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No-deal Brexit: New checklist for Brits in Sweden

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No-deal Brexit: New checklist for Brits in Sweden
What do Brits need to do to secure their futures in Sweden? File photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT
10:36 CET+01:00
As March 29th approaches, Brits in Sweden have a limited amount of time to do 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.

Check your residency status

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Brits will be 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 new 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."

It's 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.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven. File photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

And those who have already applied for Swedish citizenship but not yet received a decision 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.

Those who have not yet been in Sweden long enough to apply for permanent residence or citizenship should also be aware that the Swedish parliament is expected to approve 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.

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 it will be possible to apply via their website from March 22nd, although applications won't be processed until March 30th. Once a decision has been made (and 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.

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.

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 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) will be able to drive in Sweden using their British licence.

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 British embassy has said: "The Swedish government is working on legislation which would exempt UK nationals from paying student fees until 2022. The proposed exemption would apply whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not."

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.

Got questions? The Local will be interviewing Sweden's EU Minister Hans Dahlgren on Friday. If there's something you'd like us to ask him, send us an email or Members of The Local can log in to comment below.

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/imagebank.sweden.se

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Ethelred - 17 Mar 2019 01:14
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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