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Residence permit

Residence permit and status as long-term resident

As a trade union, SULF provides members with support and advice on matters relating to members’ pay and employment conditions.

For migration law matters, please contact the Swedish Migration Agency. It is the Swedish Migration Agency that makes all decisions about Swedish residence permits and citizenship, and they have the best knowledge and information about the current legal situation. As a state authority, the Migration Agency is obliged to answer all your questions and give you guidance regarding your case.

This information page contains tips and information for members about the regulations so that you can ask the right questions to the Swedish Migration Agency based on your own situation. To the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

Migrationsverket

You can read more about the changes regarding permanent residency at Migrationsverket. They also provide check lists for doctoral candidates: Checklist for a certificate for a first time permit for doctoral studies.

Webinars

Watch webinars about the Aliens Act here.

Differences in the regulations between permanent residence and long-term resident status

It can be difficult to keep track of the differences between the two sets of regulations, especially as a positive decision regarding an application for long-term resident status also grants permanent residency. SULF has created a guide to give an overview of the similarities and differences between the rules.

The following guide provides an overview of the regulations. However since there are so many different situations, you should always contact the Swedish Migration Agency or another relevant authority to be sure about what applies in your particular case. The guide primarily covers the regulations for doctoral candidates, researchers and people who already have or have had work permits for other jobs.

The regulations on permanent residence permits are determined at national level (Sweden), while the regulations regarding long-term resident status are based on EU directive 2003/109/EC.

Read more about permanent residence permits (Migration Agency).

Read more about long-term resident status (Migration Agency).

Permanent residence permit Long-term resident status Notes
How long is the qualification period? Four years if you have a residence permit for doctoral studies, research or work within a seven-year period. Five continuous years if you have a residence permit or other legal basis for residence. There is some uncertainty about what is meant by “other legal basis for residence” in the case of long-term resident status, for example time spent waiting for a decision regarding a new residence permit.
At what point is the qualifying time calculated? Primarily the date of the decision, (the date of review), but the seven-year period within which you must have had a residence permit for four years is calculated from the date of your application. The date of the application.
What does the self-support requirement look like? On the date of the decision, you must have employment or income from your own business that will last for at least one year into the future or, following an assessment, can be assumed to have a remaining duration of at least one year if your current employment contract does not extend that far. Other forms of income cannot be included, except for social security benefits such as sickness benefit and parental benefit if they are paid during the time you are employed. On the date of the decision, you must have employment or other income that will last for at least one year into the future or, following an assessment, can be assumed to have a remaining duration of at least one year if your current income does not extend that far. Other income than from employment or your own business can be included in your income calculation, e.g. unemployment benefit, parental benefit, scholarships or the income of a partner. You should not be regarded as likely to be a burden on the social security system. This means that you should not be dependent on means-tested benefits such as housing allowance or subsistence allowance. The self-support requirement for permanent residence permits was clarified by the Migration Court of Appeal in December 2023, (MIG 2023:18).

See also the Swedish Migration Agency’s legal position, (RS/084/2021).

Do I also have to be able to support family members in order to have my own application approved? No. Yes, (if they do not have sufficient income of their own).
What income level is required? SEK 6,090 per month, (in 2024), plus your share of any housing costs.
Are there other requirements than level of income? Yes. For example, you must not have a criminal conviction and you must also intend to live in Sweden. In the future, requirements regarding Swedish language proficiency and knowledge of Swedish society will be introduced. Yes. For example, you must not have a criminal conviction and you must also intend to live in Sweden. In the future, requirements regarding Swedish language proficiency and knowledge of Swedish society will be introduced.
What happens if I have spent some time abroad? It could be a problem if you have been abroad for more than around six weeks per year. You can stay abroad for up to ten months in total during the qualification period and for up to six months at a time. Special rules apply to long-term resident status if you have had an EU Blue Card from another EU member state.
When can I apply? As a rule, only when your current residence permit is about to expire. (As a guideline, 14 days before expiry). At any time once the qualification period is complete.
Can I apply for another (time-limited) residence permit at the same time? Yes. Only the extension of the residence permit you already have is assessed, even if you have not applied for it. It may therefore be a good idea to apply for another (time-limited) permit as well. Yes, and you should do so if there is a risk that your residence permit will expire before a decision is made. Otherwise, you may lose the right to live and work in Sweden. The processing time for a time-limited permit may be longer if you also apply for a permanent residence permit.
If my previous residence permit has expired, can I stay in Sweden and work here while waiting for a decision? Yes, in the vast majority of cases, if you submitted an application before your previous residence permit expired. Only if you also applied for a residence permit before your previous permit expired.
If my previous residence permit has expired, can I continue to receive benefits from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency while waiting for a decision? Yes, in the vast majority of cases, if you applied before your previous residence permit expired. Only if you have also applied for a residence permit.
If my residence permit has expired, can I go abroad during the processing period and then come back to Sweden? Not as a rule. Not as a rule. Contact the Swedish Migration Agency for more information. Special rules apply if you had a residence permit for work.
Can I appeal if my application is unsuccessful? Yes, but only if the decision is due to you not fulfilling the self-support requirement or the requirement for good conduct, or in the event that you have not been granted another residence permit and thus been notified of a decision regarding deportation. Yes.
Can I appeal and simultaneously apply for another residence permit and have it granted while my appeal is being considered? No. Yes.
Can I lose my permanent residence permit or my long-term resident status? Yes, e.g. if you commit a crime or are considered to have been untruthful in connection with your application. You can also lose your permanent residence permit if you stay abroad for too long. You may not stay outside Sweden for more than one year, or for more than two years if you have notified the Migration Agency in advance. Yes, e.g. if you commit a crime or are considered to have been untruthful in connection with your application. You can also lose your permanent residence permit if you stay abroad for too long. You may not stay outside the EU for more than twelve months, or outside Sweden for more than six years. Special rules apply to revocation of long-term resident status if you have had an EU Blue Card. In some cases, long-term resident status can be transferred to another EU member state.
Who can apply? Everyone who is not a Swedish citizen and who meets the requirements. However, in practice it is not relevant for EU/EEA citizens and their family members, as they usually have the right of residence instead. An EU/EEA citizen can apply for permanent residence after five years. Only non-EU citizens. Special rules for residence permits apply to Swiss citizens. For example, you cannot be granted a residence permit for studies or research, but on the other hand a residence permit is generally valid for five years and you do not need a work permit to work in Sweden. This means that you can apply for long-term resident status but not for a permanent residence permit on the basis of the regulations that apply to people who have had a residence permit as a doctoral candidate or researcher.

