EXPLAINED: How can Brits apply for residency in Sweden post-Brexit?

Deal or no deal, the transition period following the UK's departure from the European Union will probably come to an end on December 31st. Here's what Brits need to do if they want to stay in Sweden.

EXPLAINED: How can Brits apply for residency in Sweden post-Brexit?
A sign at the offices of Migrationsverket in Solna, Stockholm. Brits can apply online. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The end of the transition arrangement will mean that British people living in Sweden will have to apply for residency status under the new arrangements. 

For Brits in Sweden, the Swedish government on November 11th passed a bill unilaterally giving British citizens and their families many of the rights that they used to have as citizens of the European Union. 

That includes the right to work and access healthcare, for example, under the same rules as EU citizens.
The government also proposes that the Migration Agency issue documents to cross-border workers (for example, those Brits who are working in southern Sweden but commuting from their home in Denmark). 
Here's what you need to know in order to exercise these rights. 

When can I apply for residency status? 

On Tuesday, December 1st, both online and downloadable forms will be posted to this web page which British citizens can use to apply for residency status. 

What do I need to send with my application? 

You will need to send: 

  • A copy of your passport or national ID card.
  • Documents that show that you had a right of residence before 31 December 2020 and that you still have it thereafter. 

Do I need to be in Sweden to apply? 

No you don't. You only only need to fulfil the criteria. You can apply from the UK, or a third country. 

What documents are sufficient to prove my right of residency? 

If you do not already have permanent residency and a residence card issued by the Swedish Migration Agency, you will need: 

  • a certificate of employment if you are an employee
  • a letter of admission to an educational programme if you are a student
  • a corporate tax certificate and registration certificate for the company if you are a sole proprietor
  • a statement of pension benefits if you are a pensioner
  • a bank statement if you plan on living off your capital

Other possible ways of proving a right of residency will be detailed on the form when it is published. 

File photo: Bench Accounting/Unsplash


What if I already have permanent residency? 

If you have previously applied for and received a document from the Migration Agency confirming that you have permanent residency, then you only need to send in a copy of your passport or national ID card.

This doesn't apply, however, if you have lived for more than five years in Sweden and believe you have the right of permanent residency under the EU law which automatically grants permanent residency to those who have lived in a country for more than five years. 

If you have never confirmed this right with the agency, you need to apply for residency after December 1st like everyone else. 

If you have 'permanent uppehållstillstånd' (i.e. the Swedish national immigration status, independent of EU law) you do not need not apply at all.

How do I apply for my family to stay in Sweden with me?

 Family members of British citizens are also eligible to apply for this status, including for example children and partners. You can apply for them to stay in the same form. You will need:  

  • copies of every family member’s passport or national ID card
  • documents that show the family relationship, for example a marriage certificate if you are spouses or a corresponding document if you are registered partners
  • joint accounts, insurance policies, bills or the like if you are cohabiting without being married or registered partners
  • birth certificates for children
  • adoption documents if the child is adopted
  • documents that show that any children over the age of 21 are dependent on the parent for their means of support
  • other documents that show that you are related to each other if you are not parents and children
  • an authorisation if you are a representative for all family members who are over 18.
Who counts as a family member? 
To count as a family member (and thus get residency because of your relationship to a British citizen, even if you yourself don't fulfil criteria for Swedish residency) you need to be a husband, wife, registered or live-in partner, or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21. 
What happens if my residency isn't processed by December 31st? 
Nothing. As long as you have sent in the application, and have received a certificate saying that you have submitted an application, you will retain the same rights you had as a European Union citizen and can continue to live and work in Sweden until your residency application is accepted or rejected. 
How long will it take for my residency to be processed? 
The processing won't even start until next January, so expect it to take months at the very least. 
When do I lose my right to live in Sweden? 
If you fail to even apply for residency, you will lose your right to live in Sweden on September 30th, 2021. But if you apply before that date, you can stay until your application has been processed and a decision made. 
It might be possible to apply after that date, but you will need to give a good reason why you didn't apply in time. 
If you have permanent residency, you can continue to work in Sweden even after this date. If you have temporary residency, you will need to apply for a work permit. 
Can family members come to Sweden even after the transition period ends? 
Yes. If you are under 21 and have a parent in Sweden, or are over 21 and financially dependent on a family member in Sweden, you can still apply for residency after the end of the transition period. You must apply no later than three months after you arrive in Sweden.
Can babies born or adopted after the transition period also become residents? 
Yes, so long as both parents are British citizens, or one is British and the other is a Swedish citizen. If only one of the parents is a British citizen, they must have sole or joint custody of the child. 
What if I'm a British citizen commuting to work in Sweden? 
From December 1st, there will be an application form here for those needing a card showing their status as a cross-border worker. 
Together with your application, you need to send proof that you: 
  • live in another country, such as a housing contract or equivalent civic registration
  • work or are a sole proprietor in Sweden, which is verified in the same way as in an application for residence status
  • lived in another country and worked in Sweden at the end of the transition period
  • and a copy of your passport or national ID card.
Family members of British citizens are also eligible to apply for this status.



Member comments

  1. Please can someone advise me which annual health insurance is acceptable to the Skatteverket when starting the process of applying for a personnummer? I am a British citizen. Thank you.

  2. If you have an S1 then there is no need to obtain annual health insurance. Otherwise you may need private insurance for SEK10m – and this is difficult – I tried without success. After days of reading web pages and email exchanges with migrationsverket and skatteverket I managed to apply for a PN and residence in the space of a couple of hours today thanks to help from staff in MV and SV.

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Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.