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Swedish citizenship

NOTE: When applying for a Swedish citizenship from 1 April 2005:   

Always send your national passport together with your application. Your application must be signed by you and paid for – you shall attach a receipt of payment (or other document stating that you have paid the fee) to your application Make sure that your application is complete and that you have send all the enclosures according to the list on the last page of the application form

This makes it possible for the Migration Board to start handling your application as soon as it arrives to us. Please, don’t send in your application until you have been in Sweden for a sufficient time otherwise you risk that your application will be rejected. Also, please make sure that you fulfil the other requirements for Swedish citizenship.

Different ways of achieving a Swedish citizenship You can become a Swedish citizen through:  

application (naturalisation) or notification (children, young adults aged 18-20 and Nordic citizens).

You can also become a Swedish citizen automatically through    

birth adoption or legitimisation (marriage of parents)

Becoming a Swedish citizen by application (naturalisation)


Naturalisation means that a person becomes a Swedish citizen by applying for Swedish nationality. If you wish to become a Swedish citizen by application, you must meet the following requirements:   

You must be able to prove your identity (proof of identity requirement). You must be at least 18 years of age 18 (age requirement). You must have a permanent residence permit. or - if you are a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA) - a permanent right of residence. This does not apply to citizens of the Nordic countries. For citizens of the EEA countries, limited residence permits of at least five years’ duration are equated with a Swedish permanent residence right. You must been living in Sweden for at least five years, or for at least four years if you are stateless or a refugee. If you are a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic or Norwegian citizen, two years will suffice (duration of stay requirement). You must have a clean record in Sweden (good conduct requirement).

When you apply for Swedish citizenship, the Migration Board collects data about you from the enforcement service (debts), the Social Insurance Office (maintenance/alimony debts), the National Police Board (crimes or suspected offences) and the Swedish Security Service (security checks). The Migration Board is the body that considers applications for Swedish citizenship and takes decisions. Applying for Swedish citizenship costs SEK 1,500.

Conditions for Swedish citizenship You must be able to prove your identity To become a Swedish citizen you must be able to prove your identity. You must provide proof in the form of 

your national passport in the original

an identity document in the original.

or

Your passport or ID must have been issued by a public authority in your native country, it must be of good quality and it must not be too rudimentary. There must be a photo on the document and it must clearly be of you. We must also be satisfied that the document is genuine and that it has been properly issued. When granting you Swedish citizenship, we must be absolutely certain who you are. We do not accept driver’s licences, birth certificates, christening certificates or marriage certificates as identity documents.

Your immediate family can substantiate your identity


Sometimes your husband/wife or a close relative can substantiate your identity. In such cases, relatives must be Swedish citizens themselves and have proved their own identity by producing their passports or an ID from their native country. Close relatives are defined here as parents, grown-up children or brothers/sisters.

Exemption from the proof of identity requirement Should you be unable to prove your identity but have resided in Sweden for at least eight years, we can grant exemption if the information available concerning your identity is considered credible. (See below how to calculate your duration of stay.) Your identity is credible if you have lived in Sweden for at least eight consecutive years and have had the same identity throughout this period. There must not be any other information or circumstances to suggest that the details you yourself have provided about your identity or background may be incorrect. Also, it must be impossible for you to procure documents proving your identity.

If you have changed your identity If you have changed your identity during your stay in Sweden, it may be more difficult for you to obtain exemption. Have you voluntarily supplied new information to us or to any other authority and thereby corrected your identity? If so, you count duration of stay from the date you supplied the correct information to the Migration Board. If we or some other authority have discovered that you have supplied incorrect information about your person, you cannot be exempted.

The age requirement Generally, you cannot be granted Swedish citizenship unless you are at least 18 years of age. Children under 18 can become Swedish citizens, however, together with their foreign mother or father.

Exceptions to the age requirement The Migration Board sometimes makes exceptions to the age requirement rule. For example, a child with a Swedish mother or father can become a Swedish citizen if the parents submit an application. A child under 15 can become a Swedish citizen together with its parents as soon as it has been granted a permanent residence permit - it does not have to have been living in Sweden for a specific time. Children aged 15—18 must have been living here for at least three years.


