Visas and work permits
Know what passports, permits and visas you’ll need to make your move to Sweden.
Unless you are a Nordic citizen, you need a valid passport to visit Sweden. EU/EEA citizens can travel with a national ID card, but you’ll still need a passport to do things like open a Swedish bank account.
For EU/EEA citizens
EU/EEA citizens can work and study in Sweden without a work or residence permit. You also have the right to start and operate a private business. Provided you are employed, self-employed, a student or can support yourself financially, you have automatic right of residence – you don’t need to contact the Swedish Migration Agency and apply for it. That’s the same for any family members (EU/EEA citizens) who come and join you in Sweden. You and your family have the right to start working and studying immediately.
If any family members are non-EU/EEA citizens then you need to apply for residence permits. You can do this at the Swedish Migration Agency.
For non-EU/EEA citizens
There are different rules regarding visas and permits if you are a non-EU/EEA citizen. Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will need a visa to visit Sweden in most cases. The visa is a permit for you to enter and stay in Sweden for a maximum of three months - for example, to visit family here, for tourism, or for business purposes. You need to apply for your visa before travelling to Sweden. The Sweden Abroad site explains the rules for your country.
As a non-EU/EEA citizen you need to have a work permit to work in Sweden. Before you can apply for a work permit, you need to have a job offer here. In some cases, you may need both a work permit and a visa, even for jobs lasting less than three months. You’ll find more information about that at the Swedish Migration Agency.
The most important thing is to get your work permit before you come to Sweden.
A work permit can be valid for up to two years at a time providing you are in the same job and your passport is still valid. Remember, your permit is linked to a specific employer and job. So if you change employers, you may need to apply for a new permit.
If you are granted a work permit, your family members may also be eligible for residence permits. And if your work permit is granted for six months or more, your family members may also be eligible for work permits. Again, check with the Swedish Migration Agency.
Permits if you’re self-employed
If you’re self-employed and plan to work in Sweden for longer than three months, you need to apply for, and get, a residence permit before you enter the country. You must also keep your self-employed status, and not take any employment during your time here.
For non EU/EEA Academics
There are different rules for visiting researchers and doctoral students. Here’s what you need to know.
If your main work will be research at a Swedish university and you will stay in Sweden for more than three months, apply for a visiting researcher residence permit. You must have this permit before you arrive in Sweden. If you are granted a visiting researcher residence permit, members of your family may be eligible for residence permits for the same duration. And if your permit is granted for at least six months, your partner may be eligible for a work permit. Staying less than three months? Apply for a visa instead.
Doctoral students planning on staying in Sweden for longer than three months can apply for a student residence permit. You need to have this permit before you arrive in Sweden. If you are granted a student residence permit, members of your family may be eligible for residence permits for the same duration. And if your permit is granted for at least six months, your partner may be eligible for a work permit.
You need a residence permit to study or work as a doctoral student at a university or college in Sweden. Find out more at Swedish Migration Agency - studying in Sweden.
Working while you study
If you are studying at a Swedish university or college and have a valid residence permit, you can work alongside your studies without a work permit. There are no restrictions on the number of hours you are allowed to work.
Working after your studies
If you’re a citizen of a non-EU country, you can apply to extend your residence permit for up to six months so that you can look for work or start your own business. Apply at Swedish Migration Agency – After your studies.
Permits for your family
If you are eligible for a work permit, your spouse/partner and children can join you in Sweden for the duration of your stay here. If your work permit is for longer than six months, your family may also be eligible for work permits. Apply at Swedish Migration Agency – Permits for family members.
Moving to someone living in Sweden
If your spouse or registered partner is a Swedish citizen or already a permanent resident, you still need a residence permit before you join them in Sweden. Apply at Swedish Migration Agency – Moving to someone in Sweden.
Get more information on residence, work permits and also how to become a Swedish citizen at the Sweden Abroad and Swedish Migration Agency websites. Your local Swedish embassy or consulate general is another good source of information.
Applying for permits
All applications are handled by the Swedish Migration Agency. A big tip is to make sure you provide all the necessary documentation and information up front; it can speed up your response. Most applications can be made online.
Meet our internationals
"If you plan to go here – remember to ask for help if you need it. The Swedes are very kind and helpful, but they won’t help you until you ask for it." Ruisheng XiongMore voices from Uppsala