UPDATED: Essential no-deal Brexit checklist for Brits in Sweden

Many of the 20,000 Brits living in Sweden may be wondering what they can to secure their future in the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Here are the key steps to take.

UPDATED: Essential no-deal Brexit checklist for Brits in Sweden
What do Brits need to do to secure their futures in Sweden? File photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Check your residency status

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Brits will become third country residents.

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, as The Local has reported before, Sweden has formally guaranteed a one-year 'grace period' during which Brits and their family members can stay in Sweden under the same rights. There's no need to apply for this; the exemption from usual permit laws will apply automatically, but if you plan to travel during that year, you should apply for a passport stamp proving your right of residence.

READ MORE: The stamp Brits need to get in Sweden if there's a no-deal Brexit

But after this year, it's highly likely Brits will require residence and/or work permits in order to stay in the country, and they would need to apply for these during the grace period. 

“Rules will vary depending on your own circumstances, so check the basis for your stay,” the British Embassy in Sweden has said in its checklist. “During [the one-year grace period], you should apply for a residence permit. Once you have applied, your stay is legal and you can continue to receive social benefits until you have got a decision, even if this takes more than a year.”

As of August 2019, it remained unclear what rules would apply to self-supporting Brits, including pensioners as well as those who do not have a job or Swedish partner during the one-year grace period. It's also unclear whether current regulations around work and residence permits would apply, or whether the government would introduce new legislation to deal with the affected Brits.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sweden cannot guarantee Brits' future in no-deal Brexit

Hans Dahlgren was appointed Sweden's EU minister in 2019. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

And those who have already applied for Swedish citizenship but not yet received a decision by the date of any no-deal Brexit must also apply separately for residence.

“An outstanding application for citizenship does not in itself give you the right to stay. If your citizenship application has not been approved towards the end of the one-year exemption, you should apply for a residence permit in the meantime. This will not affect your citizenship application,” advises the embassy.

As for those who have not yet been in Sweden long enough to apply for permanent residence or citizenship, the Swedish parliament in July 2019 approved legislative changes that would allow Brits to count their time in Sweden as EU citizens towards a future residence permit application.


Ensure your UK passport is valid

“UK passports must remain valid for the duration of your stay in Sweden,” the embassy has warned.

This means you should check when you need to renew it, which you can do using this tool. There should be at least six months left on a passport in order to travel to most countries in Europe.

Don't be caught out by any rule changes affecting passport validity after a potential no-deal Brexit. In cases where a current passport was renewed before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. These extra months may not count towards the six months needed, meaning you may need to renew your passport more than six months before the stated expiry date. If travelling after October 31st 2019 in the event of a no-deal, your passport will need to both have at least six months remaining, and be less than ten years old.

Even with a valid passport, as noted above, it's a good idea to get your passport stamped if you're a British resident of Sweden planning to travel outside Sweden during the one-year grace period. Your right to travel within the Schengen area will be applied automatically, but the stamp ensures there won't be any issues proving you have right of residence when returning to Sweden.

The stamp will be issued by the Migration Agency, and once a decision has been made (the agency has said it's aiming for a one-week turnaround) you can take your passport to be stamped at one of 12 service centres across the country.

The agency initially said that it would be possible to apply via their website from March 22nd, with applications processed from March 30th. But after EU leaders agreed to an extension of Article 50, postponing the date of Brexit, the agency said the stamp applications would also be delayed and would become available on their website only if a no-deal Brexit was confirmed. 

As for Brits who want to visit Sweden for up to three months but not to stay long-term, this will be possible without any visa or passport stamp.

READ MORE: Sweden puts 'passport stamp' for Brits on hold

How the Swedish Migration Agency is preparing for a no-deal Brexit
Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

Exchange your driving licence

If there's a no-deal Brexit, British licences will no longer be valid in the EU, but the Swedish government has said it plans to give Brits a one-year grace period during which they can continue driving using their UK licences.

After that, however, Brits would likely need a Swedish driving licence, and it's possible to apply to exchange the licence at any time. This is done by applying to the Swedish Transport Agency.

Otherwise, third country nationals without an agreement with Sweden covering driving licences typically need to apply for a Swedish licence from scratch, taking a theory and practical test at an estimated cost of at least 4,000 kronor.

Brits visiting Sweden after the one-year grace period but not intending to be registered in the country (i.e. without a personnummer or coordination number, including tourists and short-term visitors) would be able to drive in Sweden using their British licence, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

READ ALSO: How to change your driving licence to a Swedish one

Students: speak to your university 

If there's a no-deal Brexit, British students will be able to use the one-year grace period to apply for a student permit. 

Usually, non-EU students pay tuition fees in Sweden, but the Swedish government has prepared legislation which would exempt UK nationals from paying student fees until 2022, if the student was either admitted to that course before the date of a no-deal Brexit, or already had residence in Sweden by that date. This legislation would come into force after a no-deal Brexit. 

It's also worth being in contact with your university's student office so that they can update you with any new procedures or requirements, whether specific to that university or to all of Sweden.

READ ALSO: Confused about Brexit? Here are 8 essential websites for Brits in Sweden

Confused about Brexit? Here are 8 essential websites for Brits in Sweden
Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/

Member comments

  1. And I was under the impression that Sweden will follow the UK. I was going to continue buying Swedish Volvo’s even though the ones I buy are made in Gent!!

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Do ‘self-sufficient’ Brits in Sweden need to buy health insurance?

Several readers have complained to The Local that the UK leaving the European Union means that they are being forced to keep paying for health insurance longer than they would have under EU rules. Sweden's Migration Agency told The Local this was unnecessary.

Do 'self-sufficient' Brits in Sweden need to buy health insurance?

EU citizens who do not work, study or have families in Sweden can still stay in the country longer than three months if they can demonstrate that they are self-supporting. This requires them to have a comprehensive health insurance as well as a guaranteed income from overseas or sufficient savings. 

Once an EU citizen gets registered, or folkbokförd, and obtains a Swedish personal number, they no longer have to pay health insurance.

But several Britons who have post-Brexit residence on the basis of being “self-supporting”, told The Local that they believed that they had to continue paying health insurance premiums of as much as 50,000 kronor a year if they wanted to fulfil the conditions for living in Sweden legally and so qualify for permanent right of residence (permanent uppehållsrätt), or citizenship. 

“As a sixty-one year old person categorised as self-supporting in Sweden, I must pay almost 50,000 kronor per annum for health insurance,” wrote Simon, a Briton living in Värmland. “A yearly increase of 10 percent for the years until I’m eligible for citizenship is unsustainable. If the proposal for an eight-year wait until one can apply for citizenship is implemented, it’s even more so. If Britain remained in the EU such insurance wouldn’t be required.” 

When The Local contacted Sweden’s Migration Agency about this, they said that Simon appeared to be misinformed. 

“People who are registered as living in Sweden (folkbokförd) are covered by the Swedish social insurance system and so as a result do not need to have their own comprehensive health insurance.” 

When Brits categorised as “self-supporting” and living in Sweden with post-Brexit residence status apply for certificates of permanent uppehållsrätt or Swedish citizenship in the coming years, the agency continued, they would not need to have had comprehensive health insurance over this period to qualify. 

“The requirement for comprehensive health insurance is fulfilled because the British citizen is registered as living in Sweden,” the agency wrote. 

We have also contacted the Swedish Tax Agency to ask them for their understanding of the requirements, and will update this article when we receive a response.