Please note that if you are a family member of a Swedish citizen, you do not automatically have the right of residence and must apply for a residence permit.

Nordic citizens are free to live in Sweden.

Does my permit allow me to live and work in other EU countries? No. Yes, (but not in Denmark or Ireland).
Can I apply for Swedish citizenship? Yes, if you have been granted a permanent residence permit and have lived in Sweden for at least five years. Yes, if your application is approved, (as in that case, you automatically receive a permanent residence permit), and you have lived in Sweden for at least five years. If you have the right of residence, (in the case of EU/EEA citizens and their family members), you can also apply for citizenship. Special rules apply to Nordic citizens.

If you are stateless, it is sufficient that you have lived in Sweden for four years.

Frequently asked questions

The income requirement for a permanent residence permit has been changed, read more about what the verdict means here.

Permanent residence permits

The Swedish parliament has approved amendments to the Aliens Act and these came into force on 20 July 2021. The new provisions will apply to everyone who has applied for a permanent residence permit.

For researchers and doctoral candidates, the change in the law mainly means that self-sufficiency through work or an own company is required for a permanent residence permit to be granted. No changes have made regarding the requirement of a four-year residence permit for doctoral studies, research or work within a seven-year period. Bear in mind, however, that it may be a requirement that you have been living in Sweden during the time you had a residence permit, which means that time with a residence permit before the day you arrived in the country may not be counted . Time spent abroad during the time you are a doctoral candidate or researcher can also cause problems sometimes, but this may depend on the reason for the time spent abroad. There are examples where a court has accepted a period of six months abroad during which the person in question was carrying out doctoral studies. No requirements regarding knowledge of Swedish language or Swedish society have yet been introduced for permanent residence, but it is possible that such requirements will be introduced in the future.

It is worth noting that the Migration Agency now grants residence permits for up to four years for doctoral studies. Previously, it granted such permits for a maximum of two years at a time.

In order to be granted a permanent residence permit, it is now required that applicants are also able to support themselves through employment or their own company. As a general rule, employment must be for a period of at least 18 months at the time the decision is made in the opinion of the Swedish Migration Agency, but this time requirement may be tried in court in the future. Permanent employment normally qualifies, and in some cases, probationary employment may be approved. Benefits from an unemployment insurance fund cannot be counted as sufficient support to qualify for a permanent residence permit, but certain other benefits, such as sickness benefit and parental benefit, may be counted if they are paid temporarily and during the time you are employed.

Another important change is that accompanying family members over the age of 18 must themselves meet the self-support requirement in order to be granted a permanent residence permit, and they must also have had a residence permit for at least three years. The self-support requirement does not apply to children, but they must have had a residence permit for at least three years in order to be able to obtain a permanent residence permit. If these requirements are not met, a temporary residence permit can instead be granted if you are able to support the family members.

In addition, you and your family members must intend to live in Sweden and have shown good conduct.

If a permanent residence permit is not granted for the applicant or a family member, a temporary residence permit can still be granted in some cases. This may apply, for example, if a doctoral candidate has not yet completed their doctoral programme, if a residence permit to seek employment for one year after completing studies or research can be granted or if you have been given a temporary job. If you apply for a permanent residence permit but do not meet the requirements according to the Swedish Migration Agency, they should assess whether you can instead be granted a temporary residence permit if you are not granted permanent residence. In such an application, you should state that application that you want to be assessed for a time-limited permit, especially if you want a permit other than an extension of the one you already have. If after considering your situation based on the new regulations you suspect that you do not meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, but meet the requirements for an extended residence permit for, for example, doctoral studies or another temporary residence permit, you should consider only applying for that rather than making an application for a permanent residence permit at this stage, as this is likely to reduce the Migration Agency’s processing time.

If you are not granted a new residence permit at all, you can appeal the decision to the Migration Court. In some cases, you can also appeal a decision on a permanent residence permit even if a temporary residence permit has been granted. This applies in cases where the Swedish Migration Agency has rejected your application because they do not consider that you meet the self-support requirement or on the basis of your conduct. You may stay in Sweden while the appeal is being heard, and in most cases you will also be allowed to work during this time. However, you should not leave Sweden during this time, because you will be denied entry if you return.