You must have been living in Sweden for a certain amount of time (duration of stay principle) The duration of stay principle means that you must have been resident in Sweden for at least five consecutive years, or four consecutive years if you are stateless or a refugee. In certain circumstances, a shorter period may be allowed. If you are a citizen of one of the other Nordic countries, you must only have lived in Sweden for two years.

How to calculate duration of stay If you had a permanent residence permit (PUT) or a residence permit for settlement (UT) when entering Sweden, you count duration of stay from your date of arrival. If you did not possess such a permit when entering Sweden, duration of stay is counted from the date you submitted your permit application. Your application must have been approved (the Migration Board said ‘yes’). If you were originally turned down (the Board said ‘no’) and later presented a fresh application, duration of stay is counted from the date you were subsequently granted approval (‘yes’).

Have you had a short-term (temporary) permit? If you have been staying here temporarily , for example as a visiting student, researcher, teacher, sportsman/woman/coach, musician or performing artist, that period does not count towards duration of stay. This may also be the case if you have been working at another country’s embassy or consulate in Sweden. Nor in certain cases may time spent here on an EEA permit count towards duration of stay.

Have you been abroad? If you have travelled abroad, e g for a short stay or a holiday, this does not affect your duration of stay in Sweden. This also applies to other periods spent abroad that do not involve moving elsewhere. If however you move to another country and settle there, duration of stay is counted from the date of your return to Sweden.

Have you had a false identity? If you have had a different identity from your real one while living in Sweden, you cannot count that time towards duration of stay.

Are you married, legally registered for partnership or living with a Swedish citizen?


Have you been married, legally registered for partnership or living together (cohabiting) with a Swedish citizen for at least the past two years? Then three years duratiion of stay may be enough.In that case your husband/wife/partner must have been a Swedish citizen for at least the past two years. For citizens of the Nordic countries, the duration of stay requirement is always two years. In some cases we can make exceptions and exempt people from the duration of stay requirement. Here are some of those who may qualify for exemption:

Children A child under 15 can become a Swedish citizen together with its parents as soon as ity has been granted a permanent residence permit. Children aged 15-18 must have been living here for at least three years.

Others who may be exempted from the duration of stay requirement Others who may be exempted from the duration of stay requirement are:    

An emigrant returning to Sweden. A person who is employed on a Swedish ship. A person who has previously lived in Sweden and who is now in the employ of a Swedish company abroad. A person who has been married to a Swedish citizen abroad for at least ten years and who does not live in his/her native country. Such persons must have strong ties with Sweden, e g through coming here often on visits or showing a strong desire to become a Swedish citizen. A person whose uninterrupted period of residence in Sweden is too short. Such persons are sometimes allowed to count previous periods of residence here as well, partly or in full. This depends on how long and why they have been abroad.

You must have a clean record in Sweden (the good conduct requirement) One of the conditions for acquiring Swedish citizenship by application is that you have kept a clean record during your stay here. If you have committed a criminal offence, however, you can still become a Swedish citizen, although you will have to wait for a while depending on how serious the crime was and what punishment you were given. When we examine someone’s conduct we consider how they have behaved so far and how we believe they are likely to behave in the future.

Longer wait after a crime


The time that must elapse after a criminal conviction before you can be granted Swedish citizenship is called the qualifying period (karenstid). This is normally calculated from the date of the crime, but if you have been given a lengthy prison sentence the time is calculated from the date when the sentence has been served. Before convicted persons can be granted Swedish citizenship, they must have served their prison sentence, their probationary period in the event of a conditional release must have been completed and any fines they may have been sentenced to must have been paid.

Special correctional treatment If you have been sentenced to special care (särskild vård) after a crime, we look at the penalty normally prescribed for the crime in question. Qualifying periods Penalty 30-day fine* 60-day fine 100-day fine Conditional sentence

Qualifying period 1 year after the crime 2 years after the crime 3 years after the crime At least 3 years after the sentence became legally valid (went into effect) Probation At least 4 years from the day the probationary period began Prison for 1 month 4 years after the crime Prison for 4 months 5 years after the crime Prison for 8 months 6 years after the crime Prison for 1 year 7 years after the crime Prison for 2 years 8 years after the sentence has been served Prison for 4 years 9 years after the sentence has been served Prison for 6 years 10 years after the sentence has been served * fine based on the defendant’s daily income The qualifying period is longer in the case of conditional sentences or probationary periods linked to a prison sentence or to a fine of 60 days’ income or more. If you have committed a crime on more than one occasion, the qualifying period may be longer than in the table above.

