Immigrating to Sweden


Work permit and residence card in Sweden

Immigrating to a family member in Sweden

Immigrating through marriage or civil partnership

Getting a Personal Number in Sweden

Living and working in Sweden for EU/EEA citizens

Refugee Asylum in Sweden

Sweden’s healthcare, social benefits system, and standard of living are often held up as models against those of other developed countries. For this reason and others, it is a popular destination for people wanting to start their lives in a new country.

Sweden issues permission to live and work separately through different state agencies. Obtaining a residence permit (known as an uppehållskort) does not automatically mean you can work legally, although if you receive permission to work you will also receive a residence card.

Note that immigrating through marriage can refer to a common-law partner, registered partner, or spouse.

Some Background on Sweden’s Immigration History

Prior to the Second World War Sweden had been facing an exodus of its own people searching for a better life in other countries. During the war Sweden remained officially neutral and as a result was able to spare itself from the destruction experienced by many other European countries. Incidentally the neutrality policy is still criticized to this day, but this will sidetrack us. The point here is that Sweden’s infrastructure came out unscathed and it emerged from World War Two with a manufacturing sector that was steadily increasing in strength.

Sweden’s growing prosperity led to a workforce demand that could not be met by native Swedes, and thus immigrants began arriving in the country in larger and larger numbers. From 1965-1974 the government initiated the Million Houses Program in response to the increase in population in the country- a program to build a million residences in a ten-year period and create affordable homes for everyone. You can see the results of this program throughout Sweden’s major cities and new dwellings are still constantly springing up in:

  • Stockholm
  • Göteborg (Gothenburg)
  • Malmö
  • Uppsala
  • Västerås
  • Örebro
  • Linköping
  • Helsingborg
  • Jönköping
  • Norrköping

Through the 2000s Sweden had liberal admission policies for its universities, in many cases accepting qualified students from any country to join its state-sponsored (free for students) education system. Up until recently it was possible for students to remain in the country for a certain period of time to seek employment after they graduated from Swedish universities, and hence begin a path to citizenship. However this is changing now, and degree programs like business and finance require tuition fees that continue to increase.

Per-person Sweden also accepts one of the highest percentages of refugees. As with most European countries, immigration is a much-talked-about hot issue in society. The largest immigrant groups in Sweden are from:

  • Finland
  • Former Yugoslavia
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Turkey
  • Denmark
  • Somalia
  • Norway

Currently the fastest growing immigrant populations within Sweden are comprised of parents born in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iraq.


9 thoughts on “Immigrating to Sweden

  1. Amienoho Ozil

    i wil like to come to sweden for assylum i like to be in swedend to have my resident in sweden and to work I want to ask what are the nessarry what i can do to come to sweeden i will be very happy if am granted to have my place resident in sweeden

  2. khan

    I was student in Sweden in 2011.and have personal number in Sweden but my visa has been expired in 2014. I became overstay my status is now illegal in Sweden. however I get proper marriage in Sweden with Eu member and I have register my marriage in skattverket. my wife already got co- ordation number and she is waiting for her personal number we apply on bases of her permanent work contract. So, my question is that, can I apply for residence Permit in sweden now.

    1) what supported document I need-
    to submit when apply for the same and proper application form to fill up-
    2) can I apply through online from my bank id because I did not find anything on Migration webside

    1. Administrator Post author

      Hello Khan,

      Congratulations on your marriage. It is to an EU citizen who is not Swedish or with permanent Swedish residency? In this case I believe you would be in the same situation as I was, and the process of getting the residence permit is described on this page:

      I’m not sure how/if overstaying your visa affect your application.

      Good luck

  3. Lamin Darboe

    Hello there am very to come across of your website am staying in italy and my girlfriend is Swedish and she pergant for 4 months now and she really want me to be where she i’s in sweden so I need a help please to know how she do the process

  4. Anonymous

    Why can’t the UN come and help us in Southern Cameroons so that we can live free in our own Land & stop moving to other country for Asylum , our Government is bad and the world knows what they having been doing to our people but nothing has been done to stop them, I can’t talk of the bad things the regime has been doing in my Homeland, I have to run out of the Country and some of my friends are in Jail for 8 Months now some for 5 years , I can’t stand and watch my people Jail and skilled. F.I.N.

  5. Azeem


    I’m married to a Swedish and we both are living in Qatar, my wife who is a Swedish citizen does not work and we wanted to move to Sweden in two years , when we applied for resident permit , it got rejected because she doesn’t have a house or a income in Sweden .please advise how I can proceed further because my wife doesn’t want to go and live alone in Sweden without me

  6. Saviour iguman

    I have lived in Italy for three years know with Italy document but no work but I don’t no if I can enter sweden with Italy document an my country passport please I want a reply sir

  7. Roxane Stafford

    Hello, I am moving in with a Swedish man who is retired and living in Stockholm. I have two concerns, first I have medical problems and need to be able to access health care and wonder if that would be a problem once I have received a Residency permit. Also, we plan on spending our winters in France because I am disabled and winter weather in Sweden poses a great risk to my health and mobility. If we spend winters away will that affect my residency permit or ability to become a Swedish Citizen? Also, I am 57 and learning Swedish fluently has been too difficult for me, will that pose a major problem if I apply for Citizenship? Does it matter whether my Swedish partner and I live together or is it better for us to be married for me to gain residency?


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