Applying for Swedish citizenship is a big step. Becoming a citizen of any country takes dedication and shows you are committed to becoming a part of the country you’re living in.
Like most applications here, Swedish citizenship is a often slow and weird process. Some people get their citizenship in weeks, others takes 2 years. So sit tight.
What Do You Get With Swedish Citizenship
With Swedish citizenship, you are fully integrated into Sweden and the Swedish system. You will have the right to live and work here permanently, you’ll have the right to vote in national elections, and you can join the Swedish police and army.
On a side note, you can vote in the local and regional elections in Sweden if you have a personnummer and are a citizen of an EU country, or if you’re not from the EU, you can vote if you’ve been registered in Sweden 3 years before the election.
Plus, if you are from outside the EU, once you become a Swedish citizen you’ll have the right to travel and work abroad as any other EU citizen. You can also study in Sweden for free.
Types of Swedish Citizenship
There are a few ways of getting citizenship.
The way I’ll be talking about here is applying for yourself after living in Sweden for a few years, and applying as an immigrant with no “legal family relations” here, i.e. not married.
You may also be eligible for citizenship if you are the child of a Swedish citizen, or if you marry a Swedish citizen. This is a little different to what I am used to, so I’d suggest you take a look at Migrationsverket’s website for more details there.
Getting Swedish Citizenship
Before you apply, there are some basic’s you will need to have:
- Lived in Sweden for a serious amount of time
- Prove your identity
- Be aged 18+
- Have no criminal record
Before you apply for Swedish citizenship, you need to have lived here for about 3-5 years. 3 years if you are an EU citizen with a Swedish partner/sambo, otherwise you must have lived in Sweden for a “continuous period” of 5 years. The start date here is either from:
- The date your residency permit was approved when you are in Sweden, or
- If your permit is approved before you arrive, your 5 years starts when you arrive in Sweden
If you are travelling abroad too, you must not be away from Sweden longer than 6 weeks in a year, otherwise this time away will be deducted your “saved time”. Basically, if you want to be a Swedish citizen, you need to stay here.
There are a few other prerequisites too.
You need to be able to prove your identity with a passport, Swedish ID card, or something similar. If you plan to live in Sweden for a long time, it’s worth getting a ID card as it makes things much easier and means you don’t need to carry a passport all the time.
You will also need to be aged 18 or older. Children and young adults have a different application process that I won’t go into here.
By now you should also have your residency permit which is a prerequisite for your application.
Finally, and goes without saying really, you need to have lived a “clean” life in Sweden. That means no criminal record, no major debts, etc.
You can get more details from the Migrationsverket web page, as well as the specifics around the child and young adult application process.
Sweden does support dual citizenship/dual nationality so you can apply for that as long as your original/home country allows this.
You can check this list of countries that support dual citizenship.
Cost & Application
Applying for citizenship in Sweden costs (in 2018) 1500kr for adults. This needs to be paid in advance before your application will be processes. This can be paid online with a credit/debit card. There are a few exceptions to paying the fee, if you are stateless and has been granted refugee status for example.
There are 2 ways you can apply. One is via the old fashioned paper application. I’d suggest you don’t do this. It takes longer, has to be scanned by Migrationsverket, and makes things more complicated.
Do yourself and your application a favour and apply via the web. It’s easier and you can track your application (very basically) online straight away.
As with anything from Migrationsverket, take their timelines with a huge pinch of salt. According to their website (April 2018), if your application does not need investigation and everything is in order, your processing time should be 1-3 months. I’ve spoke to 10-15 expats that have applied for citizenship (EU and non-EU) and I know 1 person that got their citizenship this quickly.
For all other cases, the timeline is 21-23 months (so 2 years).
Since the refugee crisis across Europe, Migrationsverket has been flooded with applications for citizenship which has added to the backlog once more. Basically, apply for citizenship as early as you can and wait your turn. Calling up every week won’t make your application move faster. Just give Migrationsverket everything they need for your application, and reply as fast as you can when they contact you.
Migrationsverket has an online portal where you can find out more about your application status. It’s pretty basic but gives you an idea of what’s going on.
My application has been processing for over 6 months, and even today (April 9th 2018) there are 52,555 people in front of me waiting for citizenship.
I hope that explains the whole process a little more. I really want to stress that this is a slow process, and all expats that have applied have an opinion on what they think about the whole system. Especially the “pay now and wait 2 years to maybe get citizenship” part.
I have no stats or data on the success rate of citizenship requests so all I can do is wish you the best of luck. As always, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Photo Credits:Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se