Individual examination of the qualifying period in other cases


If there is some other form of misconduct on your record sheet, we examine the qualifying period individually.

If you have been guilty of further misconduct Your application may be turned down if you have not paid taxes, fines or other charges. You may also be refused citizenship if you have not paid maintenance (alimony) as required. Certain kinds of debts to private companies or such like may also result in your being refused Swedish citizenship.

Becoming a Swedish citizen by notification Notification is a simplified application procedure whereby a person can become a Swedish citizen if he or she satisfies certain legal requirements. All the requirements must be met on the date the application arrives at the Migration Board or at the county administrative board. In contrast to applications for Swedish citizenship (naturalisation), which are examined individually, you are automatically entitled to Swedish citizenship if you meet the legal requirements for notification. Notification forms in the case of non-Nordic citizens are sent to the Migration Board. If you are a citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, you send your notification to the county administrative board (länsstyrelsen) in the area where you live. Submitting notification of Swedish citizenship costs SEK 175–475.

Notification of Swedish citizenship for the child of a Swedish father If you are a Swedish citizen with a child born abroad, you can seek citizenship on the child's behalf through notification. Such notification must be submitted before the child turns 18. Between 1 July 2001 and 30 June 2003, it was possible to seek citizenship for your child through notification if he or she was born in Sweden before 1 July 2001 and would have become a Swedish citizen if the new Citizenship Act applied at the time of birth. This opportunity ended June 30, 2003.

Notification of Swedish citizenship for stateless children and young adults Avoiding statelessness is an important goal of Swedish legislation and official practice in the citizenship field. It is also a fundamental principle in several of the international conventions to which Sweden is a party. If you have custody of a stateless child who was born in Sweden, you can submit notification of Swedish citizenship on the child’s behalf if he or she has a permanent residence permit and lives in Sweden. You must submit notification before the child turns five.


If you have custody of a stateless child who came to Sweden while growing up, you can submit notification of Swedish citizenship on the child’s behalf if he or she has a permanent residence permit and has been living here for the past three years. This type of notification must be submitted before the child turns 18. If you are stateless and over 18 but under 20, you can become a Swedish citizen through notification. To be granted citizenship you must have a permanent residence permit in Sweden and have been living here since the age of 15.

Notification of Swedish citizenship for children of foreign nationality If you have custody of a child with foreign citizenship, you can submit notification of Swedish citizenship on the child’s behalf if he or she has a permanent residence permit and has been living here for the past five years. Such notification must be submitted before the child turns 18. Children who have turned 12 and are citizens of a foreign country must give their consent before becoming a Swedish citizen. Notification of Swedish citizenship may be submitted on behalf of a child even if the parents or the child's custodian are not Swedes.

Notification of Swedish citizenship for those over 18 but under 20 If you have turned 18 but are under 20 years of age, you may submit notification of Swedish citizenship if you have a permanent residence permit in Sweden and have lived here since the day you turned 13, or, if you are stateless, since the day you turned 15.

Regaining Swedish citizenship through notification If you have lost or been exempted from Swedish citizenship, you can regain it by notification provided that you    

are 18 or older have a permanent residence permit lived in Sweden for a total of ten years before the age of 18, and have been living in Sweden for the past two years.

A provisional regulation made it possible to regain a Swedish citizenship through notification for those who had lost their Swedish citizenships as a result of being granted citizenships in another country. You could submit this type of notification up until June 30 2003, when the opportunity ended..

Rules for Nordic citizens


As the citizen of a Nordic country you can become a Swedish citizen either by notification to the county administrative board or by applying for naturalization to the Migration Board in Norrköping.

Notification of Swedish citizenship for Nordic citizens If you are a citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, you can obtain Swedish citizenship through notification. To do so, you must meet the following requirements:    

You must have acquired your Danish, Finnish, Icelandic or Norwegian citizenship by some other means than by application (naturalisation). You must be at least 18 years of age. You must have lived in Sweden for five years. You must not have been sentenced to imprisonment or any other form of detention during this five-year period.

