In response to the European Council’s and the European Commission’s call for travel restrictions, the Government decided on 17 March to temporarily stop non-essential travel to Sweden so as to mitigate the effects of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and reduce the spread of the disease.
It means that the Government, fully in accordance with what the Member States agreed at EU level, is temporarily banning non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EEA and Switzerland. The purpose is to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The entry ban does not apply to Swedish citizens. There are also exemptions for EEA citizens and their family members, for example, if the purpose of entry is to return to their homes. Other people who have particularly urgent needs or who are to carry out essential functions in Sweden will also still be able to enter Sweden. This is an exceptional measure and the entry ban is temporary.
The EU Member States have given their support to a call from the European Commission to take measures to temporarily ban non-essential travel to the EU. The purpose is to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The COVID-19 virus is a matter of international concern that requires coordinated measures. The Government has therefore decided to accept the call and issue a temporary entry ban in line with the European Commission’s recommendations.
The entry ban applies primarily to foreign citizens attempting to enter Sweden from a country outside the EEA or from Switzerland. Citizens from the following countries are therefore allowed to enter Sweden: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Accordingly, the entry ban does not apply to Swedish citizens. Moreover, there are a number of important exemptions to the ban (see next question).
The entry ban does not affect travel from another EU country to Sweden.
The entry ban does not apply to people whose reason for travelling is to return to their home if they:
In addition, the entry ban does not apply to people who have particularly urgent needs or who are to carry out essential functions in Sweden. For example, this may be the case for:
The list of people who have particularly urgent needs or who are to carry out essential functions is for illustration only and there may therefore be other categories of people who will be exempt. It will be a matter for the enforcing authorities to determine in each individual case how the exemptions are to be interpreted and which decisions are to be made. The purpose of the measures is to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus. This is a temporary measure.
The list of exemptions from the travel ban is in accordance with the exemptions stated by the European Commission in its communication of 16 March. The Government has chosen to follow what was agreed on at EU level regarding the groups that should not be affected by the entry ban. This is an exceptional measure and it is important that it does not affect individuals more severely than necessary. However, the Government is closely monitoring developments concerning the COVID-19 virus and has continuous contact with the responsible public authorities and other countries.
The entry ban will begin to apply on 19 March and continue for 30 days to begin with. This is fully in line with the European Commission’s recommendation in its communication of 16 March.
The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU makes clear that EU law also applies in relation to the UK during the transition period, which runs until 31 December 2020. This means that UK nationals are still to be regarded as EEA citizens and that travel from the UK is not covered by the ban. It also means that UK nationals and their family members who travel to Sweden from a country outside the EEA or Switzerland may enter if the purpose is to return to their home.
Travel from Denmark, Norway and Finland is not affected by the entry ban since these contries belong to the EEA. The decision only applies to people who travel to Sweden from a country outside the EEA or Switzerland.
It depends on the country they are travelling from. The general rule is that people travelling to Sweden from a country that is not part of the EEA or Switzerland will be denied entry. However, exemptions may be made for matters such as imperative family reasons, but how these are assessed is a matter for the Swedish Police Authority. Swedish citizens residing abroad are not affected by this decision.
There is an explicit exemption from the entry ban for people who transport goods.
The entry ban does not apply to Swedish citizens. Swedish citizens who return home will thus be able to enter Sweden despite the temporary entry ban.
The right to asylum will not be affected by the decision.
People who hold a Swedish residence permit are exempt from the entry ban if the purpose of entry is to return home.
As a rule, a third-country national who is to study in Sweden for more than three months requires a residence permit. People who hold a residence permit for Sweden will be allowed to enter Sweden if the purpose is to return home.