Travel to and from Sweden after Brexit

Note dated 27 December 2020

During the autumn of 2019 we prepared a note with some information about travel to Sweden in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.  As events have turned out, it appears that the Transition Period will come to an end on 31 December 2020 and that the UK’s relationship with the EU will thereafter be regulated by an Agreement reached on 24 December 2020.

Such  details of this Agreement as have been published clearly indicate that arrangements for travel to and from Sweden will, for the most part, be along the lines we had envisaged as applying to a “No Deal” scenario.  The following note, which has been amended where necessary, may therefore continue to be useful to members.  The main changes concern the sections on healthcare and travel with animals.

Travel to and from Sweden after Brexit

Revised to 3 January 2021

Many of the arrangements concerning travel to and from Sweden changed at the end of the Brexit Transition Period.  This note is written in good faith to offer guidance to our members, and links to more detailed information. However, it is important to be aware that the Society is not an official body and has no special expertise in these matters. You should consult the UK and Swedish authorities for definitive statements. The postal address for the Swedish Embassy is: 11 Montagu Place, London W1H 2AL, the telephone number is 020 7917 6400, and the email address is ambassaden.london@gov.se

This note covers our understanding of the position. Brexit will make everything more complicated and certain things more expensive, so please let us know if you spot any errors and we will check to see if we need to amend anything. We aim to cover only the most common circumstances, in particular we do not seek to cover business visits to Sweden.  If there are other areas which you think we should also cover, please let us know.  .The email address is: membership@scottishswedish.org

1. Entry and exit formalities

UK citizens.

UK citizens will need a passport to enter Sweden. It must both be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of arrival in Sweden, and also must have been issued less than 9 years 6 months prior to that date. Thus a normal UK passport will, in effect, expire earlier than the date printed on it.  Be particularly careful if your passport states that it is valid for more than 10 years as sometimes happens. You may wish to see the UK Government guidance about passport validity at:

https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit

You will not need a visa for a stay of less than 90 days in any period of 180 days. The 90 day limit applies to the Schengen area as a whole, so that, for example, a 20 day visit to France would reduce the limit for a visit to Sweden in the same 6 month period to 70 days.  You may well need a visa for longer stays or to work or study in Sweden; check with the Swedish Embassy if this applies to you.

Starting in January 2022, UK citizens are, however, likely to require ETIAS authorisation before travelling to a Schengen area country of which Sweden is one.  ETIAS will be a “visa waiver” system which requires making an application on-line before travel. and so it will closely resemble a multiple entry visa. A fee of €7 will be charged in most cases.  If granted, authorisation will last until your passport expires or for 3 years, whichever is shorter. Details can be found at:

https://etias.com/

The Swedish authorities may wish to see your return ticket and to be satisfied that you have sufficient funds for your stay.

General advice for UK citizens travelling abroad after Brexit is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit

Swedish citizens

Swedish citizens will need a valid passport to enter the UK.  Note that a Swedish ID card will no longer be accepted. They will not need a visa for visits of less than 3 months. Check with the UK authorities for longer stays. However, the UK authorities have announced their intention to introduce a “visa waiver” system in the longer term, and this would apparently be similar to the EU’s proposed ETIAS arrangement (see above).

Information for EU citizens planning to move to the UK after Brexit can be found by following this link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/european-temporary-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk

Swedish citizens who have been granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status and who are re-entering the UK after a short period abroad will not require a visa. However, we suggest that people in this category keep with their passport the letter from the Home Office that tells them of their status so that this can be shown in the event of questions being asked when they enter the UK. If they have been issued a new passport since they applied for Settled Status, it is very important they inform the Home Office of their new passport number. The letter mentioned explains how to do this.

Those who have dual nationality may find it best to travel with both their passports, using the Swedish one on arrival in Sweden and their British one on arrival in the UK.

If you are travelling with a young person under 18 years old, or if a young person is travelling to the UK on their own, you should obtain further information by following this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-travelling-to-the-uk.

