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Travel Security Advice for Sweden

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sweden_mapSweden_Overview


COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Sweden is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Sweden for additional information.



REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Sweden are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State’s travel registration page in order to obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

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) 783-5310
Fax: (46) (8)783-5480



ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

Sweden is a party to the Schengen agreement.  As such, U.S. citizens may enter Sweden for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa.  For further 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), 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. 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 and customs information specific to Sweden.



THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Sweden remains largely free of terrorist incidents.  However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Sweden's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity.  Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s extensive tips and advice on traveling safely abroad.



CRIME:  

Sweden has a low crime rate with rare, but increasing, instances of violent crime.  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 American citizens fall victim to these highly skilled thieves, especially at the main train stations in Stockholm and Gothenburg, and during bus or train transit to and from airports.  Do not put any bags containing valuables, such as your passport, down on the ground. Computer bags are particularly desirable.  Pickpockets and purse-snatchers often work in pairs or groups with one distracting the victim while another grabs valuables; often, they operate in or near major tourist attractions such as Stockholm's Old Town, restaurants, amusement parks, museums, bars, buses, long-distance trains, subway trains, train and bus stations, and 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.  Valuables should not be left in parked vehicles.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available.  Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law.  In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.



VICTIMS OF CRIME:

If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate (see end of this sheet or see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates).  This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport.  The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Sweden has a limited criminal injuries 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's affiliation to Sweden is transitory in nature, compensation may not be awarded even though the crime occurred on Swedish soil.  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.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Sweden is 112.

Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.



CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Persons violating Sweden's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

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 non-resident Americans 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.



MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical care in Sweden is comparable to that found in the United States.  The Swedish medical system is a state-run system, so instead of visiting a local private general practitioner, travelers can visit a local medical center or clinic, called an " Akutmottagning" or "Vardcentral."  Patients should be prepared to present their passports.  The Swedish medical system does not cover persons not resident in Sweden, who are expected to meet any medical costs.  In case of a medical emergency, use the emergency telephone number "112" to contact the appropriate emergency service. 

Travelers with special medical needs should consult with their personal physician and take appropriate precautions, including bringing adequate supplies of necessary medication.  Medicines may be brought into the country as long as they are intended for the traveler's personal use.  Medications categorized as narcotics may only be brought into the country to cover the traveler's personal use for a maximum of five days and must be accompanied by a note from a medical doctor stating why the traveler needs them.  In addition, stringent Swedish customs regulations prohibit travelers from receiving drugs from abroad after having arrived in the country.  Travelers may also find local physicians reluctant to prescribe equivalent quantities or dosages.  Prescriptions are dispensed at state-run pharmacies called "Apotek" in Swedish.  Most pharmacies are open only during normal shopping hours, but major cities have a 24-hour pharmacy.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC websiteFor information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) websiteThe WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.



MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to determine whether the policy applies overseas and whether it covers emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.



TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. 

A valid U.S. driver's license may be used while visiting Sweden, but drivers must be at least 18 years of age.  Driving in Sweden is on the right.  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 U.S., though secondary roads may be less heavily traveled.  These 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 must have headlights lit when on the road, no matter what time of day.  The use of snow tires is mandatory between December 1 and March 31 and, experience in driving on ice and snow is recommended before navigating Sweden's winter roads.  
Public transport in Sweden is of good quality and is the recommended method of travel.  Passenger trains, intercity buses, and plane flights 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. 

Use of seat belts is mandatory for drivers and all passengers, 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 68 miles per hour).  Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs, is considered a very serious offense.  The rules are stringently enforced and fines can be severe.  Violations can result in severe fines and possible jail sentences. 

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.



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.



CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

Please see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Sweden dated April 10, 2009, to update the section on Medical Facilities and Health Information.


The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding travel to Sweden HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassies Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)........

Regards

The SW Team.......

 

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