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Getting Permanent Residency in Sweden

June 12, 2016

We spend a lot of time at Everything Sweden guiding you through the steps of getting settled in Sweden and understanding how the system works here. But before all of that, and once you’ve made the decision to move to here, you need to look into how to get permanent residency in Sweden or uppehållstillstånd so you can actually stay in the country.

Getting a residence permit in Sweden (uppehållstillstånd) is a very slow process, and the difficulty really depends on where you are originally from. I’ll walk you what I have learnt (as an EU citizen) and I hope that helps clarify how the uppehållstillstånd process works.

Update: I finally got my permanent residency approved so I can finally stay here long term. It took me 1 year and 8 months to finally get everything approved.

Permanent residency in Sweden

Permanent residency in Sweden is managed by Migrationsverket who have offices throughout the country.

Before you move to Sweden, you need to apply to Migrationsverket ideally via their website (which makes the whole uppehållstillstånd and residency permit process faster). You can not apply online if you are in the country (I’m not 100% sure why), and if you find yourself in Sweden and need a residency permit before applying, you will need to go to one of the Migrationsverket offices.

Follow the application online and then the waiting game begins. For example, if you are applying to move to Sweden to work and are an EU citizen, you are looking at an 11-12 month waiting time. You can see their estimated wait times for permanent residency permits on their website here.

Permanent Residency in Sweden waiting times

It is quite likely that Migrationsverket will have more questions for you or want more information. Even in 2016, their whole process is still “paper-in-the-post” driven and so if you get a letter asking for more information, reply as soon as you can.

If you are an EU citizen, you can apply for a permit for permanent residency in Sweden before you move here and then more before a decision has been made, IF you match the following criteria.

You have right of residence if you are employed, self-employed, a student or have sufficient means to support yourself.

You should ideally still apply for a residency permit if you plan to be here for the long term / move here permanently.

If you are from outside of the EU, then you will need to wait to move here until everything is confirmed. You can travel and visit here as a tourist, but you can’t stay longer than your tourist visa allows and can not work, etc.

Unfortunately, once you have applied, you just need to wait. Most employers that recruit non-EU workers are usually ok with the waiting times and can help with your applications and checking up with Migrationsverket for you. Check with your employer to see how they can help.

One thing to remember is the time length of your residency permit or uppehållstillstånd. Most of the time, you will get a residency permit for 2 years, but sometimes it can be 1 year. If you plan to stay here longer, make sure you apply for an extension, as Migrationsverket will not contact you about it ending. If you miss the deadline, you may have to apply for a new residency permit from scratch!

Extensions to permanent residency

If you already have permanent residency in Sweden, you are responsible for applying for an extension. If you are an EU citizen, you just need to apply for the extension in good time and wait for the renewal. You can still stay in Sweden.

Make sure you read the confirmation letter that gave you your residency permit. It will have the end date on it so be sure to make a note of it and apply for an extension in good time.

If you are from outside the EU, after you have applied for your extension, you are often not allowed to leave Sweden until your extension has been approved.

After 5 Years

Once you have had permanent residency in Sweden for 5 years, you can apply for Swedish citizenship. More details on what to do after 5 years can be found here.

Summary on permanent residency in Sweden

So I hope that helps clear up some of the issues around residence permits in Sweden and how to get your uppehållstillstånd to stay here for the long term. Just like the personnummer, this is a tricky situation that everyone has a story about, so please leave your questions and issues in the comments section below.

Finally, if there is anything I have missed, just let me know below or via our contact page. This post is up to date at the time of writing (April 2017). I will try my best to update when things change.

Photo Credits: Faramarz Gosheh/imagebank.sweden.se


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