Article from Ministry of Justice

Questions and answers – temporary entry ban to the European Union via Sweden

Published · Updated

On 17 March, the Government decided to temporarily ban non-essential travel to Sweden from all countries except EU Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Following a call from the European Council and the European Commission, the entry ban was introduced to mitigate the effects of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reduce the outbreak of COVID-19. The ban has been in effect since 19 March and, in accordance with recommendations from the European Commission and the Council, has been extended and amended several times.

On 21 December 2020, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. The entry ban applies until 31 January 2021 or until further notice.

Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

Basic information

It means that the Government has decided to temporarily ban non-essential travel to Sweden from all countries except EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The entry ban does not apply to Swedish citizens. Exemptions from the entry ban are also made for more categories of travellers. These include, for example, foreign citizens with a Swedish residence permit, people with an essential need or function in Sweden, or residents of certain specified countries.

See below for more information on which exemptions apply.

The EU Member States have given their support to a call from the European Council and the European Commission to take measures to temporarily ban non-essential travel to the EU. The purpose is to mitigate the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an international emergency requiring a coordinated response. The Government has therefore decided to respond to the call and issue a temporary entry ban in line with the Commission’s recommendations.

The entry ban came into effect on 19 March 2020 and initially applied for 30 days. It has now been extended and currently applies until 31 March 2021. It is presently unclear how long the entry ban will apply.

Application

The entry ban basically applies to foreign citizens attempting to enter Sweden from all countries except EU Member States, members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The EEA includes all EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

This means entry to Sweden is still allowed from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

Read about additional exemptions to the entry ban under ‘Exemptions’ below.

No, the entry ban only applies to foreign citizens. Swedish citizens can therefore enter the country despite the entry ban.

No, the entry ban does not affect travel from another EU Member State to Sweden.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden.
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU makes clear that EU law applies to the UK during the transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020. This means that until 31 December 2020 UK nationals are still to be regarded as EEA citizens.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

After the post-Brexit transition period comes to an end, the United Kingdom will become a third country in relation to the EU and, as a main rule, the entry ban will apply. However, people who are entitled to residence status in Sweden will remain exempt from the entry ban after 31 December 2020.

Travel from Finland and Norway is not affected by the entry ban.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden.
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

Exemptions

As of 4 July 2020, the entry ban does not apply to people who:

  1. are an EEA citizen or a citizen of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican City;
  2. have long-term resident status in Sweden or another EU Member State;
  3. have a residence permit in Sweden or another EEA state, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican City;
  4. have a national visa for Sweden or a national visa valid longer than three months in another EEA State, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican City;
  5. have family ties as specified in Chapter 3a, Section 2, first paragraph, or Chapter 5, Section 3, first paragraph, points 1–4, or Section 3a of the Aliens Act (2005:716) to a person covered by any of points 1–4 or to a Swedish citizen; 
  6. are a citizen of the United Kingdom or a family member of such a citizen, provided that they are covered by Article 10 of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (OJ L 29, 31.1.2020, p.7); or
  7. lives in one of the following countries*
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand

* This list of countries is continually being revised at EU level, and has been changed multiple times.

In addition, the entry ban does not apply to people with an essential need or function in Sweden. For example, this may be the case for:

  • healthcare workers, researchers in health and medical care and elderly staff;
  • frontier workers;
  • seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry and horticulture sectors;
  • personnel transporting goods and other staff in the transport sector;
  • people covered by Chapter 2, Section 10 of the Aliens Act (2005:716);
  • people who work in international organisations or are invited by such organisations and whose presence is necessary for the organisations’ activities, military personnel, aid workers and civil defence staff;
  • passengers in transit;
  • people with imperative family reasons;
  • seafarers;
  • people in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons;
  • people who travel for the purpose of studying; and
  • people travelling for the purpose of performing highly skilled work, if their contribution is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed remotely, including people who will take part in or perform necessary tasks at elite sports competitions.

The above list of people who can be considered to have an essential need or function is for illustration only and there may therefore be other categories of people who may be exempted.

It is the responsibility of the enforcing authorities (primarily the Swedish Police Authority) to determine in each individual case how the exemptions are to be interpreted and which decisions are to be made. The purpose of the measure is to mitigate the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This is a temporary measure.

The Government has chosen to follow what was agreed at EU level regarding the groups not to be included in the entry ban. The list of exemptions from the travel ban is in accordance with the exemptions recommended by the European Commission to Member States.

The Government is closely monitoring developments concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and has continuous contact with the responsible public authorities and other countries.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

If the person intends to travel from a country covered by the entry ban, the person must be included in one of the exemptions to be allowed entry. As a general rule, people travelling to Sweden from all countries – except EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – will be denied entry. People with a Swedish residence permit are exempt from the entry ban. Their family members are also exempted. Valid family ties may be a spouse, cohabiting partner or child.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

Some family members of Swedish citizens are exempt from the entry ban. This may include, for example, spouses, cohabiting partners and children.

EEA citizens, citizens of Switzerland and people who have certain family ties to these citizens are exempt from the entry ban. The same also applies to citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City, and their family members. Valid family ties may be a spouse, cohabiting partner or child.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden.
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

That depends on the country they are travelling from. As a general rule, people travelling to Sweden from all countries – except EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – will be denied entry. However, exemptions may be made for several categories of people, including people with certain family ties to Swedish citizens. Exemptions may also be made for people living in certain particularly specified countries (see above). Exemptions may also be made for people with an essential need, such as imperative family reasons.

How exemptions are to be interpreted and what assessments are to be made in an individual case is primarily a matter for the Swedish Police Authority.

Swedish citizens living abroad are not affected by the entry ban.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

People with a Swedish residence permit for studies or similar reasons are exempt from the entry ban. In addition, people living in certain particularly specified countries (see above) are exempt. Exemptions may also be made for people with an essential need, such as people who travel in order to study.

Travel from another EU country, the UK, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland is not covered by the entry ban. Further exemptions from the entry ban are people with residence permits, people living in certain particularly specified countries (see above) and people with an essential function in Sweden, such as seasonal workers and highly skilled workers.

How exemptions are to be interpreted and what assessments are to be made in an individual case is primarily a matter for the Swedish Police Authority.

Swedish citizens living abroad are not affected by the entry ban.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

That depends on the country they are travelling from. As a general rule, people travelling to Sweden from all countries – except EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – will be denied entry. However, people living in certain particularly specified countries (see above) are exempt from the entry ban.

On 21 December, the Government decided to severely restrict possibilities to travel from the United Kingdom and Denmark to Sweden. 
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark

People with an essential function in Sweden, such as transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff, are exempt from the entry ban.

The right to asylum will not be affected by the decision.

How long will the entry ban apply?

The entry ban came into effect on 19 March 2020 and initially applied for 30 days. It has now been extended and currently applies until 31 March 2021.