Provided that the traveler is not covered by any other exception (such as being an EU / EEA citizen himself or having a Swedish residence permit), there are two main roads for people with family in Sweden to get here despite the entry ban.
The first is quite simple to define: close family ties. This mainly applies to people with a partner or minor child in Sweden.
According to the police, this applies to travelers whose close family member falls into one of the following categories:
- Swedish citizens
- EEA citizens
- Foreigners with a residence permit in Sweden or in another EEA country
- Foreigners who have the status of long-term resident in Sweden or another EU Member State
- British nationals who hold or have applied for residence status
- Foreigners with a national visa (class D) for Sweden or another EEA state
The traveler must either travel to Sweden to join this family member or travel with them.
In this context, “close family connection” means spouses, cohabitants, partners who move to Sweden to cohabit with or marry their partner, parents of small children and children under 18 years of age. Siblings, cousins, grandparents and parents of adult children are only counted in special circumstances where there is a proven financial dependence.
You will need to prove your close family connection, and the police say that you can do this “with a decision letter from the Swedish Migration Board, extracts from the population register, marriage certificate or license, cohabitation agreement, account statement from a joint bank account, birth certificate etcetera”, either written or translated into English or a Scandinavian language. If this exception applies to you, it is enough to prove the family connection; you do not have to prove that the cause of the resource is urgent.
The second way for people to travel outside the EU / EEA to join the family in Sweden is if they can prove that “acute family reasons” apply.
The police say that urgent family reasons apply when a sudden illness or accident has occurred that requires the foreign traveler to be in Sweden, for example to be present at a birth, a funeral or palliative care. Please note that postpartum visits are generally not included.
Other parties, including weddings, do not count, but you can be covered by this exception if you need to be in Sweden for “property division, inheritance negotiations or are called to court proceedings in a general court or family court”. It is the traveler’s responsibility to bring proof of the exemption.
Unlike the criteria for “close family connections”, if you travel for “acute family reasons”, the criteria for a family relationship are intended to be “inclusive” according to Swedish police. There is no strict definition of the relationship you need to have with the person receiving care, and the policy even says that this may apply to relationships outside the traditional nuclear family, which indicates that, for example, siblings may be included or parents of adult children. In other words, it may be possible to travel from a non-exempt country to be present when your adult child gives birth, or to take care of a sibling after a sudden illness, but it is unlikely that you could make the trip simply for the purpose of to visit one of the family members.
It is not possible to get prior approval from the Swedish police, which is responsible for border control, or any other authority, so there is a certain risk if you travel in the hope of being covered by this exemption.
If you are traveling to Sweden from a country outside the EU due to urgent family reasons, you are exempt from the requirement to show a negative Covid-19 test result upon entry, but if you are traveling due to a close family connection, you must show this certificate and prove your family connection.
Finally, for people who cannot enter Sweden according to the rules above, there may still be alternative ways of reunification.
One of the most obvious is to travel to Sweden via a Nordic country (Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway). There are currently no restrictions on entry from the other Nordic countries, and this also applies if you are a non-Nordic or non-EU resident. There is no set time you need to spend in a Nordic country before you enter Sweden without restrictions, so if you can enter one of these countries during their travel restrictions, you should be able to cross the border into Sweden from there.
At the time of writing, Denmark had an exemption from its entry ban outside the EU for fully vaccinated travelers from certain countries, while Sweden did not, so it would be possible for a fully vaccinated traveler to travel from a non-exempt country to Denmark, and then travel on. to Sweden. An important warning is that, once again, decisions on border control are made by the Swedish police.