It is also possible to obtain a permanent residence permit by applying for status as a long-term resident after five years of living in Sweden. If such an application is granted, you will also receive a permanent residence permit. The requirements regarding financial support and more are somewhat different in this case. You can read more about this under the question “Can I apply for long-term resident status?

Permanent residence means you have a right to live and work freely in Sweden during the stated period. It also means that you are entitled to, for example, student loans and grants from CSN. You can also apply for Swedish citizenship.

Previously, you could apply for a permanent residence permit as soon as you had been resident for four years with a permit that qualifies as the basis of a permanent residence permit, (regardless of the expiry date on your current residence permit). In April 2019, the Swedish Migration Agency issued a new interpretation of the regulations and now states that applications should only be submitted no more than 14 days before the current residence permit expires.

Several people who had applied earlier have had their applications rejected and must instead submit a new application 14 days before their current permit expires. SULF anticipates that this will lead to problems, as anyone who leaves Sweden during the gap between two residence permits will not be allowed to re-enter the country. This makes it difficult for people to attend conferences or to take other trips abroad. If you fulfil the criteria for long-term resident status, however, you can submit an application for a long-term residence permit instead. This can be done during the time you have a valid fixed-term residence permit. In this way, you can have your residence permit converted to a permanent residence permit. You can read more about this under the question “Can I apply for long-term resident status?”

Please note that you are still entitled to stay and work in Sweden during the waiting period.

You can find more information under the questions and answers provided by the Swedish Migration Agency.

You may combine time with a residence permit for research studies and time with a work permit. Time with a residence permit for doctoral studies can also be counted.

From 20 July 2021, every person applying for a permanent residence permit needs to fulfil the criteria. As a result, it is no longer automatic that you will be granted a permanent residence permit if a family member has one. Therefore, it is a good idea to apply for a permanent residence permit individually if you meet the requirements.

In some cases, the Migration Court has granted the applicant a PUT even though they did not have a residence permit for doctoral studies for four years. For example, it may be that you have been granted residence permits for master’s studies or for work that were still in force when you started doctoral studies. The court has said that the important thing is the connection to Sweden that the applicant received through his/her doctoral studies, and not the classification of the residence permit. However, there is no guarantee that a PUT will be granted without an individual review.

We have seen that in some cases, the Migration Court has granted the applicant a PUT, despite having been admitted as a doctoral candidate for less than four years. In these cases, the court has said that the doctoral degree comprises 240 higher education credits, i.e. four years of full-time postgraduate studies.

If you have been granted a permanent residence permit after being a doctoral candidate for four years, your family can also apply for permanent residence. From 20 July 2021, however, family members are no longer automatically granted permanent permit if you are granted a permit. Each family member must meet the requirements for that and they must also be entitled to a continued residence permit. The requirements are that they are able to support themselves, (this requirement does not apply to children under the age of 18), that they have had a residence permit for at least three years and have shown good conduct, (this requirement applies to anyone over the age of 15).

If your family members do not fulfil the self-support requirement for permanent residence, they can instead be granted a temporary residence permit if you are able to support them. In these cases, the maintenance requirement is different than in the case of a permanent residence permit, as unemployment benefits and forms of support can also be included.

To be granted a permanent residence permit, you must have had a residence permit for research for at least four years over a seven-year period. If needed, time with a residence permit for work or doctoral studies can also be included in order to qualify. How the research is funded is irrelevant. If you fulfil this qualifying period requirement, The Swedish Migration Agency will assess whether it is also your intention to settle in Sweden, i.e. that you intend to stay in Sweden for some time, and how you have conducted yourself.

From 20 July 2021, it is also required that you are able to support yourself through work or your own company and that this employment/self-employment is to have a duration of at least 18 months. This new provision applies to anyone who applied for a permanent residence permit and did not receive a decision before 20 July 2021. Income from an unemployment insurance fund cannot be included in this support requirement, although such compensation can be included to qualify for a temporary residence permit in some cases. However, benefits such as sickness benefit and parental benefit can be included if they are paid temporarily during the time you are employed for a sufficient period.

To be granted a permanent residence permit, you must have had a residence permit for doctoral studies for at least four years over a seven-year period. If needed, time with a residence permit for work or research can also be included in order to qualify. How the doctoral studies are funded is irrelevant, and there is no requirement for the doctorate to have been completed. If you fulfil this qualifying period requirement, the Swedish Migration Agency will assess whether it is also your intention to settle in Sweden, i.e. that you intend to stay in Sweden for some time, and how you have conducted yourself.

From 20 July 2021, it is also required that you are able to support yourself through work or your own company. The regulation states that such work is to have “some duration”. As a general rule, such employment/self-employment must have a duration of 18 months in the opinion of the Swedish Migration Agency, but this time limit may be tried in court in the future.

This new provision applies to anyone who applied for a permanent residence permit and did not receive a decision before 20 July 2021. Income from an unemployment insurance fund cannot be included in this support requirement, although such compensation can be included to qualify for a temporary residence permit in some cases. However, benefits such as sickness benefit and parental benefit can be included if they are paid temporarily during the time you are employed for a sufficient period.

