Sweden is known for its comprehensive social security system, which ensures that its citizens have access to basic necessities such as housing, medical care, food, and clothing. As a result, Swedish citizenship is highly sought after and popular among expatriates. In the following section, we will outline the steps involved in obtaining Swedish citizenship.
Advantages of Swedish Citizenship
Swedish citizens are fortunate to have access to a range of benefits, including high-quality medical care, free education, and a robust social welfare system. Unlike many other countries, Swedes do not have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck in times of illness, childbirth, or retirement. The government ensures that they can maintain a comfortable standard of living by providing comprehensive welfare support.
Swedish citizens enjoy several rights and privileges, including the ability to serve in the national army, participate in elections, and even be elected to parliament. Additionally, being a member of the European Union, Sweden enables its citizens to easily travel, work, study, and reside in any of the EU member states.
The Swedish Migration Agency has established specific requirements for foreigners and stateless persons seeking Swedish citizenship. These requirements are based on factors such as the applicant's country of origin, age, and ability to verify their identity.
Stockholm, Sweden. Photo by Anna Hunko (Unsplash)
Who Can Apply for Swedish Citizenship
- Close relatives of Swedish citizens, such as spouses, children, parents, fiancés, fiancées, or partners, have the opportunity to apply for Swedish citizenship through a family reunification programme. Swedish parents can also pass their nationality to their children. To initiate this process, applicants must provide supporting documents that verify their family relationships. Individuals joining their Swedish spouse or partner may be required to attend an interview as part of the application process.
- Nordic citizens, including nationals of Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland, have several options to obtain a Swedish passport. They can do so by filing a notification, submitting an application, or regaining Swedish citizenship.
- Individuals who are 18 years of age or older and have resided in Sweden for a period of five years or more may be eligible to acquire citizenship. Read on to find out more about this pathway to Swedish citizenship.
- Refugees who have faced persecution in their home countries based on religious, political, national, or racial reasons and have been granted asylum in Sweden may be eligible to apply for citizenship. To be eligible, they must have resided in the country for a minimum of four years.
- In exceptional cases, Swedish citizenship may be granted to individuals who have made significant contributions to the state of Sweden, such as renowned scientists or artists. The final decision is made at the personal discretion of the Swedish king.
Swedish Citizenship by Birth
Sweden, like other Scandinavian countries, grants its citizenship to children born only to Swedish parents.
Children born after April 1, 2015 automatically receive Swedish citizenship, regardless of their place of birth, if at least one of their parents has a Swedish passport.
Those born before April 1, 2015 can automatically become Swedish only if they were born in Sweden, their parents are married and one of them is Swedish. In other cases, there are only the following options:
- Children become Swedish citizens if their Swedish parent submits a notification on their behalf.
- Before children turn 18, their parents must marry each other.
Both of these options facilitate the acquisition of a Swedish passport for the individuals mentioned above.
Malmö, Sweden. Photo by Pontus Ohlsson (Unsplash)
Swedish Citizenship through Adoption
Children adopted by a Swedish citizen through a decision in Sweden or another Nordic country automatically obtain citizenship if they were under the age of 12 at the time of adoption. The same applies if a child was adopted through a decision in a foreign country and it was approved in Sweden by the Family Law and Parental Support Authority (MFoF or Myndigheten för familjerätt och föräldraskapsstöd) or the adoption is legally valid in Sweden.
A child adopted at the age of 12 or older can become a Swedish citizen by application.
Swedish Citizenship for Nordic Citizens
As mentioned above, citizens of Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland can get a Swedish passport by filing a notification, submitting an application or claiming renewed citizenship of Sweden.
How to Obtain Swedish Citizenship by Notification
A Nordic citizen must send in the following documents to the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen) at the place of residency: Notification of Swedish citizenship and a certificate confirming registration in the municipal registry. The latter must be no more than two months old.
At the same time, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old,
- Have lived in Sweden for at least 5 years before sending in a notification, and
- Have not been sentenced to prison during the five years of permanent residency (exceptions can be made for applicants between 18 and 19 years old).
