Article from Ministry of Justice

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

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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 Commission recommendations, has been extended several times.

Basic information

It means that the Government has decided to temporarily ban non-essential travel to Sweden from all countries except EU Member States, the United Kingdom, 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 and initially applied for 30 days. It has now been extended and currently applies until 31 October. 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. Under the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, the UK is treated as an EEA State during the transition period.

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

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.

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 UK nationals are still to be regarded as EEA citizens and that travel from the UK is not affected by the ban.

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

Exemptions

As of 4 July, 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, or
  6. lives in one of the following countries*
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

* Montenegro, Serbia, Algeria and Morocco were previously included on this list. On 17 July 2020, the Government decided that, as of 19 July, residents of Serbia and Montenegro would no longer be exempted from the entry ban. On 3 August 2020, the Government decided that, as of 5 August, residents of Algeria would no longer be exempted from the entry ban. On 13 August 2020, the Government decided that, as of 15 August, residents of Morocco would no longer be exempted from the entry ban. However, other exemptions from the entry ban may continue to apply to residents of Montenegro, Serbia, Algeria and Morocco.

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
  • highly skilled workers, if the job the alien is to perform cannot be postponed or performed remotely.

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.

Following a recommendation by the Council, the Government decided most recently on 2 July to ease the restrictions in relation to more travellers. The entry ban is an exceptional measure and it is important that it does not affect individuals more than is necessary.

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

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, the UK, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland – will be denied entry. People with a Swedish residence permit are exempt from the entry ban from July 4. Their family members are also exempted. Valid family ties may be a spouse, cohabiting partner or child.

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.

That depends on the country they are travelling from. As a general rule, people travelling to Sweden from all countries – except EU Member States, the UK, 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.

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.

That depends on the country they are travelling from. As a general rule, people travelling to Sweden from all countries – except EU Member States, the UK, 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.

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.

Do you have questions?

Questions from the public about the practical application of the ban on travel to Sweden are answered by the Police. Go to www.polisen.se or call 114 14.

How long will the entry ban apply?

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