It is also possible to obtain a permanent residence permit by applying for status as a long-term resident after five years of living in Sweden. If such an application is granted, you will also receive a permanent residence permit. The requirements regarding financial support etc are somewhat different in this case. You can read more about this under the question “Can I apply for long-term resident status?

Long-term resident status

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU and have lived in Sweden for five years without interruption, you can be granted the status of long-term resident in Sweden. This is not the same as a permanent residence permit, but if you have been granted long-term resident status, you must by law also be granted a permanent residence permit. No further examination of the conditions for a permanent residence permit are therefore required after a decision to grant long-term resident status.

Long-term resident status is based on an EU directive and also means that you have greater opportunities to work, study or start your own business in most other EU countries. If you have long-term resident status, you can reside outside Sweden for up to 6 years if you remain within the EU and in the countries that are covered by the directive. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. If you move to one of these countries more permanently, you can also transfer your long-term resident status.

To obtain long-term resident status in Sweden, you must:

  • have lived in Sweden for at least five years without interruption (A period spent outside Sweden shorter than six consecutive months and no more than ten months in total during the five-year period is not considered an interruption.) There is some lack of clarity regarding the timing of the calculation of the qualifying period, but according to the EU directive and a court ruling, it is to be calculated at the time of application, while the Swedish Migration Agency has previously stated that it is calculated until the date the decision is made.
  • have had a residence permit or otherwise resided legally in Sweden during the five years preceding your application. (Residence permits for visits or for studies other than doctoral studies may not be included.)
  • be able to support yourself and your family financially. Note that this support requirement is not the same as the requirement for permanent residence.

Qualifying period – types of residence permit that can be counted

All residence permits that can lead to a permanent residence permit can be included when calculating the qualifying period. This includes residence permits for doctoral candidates, research or work.

Residence permits granted through a relationship with a person living in Sweden or time spent in the country with the right of residence, (for example a British citizen who lived in Sweden before Brexit or someone living in Sweden with an EU/EEA citizen who has the right of residence) may also be included in the calculation.

Time that may not be counted includes, for example, a residence permit for studies other than doctoral studies or, according to the Swedish Migration Agency’s interpretation, time with a residence permit to seek work after graduation or completed research. The Migration Agency has stated that time spent waiting for a decision on a new residence permit may not be included if you are granted a new permit from a later date, i.e. if there is a gap between the permits. However, a migration court (UM 13489-22, Förvaltningsrätten i Malmö) ruled in the spring of 2023 that such a waiting period is to be regarded as legal residency and thus contributes to the qualifying period. The Migration Agency has stated that it believes that a period without a qualifying residence permit means that you have to accumulate a completely new qualifying period of five years. It also considers that time spent outside Sweden other than that which is generally approved, (see above), cannot be counted, even if during that time you were stationed in another country by a state sector employer. However, these are issues that can be tried in court.

The self-support requirement

The requirements regarding the ability to support yourself in order to be granted a permanent residence permit do not apply to applications for long-term resident status. Instead, the provisions that were in place before the new legislation came into force on 20 July 2021 continue to apply. An important difference is that income does not have to come from your own work or own company, so other income can also be included. What is assessed is whether you will be a burden on the social insurance system and whether your means of financial support are sufficiently long-term. This means, for example, that unemployment benefit and scholarships may be approved as forms of future support. Another important difference is that an application for long-term resident status can be approved if you have been supported wholly or partially by a family member. On the other hand, the Swedish Migration Agency does not allow you to count private savings, but any yield from savings can be included in the calculation.

As far as SULF is aware, there is no clear definition of long-term with regard to self-support. The Migration Agency assesses each case individually. However, sporadic or temporary short-term employment is not approved as a long-term means of support. New legal precedent may be needed to provide more clarity about these requirements.

In 2023, the Migration Agency indicated that it wants to see that applicants can support themselves for at least one year. Here, too, there is a lack of clarity about at which point in time the self-support requirement must be met, i.e. whether it should be calculated from the date of the application or from the date that the decision is made. Previous rulings by the European Court of Justice indicate that the former should apply. The Migration Agency has also said that unemployment benefits will be taken into account when assessing the self-support requirement, but in some in some cases the Agency has ruled that such compensation must be ongoing and did not accept proof that it will be paid later if required. SULF recommends that you contact the Akademikernas a-kassa unemployment insurance fund to request a document stating that you meet the eligibility requirements for compensation in the event of unemployment, how much compensation you would receive and that compensation would be paid for at least 14 months (300 compensation days and five days per week in the case of full unemployment).

Application

An application for long-term resident status can be submitted before your time-limited residence permit expires. If such an application is granted, you can have your residence permit changed to a permanent residence permit, even if you have a valid temporary residence permit at the time the decision is made. This means that you can apply as soon as you believe that you fulfil the requirements for long-term resident status. You can read more about this in the answers from the Swedish Migration Agency below.

If you do not already have a permanent residence permit, the Migration Agency has previously said that it will consider your application as also being an application for a permanent residence permit. You therefore do not need to submit two separate applications. Recently, however, the Agency has indicated that it has reconsidered that position, which may also affect your right to benefits from the Social Insurance Agency as well as your right to work and live in Sweden, (and thus also your right to unemployment benefit), while waiting for a decision if the residence permit you have expires while your application is being processed. You may therefore need to submit a parallel application for another kind of residence permit. The most important thing, as always, is that you submit an application before your current residence permit expires.

If you have long-term resident status, you can reside outside Sweden for up to 6 years if you remain within the EU and in the countries that are covered by the directive. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. If you move to one of these countries more permanently, you can also transfer your long-term resident status.

Applying for long-term resident status can therefore be an alternative way to obtain a permanent residence permit if you have lived in Sweden for five years but for some reason do not meet the requirements for being granted a permanent residence permit or Swedish citizenship.

The regulations on permanent residence permits are determined at national level (Sweden), while the regulations regarding long-term resident status are based on EU directive 2003/109/EC.

Read more about permanent residence permits (Migration Agency).

Read more about long-term resident status (Migration Agency).

Permanent residence permit Long-term resident status Notes
How long is the qualification period? Four years if you have a residence permit for doctoral studies, research or work within a seven-year period. Five continuous years if you have a residence permit or other legal basis for residence. There is some uncertainty about what is meant by “other legal basis for residence” in the case of long-term resident status, for example time spent waiting for a decision regarding a new residence permit.
At what point is the qualifying time calculated? Primarily the date of the decision, (the date of review), but the seven-year period within which you must have had a residence permit for four years is calculated from the date of your application. The date of the application.
What does the self-support requirement look like? On the date of the decision, you must have employment or income from your own business that will last for at least one year into the future or, following an assessment, can be assumed to have a remaining duration of at least one year if your current employment contract does not extend that far. Other forms of income cannot be included, except for social security benefits such as sickness benefit and parental benefit if they are paid during the time you are employed. On the date of the decision, you must have employment or other income that will last for at least one year into the future or, following an assessment, can be assumed to have a remaining duration of at least one year if your current income does not extend that far. Other income than from employment or your own business can be included in your income calculation, e.g. unemployment benefit, parental benefit, scholarships or the income of a partner. You should not be regarded as likely to be a burden on the social security system. This means that you should not be dependent on means-tested benefits such as housing allowance or subsistence allowance. The self-support requirement for permanent residence permits was clarified by the Migration Court of Appeal in December 2023, (MIG 2023:18).

See also the Swedish Migration Agency’s legal position, (RS/084/2021).

Do I also have to be able to support family members in order to have my own application approved? No. Yes, (if they do not have sufficient income of their own).
What income level is required? SEK 6,090 per month, (in 2024), plus your share of any housing costs.
Are there other requirements than level of income? Yes. For example, you must not have a criminal conviction and you must also intend to live in Sweden. In the future, requirements regarding Swedish language proficiency and knowledge of Swedish society will be introduced. Yes. For example, you must not have a criminal conviction and you must also intend to live in Sweden. In the future, requirements regarding Swedish language proficiency and knowledge of Swedish society will be introduced.
What happens if I have spent some time abroad? It could be a problem if you have been abroad for more than around six weeks per year. You can stay abroad for up to ten months in total during the qualification period and for up to six months at a time. Special rules apply to long-term resident status if you have had an EU Blue Card from another EU member state.
When can I apply? As a rule, only when your current residence permit is about to expire. (As a guideline, 14 days before expiry). At any time once the qualification period is complete.
Can I apply for another (time-limited) residence permit at the same time? Yes. Only the extension of the residence permit you already have is assessed, even if you have not applied for it. It may therefore be a good idea to apply for another (time-limited) permit as well. Yes, and you should do so if there is a risk that your residence permit will expire before a decision is made. Otherwise, you may lose the right to live and work in Sweden. The processing time for a time-limited permit may be longer if you also apply for a permanent residence permit.
If my previous residence permit has expired, can I stay in Sweden and work here while waiting for a decision? Yes, in the vast majority of cases, if you submitted an application before your previous residence permit expired. Only if you also applied for a residence permit before your previous permit expired.Only if you also applied for a residence permit before your previous permit expired.
If my previous residence permit has expired, can I continue to receive benefits from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency while waiting for a decision? Yes, in the vast majority of cases, if you applied before your previous residence permit expired. Only if you have also applied for a residence permit.
If my residence permit has expired, can I go abroad during the processing period and then come back to Sweden? Not as a rule. Not as a rule. Contact the Swedish Migration Agency for more information. Special rules apply if you had a residence permit for work.
Can I appeal if my application is unsuccessful? Yes, but only if the decision is due to you not fulfilling the self-support requirement or the requirement for good conduct, or in the event that you have not been granted another residence permit and thus been notified of a decision regarding deportation. Yes.
Can I appeal and simultaneously apply for another residence permit and have it granted while my appeal is being considered? No. Yes.
Can I lose my permanent residence permit or my long-term resident status? Yes, e.g. if you commit a crime or are considered to have been untruthful in connection with your application. You can also lose your permanent residence permit if you stay abroad for too long. You may not stay outside Sweden for more than one year, or for more than two years if you have notified the Migration Agency in advance. Yes, e.g. if you commit a crime or are considered to have been untruthful in connection with your application. You can also lose your permanent residence permit if you stay abroad for too long. You may not stay outside the EU for more than twelve months, or outside Sweden for more than six years. Special rules apply to revocation of long-term resident status if you have had an EU Blue Card. In some cases, long-term resident status can be transferred to another EU member state.
Who can apply? Everyone who is not a Swedish citizen and who meets the requirements. However, in practice it is not relevant for EU/EEA citizens and their family members, as they usually have the right of residence instead. An EU/EEA citizen can apply for permanent residence after five years. Only non-EU citizens. Special rules for residence permits apply to Swiss citizens. For example, you cannot be granted a residence permit for studies or research, but on the other hand a residence permit is generally valid for five years and you do not need a work permit to work in Sweden. This means that you can apply for long-term resident status but not for a permanent residence permit on the basis of the regulations that apply to people who have had a residence permit as a doctoral candidate or researcher.

