Our ten point guide to Swedish permanent residency

Whether you're an EU citizen or not, it's essential to understand the different types of Swedish residence permits and their requirements. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of obtaining permanent residency in Sweden and the attendant benefits associated with it.

Engelska 17 mars 2023 11:39

1. EU citizens: Automatic right of residence

If you're an EU citizen working, studying, or able to financially support yourself in Sweden, you automatically have the right to reside there without applying for any specific permit. However, applying for a permanent residence permit (uppehållstillstånd) can offer added security in case your circumstances change in the future. Non-EU citizens can also benefit from the extra security provided by permanent residence once they are eligible to apply.

2. EU citizens: Permanent right of residence after five years

As an EU citizen, you have the right to live in Sweden without a residence permit if you're working, studying, or able to support yourself. However, you should register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) within three months of your arrival. After living in Sweden for five years, you automatically gain a "permanent right of residence." This allows you to remain in the country even if you can no longer support yourself. To obtain a certificate confirming your permanent right of residence, fill out the form "Intyg om permanent uppehållsrätt" at no cost.

Residency has become a political hot potato.

3. Family members of EU citizens

If you have the right of residence as a family member of an EU citizen and have lived with a close relative in Sweden for at least five years, you may also be eligible for permanent right of residence.

4. Non-EU citizens: Long-term resident status

Non-EU citizens have several options for obtaining long-term resident status, depending on the type of permit they held while living in Sweden. If you've lived in Sweden for five years with a valid residence permit and can prove that you were able to support yourself and your family during that time, you can apply for long-term resident status. Fill out the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) form "Ansökan om status som varaktigt bosatt" to apply. Long-term resident status remains valid as long as you live in Sweden, but it may be withdrawn after six years of living outside the country.

Non-EU citizens have several options for obtaining long-term resident status.

5. Permanent residence for non-EU citizens and EU citizens without EU right of residence

In general, you can only apply for permanent residence after living in Sweden for a minimum of three years, with some exceptions. The exact time and requirements depend on your permit type, but most people can apply for permanent residence after at least four years in Sweden.

6. Family members of Swedish citizens

If your residence permit is based on being the family member of a Swedish citizen, you can by rights apply for permanent residence after three years in Sweden. However, you can only apply when renewing your temporary residence permit, so you might have to wait for four years before applying. The application costs 2,000 kronor for adults and 1,000 kronor for children.

7. Researchers and doctoral students

If you have lived in Sweden with a residence permit for doctoral studies for at least four years out of the past seven, you can also apply for permanent residence. Again, you must be able to prove you can support yourself financially. This application costs 1,500 kronor.

Waiting for a permit for a family member can be a nervy time.

8. Work permit holders

If you've lived in Sweden on a work permit, you can apply for a permanent residence permit when extending this permit if you've worked for at least four years out of the last seven. You need to meet the same requirements as for extending your temporary work permit (e.g., meeting minimum salary requirements) and meet the special requirements for permanent residence, such as being able to support yourself financially and having lived an 'orderly life.' It costs 2,200 kronor to extend a work permit, plus an extra 1,500 kronor per adult and 750 kronor per child if you have family members applying with you.

9. Self-employed individuals

If you are self-employed, you can apply for a permanent residence permit after two years when renewing your temporary permit. You need to be able to support yourself financially on your company's income, spend more than six months of each year in Sweden, own at least 50 percent of your Swedish company, and live an 'orderly life'. The fee for this application is 2,000 kronor.

If you are self-employed, you can apply for a permanent residence permit after two years.

10. Fee exceptions

There are a few exceptions to the fees for permanent residence permits. EU/EEA citizens, as well as citizens of Japan, are exempt from all application fees. Doctoral students with certain scholarships are also exempt from fees. Furthermore, family members of non-Swedish EU/EEA nationals are exempt from the fee for family member permits. 

Obviously, migration and residency issues are in the political spotlight at the moment and are likely to change, so please check with an expert or the relevant authority before taking any action. This article is a guide and is not to be taken as legal advice.

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