The form for submitting notification of Swedish citizenship for citizens of Nordic countries (only in Swedish).is available as our Swedish web site.

Regaining Swedish citizenship if you are a Nordic citizen If you have lost your Swedish citizenship as a result of becoming a citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland or Norway, you can regain it by notification when you move back to Sweden. Remember, as a citizen of a Nordic country you have to submit notification to the administrative board (länsstyrelsen) of the county in which you are living. The fee is to be paid to these authorities - do not use the Migration Board's postal giro account..

Becoming a Swedish citizen by birth Citizenship legislation around the world is based on one or other of the following two basic principles:  

The origin principle - the child is given the same nationality as the parents. The territorial principle - the child is given the nationality of its country of birth.

Swedish citizenship legislation is based on the origin principle. This means it is the parents' nationality that determines the child’s nationality. A child born to a Swedish mother automatically receives Swedish citizenship at birth (as of 1 July 1979). The child of a Swedish father also receives Swedish citizenship if the birth takes place in Sweden. If the father is married to the child's foreign mother, the child receives Swedish citizenship regardless of where the birth took place.


A child to a foreign mother, who is legally registered for partnership or is cohabiting with a Swedish woman, acquires Swedish citizenship at birth if the Swedish woman has agreed to the insemination and the child was born in Sweden. A child who acquires the mother's or father's Swedish citizenship at birth is entitled to dual nationality 

if the child is born in a country that applies the territorial principle

if the child receives the foreign mother's or father's nationality at birth.

or

Becoming a Swedish citizen through adoption A child who is not yet 12 years of age and who has been adopted by a Swedish citizen automatically receives Swedish citizenship upon adoption if   

the child has been adopted as the result of a decision taken in Sweden or in another Nordic country the child has been adopted as the result of a decision taken abroad and approved in Sweden by the Swedish Intercountry Adoptions Authority (MIA) the adoption is valid under Swedish law.

The adoption must have been officially decided or approved after 30 June 1992. A child who has turned 12 at the time of adoption can become a Swedish citizen by application. Parents may apply for Swedish citizenship on the child’s behalf up until his or her 18th birthday. Read more about this under Naturalisation

Becoming a Swedish citizen through legitimisation When a woman who is a foreign citizen has a child by a Swedish man and the child is born abroad, the child does not receive Swedish citizenship if the couple are not married. If they marry, the child becomes a Swedish citizen automatically if he or she is unmarried and under 18. The child is thus said to have acquired Swedish citizenship through legitimisation. If the parents do not marry but nevertheless want the child to receive Swedish citizenship, the child can under certain circumstances acquire this through notification. Read more under ‘Notification’.

Keeping your Swedish citizenship Born and living abroad


To avoid losing your Swedish citizenship if you were born and are still living abroad, you can apply to keep it. You must do so before the age of 22. You do not need to make an application if you have lived in Sweden during any period of your life or if you visit Sweden regularly. If you are one of the first generation born abroad, your application will be granted. Subsequent generations born abroad may also be allowed to keep their Swedish citizenship as long as they have not completely severed their ties with Sweden. You can order the application form from the nearest Swedish embassy or consulate or, if you are visiting Sweden, from the Migration Board's Distribution Section, Sweden. Forms are available here as PDF documents (only in Swedish). Applications to keep Swedish citizenship are to be submitted to the nearest Swedish embassy or consulate. If you are visiting Sweden, you can send your application directly to the Migration Board in Norrköping.

Losing or being exempted from Swedish citizenship You can lose your Swedish citizenship through statutory limitation You lose your Swedish citizenship when you turn 22, through what is termed statutory limitation, if you are a Swedish citizen and  

were born outside of Sweden have never lived in Sweden

have not stayed in Sweden under circumstances indicating an attachment to this country.

and

To avoid losing your Swedish citizenship, you can apply to keep it before you reach the age of 22, see Born and living abroad.

You can apply to be exempted from Swedish citizenship If you no longer want Swedish citizenship, you can apply to be exempted from it. To obtain exemption you must  

or

be a citizen of another country have been offered citizenship of another country




be planning to become a citizen of another country (you will not be exempted from Swedish citizenship until you have been granted your new citizenship).