Please note that if you are a family member of a Swedish citizen, you do not automatically have the right of residence and must apply for a residence permit.

Nordic citizens are free to live in Sweden.

Does my permit allow me to live and work in other EU countries? No. Yes, (but not in Denmark or Ireland).
Can I apply for Swedish citizenship? Yes, if you have been granted a permanent residence permit and have lived in Sweden for at least five years. Yes, if your application is approved, (as in that case, you automatically receive a permanent residence permit), and you have lived in Sweden for at least five years. If you have the right of residence, (in the case of EU/EEA citizens and their family members), you can also apply for citizenship. Special rules apply to Nordic citizens.

If you are stateless, it is sufficient that you have lived in Sweden for four years.

Other residence permits

If you who have had a residence permit for studies, (including doctoral studies), or research, you can apply for a one-year residence permit in order to seek employment in Sweden. You can find more information about applying for work after studies or research here.

If you have a family member who is a Swedish citizen, an EU/EEA citizen or has a residence permit, you may also have the right to stay in Sweden through that person. In most cases, an application for a residence permit can be submitted without you having to leave Sweden. Remember to state in your application for a permanent residence permit all the reasons you have for being granted a temporary residence permit in the event that you are not granted a permanent residence permit.

Please note that when changing your residence permit, in some cases you may have to leave Sweden and submit an application from abroad. The Swedish Migration Agency has a page where you can type in which permit you currently have and which permit you wish to apply for. You can then see information about what rules apply. Scroll down to “If you are already in Sweden

You can apply for a residence permit for 12 months if you fulfil certain criteria, but not for a longer or shorter period. This applies both if you have had a residence permit for studies, including doctoral studies, and if you have had a residence permit for research, (often referred to as guest researcher).

In order to be granted a residence permit to seek employment, you must have completed your studies (and obtained a degree) or your research, be able to support yourself financially, have fully comprehensive health insurance and submit your application before your existing residence permit expires. Please note that , unlike the requirements for a permanent residence permit, the financial support does not need to be from employment or an own company. This means, for example, that unemployment benefits can be sufficient to fulfil the self-support requirement. The requirement for comprehensive health insurance is always met if you have been given have a complete Swedish personal identity number (personnummer).

If you receive such a residence permit, due to what SULF perceives as a mistake in the preparation of the legislation, you may not apply for a residence permit for research or doctoral studies without leaving Sweden and applying from abroad. SULF is working to persuade members of parliament to change this. You can, however, apply for a residence permit for work or for a permanent residence permit during this time. However, a residence permit to seek employment cannot be counted towards the four years required. You must instead have previously had a residence permit for doctoral studies, research or work, (you may add together all such periods), for at least four years during a seven-year period.

You can read more about this at the website of Swedish Migration Agency

Resi­dence permit for looking for work after studies
Resi­dence permit after rese­arch

If you believe that you meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, we recommend that you first apply for this instead, as it is a significantly better residence permit. If the Swedish Migration Agency rejects your application for a permanent residence permit, they will also assess whether you can be granted an extended permit for doctoral studies. If you have already completed your studies and therefore cannot be granted an extension, you must state in your application that you want a residence permit in order to seek employment if you want the Migration Agency to examine that issue as well.

The new regulations for people who have a residence permit for work do not apply to you if you have a residence permit for studies or for research because that is a different type of residence permit. However, the new rules contain some improvements for people who have a residence permit for work, and these are relevant for our member groups. The two main changes are the possibility for a person who has a residence permit for work to apply for a residence permit for doctoral studies or for research without first leaving Sweden; and the possibility to be allowed to travel to Sweden while waiting for an application to be processed.

Citizen of an EU/EEA country, a family member of such a citizen or a citizen of Switzerland

If you are a citizen of a country within the EU/EEA, you are covered by the provisions on the right of residence and therefore do not need to apply for a residence permit in Sweden. For example, people who come to Sweden to work or study, (and have means to support themselves), have the right of residence. People who have a right of residence need not apply for a residence permit for doctoral studies or research, nor can such a residence permit be granted. This also applies to family members.

Registration

If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you do not need to apply for a right of residence or contact the Swedish Migration Agency. However, you need to apply for registration with the Swedish Tax Agency. SULF has noted that the Swedish Tax Agency can refuse registration if you are not employed and cannot present proof that you have comprehensive health insurance. This is a situation that should not happen under free movement within the EU, but it can occur due to ambiguities about which member state is responsible for health insurance.

Family members of EU/EEA citizens

If you are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen with a right of residence who lives in Sweden, you also have a right of residence if you live with them. If you are a family member of an EU/EEA citizen, you must apply to the Swedish Migration Agency for a residence card so that you can prove your right of residence. You then do not need a work permit to work in Sweden.

However, family members of Swedish citizens must normally apply for a residence permit to live in Sweden with a Swedish citizen. You can be covered by the right of residence if the Swedish citizen has used the freedom of movement rights within the EU and returns to Sweden.

