Getting Uppehållstillstånd in Sweden

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 Sweden, you need to look into residency permits or uppehållstillstånd so you can actually travel to and stay in the country.

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

First Time Uppehållstillstånd

Migration 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.

uppehållstillstånd 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 residency permit and uppehållstillstånd 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. details

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!


If you already have uppehållstillstånd, 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.

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 the right to live (residency permit or uppehållstillstånd) in Sweden for 5 years, you are automatically given permanent right of residency. You can also apply for a “certificate of permanent right of residence” or “intyg om permanent uppehållsrätt” in Swedish, if you would like a document to prove that you are allowed to live in Sweden permanently.

After 5 years (and earlier in some cases), you can also apply for Swedish citizenship. More details on what to do after 5 years can be found here.

Summary on Residence Permits

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 (June 2016). I will try my best to update when things change.

5 thoughts on “Getting Uppehållstillstånd in Sweden

  1. Hi my name is ramy, I’m from srilanka and I’m married to swedish. Me and my partner meet in srilanka 2014.we got married in srilanka 2015, in 2016 I visit her family in Sweden.after we apply for resident in Sweden, now it 3 months passed away since we applied. Wanna know how long it will takes to get resident permit for people from srilanka.also wanna know weather I can visit her again while processing the permit. But I learned visiting the Sweden while processing the permit is no problem, but I have to apply through migration agency or the normal procedure .

  2. Hi,
    My name is Hawa from Tanzania, I applied for resident permit since June 2016 and do interview on September 2016,I’m married with Swedish Man, we were waiting for decision, when do you think they gonna answer us,as you know its very difficult time to wait the decision, now is 24january 2016

    1. Hi Hawa,
      My name is Kevin and I am in a similar situation as you with my residence permit. I also applied in June 2016 and had my interview in September 2016. I am still waiting and have not heard anything since the interview. How is your application going?

  3. > Once you have had the right to live in Sweden for 5 years, you are automatically given permanent right of residency.
    It’s just for an EU citizen or close relative of an EU citizen…

    > 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.
    Everyone is allowed to leave. But if you leave, in most cases you would not be allowed to come back until the decision is made.

    Situation is unacceptable, sucks to wait 18+ months for the decision, sucks that visa could be issued just up to 24 months, potentially 1 month. Every month migrationsverket adds another month to the average waiting time. Sucks to live without plans for the future, as the decision could change life in opposite direction (sell property, heavy goods, car, leave job, move family and kids to another country/society ).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *