Immigrating to Sweden: an introduction

This is a brief guide for reference only. If you have more questions, or want immigration advice, please contact Swedenmarker Facebook page.

Work

You normally need a confirmed employment by a Swedish company before applying for a visa (officially called a residence permit, uppehållstillstånd).

The company must pay you at least the minimum salary as listed on the collective bargaining contract applicable for your industry.

Four insurances are also required: life, medical, workplace accident and pension insurances. Missing any one of these will lead to your visa being denied.

For any type of long-stay visa that you successfully obtained, you must apply for residence registration at Skatteverket (tax agency). (Also applicable to other ways below)

Work visas are valid for two years. On renewal, you must prove all conditions (salary, welfare, annual leave and insurance) have been met. Note that you must get 25 days of annual leave, not counting public holidays, per Swedish law.

Through this way, you get permanent residency in four years. These four years need not be continuous; you can get permanent residency by working legally for a total of four years out of the past seven years.

Self-employed

Sweden is known for entrepreneurship, especially for technology.

You submit your application with business plan, budget estimate etc. You must also prove you’ll be selling/manufacturing goods or services in Sweden, along with experience, contacts etc.

Your bank account needs to have 200 000 Swedish kronor (plus 100 000 for partner/spouse and 50 000 for each child). This is to cover expenses for the first two years.

Self-employment visas are valid for two years. Using this way, you get permanent residency in two years, i.e. on renewal if your company is in a good situation.

Student

Tuition fees range from 160 000 to 300 000 Swedish kronor per year. Bachelor students study for 3 years, master for 2 years and doctoral for 4 years. You can work even on a student visa, and convert it to a work visa before it expires when you graduate.

Student visas, however, may not be used for accumulating residence time to get permanent residency or citizenship. There was one major exception, however, for doctoral students. You can get permanent residency by being a doctoral student for four years out of the past seven years.

Partner

If you want to move to your partner/spouse in Sweden, note the income and living environment requirements. This applies to your partner/spouse with Swedish citizenship or permanent residency.

Working holiday

You cannot accumulate residency on a working holiday visa. Moreover, you must leave Sweden upon expiration of a working holiday visa, before applying for other visas.

Moving to Sweden as a EU citizen

Sweden is a EU member. Therefore, EU citizens may move to Sweden for residence, work or study without a visa. British citizens also enjoy these provisions before the end of the Brexit transition period (until 31 December 2020).

You register directly with Skatteverket upon arrival in Sweden, and you don’t have to contact Migrationsverket at all.

EU citizens study for free in Sweden, including in universities. Note, however, that you need a European Health Insurance Card or private insurance. Skatteverket may not recognise any private insurances, so be prepared to appeal and explain why your insurance meets the requirements.

All EU citizens get permanent residency in another EU country with five years of continuous residence. Work, study or living on your own money all count towards the five years.

Becoming a Swedish citizen

You become a Swedish citizen after living for five years. This period deducts absences from Sweden, if over 6 weeks in a calendar year. Absences due to overseas work for a Swedish company don’t affect the residence period.

Migrationsverket is responsible for Swedish citizen applications. There is no citizenship exam, but there may be language requirements in the future. Please apply ASAP as the queue is over a year.

Migrationsverket website
Skatteverket website