Permanent right of residence

When you have resided in Sweden with a right of residence for at least five years, you have a permanent right of residence. This also applies to family members of EU/EEA citizens who have had a right of residence for five years. (It is then referred to as a permanent residence card). Contact the Swedish Migration Agency to apply for a permanent right of residence/residence card. You do not have to meet any other requirements than having had a right of residence for five years.

Nordic citizens

If you are a Nordic citizen, you do not need to meet the requirements for either right of residence or a residence permit. You only need to contact the Swedish Tax Agency for registration.

Swiss citizens

If you are a Swiss citizen, special rules apply for residence permits. Neither you nor your family members need a work permit to work in Sweden. However, you must apply for a residence permit if you are to stay in Sweden for more than three months. Swiss citizens cannot be granted special residence permits for studies or research, but you still have the right to study and conduct research in Sweden if you fulfil the requirements for a residence permit. Please note that there are special rules that apply to citizens of Switzerland and their family members. For example, an application can be made free of charge. Contact the Swedish Migration Agency for more information.

Unfortunately, the fact that Swiss citizens cannot be granted residence permits for doctoral studies means that you cannot apply for a permanent residence permit after four years in the same way as other non-EU/EEA citizens. However, after five years, you can apply for long-term resident status.

Permanent residence permits

SULF recommends that you start preparing now for the introduction of a requirement of a certain level of knowledge of Swedish language and society in the future. There is already a proposal that such requirements be introduced for the acquisition of Swedish citizenship from 1 January 2025. We do not currently know when the requirement will be introduced for permanent residence or what knowledge will be required.

We recommend that you bring up with your manager the question of whether you can get support from your employer to attend training during working hours that will help you reach the requirements.

We understand that this is a difficult situation for members who are impacted by the change. The Swedish Migration Agency is responsible for answering questions about how the new law affects you. Therefore, we primarily refer all questions to the Swedish Migration Agency, as they have an obligation to provide everyone with the service they need. It is also the Agency that makes all decisions about residence permits. Through the questions and answers we have collected on this page, and by arranging seminars, we provide members with information about the regulations so that you can also ask the right questions to the Swedish Migration Agency based on your own situation.

This information will also help you to more easily understand the answers you receive from the Agency and to judge whether the answers seem unreasonable or incorrect. If you have questions about matters of principle and which are closely linked to your employment, we can also give individual advice about your situation. In general, in order to receive personal service from the trade union, you must have been a member for at least three months and the problem you have may not have arisen before you became a member.

In addition, SULF works on general level to improve conditions by lobbying politicians and other decision-makers and by influencing opinion on the issue. Read more below under the question “What is SULF doing with regard to permanent residence permits?”.

If you have applied for a permanent residence permit or an extended fixed-term residence permit before your existing residence permit expires, you may continue to reside in Sweden. In most cases, if you also have a work permit you may work in Sweden during the time your application is being processed. However, you should not leave the country during the time your application is being processed, as it may be difficult to return to Sweden if you do not receive your new permit in time.

Yes there is!

Even if unemployment benefit cannot be counted toward fulfilling the self-support requirement for permanent residence, you can still receive unemployment benefit if the requirements that apply in order to receive it are met. In the vast majority of cases, you can receive compensation while you are waiting for a decision regarding a residence permit. Also, unemployment benefit can be regarded as fulfilling the self-support requirement that applies for you to be granted a residence permit to seek employment for one year. It may also be sufficient for you to meet the requirement for your family members to continue to have temporary residence.

Perhaps most important reason of all is that unemployment benefit can be counted toward meeting the requirements for being granted long-term resident status, which in turn entitles you to a permanent residence permit. You can find out more about this elsewhere on this page.

As a member of SULF, if you are a member of the unemployment insurance fund you also have income insurance that provides a higher level of higher compensation in the event of unemployment . The qualification period is one year of membership of both SULF and the unemployment insurance fund, and this requirement must be met on the first day you become unemployed. The income insurance included in your SULF membership provides compensation for up to 150 days, but you can also take out a supplementary insurance to cover a further 150 days. This must also have been taken out at least one year before the first day you become unemployed. To find out more, see.

SULF has been very critical of the proposal, which also included language competence requirements, a requirement that has now been removed, but which will probably be introduced later. We have expressed this in various ways, for example in consultation responses and in debate articles.

The requirement regarding the ability to support oneself financially will create major problems for many, because it can be difficult to find a job that lasts for at least 18 months immediately after completion of doctoral studies or research, not least considering how common short fixed-term employment is within higher education. Since the employment duration requirement is to be tested at the time of the decision, there will also be uncertainty as to whether the requirement is met depending on how long the decision process is. The new regulations may therefore result in fewer foreign citizens wanting to or being able to stay in Sweden and contribute to the Swedish economy. There is a danger that we will lose many highly skilled people and that the internationalization of the higher education will become more difficult. Today, a large proportion of both doctoral candidates and people in career-development positions have a foreign background. It is clear that the politicians’ desire to restrict asylum immigration has been the focus rather than how Sweden will be able to retain qualified people, for example, those who complete a doctorate in the country.

SULF will continue to work with this issue in order to, we hope, be able to bring about changes. This, however, will require changes to the law or new legal precedents.

