Country guides Europe
Electric current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are used.
Swedish is the main language, and the Sami population in the north speaks Lapp. Most Swedes speak and understand English; many are proficient in other European languages such as German, French, and Spanish.
The Swedish monetary unit is the krona or crown (SEK), which is divided into 100 ore. Banks exchange money during business hours from Monday to Friday; visitors can also change money at airports, ferry terminals, post offices, and Forex exchange offices, which are open daily. There are numerous ATMs throughout the country, most of which accept MasterCard and Visa. Most major credit cards are accepted throughout Sweden, and mobile payment apps are very popular.
A service charge is included in restaurant bills and waitrons may see a tip as demeaning. It's best to check how a tip will be received before leaving one. Passengers generally round up the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.
No health risks are associated with travel to Sweden and medical care in the country is excellent. Reciprocal health agreements exist with other European Union countries, though the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens after Brexit. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance. All non-EU travellers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance. Everyone 16 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travel.
Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is some petty crime in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime is generally at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Most visits to Sweden are trouble free.
Sweden is very liberal and secular, and equality is an important part of the culture. Boastfulness and open conflict are usually avoided, as is discussing work as an entry into a conversation.
Chivalry is often considered an outdated concept in Sweden, which is one of the most gender equal countries in the world. Gestures such as opening doors for women are not considered necessary.
Smoking is not allowed in indoor establishments such as restaurants and bars; swedes have a reputation for being meticulously tidy, so it is polite to remove shoes when entering a Swedish home.
Sweden is no stranger to corporate culture and is home to many global companies such as Skype and Spotify, not to mention popular automotive company, Volvo. Scandinavians, and Swedes in particular, value the inherent equality and dignity of all people; this is reflected in business, where consensus and compromise is valued in the decision-making process.
Decisions often take a long time to be made, as all opinions are considered. It best to avoid overt displays of wealth or status; business practice and personal conduct should always be rational, calm, and disciplined. Swedes often come across as overly reserved, but business meetings are efficient.
The business world in Sweden draws a strict line between work and social gatherings, so foreigners shouldn't expect many post-work social events or dinner invitations. The best way to circumvent the reserved nature of most Swedes in the business environment is at the twice-daily fika, or coffee break, when the general rules regarding business behaviour are relaxed a little.
Punctuality is vital and it is a point of pride for many Scandinavians, illustrating mutual respect. It is important to schedule an appointment in advance and have it confirmed shortly before any engagement. Handshakes for men and women are common after introduction and first names are often used instead of surnames.
Dress codes are conservative and smart, but suits are not always necessary. Business people in Sweden should endeavour to show honesty, transparency, professionalism, and mutual respect in all business dealings. Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, making it a pleasure to do business here.
Business hours run from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. The language of business is Swedish, but English is generally spoken throughout the country and many multinationals will use it as the language of business when necessary.
Travellers to Sweden over 18 years from non-EU countries and residents who arrive on a commercial flight, from a trip exceeding 20 hours do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco, or a proportional mix of these. One litre of spirits with alcohol content higher than 22 percent, or two litres of fortified or sparkling wine, and two litres of non-sparkling wine and beer are allowed duty free; other goods to the value of SEK 1,700 are also allowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those for medical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outside the EU.
The country code for Sweden is +46. Travellers can purchase local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones; public WiFi is widespread.
Passport & Visa
All visitors are required to have visible means of support as well as tickets and documentation for return or onward travel. The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. All of these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option that allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
To enter Sweden, US citizens require a passport valid for three months beyond intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
United Kingdom citizens require a passport valid for at least three months beyond period of intended stay, with the exception of passports marked 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, which will be accepted if valid on arrival.
No visa is required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, Identity Cards issued by Gibraltar, and 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom). All other British nationals are entitled to a maximum stay of 90 days without a visa, within a 180 day period.
Canadians require a passport valid for the period of three months beyond the intended stay to enter Sweden. No visa is required for a maximum stay of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
For entry to Sweden, Australian citizens require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
South Africans require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay as well as a visa for entry to Sweden.
Irish nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is necessary.
New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. No visa is necessary for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period.
Swedish Tourist Office: www.visitsweden.com112 (General).
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Swedish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 467 2600.
Swedish Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7917 6400.
Swedish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 244 8200.
Swedish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6270 2700.
Swedish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 426 6400.
Swedish Consulate General, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 265 0888.
Consulate-General of Sweden, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 499 9895.
Embassies / consulates in Sweden
United States Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 783 5300.
British Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 671 3000.
Canadian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 453 3000.
Australian Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 613 2900.
South African Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 824 3950.
Irish Embassy, Stockholm: +46 8 5450 4040.
New Zealand Embassy, Brussels (also responsible for Sweden): +32 2 512 1040.