I took the Helsingør to Helsingborg ferry from the Danish side. I was not warned that there would be passport control on the Swedish side before boarding the ferry and, as such, I did not I know I needed to possess my passport that I had left at the hotel.

Sweden denied me entry and sent me back to Denmark after being requested by the Swedish police to sign some paperwork, presented in Swedish only. There was no passport control on the Danish side, and I was able to return to Denmark.

Later, I took the train from Copenhagen to Malmö, where there were passport checks conducted at the border and I was allowed through to Sweden upon presenting my passport.

I am a citizen of a visa-exempt country, and did not require a visa to enter the Schengen area. As this was intra-Schengen border control, will I be required to declare this on any future immigration form for any jurisdiction as a deportation or removal?

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    And you signed it? – DonQuiKong Oct 21 at 18:54
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    Yes, they required me to sign it to take the ferry back to Denmark. – user85748 Oct 21 at 22:04
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    If unsure, you can always check "Yes, I have been deported" and declare "Sent back at the intra-Schengen border because I had forgotten my passport. Entry permitted N days later." I doubt any Immigration Officer anywhere in the world will hold this against you, since Sweden let you in afterwards... – Alexander Oct 22 at 11:59
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    I’m unsure about the exact legislation hence this is only a comment but IIRC the legality of the Danish–Swedish border control is highly questionable since it specifically violates Schengen regulations. As a consequence, you were probably not legally refused entry, and you should not declare this on future applications. However, before doing so you must talk to an immigration lawyer to ensure that you will not commit perjury. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 22 at 15:47
up vote 13 down vote accepted

For the purposes of Swedish law you were 'avvisad', which is translated as 'refused entry' in the official English edition of the Aliens Act. This term covers all kind of rejections at the border. Someone who is already present in Sweden and for some reason found unworthy to stay, will be 'expelled'. Swedish law uses the term 'expulsion' for any act of 'throwing someone out', be it by leaving voluntarily or escorted with force. The terms 'removal' and 'deporation' are not used at all in Swedish alien law.

Answering you question will however depend on the definition of the terms 'removal' and 'deportation' in the jurisdiction you are involved with in the future.

Gayot Fow used to claim that being refused entry to the UK is considered a 'removal'. I am not familiar with UK immigration law, but if that is true, the action taken against you seem at least to fall within the definition of 'removal' as used in UK law.

  • Gayout advocated the principle of it being better to err on the side of declaring and explaining than to get caught in what immigration consider to be a lie. – Peter Green Oct 22 at 14:06
  • @PeterGreen But that’s a false dilemma, and given that such declarations can seriously hurt your chances this sounds like pretty bad advice. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 22 at 15:52

On the other side of the pond, on the US/Canada border, it is routine for a traveler to be told (over something non-scary like "forgot ID"), in as many words, that "this is a really good time for you to withdraw your application to enter our country".

(Because if you pressed onward with your application, you would be refused, and that would have immigration consequences for you later.)

What follows is an explanation that

since you withdrew your application, it means you did not even attempt to enter our country (merely visiting the Immigration office to discuss entering the country does not count as "entering the country"). If you are asked in the future "were you ever refused entry in the past", the correct answer is "no, you were not refused entry". To be clear, this is not you being refused entry, this is you "willingly deciding not to enter".

For a simple reason such as "forgot passport", and given the ease with which they allowed you to re-enter, you might ask someone to translate that Swedish (post it here?) and see if the above is exactly what the Swedish authorities did with you. If so, congratulations. You did not enter Sweden.

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    There is no concept of withdrawing an application to enter in Swedish immigration law. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 21 at 19:22
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Not in American law either, it's more of a nudge and a wink, a clever immigration officer trick to spare harm and reduce system load. That's a good point, they did make him sign something. – Harper Oct 21 at 19:23
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    At least in Canada, the withdrawal of an entry application is a formal process anchored in law. It is not merely a wink from the immigration officer, but includes some paperwork and is kept on file. I am not sure about US law. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 21 at 20:04
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    @Harper Are you sure that "withdrew application" has no status in US law? Question 7 in the eligibility section of ESTA applications is, "Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport, or have you ever been refused admission to the United States or withdrawn your application for admission at a U.S. port of entry?" (my emphasis). – David Richerby Oct 22 at 15:04
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    In any case, the question is about Sweden and Schengen. So how is the USA relevant? – David Richerby Oct 22 at 15:05

I tried finding out anything on the local government websites but even in Swedish it is hard to find them using any specific words. These border controls are designed to make immigrants apply for asylum on the spot or return to the country they come from. Sweden as a country is not interested in making this have a lasting effect on your future travels, but cultural and political wishes are not always aligned with the bureaucracy so I would not trust this as an answer.

Your best bet may be to call the Swedish Police on their non-emergency number with your question: +46 77 114 14 00

Ask if the event is registered with your name anywhere. Also ask if they have a record of the document you signed, and if they can send you a copy.

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