COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Sweden is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy. Swedish is the official language, but English is well-spoken
throughout the country. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Sweden for additional information on U.S.-Sweden relations.
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SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM/EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Sweden, please take the time to tell our embassy about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. We can also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
U.S. Embassy in Stockholm
Dag Hammarskjoldsvag 31
SE-115 89 Stockholm
Telephone: (46) (8) 783-5300
Emergency after-hours telephone: (46) (8) 783-5300
Fax: (46) (8) 783-5480
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Sweden is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Sweden for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes with a valid U.S. passport, without obtaining a visa. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.
Contact the Swedish Embassy at 901 30th Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, tel: (202) 467-2600 (mailing address: 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007), or the Swedish Consulate General in New York at (212) 583-2550 for the most current visa information. Sweden's Migration Board (Migrationsverket) also provides visa information. For tourist information, visit Sweden’s Tourist Board website.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Sweden.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Sweden has been subject to terrorist incidents in the recent past, and the potential for a terrorist incident remains. Like other countries in the Schengen area, Sweden's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups to enter and exit the country with anonymity. You should remain vigilant and exercise caution.
Stay up-to-date by:
CRIME: Sweden has a low crime rate, though violent crime does occur on occasion. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property from cars or residences or in public areas. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers are becoming more prevalent. Many U.S. citizens fall victim to these highly-skilled thieves, especially at the main train stations in Stockholm and Gothenburg, and while riding the bus or train to and from airports. Do not put any bags containing valuables, such as your passport, down on the ground. Thieves particularly like computer bags. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers often work in pairs or groups so one can distract the victim while the other grabs the items; often, they operate in or near major tourist attractions such as Stockholm's Old Town, and also at restaurants, amusement parks, museums, bars, public transportation, including airports. Hotel breakfast rooms and lobbies attract professional, well-dressed thieves who blend in with guests and target purses and briefcases left unguarded by unsuspecting tourists and business travelers. Don’t leave your valuables in parked vehicles.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
Sweden has a limited compensation program for victims of violent, personal, and property crime. Foreign citizens who are victims of crime on Swedish territory are eligible to apply for compensation, but if the victim and offender are not residents of Sweden, compensation may not be awarded even though the crime occurred on Swedish soil. The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority is responsible for matters concerning criminal injuries compensation and it administers the Crime Victim Fund. Application forms in English are available at local police stations and other government agencies. Claimants are generally notified of the program's decision within four months. Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Sweden is 112.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Sweden, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Sweden are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. There is no bail system in Sweden, and U.S. citizens who are arrested may be held in custody until the trial is complete. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Sweden, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not at your destination.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the U.S. Embassy if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. Embassy as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: We are not aware of any special currency or customs restrictions for Sweden.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessibility to public facilities and transportation in Sweden is good, particularly in newer buildings and the public transportation systems. The Swedish government continues to implement improvements throughout the city. The government actively implements and funds programs promoting disability access to streets, public buildings, stores, restaurants, and public transportation. For more information on accessibility in Sweden, visit the Tourist Bureau’s website.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical care in Sweden is comparable to that found in the United States. The Swedish medical system is state-run, so instead of visiting a local private general practitioner, you can visit a local medical center or clinic, called an "Akutmottagning" or "Vardcentral." You should be prepared to present your passport. The Swedish medical system does not cover people who don’t live in Sweden; nonresidents are expected to pay their own medical costs. In case of a medical emergency, use the emergency telephone number "112" to contact the appropriate emergency service.
If you have special needs, you should consult your personal physician and take appropriate precautions, including bringing adequate supplies of necessary medication. You can bring medicines into the country as long as they are intended for a medical reason and your personal use. Medications categorized as narcotics may only be brought into the country to cover your personal use for a maximum of five days, three weeks, or three months,depending on the type, and must be accompanied by a note from your medical doctor stating why you need them. Class II and Class III narcotics may only be brought into Sweden to cover your personal use for a maximum of five days each time you enter Sweden. Medications categorized Class IV and Class V narcotics may be brought into the country to cover your personal use for three weeks, however if you are a foreign resident and in Sweden only temporarily, you may bring enough for the duration of your stay in Sweden, up to a maximum of three months. To find out the classification of your medication contact the Medical Products Agency in Sweden.
In addition, stringent Swedish customs regulations prohibit travelers from receiving drugs from abroad after having arrived in the country. You may find local physicians reluctant to prescribe equivalent quantities or dosages. Prescriptions are dispensed at pharmacies called "Apotek" in Swedish. Most pharmacies are open only during normal shopping hours, but major cities will have a 24-hour pharmacy.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions, on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. For more information, see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Sweden, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. You can use a valid U.S. driver's license while visiting Sweden, but you must be at least 18 years old to drive. Driving is on the right in Sweden as in the United States. Road signs use standard international symbols and Swedish text. Many urban streets have traffic lanes reserved for public transportation only. Swedish roads are comparable to those in the United States, though secondary roads may be less heavily traveled. The secondary routes often narrow to two lanes with a wider shoulder. Slower vehicles are expected to move onto the shoulder to allow faster moving vehicles to pass. All vehicles on the road must have their headlights turned on, no matter the time of day. You must use snow tires between December 1 and March 31, and you should be experienced driving on ice and snow, if you are going to drive in the winter. Gas stations in rural areas can be far apart. Some gas stations are unattended and require a credit card with a chip to purchase fuel; some U.S. banks will issue this type of card upon request. You must use seat belts, and children under the age of seven must be seated in approved child or booster seats. The maximum speed limit is 110 kilometers per hour (approximately 66 miles per hour). Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, is considered a very serious offense. The maximum legal blood-alcohol level is .02-- much lower than in the United States. Swedish police often conduct alcohol tests on roads and highways. The rules are strictly enforced and fines can be severe, including possible jail sentences.
Public transport in Sweden is the recommended method of travel. Passenger trains, intercity buses, and airplanes provide regular service over longer distances. Public transportation in urban centers includes buses, subways, trams, suburban trains, and taxis. Taxis are more expensive than in major U.S. cities. Most local residents use public transport in Stockholm, as parking can be hard to find and expensive. The bus, train, and subway systems are considered safe. Cyclists are common on many roads, especially in urban areas.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Sweden’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Sweden’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
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This replaces the Country Specific Information for Sweden dated July 25, 2012 without substantive changes.