Sweden Visas, Permits and Immigration

by Jose Marc Castro on August 11, 2009

VISASweden200Swedish passports are issued only to citizens of Sweden. Passports are solely for international travel purposes. Passports also serve as proof of a legitimate Swedish citizenship. It provides assistance from Swedish consular bureaucrats abroad or other European Union Members in the absence of the Swedish consular. A passport is not required when staying or traveling in one or more of the Schengen countries if the Swedish national has an identity card. Swedish nationals and other European Union citizens are free to stay in any Schengen country provided they register with the country’s embassy.

This was reiterated in General Expat Discussion last December 23, 2008:

I am an Australian under 30 and my country has a reciprocal arrangement with both
So as long as I get a Visa for one of those 2 countries, and as long as I do not work outside the country of the Visa, could I then travel within the Schengen area for the entire duration of the visa

Swedish Passports

Swedish Police issue passports. Applications for passports are safe since local police stations within the country file the applications. Police stations in Sweden have passport offices. These provide mutual security between the government and its people.

In 2005, immigration officials of Sweden used the biometric passport variety. Adult Swedish citizens receive passports with a10-year validity, and children get passports valid for 5 years. Blue-covered passports issued in 1998 are no longer valid. This is due to widespread cases of fraud and forgery as well as inadequate security.

The Swedish Visa Section at the Swedish Consulate or Embassy only gives early appointment dates for emergencies like the death of relative’s. Proof such as an official letter from the hospital or the undertaker needs to be presented in these cases. This is a requirement to allow entry and remain in Sweden and other Schengen states for a short period of time.

Foreign nationals need a type of permit called entry visa to enter Sweden. The initial requirement for foreign nationals who wish to visit Sweden for a temporary visit is an entry visa. Examples of temporary visits are:

•    business trips for conferences, meetings and special projects;
•    tourist holidays;
•    passing through Sweden in transit; and
•    visiting friends, relatives and the like.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Sweden keeps a detailed listing of countries whose citizens must acquire a visa to enter Sweden. There are also particular guidelines that need be fulfilled for the issuance of a visa to Switzerland. Some of these include adequate finances, travel insurance and a valid passport at least three months after final date of issued visa.

General Requirements for Swedish Visas

Applicants must present the following required documents to enter Sweden:

•    fully completed and signed application form;
•    a declaration form;
•    2 passport-sized pictures;
•    original copy of the applicant’s national passport;
•    a photocopy of the passport;
•    original copy of the official resident visa;
•    proof of hotel bookings in Sweden, group travel, or airline ticket reservations meant for Sweden;
•    duplicates of the documents mentioned above;
•    original copy and a duplicate of the confirmation letter from the health insurance stating the coverage of their benefits;
•    original copy and a duplicate of the applicant’s most recent bank statements; and
•    the visa fees for the applicant’s Swedish visa.

Sweden Immigration Policy

Visa on Arrival and Visa-Free Travel

According to the study done by Henley and Partners, Sweden has an Index of 120 Henley Visa Restrictions. This means Swedish nationals enjoy access to 120 countries and territories without getting a visa. This visa-free travel is only valid for short-term visits for tourism purposes.

Sweden is currently ranked as the 2nd country with the best international travel sovereignty. Sweden shares the 2nd place with Germany and Ireland.

190 territories and countries grant visa on arrival and visa-free travel services to Swedish passport holders. 154 of these territories and countries are accessible to these nationals even without any visa. Visas issued before arriving in Sweden or pre-arranged visas are required in countries excluded from the list of 190 territories and countries.

The admission of foreign nationals will still depend on the judgment of boundary enforcement authorities even if the Swedish authorities permit visa-free access. Foreign nationals in Sweden participating in activities of interest including voluntary work will need to obtain a work or visa permit.

According to the European Union Directive #38 as of 2004, family members of EEA citizens with British Residence Cards or Permanent Residence Cards do not need a visa to stay for less than 90 days or 3 months in Sweden or other EU member states. The issuance of a Schengen Visa is optional. It greatly depends on the deliberation of the cases of foreign nationals including the reasons why they want to visit and their intentions of returning to their home countries. This type of visa is not issued to foreign nationals who wish to stay in Sweden for more than 90 days to look for employment or participate in business activities.

Immigration Regulations

During the term of Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson (1996 to 2006), he issued a transitional rule for East European workers. The entry of 10 new member states to the EU is hardly the start of mass immigration. The real issue regarding transitional rules is the attack on the Swedish workers’ condition by greedy employers and employment agencies.

Prime Minister Goran Persson and the social democratic government said they conducted a lot of studies to help exploited guest workers. This will follow an investigation made by the union’s branches in the south of Sweden in collaboration with the police, immigration officials, and tax authorities. According to the investigation, companies already hiring foreign workers are responsible for the turnover worth around 1.2 billion US dollars. Out of the 400 workplaces visited, 140 are using illegal foreign workers and only 383 foreigners were found working illegally as self-employed individuals.

Tips for Swedish Citizenship Applications

1.    Applicants should remember to send their completed and signed application forms with their passports.
2.    The application processing fee must be paid by the applicant.
3.    Attach the payment receipt or other documents stating that the fee has been settled.
4.    Send all attachments listed on the final page of the form.
5.    Do not attempt to apply for a citizenship if you have not spent the allowable duration of stay in Sweden. Otherwise, the Immigration Office will be forced to reject your application.
6.    Submit all other documents necessary for Swedish citizenship applications.

Ways of Acquiring a Swedish Citizenship


The term “naturalization” means foreign nationals will eventually be citizens of Sweden by applying for a Swedish nationality. They must satisfy all requirements to be a Swedish citizen by naturalization. The requirements for naturalization are the following:

•    The age requirement for being a naturalized Swedish citizen is 18 years old.
•    Applicants must prove their identity. Passports and other legitimate identification cards or birth certificates are accepted.
•    Foreign nationals staying in Sweden for a minimum period of 5 years or at least 4 years for refugees and stateless persons may apply for naturalization. Icelandic, Finnish, Norwegian, or Danish citizens can be naturalized through a 2-year stay in Sweden.
•    Applicants must not have any criminal record in Sweden or in their home country.
•    EEA foreign nationals or applicants with a permanent residency permit can apply for naturalization. Citizens of Nordic countries are exempted from this rule. As for EEA nationals, they will be granted a permanent Swedish residence permit if they pass the limited duration of residence permits worth 5 years.

During application, the Swedish Migration board collects information about the applicant from the following:

a)    Social Insurance Office – for alimony or maintenance debts
b)    National police Board – for suspected offences or crimes
c)    Swedish Security Service – for security checks
d)    Enforcement Service – for debts

The body or institution that considers Swedish citizenship applications is the Migration Board. The fee for applying a Swedish citizenship is 1500 SEK.

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