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Sweden

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for information on local conditions.
  • A terrorist attack in Sweden is possible. Terrorists are likely to continue planning attacks in Sweden.
  • Exercise particular caution in public places such as shopping areas and markets, places of worship, sporting venues, public transport including trains, airports, and other areas that attract large groups of people, including places popular with foreigners. See Safety and security
  • Local authorities and tourist operators have advised of an increase in bag snatching and petty theft in hotels throughout Stockholm. Never leave your bags or electronics unattended, including in hotel restaurants.

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.

Visas

Sweden is part of the Schengen area, along with a number of other European countries. This allows you to enter Sweden without a visa in some circumstances. 

Monitor border conditions by checking local news sources and asking transport providers directly.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Sweden for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Carry a valid passport when entering or leaving Sweden, even if you are travelling from another Schengen country. Make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport from border control staff when you first enter the Schengen area. Always carry your passport and/or Swedish residency permit when in Sweden, as you may be asked to verify your identity.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency of Sweden is the Swedish Krona (SEK).

Declare cash of Euro 10,000 or more (or the equivalent amount in another currency) if you are travelling between Sweden and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and traveller's cheques. If you fail to declare such cash or provide incomplete or incorrect information on entry to, or exit from Sweden, you will be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you are travelling to or from another EU country.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including Europe. There is a threat of terrorist attack in Sweden, including by those motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

The Swedish government assesses that the threat of terrorism is at level 3 of 5, indicating an elevated threat level.

In April 2017, a vehicle attack on a pedestrian street in central Stockholm resulted in a number of deaths and injuries. Terrorists are likely to continue planning attacks targeting Sweden.

​In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities. Attacks in European cities have targeted airports, public transport including train stations, places of worship, sporting venues and other areas that attract large groups of people, including places popular with foreigners such as Christmas markets. European security services have also prevented a number of planned attacks in recent years.

  • In planning your activities, consider the kinds of places that could be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Avoid visiting at peak times and have a clear exit plan if there is a security incident.
  • Exercise caution in public places such as shopping areas, places of worship, sporting venues, public transport, airports and other transport hubs, and places of mass gathering.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: 

Civil unrest and political tension

You might encounter protests or demonstrations in Sweden.

  • Monitor the news and other sources for information about possible protests and demonstrations.
  • Avoid crowds, protests and demonstrations as they can turn violent.
  • Follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Sweden has a low incidence of serious crime. Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse-snatching, is common and on the rise in Stockholm.

Pickpockets and purse snatchers may work in teams. One distracts the victim while another commits the robbery.

Be particularly alert in hotel lobbies and restaurants. Thieves may blend in with the guests and target bags and purses of distracted patrons.

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly at popular tourist attractions, museums, restaurants, major transport hubs and other public places.
  • Never leave your bags or electronics unattended, including in hotel restaurants.
  • Carry only what you need for the day. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Monitor local sources for information on crime.

Local travel

Road travel

Sweden's roads are usually in very good condition, but can be dangerous in winter due to icy conditions. Long periods of darkness during winter can reduce visibility. The Swedish Transport Administration provides detailed information on road conditions.

Sweden has some road rules you may not be familiar with: 

  • Vehicle headlights must be on at all times.
  • Winter tyres must be fitted from 1 December (or the onset of first snow, whichever is earlier) until 31 March (or beyond if roads are still icy).
  • The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.02. Penalties for drink driving are severe.

More information: 

Public Transport

Public transport, including buses and trains, is generally reliable and safe. Use officially marked taxis.

Air travel

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Sweden.

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to the all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Physical punishment of children is illegal in Sweden. This includes threatening a child with physical punishment. If you physically punish your child, or threaten to, local authorities can take custody of your child and prosecute you.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter, but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

More information: 

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, even possession of small amounts, include heavy fines and/or imprisonment.

More information:

Australian laws 

Some Australian criminal offences apply overseas. You can be prosecuted for them in Australia.  These offences include, but are not limited to:

  • child sex offences and child pornography
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • drug trafficking
  • people smuggling and human trafficking
  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • money laundering
  • terrorism and foreign incursions

More information: 

Dual nationals

Sweden recognises dual nationality.

As of 1 January 2018, the Swedish government reinstated compulsory military service for all its citizens 18 years of age, starting with those born between 1999 and 2000. If you’re a dual national, you may wish to check your military service obligations with the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance 

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are, and are not, covered under your policy, including any adventure activities or extreme-sports
  • that you're covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

If you need counselling services, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor. Check the status of your medicines on the Swedish Medical Products Agency website before you leave Australia.

You can bring a three-month supply of medicine for personal use into Sweden. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease is a risk throughout Sweden. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn (March to November).

Protect yourself against tick-borne illnesses by:

  • taking measures to avoid insect bites, including always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • checking your body for ticks during and after visiting forested areas
  • removing any ticks from your body as soon as possible, being careful to remove the whole tick
  • monitoring the tick site afterwards for any signs of infection.

More information: Infectious diseases

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in Sweden is comparable with Australia. Emergency services are limited in remote areas. The main hospitals are located in Stockholm, Gothenburg and the Malmo area. English is widely spoken.

A Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) between Australia and Sweden allows Australians who visit Sweden for less than 90 days to access emergency medical services for free. The RHCA does not provide the same breadth of cover as provided by Medicare in Australia. It does not cover ongoing treatment of pre-existing health conditions, medical evacuation, prescription medicines or elective surgery, for example.

To access emergency treatment under the RHCA, you'll need to present an Australian passport and a valid Medicare card. You may also need to mention the RHCA.  If you can't provide your passport and Medicare card, you may need to pay the fees applicable to non-residents. This could be $250 or more.

The RHCA does not replace the need for private travel health insurance.

More information: Medicare Australia

Natural disasters

Sweden experiences extremely cold winters and heavy snowfall, including in major metropolitan areas. This may cause severe transport delays, and a temporary shutdown of infrastructure.

You could also encounter severe storms, rockslides, floods, forest fires and strong winds.

If there is a natural disaster or extreme conditions, use common sense, monitor the media and other local sources, including the Swedish Government National Emergency Website (in English), for up-to-date information and follow the advice of local authorities.

More information:

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline.Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Police: 112. Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products 

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact:

Australian Embassy, Stockholm

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone +46 (0) 8 613 2900
Email: reception.stockholm@dfat.gov.au
Website: sweden.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Sweden Embassy Facebook
Twitter: @AusAmbSE

Check the Australian Embassy website or Embassy Facebook page for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information