If the applicant qualifies, they become a citizen of Sweden, and the County Administrative Board sends the certificate of citizenship to their home address and a copy to the Swedish Tax Agency.
Uppsala, Sweden. Photo by Simone Muzzi (Unsplash)
How to Get Swedish Citizenship by Application
Nordic citizens can also apply for citizenship through the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). The requirements are the same as in the first case, with the only exception being that an applicant must have lived in Sweden for two years before applying. Additionally, the Agency may request the applicant to provide evidence of their identity, which can include collecting testimonials from individuals with whom you have interacted in Sweden.
Swedish Citizenship for Immigrants from Other Countries
If you are neither a Nordic citizen, nor a refugee, but still wish to become a Swedish citizen, you can apply for it at the Swedish Migration Agency. The Agency's website provides the option to take a Swedish language test to assess your eligibility for Swedish citizenship.
The Main Requirements
- Must be 18 years of age or older.
- Must be able to verify identity by providing a passport or a similar document with a photo.
- An interview with a Swedish citizen who can confirm your identity.
If the Swedish citizen being interviewed is your spouse, they will be asked about the duration of your relationship. One of the specific requirements states: "You must have lived together for a sufficient period for your spouse or close relative to have knowledge of your background and life story in order to verify your identity with certainty."
- Habitual residence in Sweden, confirmed by one of the documents listed below:
- A certificate of title (lagfart);
- A first-hand rental contract (förstahandskontrakt), that is, a contract concluded directly with the housing company that owns the building; or
- A second-hand contract (andrahandskontrakt), which is signed between the tenant and the landlord or the holder of the first-hand contract.
- Permanent residence permit.
- At least five years of consecutive residency in Sweden. If an applicant has lived abroad for two or more years with a Swedish citizen and is able to prove it, the period of permanent residency in Sweden is reduced to three years.
- Impeccable behaviour throughout your life in Sweden. The Agency checks if applicants have unpaid debts in Sweden, have committed a crime or threatened national security in any other way.
- Knowledge of the Swedish language is not a mandatory requirement for citizenship, unlike the previous criteria. However, opting to take the language test is advisable. During the interview at the Agency, it may be conducted in Swedish. In such cases, an individual who has resided in Sweden for several years but possesses only basic Swedish language skills may not leave the best impression of someone committed to the country.
Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo by Edvin Johansson (Unsplash)
Application Processing Time
Processing times for citizenship applications in Sweden are longer compared to acquiring citizenship through notification. According to the latest statistics released by the Swedish Migration Agency, non-Nordic citizens should expect a waiting period of 18 months or more for their applications to be processed. Specifically, 75% of recently closed applications for citizenship took approximately 41 months to be processed.
When it comes to acquiring citizenship through notification, the processing time is significantly shorter. Approximately 75% of these claims were processed within 10 months. You can check the estimated decision-making time for your case on the Swedish Migration Agency's website after completing a brief test in English.
- The fee for citizenship application is 1,500 kronor ($124).
- The fee for a citizenship application for an adopted child under the age of 15 is 175 kronor ($17).
- Refugees can apply for citizenship free of charge.
Note that you should not pay any additional fees for your children if you include them in your application.
- Filing a notification of citizenship is also free of charge.
- You will have to pay 175 kronor ($17) for receiving a notification for underage children and people between 18 and 21 years old.
- Regaining Swedish citizenship also costs 175 kronor ($17).
- You will be charged a fee of 475 kronor ($46) to regain Swedish citizenship lost before July 1, 2001.
Keep in mind that if your application or notification is denied, fees are not refunded.
Stockholm, Schweden. Photo by Mike Kienle (Unsplash)
In a Nutshell
Becoming a citizen of Sweden is easiest for Nordic citizens. Citizens of other countries must reside in Sweden for at least six years to be eligible for naturalisation, provided they have not previously lived in the country. To increase your chances, it is advisable to attain at least an intermediate level of proficiency in the Swedish language and maintain a record of abiding by the law during this period.
Cover photo: Uppsala, Sweden. L.G.foto