game changer': Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

The EU Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the biometric data (finger prints and facial recognition) of non-EU citizens travelling for short stays to the Schengen area (EU countries minus Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), each time they cross the external borders.

Fully digital, the system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The data collected will be kept in a centralised database shared among the Schengen countries.

The EES was created to tighten up border security and will ensure the enforcement of the 90-day limit in any 180-day period for tourists and visitors. But it requires changes in the infrastructure at the external borders, including airports, and the setting up of a new digital infrastructure to connect authorities in participating countries.

Its entry into operation has already been delayed several times. The latest date for the EES launch was May this year, but last week European authorities decided to postpone it again “due to delays from the contractors”. It is now expected to enter into force at the end of 2023, as The Local reported this week.

Airline associations including European region of Airports Council International (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the delay and said further preparations are needed.

“The EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed. There are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions,” a joint statement says.

Things to be resolved include a “wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities, funding by member states to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports,” and the “deployment of sufficient resources” to help airports and airlines with new procedures.

Airlines also said there needs to be a public communications campaign to inform non-EU citizens about the changes.

In addition, industry groups called on EU-LISA, the agency responsible for managing the system, to “strengthen communication” with airlines and with international partners such as the US “to ensure IT systems are connected and compatible.”

The decision to postpone the EES entry into operation until after the summer “will give airlines, airports and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested,” the statement continues.

The EU-LISA is currently preparing a revised timeline for the launch, which will be presented for approval at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the meeting of responsible EU ministers, in March 2023.

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.