13.8 Permission to serve duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages

The Swedish legislation seeks to ensure the responsible sale of alcoholic beverages. Municipalities may grant licenses to restaurants and catering firms to serve alcohol under certain restricted conditions. The alcoholic beverages served cannot be duty-free nor tax-free. Under certain circumstances, diplomatic missions, career consulates and international organisations in Sweden may apply for a permission from the Protocol Department to serve its own duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages. Below are three typical examples of when missions may wish to serve duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages. The first two examples do not require permission from the Protocol Department.

13.8.1 Serving at mission premises

The mission may serve duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages to its guests without permission from the Protocol Department when the event is held within the mission's own premises, including the residence. However, the event must fulfill the following criteria:

  • The event is intended for one specific occasion for specially invited guests and not accessible to the public.
  • The duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages are not sold to the participants of the event, and no entrance fee is charged for the event.
  • The event takes place on the mission's premises.

13.8.2 Serving at an establishment with no commercial sale of beverages

The mission may also wish to serve duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages at an establishment outside the mission's premises. In this case, the mission does not have to apply for permission from the Protocol Department if the event fulfills the following criteria:

  • The event is intended for one specific occasion for specially invited guests and not accessible to the public.
  • The duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages are not sold to the participants of the event, and no entrance fee is charged for the event.
  • The event takes place at an establishment that does not hold a license and where there is no commercial sale of beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

13.8.3 Serving at an establishment that holds a license, e.g. a restaurant or bar

The mission may however wish to serve its own duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages at a restaurant or similar establishment, which holds a license for the sale of alcoholic beverages. If that is the case, the mission must apply for permission from the Protocol Department. For the mission to be granted permission, it must fulfill the criteria below.

  • The event is intended for one specific occasion for specially invited guests and not accessible to the public. Please note that this criterion is generally not met for events at fairs and other similar settings.
  • The duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages are not sold to the participants of the event, and no entrance fee is charged for the event.
  • The Head of Mission is the host of the event and the event is within the scope of diplomatic activity.

In cases where permission to serve duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages from the Protocol Department is required, the mission shall apply through a note verbale to the Protocol Department no later than two weeks prior to the event.

The application for a permission should specify:

  • The character of the event, e.g. national day reception.
  • Date as well as start and end time for the event.
  • The name and full address of the license holder of the establishment at which the event is intended to take place. Please note that a name commonly used for an establishment might not be the name of the license holder, e.g. in the case of bars or restaurants located inside hotels, museums or cinemas.
  • Confirmation that the Head of Mission will be hosting the event, that the event is intended for one specific occasion for specially invited guests and not accessible to the public, and that no duty-free and tax-free alcoholic beverages will be sold to the participants nor any entrance fee be charged for the event.

Following approval from the Protocol Department, the relevant license holder will receive written permission issued by the Ministry, and the mission will receive a copy.

 

Contact

Protocol Department
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Visiting address Gustav Adolfs torg 1
Address 103 39 STOCKHOLM
email to Protocol Department