Answers from Migrationsverket after the webinar in February 2022

The Swedish Migration Agency tries to prioritize applications where length of the employment is close to be less than 18 months in regards to the date of decision. We have 253 open applications for permanent residence permit for doctoral students today (average waiting time 150 days). The Swedish Migration Agency will ask for supplementary information from the applicant if the conditions regarding employment are no longer met due to the waiting time at The Swedish Migration Agency.

It is possible to combine residence permit for work (which also includes permit for researchers) or EU Blue card with residence permit for studies at research level (doctoral studies) to get a permanent residence permit after a total of four years. As the condition is “residence permit for studies regarding education on research level”, it is mandatory that doctoral studies was the ground for the permit. That means that for example residence permit for family ties may not be used even if the applicant had a doctoral position during the permit.

The 14 days window for applying for a permanent residence permit before the current permit expires is only a recommendation and not a rule. The reason for this recommendation is that a new residence permit may not be granted to an applicant with a valid permit, if the valid permit may not be revoked as the grounds for that permit is still valid. This situation is true for the majority of our applicants for a permanent residence permit as doctoral students. Due to these restraints, there is no gain in applying earlier than 14 days in advance. An application submitted for more than 14 days in advance may be dismissed. See legal position paper RS/083/2021.

The maintenance requirement for permanent permit for long-term residents is that the applicant can support him/herself and eventual family members and in the future will not use the national welfare system. When handling cases regarding long-term residents there is also a possibility to consider the applicants previous ability to financially support oneself in the assessment of the applicants ability to support oneself in the future.

A third country national must have resided in Sweden for five years with residence permit or on other grounds as legally settled in Sweden. Other grounds can be secondary rights of residence (uppehållskort). If the applicant has a permit or other grounds as legally settled and fulfils the requirements for five years of legal resident in Sweden, there is a possibility to apply for long-term residence permit before the current permit expires.

The Swedish Migration Agency acknowledges this lack of information. We will update the webpage with information aimed at third country family members to EU citizens residing in Sweden.

At the moment the Swedish Migration Agency is working with improving the support to Contact Centre at the agency in order to facilitate faster and more cohesive information to our applicants.

There is a planned change in the rules regarding work migration due to be enforced on the 1st of June 2022. The suggested changes would accommodate a change from a work permit to a permit for doctoral studies without leaving Sweden. However, as of now the suggested changes do not include a possibility to change from a job seeking permit to a permit for doctoral studies without leaving Sweden.

For more information see https://regeringen.se/rattsliga-dokument/lagradsremiss/2021/12/forbattrade-regler-om-arbetskraftsinvandring/

To change to a work permit the doctoral student must have completed a semester of doctoral studies. The student must have completed 30 ECTS. Each applicant must apply before the current permit expires.

You may study during a permit that is not for studies. It is the HEI that decides who is admitted to studies in Sweden. Note that we cannot revoke a permit if the applicant is still fulfilling the requirements for the current permit.

You may work if you have a permit for studies or research as you are exempt from the requirement of having a work permit. The exemption is still valid during the waiting time for your new permit, if you have applied for a permit that allows you to stay in Sweden until a decision is made.

Yes. Both extension of current permit or change of status gives the right to have the issue of permanent residence permit tried. In order to have the issue of permanent residence permit tried there must be an expression of will in your application. Doctoral students applying for a residence permit may use the application for permanent residence permit, which voids the need for an expression of will in the application.

There are no obstacles to leaving Sweden, but if the previous permit has expired and the new residence permit is not ready, you risk not being allowed to enter Sweden if you are outside the country’s borders. Therefore, if you are studying, you always need to strike a balance between the risk of not getting a decision in time against the necessity of the trip outside Sweden. It is also important to be aware that the Swedish Migration Agency do not grant priority.

If you have to travel back to Sweden before that for urgent reasons, it is possible to apply for a national entry visa. With such a visa, you can travel back to Sweden and wait there for your decision on extension. You apply for an entry visa at a Swedish embassy or consulate-general in the country where you are located, provided that the authority issues entry visas. You must be aware that such an application requires that there are special grounds for issuing an entry visa and that the Swedish Migration Agency cannot control how the embassy or consulate decides in the application.

Short visits abroad, for example vacation, does not affect the period of habitual residence. For cases regarding citizenship there are also exceptions for other visits abroad as long as you have not changed your place of habitual residence.

Yes, this is correct. The law gives no exception. The same applies for people with EU-blue card and ICT permit.

If a doctoral student applying for a permanent residence permit does not fulfil the requirements, The Swedish Migration Agency will, as an alternative, try the requirements for an extension of the current permit for doctoral studies. This means that there is no need to state in the application that you would like an extension of your permit, should you not fulfil the requirements for a permanent residence permit. The new permit will be from the day after the current permit expires if you applied for a permanent residence permit before your current permit expired.

A permit for looking for work in Sweden is given from the date of finishing the studies.

The Swedish Migration Agency will try every ground invoked in any application. You are free to invoke any grounds that you deem relevant in your application for permanent residence permit (it may for example be stated under “Other information”). If the applicant for a permanent residence permit does not fulfil the requirements for a permanent residence permit OR an extension of permit for doctoral studies, The Swedish Migration Agency will usually contact the applicant to investigate any further grounds for staying in Sweden.

Time limited residence permit for studies – 8 694 SEK/month

Permanent residence permit for doctoral students – 5 157 SEK/month for a single adult (normalbeloppet) plus living costs. To be measured against income after tax.