Doctoral candidate

Doctoral candidates must apply for a residence permit for research studies. Citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland and the Nordic countries do not need to apply for a residence permit. Residence permits for research studies are fixed-period. Previously, it was only possible to apply for one year at a time, but after SULF met with representatives from the Swedish Migration Agency, addressing the problems that this situation led to for doctoral candidates and research activities at our higher education institutions, the Swedish Migration Agency changed its practice. It is now possible to apply for a residence permit for a two-year period (a certificate from the university may be required).

Previously, the period with residence permits for doctoral studies could not be counted as qualifying time for a permanent residence permit.

On 1 July 2014, legislation was amended so that it is now possible for doctoral candidates from non-EU/EEA countries to receive a permanent residence permit after four years in Sweden. This change also affects the opportunity of obtaining Swedish citizenship. At the same time, an opportunity for accompanying family members to obtain work permits was also introduced. In order for permanent residence permits to be granted after four years, it is also necessary that you intend to stay in Sweden in the future.

SULF has been working to achieve these changes for a very long time and welcomes their implementation. As part of the SULF support for researchers and doctoral candidates from non-EU/EEA countries, “Working in Sweden” lectures have been conducted around Sweden. There are many questions about residence and work permits in general but also about the new rules and what they mean, not least in connection to citizenship. We have worked to clarify the rules and have arranged meetings with Migration Agency representatives.

SULF wishes to emphasise that they do not in any way express ourselves on behalf of the Swedish Migration Agency. Each case must always be reviewed by the Agency and only through a proper examination, including the opportunity to appeal to court, will a final notice may be given as to what applies in your case. This SULF summary is intended to give you an overall picture of the system in order to increase understanding and facilitate your management of these issues.

Sometimes these rules may be perceived as unfair or even strange, but a decision may prove to be correct even after possible appeals in the courts. In these cases, it is best to attempt to influence the situation by acting for legislative changes.

Questions concerning these matters should primarily be addressed to the Swedish Migration Agency.

Members of SULF are able to obtain individual advice on these issues. We may refer to previous judgments if there are grounds for appeal. Please read more in Faktabanken to find out what applies to you.

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