It is particularly important to consult the guidance if the young person’s surname differs from that of the accompanying parent/guardian.

General advice about travel to the UK for Swedish citizens is available at:

https://www.swedenabroad.se/sv/om-utlandet-f%C3%B6r-svenska-medborgare/storbritannien/reseinformation/ambassadens-reseinformation/

Travel with animals

The existing EU pet passport scheme will no longer apply.  Instead you will need an Animal Health Certificate.  This will be issued by your vet and must have been obtained 10 days before travel, with a validity of 4 months.  A certificate covers only one round trip, but does include onward travel within the EU and return entry to the UK.

You will have to enter the EU through a designated entry point.  In Sweden the only designated entry points are Arlanda and Landvetter Airports.  Note however that you can still enter Sweden from other EU countries, having been examined at your first point of entry to the EU.

These rules also apply to guide and assistance dogs.

2. Your Health

The EHIC cards which have provided entitlement to certain health services for UK resident visitors to Sweden and Swedish visitors to the UK will remain valid until the expiry date printed on them.  The UK Government says that it will then be possible to replace them with  a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), but details of this are not yet available.

There is one change, however, which may be relevant to some of our members.  Under the terms of the earlier EU Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens resident in the UK along with their spouses, civil partners, “durable partners” and some dependants may be eligible for a new EHIC Card from 1 January 2021, ie as distinct from a GHIC.   Dual Swedish/UK citizens appear to be eligible provided they acquired their UK citizenship by naturalisation. The main difference between these cards appears to be that an EHIC issued after 1 January 2021 is valid throughout the EU and EEA, but a GHIC or an EHIC issued prior to 31 December 2020 is only valid in the EU. You will find details of this new system and how to apply at:

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/

Swedish residents in the UK who have Settled or Pre-Settled status will continue to be eligible for NHS services. 

3. Your Car and Driving

Photocard, but not paper, UK Driving Licences will continue to be accepted for visits of up to 6 months to Sweden following Brexit. For longer visits, or if you still have a paper licence, you should obtain an International Driving Permit in advance. This can be obtained at large Post Offices. Note that there are various sorts of International Driving Permit and be careful to have the right one (“The 1968 Convention”) for Sweden. The countries that Scottish people are likely to transit on the way to Sweden by car, that is the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, will also accept UK Driving Licences for short visits, though the exact time that counts as “short” varies from country to country. For details consult:

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/international-driving-permit

and:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu-after-brexit-international-driving-permits

If you are taking your car you will need a Green Card after Brexit. This can be obtained from your insurance company.

You will also need a GB sticker.

4. Your baggage.

You will no longer be entitled to carry unlimited amounts of tax-paid dutiable goods, such as tobacco and alcohol, that are for your own consumption. The UK Government is reported to have said that the old “Duty Free Allowance” system will be re-instated.  We do not know the Swedish position, but speculate that it will be the same.

Prior to Brexit, you could bring any fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy or other animal products (eg fish, eggs and honey) into the UK from Sweden and a similar position applied in Sweden. For the time being it is permitted to bring foodstuffs into Britain from the EU but it is suggested that some more restrictive arrangements will be phased in during 2021.  The position is outlined at: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/personal-food-plant-and-animal-product-imports#what-you-can-bring-from-eu-countries

The position on taking food into Sweden as an EU country is outlined here:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/meat-dairy-animal/index_en.htm

At the time of writing this webpage was last updated well before the Christmas Eve agreement and may therefore be subject to amendment.  The main practical point for visitors to Sweden is that meat and dairy products may no longer be taken with them.

5. Your Mobile Phone

After Brexit, your mobile phone company is permitted to charge roaming fees for using your phone in Sweden. In the past, before the EU outlawed roaming fees between EU countries, these had been very high. You may wish to check in advance with your firm as some, including the major ones, have stated they will not impose these charges.