The Swedish government on Wednesday decided that foreign nationals will have to present a negative test result for ongoing COVID-19 infection upon entry into Sweden, regardless of where they are arriving from. The aim is to reduce the risk of spreading the new variants of the COVID-19 virus that have been detected in a number of countries.


On 29 January, the Government received a pro­posal from the Public Health Agency of Sweden, requesting a government decision requiring foreign nationals to present a negative test result for ongoing COVID-19 infection before they are permitted to enter Sweden, with any exemptions that the Government might decide. The background to this is that new variants of the COVID-19 virus have recently been detected, and that it is currently difficult to fully determine in which countries the variants are prevalent.

The Government sent the proposal to the Swedish Police Authority, the Swedish Coast Guard and the Swedish Migration Agency under an accelerated consultation procedure. At the same time, the EU has presented new recommendations for travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

Following very intensive preparations, the Government today approved a general entry ban for foreign nationals who cannot present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in Sweden. As a general rule, the test must not be more than 48 hours old. Foreign nationals aged 18 and older are subject to the test requirement, with the exception of certain categories of travellers so as to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.

The regulations differ depending on whether a person is travelling from a third country or from an EU or Schengen country. There are also separate regulations for travel from Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. However, the common feature is an exemption from the test requirement for people under the age of 18, those who live in Sweden and staff in the transport sector.

“Today’s decision is important to reduce the influx of the new variants of the virus that have been detected in several countries. According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the new variants, and even if they have now spread to some extent in Sweden, it is important that we take this step, which will reduce the risk of further spread,” says Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg.

The regulations will enter into force on 6 February, i.e. at midnight on Friday, and will apply up to and including 31 March.

Today’s decision does not affect the period of validity of the temporary entry ban to the EU via Sweden, which still applies until 31 March.