• Sweden's news in English

Foreigners to be issued Swedish ID - from 2009

James Savage · 17 Dec 2007, 18:02

Published: 17 Dec 2007 18:02 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Many foreign citizens living in Sweden were effectively barred from getting Swedish ID cards in January. Svensk Kassaservice, a state-owned company and one of the largest ID card issuers, declared that only Swedish citizens or close relatives of Swedish citizens would be issued with the cards. The company cited fears that its ID cards could be used in cases of identity fraud.

Now, a government inquiry headed by Supreme Court Justice Per Virdesten, has proposed that people legally resident in Sweden should have cards issued by the police. The state needs to take greater responsibility for issuing ID, the inquiry said.

"The state should have a responsibility to provide an ID card to everyone over 16 who is registered as living in Sweden," according to the report.

The report listed the problems caused by the rules. It pointed to a Thai woman, living legally in Sweden with a Swedish man, who was unable to collect her wages without an ID card. She opened a bank account with the ICA supermarket chain, but was unable to retrieve her bank card from the post office as the clerk demanded she produce Swedish ID to retrieve the package.

The inquiry also described the case of a Lithuanian doctor who moved to Sweden and was issued a licence to practice medicine but was refused an ID card. His sister, who had lived in Sweden for several years, was not accepted as a guarantor of his identity.

The inquiry considered other agencies, including the tax authority and the Migration Board, as potential ID issuers. Virdesten told The Local that the police were the obvious agency to issue the cards.

"The police today issue ID cards for Swedish citizens, so they have the infrastructure. The banks only issue cards for people with accounts, and Svensk Kassaservice is to be shut down," he said.

People applying for an ID card under the new rules should face more flexible rules than at present. In the future, foreign passports that meet certain security criteria, particularly EU passports, should be accepted as proof of identity for those applying for ID cards.

Other people's applications should be treated on a case by case basis, the report said. The new regime could allow employers to vouch for people applying for ID. The final rules for issuing the cards would be drawn up by the police, the report said.

Police are reluctant to take on the responsibility to issue ID cards, Virdesten said, but could be forced to accept the job:

"The police don't want to have this task, but I want them to do it and I think they will accept it if the government gives it to them."

The new police-issued cards will be available to Swedes and foreigners. The inquiry said it would not be appropriate to have a form of ID that would immediately identify the bearer as a foreign citizen. Banks will retain the right to issue ID cards.

Story continues below…

Police already issue National Identity Cards to Swedish citizens. These are designed to be used as travel documents within most of the EU. Foreigners will not be eligible for this form of ID-card under the new rules.

Meanwhile, the report underlined that companies and government agencies could be obliged to accept EU passports as ID. It pointed to an investigation by the European Commission into the case of a German man living in Sweden whose German passport was not accepted as ID when he applied to take the Swedish driving test. Sweden claims it is necessary to demand Swedish ID in order to fulfill strict security requirements. The Commission is expected to report on its conclusions later.

The Virdesten inquiry was set up after the issue was raised in parliament. Liberal Member of Parliament Fredrik Malm called a debate on the issue following a series of articles in The Local.

Virdesten's report is only advisory; it will be up to Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni to put its advice into effect. Her spokesman Johan Eriksson told The Local on Monday that the minister was "reading the report now and will give a response later."

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available