What does it cost to apply for/submit notification of Swedish citizenship? Applying for Swedish citizenship (naturalisation) costs SEK 1,500. Submitting notification of Swedish citizenship costs SEK 175-475 depending on the type of case. Stateless persons who have been granted refugee status or travel documents by the Migration Board (previously the Immigration Board) do not have to pay anything. Important - you must be both stateless and have been granted refugee status or travel documents to avoid having to pay the application fee! Fees for applications/notifications submitted to the Migration Board are to be paid into the Migration Board's postal giro account in Sweden: 446 50 62-0. Failure to pay means your application will be rejected, i.e. the Migration Board will not consider it. Fees for notifications submitted to the county administrative boards are to be paid to these authorities.

Where do I find the forms and where do I send my application/notification? Click here for the forms (PDF documents only in Swedish), which you can complete on your computer if you wish. You must have access to a printer as the form has to be printed out so that you can sign it and send it in. You can also order the form from the the Migration Board’s Distribution department. Completed forms are to be signed and sent in with the appropriate enclosures to the Migration Board at: Migrationsverket Medborgarskapsenhet 1 601 70 NorrkÜping If you enclose a passport or other original copies of official documents, make sure you send the application by registered post. The post office can help you with this. People who are not registered residents of Sweden have to present their applications to a Swedish embassy or a Swedish consulate. To ensure that the Migration Board deals with it as quickly as possible, you should check that your application has been properly completed and includes all the necessary documentation. You


can order proof of identity in the form of a civic registration certificate (personbevis) directly from the National Tax Board's website skatteverket.se under Folkbokföring, Personbevis. Remember to put a cross in the box marked Ansökan om svenskt medborgarskap (Application for Swedish citizenship).

What will happen to my application/notification? The Migration Board in Norrköping examines and rules on both applications for (naturalisation) and notifications of Swedish citizenship. If your application or notification is approved, you will receive a document certifying that you have become a Swedish citizen. We will also send a copy of the certificate to the civil registry. If you want a Swedish passport you have to apply to the local police. Should your application/notification be turned down, you will be informed of this in writing and the reasons will be explained. Decisions can be appealed to the Migration Court in Stockholm.

What does Swedish citizenship involve? Citizenship is a legally binding undertaking between a state and an individual (citizen) that commences either automatically at birth or as the result of an application or notification. The most tangible evidence of citizenship is the possession of a Swedish passport and the citizen’s absolute right to stay in Sweden. There is however little difference between Swedish citizens and foreign citizens domiciled in Sweden. In principle, foreign citizens possessing a permanent residence permit (PUT) and registred as residents have the same rights and obligations as Swedish citizens. There are certain exceptions, however. Only Swedish citizens have the absolute right to live and work in the country and only Swedish citizens are entitled to vote at parliamentary elections. Nor may foreign citizens be elected to the Riksdag (Parliament). Also, certain professions such as the police, the military and the national safety service are only open to Swedish citizens. Another practical advantage of being a Swedish citizen is the opportunity to work in other EU countries. If you are a Swedish citizen and become a citizen of a second country, you can keep your Swedish citizenship if the other country permits it. By the same token, if you become a Swedish citizen you can keep your foreign citizenship if the laws of that country permit it.

Dual or multiple citizenship One of the basic principles of Swedish civil rights has been the avoidance of dual citizenship. With the adoption of the Citizenship Act of 2001, however, Sweden abandoned this principle. As a result, Swedish citizens acquiring citizenship in another country may keep their Swedish nationality as long as the other country does not require them to seek exemption from it.


Likewise, foreign citizens who become Swedish citizens may keep their foreign nationality if the country concerned permits it.

Why dual citizenship? The added security and advantages that result from being a Swedish citizen and still retaining your previous nationality allow you to feel more at home in Sweden, which benefits integration. Also, retaining possession of your old nationality makes it easier if you are thinking of resettling in your country of origin. It also allows you to visit your old country without having to apply for a visa.

Legal protection abroad Only a person with exclusively Swedish citizenship can count on full Swedish legal protection abroad. If you are a citizen of an additional country besides Sweden, the other country regards you as a citizen only of that country. Thus Sweden has little chance of helping a person who gets into trouble in that particular country. Last modified: 26 October 2007:


Citizenship