As a second wave of Covid-19 infections sweeps across Europe, all three Scandinavian countries are taking steps to stop the spread.
European residents are able to visit Sweden, but Denmark and Norway have much stricter border restrictions in place. At present, non-European residents cannot visit the region for the purposes of tourism, with some exceptions for Denmark.
Each country has varying exemptions for essential travel, such as business trips, visiting family and starting a job or program of study.
Denmark distinguishes between “open” and “banned” countries depending on the current coronavirus situation in that country. The policy allows people in from open countries without quarantine. Countries outside the EU and the Schengen area are all on the banned list, with the exception of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay.
Within Europe, only residents of Estonia, Finland, Greenland and Norway can freely enter Denmark, together with residents of two regions in northern Sweden.
People from banned countries may enter Denmark if they have a “worthy purpose” such as starting a job or a program of study. However, they must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Any non-residents arriving in Norway must quarantine for 10 days, effectively ruling out tourism. There are exemptions in place for EU/EEA/Schengen countries with low rates of transmission, but at present just Greenland and a handful of regions in Finland fall into that category. The list is updated weekly and you can find the latest exemptions on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Norway remains closed to tourists from countries outside of the EU/EEA/Schengen area.
In late October, Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg introduced stricter measures for the month of November in an attempt to give her fellow citizens a shot at a “normal Christmas.”
The new measures include a clampdown on business travelers, who were previously exempted from the quarantine period. Now, the majority of business travelers will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
The ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from outside the EU/EEA/Schengen area has been extended until December 22. However, all residents of EU/EEA/Schengen countries including the U.K. are permitted to enter Sweden for any reason.
For those who do visit Sweden in November, it’s important to understand the local restrictions for the region(s) you visit. A few weeks ago, the Swedish government allowed county administrators to set their own rules and many have taken up the option.