Reader question: Which Covid tests are accepted for travel to Sweden?

Foreign nationals who aren’t covered by a series of exemptions are required to present a negative Covid-19 test when entering Sweden. But which tests are accepted?

Reader question: Which Covid tests are accepted for travel to Sweden?
Border police checking travel documents on the border between Denmark and Sweden. Photo: Anders Bjurö/TT

In practice, this mainly affects foreign visitors to Sweden. Residents are exempt from the requirement and can travel to Sweden under the same rules as before. This article will focus on the test itself, but you can read more about the current travel restrictions and exceptions here.

The test must have been carried out 48 hours before your documents are checked when you enter Sweden – not 48 hours after you get the result, and not 48 hours after departure, so make sure you plan your trip carefully, especially if it’s a long-distance connecting flight.

The Public Health Agency and the Police Authority advise that the test certificate must include the following information, and the original document must be written in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English or French (translations are not accepted):

  • Name and date of birth

  • The date and time of the sampling (i.e. not the date and time the certificate was issued, but the date and time the test was carried out)

  • Disease or infectious agent, covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2 or one of its subtypes)

  • What kind of test was used (i.e. antigen, PCR, TMA or LAMP)

  • Information that the test was negative

  • The name and address of the laboratory that conducted the test or the issuer of the certificate

The test must be either antigen, PCR, TMA or LAMP (a Public Health Agency expert confirmed to The Local that other NAATs – Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests – than the latter three are not accepted).

The test certificate can be either paper or digital.

If border police believe your test result does not meet the requirements, or if you are unable to prove that you are covered by an exemption, you may be refused entry.

You can read more about Sweden’s travel restrictions in The Local’s article.

The above information was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. Please be aware that we are not a government authority and cannot issue any guarantees about whether or not you will be able to travel to Sweden. We always advise readers to also consult the official information on the Swedish border police’s website for details that apply to your specific situation.

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EXPLAINED: What’s behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

Travellers are reporting queues over an hour long at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. What's going on and how long is it expected to last?

EXPLAINED: What's behind the queues at Stockholm Arlanda airport?

What’s the situation at Stockholm Arlanda airport? 

On Friday morning, there were queues lasting over an hour at Arlanda’s security controls. By 10am, they had been reduced to below half an hour, according to the live update the airport operator, Swedavia, maintains on its website here

Swedavia first began warning of long queue times on Monday, saying the queues were the result of a resurgence in travel combined with staffing shortages at Avarn, the contractor responsible for managing the security checks. 

“The wait times are due to a staff shortage with our security services contractor – which is caused by ongoing recruitment and absences due to illness,” the airport said on its website

What are travellers saying? 

Twitter is predictably awash with angry comments from travellers, including some well-known commentators. 

The terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp resorted to capital letters to bemoan the “CATASTROPHE” at the airport. 

The Financial Times’ Nordic Correspondent also compared the situation at Arlanda unfavourably with the smooth controls at Helsinki Airport

“Never seen anything like it and sounds like might be worse today. In Terminal 5 both queues, SAS and Norwegian, were well over 100 metres long,” he told The Local. “It took me 50 minutes to get through security. Don’t think it’s ever taken more than 10 in the Nordics before.” 

What should you do if you are travelling through Stockholm Arlanda at the moment? 

Swedavia recommends that you arrive “well in advance” when taking a flight. You can contact your airline here to find out when their check-ins and baggage drops open.  

Swedavia also recommends that you do everything possible to speed up the check-in process, such as:

  • checking in from home
  • packing hand baggage to make screening faster
  • checking the need for a face covering in advance
  • checking that you have the right travel documents ready 

If you can’t check in from home, Swedavia recommends seeing if you can check in using an automated machine at the airport.

What is the airport doing to to improve the situation? 

On June 15th, the airport is reopening Terminal 4, which might help somewhat, although the airport warns that as staffing is the major problem, having more space will not fully solve the problem over the summer. 

In a press release issued on Friday, Svedavia’s chief operations officer, Peder Grunditz, said opening a new terminal was “an important measure”. 

“We are now going to have the three biggest terminals back in operation for the first time since the pandemic,” he said. 

The company and Avarn are also making “big recruitment efforts” and taking “operational measures” to improve the queue situation, although the “challenging labour market” made that difficult. 

When will waiting times return to normal? 

In his press release, Grunditz conceded that waiting times were not likely to return to normal during the summer, due to the rapid growth in the number of people taking flights. 

“Even though we expect gradual improvements, the queuing situation is going to continue to be challenging during periods over the summer,” he said.