Sweden has become another country to enforce a travel ban on U.S. tourists because of concerns over rising cases of the Delta variant.
The news is frustrating for many U.S travelers and the travel industry on both sides of the pond.
Sweden’s New Travel Ban
From the 6th of September 2021, Sweden will remove the United States from its safe list of countries.
As a result, U.S citizens will not be allowed to enter Sweden for non-essential travel regardless of their vaccination status.
Sweden has extended the nation’s entry ban for non-EU/EEA travelers until October 31st. Since the start of the summer, the United States has been one country exempt from this ban.
Now Sweden has removed the U.S from its list of safe countries with Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.
However, United States citizens will still be able to travel to Sweden for the following reasons:
- Urgent family reasons
- Study purposes
- Certain business
- If they hold an EU passport
- If they hold Swedish citizenship or a residence permit
Non-essential travel is completely off until at least November.
Sweden is following in the footsteps of Bulgaria. At present, Sweden does not have any exemptions based on the vaccination status of travelers from outside the EU/EEA.
But the Swedish government is considering implementing an exemption for fully vaccinated non-EU tourists in the near future.
The Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg stated his intent to create entry restrictions that allow countries with close relationships — such as the U.K and the U.S. — to enter Sweden if they’re fully vaccinated.
Although he did say, “The United States is more complex because different states have different rules.”
The Swedish government hasn’t given any official dates on when this might happen, leaving many Americans wondering if they’ll be able to enter Sweden again for leisure purposes in 2021.
The EU’s New Recommendation
The European Union removed the United States from its safe list last week following rising cases.
The new guidance states, “Following a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on nonessential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted.”
The European Union also decided to remove Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia from its safe list.
So far, only Italy, Bulgaria, and Sweden have acted upon the EU’s guidance and added entry restrictions on U.S tourists. But, as time goes on, travelers can expect more EU nations to enforce restrictions on U.S citizens.
Germany and the Czech Republic have already had strict entry restrictions on U.S travelers before the EU changed its guidance.
The COVID-19 Situation In The U.S.
COVID-19 cases have grown in the United States over the summer as lockdowns ended in many states. Most of these cases are a result of the growing Delta variant strain which has hindered the world in the previous 4 months.
The U.S is reporting a 7-day average of 163,667. It’s the highest 7-day average since January 2021. However, the U.S does have a high vaccination level, with 53.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
Sweden and Bulgaria stopping non-essential travel from the U.S. regardless of vaccination status will worry the travel industry.
Although the world is slowly getting back to normal, travel restrictions remain challenging and constantly changing.