Change in border control when the UK leaves EU
The UK left EU on January 1st 2020, and as a result became a so-called third country. On January 1st 2021 the transition period agreed upon by the EU and the UK in the Brexit withdrawal agreement came to an end. (Updated 2021-02-06)
Sweden has an entry ban from the UK until 31 March 2021 including all foreigners who do not live or work in Sweden, with a few exceptions. Swedish citizens will be allowed to enter Sweden from the UK. Foreign citizens age 18 and above need to document that they do not have an active covid-19 infection in order to enter Sweden.
Decisions are made upon entry
All decisions regarding the enforcement of potential exemptions, are made at the border control point. No pre-approvals or written statements will be issued by the Swedish Police. It is not possible to apply for an exemption by post, e-mail or telephone.
Frequently asked questions about the entry ban
No individual questions regarding enforcement of the entry ban will be answered by the border police or 114 14. Instead questions are referred to the published FAQ about the entry ban. Operators at 114 14 only have access to the information already available on the web.
On January 1st 2021 the right of free movement and other rights of EU citizens were removed for UK citizens, and entry and exit regulations for third country citizens applies.
Amongst other things, this might lead to longer waiting time at border crossing points, since UK citizens need to meet the same entry and exit requirements as other third country nationals as stipulated in the Schengen Borders Code.
However, until 31 March 2021 Sweden has an entry ban for all foreign nationals entering Sweden from the UK, Norway or Denmark, with a few exceptions. Also, foreign citizens age 18 and above need to document that they do not have an active covid-19 infection in order to enter Sweden.
Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European parliament and of the council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).
The Brexit withdrawal agreement enables UK citizens and their family members who were staying in Sweden as EU citizens before December 31st 2020 to retain their right to stay in Sweden even after the transition period is over. They can apply for residence status from the Swedish Migration Agency. UK citizens will also be able to apply for evidence of frontier worker status.
After submitting their application, UK citizens and their family members have the same rights as previously and can travel in the EU and continue to live, work and study in Sweden while waiting for their decision. If a family member requires a visa, he or she will still need a visa to enter Sweden.
Please note that UK citizens may need to present evidence of residence status or application for residence status at border crossing points, together with a passport or a UK national ID card.
To protect the rights of UK citizens and their family members, the Swedish parliament have made legal changes in the Aliens’ Act (2005:716) and the Aliens’ Ordinance (2006:97), which came into effect on December 1st 2020.
In short, a new category of residence permit in Sweden for UK Citizens called residence status came into existence.
After Brexit, UK citizens and their family members may have their photo and finger prints taken during an internal aliens’ control which all third country nationals are subject to.
Residence status is a new category of residence permit in Sweden for UK Citizens and their family members, and entitles the holders to the rights granted by the Brexit agreement.
UK citizens and their family members who live in Sweden by the end of 2020 and would like to continue living and working in Sweden, can apply for proof of residence status from the Swedish Migration Agency.
This means that someone who gains residence status will be entitled to live and work in Sweden, in general under the same conditions as for EU citizens. Before the status card is issued, the Swedish Migration Agency will provide documentation that the application is registered.
UK citizens who lived in another country but worked in Sweden at the end of the transition period, will be considered frontier workers. They can apply for a frontier worker card, to document their status in the country. The status evidence is valid for five years.
From January 1st 2021, UK citizens and their family members will no longer be EU citizens or family members of EU citizens. This means they will need to meet the entry and exit criterias for third country nationals according to the Schengen Border Code. Entering Sweden from the UK, Norway or Denmark will be restricted until 31 March 2021.
Note! There are certain exemptions only for UK citizens with residence status and their family members.
Please observe that as long as the temporary entry ban is in effect to reduce the spread of covid-19, only individuals who already live in Sweden or those who are entitled to residence status after Brexit will be exempted and will be allowed to enter Sweden. Foreign citizens age 18 and above need to document that they do not have an active covid-19 infection in order to enter Sweden, except foreign citizens who can document that they reside in Sweden. For UK citizens who have applied for residence status it will be sufficient to bring a physical or electronical evidence of application. So called frontier workers are exempted if they are considered to perform necessary functions.
Other UK citizens are third country nationals and need to be covered by an exemption in order to be allowed to enter Sweden, and travels from the UK will be an entry from a third country.
Entering Sweden from the UK, Norway or Denmark will be restricted until 31 March 2021. Foreign citizens age 18 and above need to document that they do not have an active covid-19 infection in order to enter Sweden, except foreign citizens who can document that they reside in Sweden.
After January 1st 2021 UK citizens can no longer use the EU/EES/CH lanes for border crossing.
This also applies to UK citizens with evidence of residence status or family members of UK citizens with residence status. They will need to present evidence of residence status or physical or electronic application for residence status at the border control point, however.
UK citizens will not need a visa for planned visits inside EU for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. Travelers planning longer stays in EU will need to apply for a visa for an extended stay or residence permit from the Swedish Migration Agency. Exemptions are made for UK citizens holding residence status, and their family members who do not need a visa. Evidence of residence status or physical or electronic evidence for application of residence status needs to be provided.
Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 April 2019 amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, as regards the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union
UK citizens not holding residence status need to meet the entry and exit requirements for third country nationals according to the Schengen Border Code. This may include holding a return ticket, evidence of sufficient funds for their stay, as well as documenting the purpose of their visit.
Valid EHIC and GHIC cards will give the holder access to necessary healthcare from state services.
Exemptions will be made for UK citizens holding residence status or can present evidence of application of residence status, since the entry and exit requirements do not apply to these categories. Or their family members.
UK citizens and their family members need a passport for entering and exiting Sweden. The travel document can not be older than 10 years and it needs to be valid for at least three months after the planned exit from the Schengen territory.
Exemptions will be made for UK citizens holding residence status or who can document that they have applied for residence status. These categories can enter using a national ID card or passport.
Family members of UK citizens who are third country nationals holding residence status, need a passport and residence status or evidence of application for residence status.
From January 1st 2021 residence permits, residence cards and/or visas issued in the UK no longer exempt the holder from EU’s requirement of airport transit visas.
Please note that UK citizens and their family members who do not meet the entry requirements, can be denied entry.
Visit the official UK website for information regarding rules for Swedish citizens living in the UK at the end of the transition period.
Earlier could Swedish citizens travel to and from the UK using a national ID card.
After January 1st 2021 a Swedish citizen is allowed to enter Sweden using a national ID card. When exiting Sweden for the UK, a passport is required according to 5 § in the Passport Act (1978:302).
During the extended entry ban until 31 January 2021, Swedish citizens are allowed to enter Sweden even from the UK or Denmark, since they have an unconditional right to enter Sweden. This, however, does not apply to family members who are foreign citizens.
The conditions set in the Dublin III regulation stipulates which member state is responsible to process an application for international protection which a third country national or stateless individual have submitted in an EU member state.
In short, the Dublin regulation enables member states to transfer asylum seekers to the member state where the application for asylum was first submitted.
From January 1st 2021 the UK is no longer part of the Dublin regulation, and the conditions in the common European asylum system will no longer be applicable since the UK is a third country.
The Dublin regulation cease to apply between Sweden and the UK.
Becoming a third country, however, does not affect the UK’s obligation to offer protection to refugees according to the Geneva convention and the 1967 protocol, including the principle of non-refoulement and article 3 in the European Convention.
The UK is no longer able to use and access certain EU information exchange systems or legal instruments based on EU law, such as SIS II (Schengen Information System), VIS (Visa Information System), EURODAC and Europol.