Changes to Sweden’s Travel Regulations – Everything Business Trippers Need to Know

It has recently been announced that the Swedish Government has taken the decision to extend border controls at Sweden’s internal borders from 12 November 2022 to 11 May 2023. The reason for this course of action is based on the Swedish Government’s assessment that there is a serious threat to public order and internal security in the country. As a result, those trying to enter Sweden are under much closer scrutiny, particularly those entering the country via internal borders.

In this blog by Alan Bentley, CEO of IPM Global, he discusses why these changes have been instated and how to prepare for them when travelling to Sweden for work-related matters:

Over the last few years, we have seen an unprecedented number of measures implemented both internationally and locally with regard to international travel. Whilst these changes were/are extremely valid, they can be extremely difficult to keep up to date with. At IPM, we are here to help ease the burden by documenting these requirements in a consumable manner enabling you to support those within your company who are travelling on behalf of your organisation. This blog unpacks everything business trippers to Sweden may need to know.

What is happening at the Swedish Border?

Sweden has observed Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The country is extremely conscious of the extreme threat to security throughout Europe which has been created by this conflict. On 21 September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” of military reservists in Russia. This means there has been some assembling and organising of national Russian military resources to support a nation’s strategic war-related objectives.

Due to these events, there has been a large number of Russian nationals leave their country in search of refuge within the EU. This however has opened the way for criminal networks exploiting the war situation with a noted rise in arms smugg­ling and human trafficking. In addition to this, there has been additional strain added to the border forces as an increased number of migrants are coming to the EU and the Schengen area via the EU Member States that border the Western Balkans.

Understandably these factors combined are considered a high risk to Sweden’s national security they have now taken what they deem as adequate steps to protect their borders.

How does this impact business trippers in Sweden?

Those coming into Sweden via internal borders are those who are most likely to face some level of disruption during their business trip. Entry into the country may take longer than anticipated with even closer checks than before. To ensure you ease the burden of potential disruption please ensure you have the following in place:

  • An open application for an extended work permit so you can obtain a D-visa for business travel (this is a document required for business travel only)
  • In order for you to obtain an entry visa, your employer must certify that you need to travel as part of your job
  • You cannot submit your D-visa application before you know if and when the business trip will occur
  • If you are exempt from the visa requirements, you do not need to apply for a D-visa to make your business trip.
  • To support your D-visa application you will require the following documentation:
    • Copy of your passportCertificate from your employer showing that you need to make the trip as part of your job describing the purpose of the trip and when it is to take place.
    • Certificate from the person you are going to visit, such as an invitation from a company or organisation, indicating that you are going to make the visit
  • Travellers from the US have exemptions. Find out more here.
  • Family members cannot accompany you on your business trip with the D-visa as to confirm this is a business travel-related document only

Whilst the country is on high alert from a security perspective, they still have cultural nuances that you should be aware of. Swedish employment law dictates that the minimum number of days an employee can take off is 25 a year. The Swedish also like to take their holiday at the same time each year. As such, please note the best times to travel to Sweden with the least disruption:

  • Early September – mid-December
  • Mid-January – mid-June

It is also worth noting the following Schengen countries have also temporarily reintroduced internal border controls and, like Sweden, have stated that they intend to continue with the controls as long as a serious threat to public order and internal security remains. You can find the full list with reasons and scope from the European Commission’s website here. To find out more about how foreign political upheaval and changes to policy can impact the Global Mobility of your workforce, please reach out to my team here.