How to obtain Swedish citizenship: What you need to know

28.06.17
4 minute read
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Sweden is home to the beautiful southern archipelago, fika breaks and some of the fastest Internet speeds in the World. Thanks to the many perks that Swedes enjoy, from five weeks of paid vacation to 480 days of parental leave to universal healthcare to one of the world’s best public transportation systems, it’s not uncommon for expats to wonder how best to extend their stay.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, founding a company or are just hoping to find a change of pace in the Nordic country, you may be interested in learning what’s involved in becoming a Swedish citizen. This guide will walk you through the most important points and steps for acquiring your Swedish citizenship.

What’s the difference between permanent residence and citizenship?

Beyond the most obvious advantages of living in Sweden, like plentiful sunshine, clean air and a beautiful landscape, becoming a citizen means more than just hiking.

All Swedish residents have the right to free university, excellent employee benefits, free healthcare and 480 days of parental leave.

Only Swedish citizens, however, have the right to vote, be elected to Swedish Parliament or join the police or armed forces. Most importantly, only Swedish citizens may carry a Swedish passport, a document that grants them unrestricted travel within the EU.

Ways to obtain Swedish citizenship

Luckily, there are a few ways to become a Swedish citizen. The best and easiest option is to apply for legitimization, if you’re eligible. Legitimization means proving that you’re the child of at least one Swedish citizen, which can be easily done through the production of birth certificates and passports.

If you’re a citizen of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, or Norway, between ages 18 and 20, you can become eligible for Swedish citizenship through notification, a process in which you must prove that you have been residing in Sweden for five years.

Alternatively, you can obtain Swedish citizenship through marriage. If you marry a Swedish citizen, you may apply for your Swedish citizenship after your 10th year of marriage.

If you don’t qualify for legitimization, notification or citizenship through marriage, all isn't lost though. You can still apply for naturalization, which essentially means proving you’ve been residing in Sweden permanently for a certain length of time. You can find out how long you’ll need to hold a permanent residence before you can apply for citizenship at the Swedish Migration Agency website.

Permanent Residence as a Path to Citizenship

If you don’t meet the criteria to apply for Swedish citizenship yet, you can still reside in Sweden as a resident. Then, once you’ve been a permanent resident resident for the requiered number of years, you may apply for citizenship.

To become a resident, you must:

· Apply for residency and receive your permanent residence card
· Apply for a personnummer (social security number)
· Secure a job
· Secure a home or apartment
· Open a bank account
· Learn Swedish

Can I have dual nationality?

Sweden allows citizens to carry dual or multiple nationalities. A Swede who has obtained foreign nationality won't lose his or her Swedish nationality. Likewise, foreign nationals seeking Swedish citizenship won't lose their existing nationality, unless they come from a country that doesn’t allow or recognize dual citizenship. This site lists the countries that allow or don’t allow dual citizenship.

How can I apply for citizenship?

When applying for citizenship, you’ll begin your application process on the Swedish Migration Board’s Website. To get started, you’ll need an original form of identification, like a passport from your home country or your birth certificate, as part of the application process. You’ll also need to complete an application form and pay the applicable fee.

Note: application forms are only available in Swedish, however your Swedish citizenship is dependent on your mastery of the language anyway. As such, make sure you’re ready linguistically to take this step.

Citizenship application fees are as follows:

  • Application for citizenship – SEK 1,500
  • Adopted child under 15 years of age – SEK 175

Fees for Notification:

  • Notification for child under 18 years of age – SEK 175
  • Notification for person between 18 and 21 years of age – SEK 175
  • Notification for adult citizen of Denmark, Finland, Iceland & Norway – SEK 475
  • Regaining Swedish citizenship – SEK 175
  • Regaining Swedish citizenship lost before July 1, 2001 – SEK 475
  • Retaining Swedish citizenship – no fee
  • Release from citizenship – no fee

Note: You won't be refunded if your application or notification is declined.

Fee Exceptions:

There are some exceptions when it comes to paying the fee for citizenship application.

This includes:

  • Stateless individuals who have been granted refugee status
  • Stateless individuals who have been granted travel documents from the Swedish Migration Agency

If you’re planning to fund your application process from a foreign bank account, use TransferWise to get the real exchange rate and cut out expensive international bank transfer fees.

How can I apply for a passport?

Only Swedish citizens are allowed to carry Swedish passports. As such, you must have your citizenship certificate before you apply for your passport.

Once you have your citizenship, assuming you’re at least 18 years old you may apply for your passport at the polisen (police) passport office or your local Swedish consulate.

To apply, you need a valid identification. Your passport photo will be taken at the passport office. The cost of a passport is SEK 350, and you must pay at the time of application. From there, your passport will be delivered to the passport office within five working days for you to pick up.

Other relevant information

If you’re not already familiar with money and banks in Sweden you’ll want to do a bit of research or, if you haven’t already, make sure to open a bank account to help cut down on costs.

Lastly, if you need any more information about the application process, fees or what it means to be a resident versus a citizen, check out the Swedish Migration Agency’s website for a wealth of resources, offered both in English and Swedish.

Good luck on becoming a Swedish citizen!

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