Sweden

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 18 December 2014.   This advice has been reviewed and reissued with minor amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Sweden.

Sweden overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Sweden. You should exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia, and monitor the media and other sources for information on local travelling conditions.
  • There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.
  • See also our general advice for business travellers.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Sweden is a party to the Schengen Convention, along with a number of other European countries, which allows you to enter Sweden without a visa in some circumstances. See our travel bulletin on the Schengen Convention, for further information.

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 the most up-to-date information.

When travelling from a non-European Union (EU) or European Economic Area country (including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), you are allowed to bring a three month supply of medicine for personal use. Depending on the classification, some medication, including natural remedies, may not be permitted to be brought into Sweden. Visit the Swedish Medical Products Agency website for more information.

People travelling directly to or from a country outside the European Union (EU) carrying 10,000 Euros or more in cash (or the equivalent amount in another currency) are required to declare the cash at the place of their arrival or departure from the EU. Travellers failing to declare the cash or providing incomplete or incorrect information will incur a fine. There is no requirement to declare cash for people travelling to or from another EU country.

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe. In the past, terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Civil unrest/political tension

On 3 December 2014, the Swedish Government called for elections to be held in March 2015. Civil disturbances or protests may occur in Sweden, particularly as a result of the current political uncertainty. You should avoid all demonstrations. Monitor the media for developments and if you are in an area affected by protests, follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Sweden has a low incidence of serious crime. However, pickpocketing and purse snatching are common on the street, particularly during the warmer months (May-September). Pickpocketing can also occur at popular tourist attractions, museums, railway stations, restaurants and other public places.

In an emergency, call 112 for police, fire or ambulance services. In non-emergency situations, you can report a crime to the nearest police station or call 114 14 to file a police report.

Money and valuables

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

When driving, headlights must be on at all times. Roads can be dangerous in winter due to icy conditions. Winter tyres are a legal requirement from 1 December to 31 March. The Swedish Transport Administration provides detailed information on road conditions. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Sweden.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Sweden, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

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

The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in Sweden is 0.02. This is lower than Australia's limit of 0.05 and, in effect, means you cannot drink alcohol at all if you are driving. Penalties for drink driving are harsh.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. 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 a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. Sweden has a high cost of living and medical services can be expensive.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

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

Travel in forested areas and the Stockholm Archipelago brings risk of exposure to tick-borne encephalitis. Ticks are very common in country areas and are active from spring to autumn (March to November).

Australia and Sweden are signatories to a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) which covers travellers who visit Sweden for less than 90 days. The agreement provides Australians with access to emergency medical services. Travellers should be aware that the RHCA does not provide the same level of medical cover as provided by Medicare in Australia, nor does it provide cover for ongoing treatment of pre-existing health conditions, medical evacuation, prescription medicines or elective surgery.

Australians wishing to access emergency treatment under the RHCA must advise medical staff in Sweden and present an Australian passport and a valid Medicare card to be eligible. Where Australian identification cannot be provided, a patient may receive treatment and may be required to pay fees applicable for non-residents, which could be up to approximately $250 or more.

The RHCA does not replace the need for private travel health insurance. See Medicare Australia's website for more information.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police on 112. The national emergency number is 112. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.
For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian Embassy, Stockholm

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Telephone +46 (0) 8 613 2900
Facsimile +46 (0) 8 613 2982
Email: reception@austemb.se
Website: www.sweden.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Sweden, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

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 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Sweden experiences extremely cold winters and heavy snowfall. This may cause delays to public transport.

Storms, rockslides, floods and strong winds may occur.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.