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IN NUMBERS: How many Brits have applied for their post-Brexit status in Sweden?

IN NUMBERS: How many Brits have applied for their post-Brexit status in Sweden?
An ID station at a Migration Agency office in Sundbyberg, north Stockholm, where Brits in the capital region can receive their permit cards. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT
With just over two months to go until the deadline, several thousand of Sweden's British residents have not yet applied for the post-Brexit residence status that guarantees their continued right to stay in the country.

Since the post-Brexit permits were launched in December 2020, 9,264 British citizens in Sweden have applied for them, according to Migration Agency statistics shared with The Local on July 26th (the data was correct as of July 25th). Around half of those applications were submitted within the first two months it was possible to do so.

That means that more than 5,000 Brits living in Sweden without Swedish citizenship have not yet applied for the status; national data agency Statistics Sweden states that as of the end of 2020, there were 14,903 Brits in this category in total.

The deadline for the application is September 30th, 2021, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that 5,000 Brits risk missing the deadline.

It may be the case that they have already secured their right to stay in Sweden, for example if they also hold nationality of another EU country (the Statistics Sweden dataset excludes Brits who also hold Swedish citizenship, but not other nationalities).

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However, this data only includes people included in the national population register, which foreigners are added to if they can prove they will stay in Sweden for at least a year and receive a personnummer or social security number.

Brexit campaign groups have previously warned about the risk of people without a personnummer falling through the gaps and being unable to register, but a personnummer is not a requirement for the residence status, as long as the applicant can prove they moved to Sweden and have lived there legally since before the end of December 2020. In other words, it’s hard to say exactly how many people needed the post-Brexit status and what proportion have not yet applied. The Migration Agency previously estimated that 20,000 Brits would need it.

Of the applications submitted for post-Brexit residence status, around two thirds (6,123) have been granted a permit while about seven percent (676) were rejected. The Local has asked the agency for the most common reasons for rejected permits.

As of late July, a total of 2,465 cases were pending.

Although the UK left the EU in March 2020, the Migration Agency did not allow Brits to apply for their post-Brexit status until December that year, and began processing applications from the start of 2021 due to limited funding.

As well as applying for the post-Brexit residence status, since Brexit there has been a surge in the number of Brits in Sweden applying for Swedish citizenship.

Swedish citizenship grants them the right to stay in Sweden without needing a permit (as well as the right to vote in general elections, for example) although in some specific circumstances the post-Brexit permit grants rights which citizenship does not, in particular when it comes to the conditions on which you can bring a family member to Sweden.

So far in 2021, 820 British citizens have submitted applications for Swedish citizenship, after 2,190 applications in 2020 and 3,495 the year before that. And the number of citizenships granted to Brits for those years were 676, 2,160 and 4,563. The reason those don’t correlate exactly to the number of applications is that there is currently a long delay for citizenship decisions, so many applications are not assessed and granted (or rejected) until a year or even longer after they are submitted.

As of late July, the Migration Agency told The Local there were 646 citizenship applications from British citizens awaiting a decision. 

Brits who have not yet applied for their permit can do so at any point until September 30th, 2021, via the Migration Agency’s web page. You do not need to be physically present in Sweden at the time of application, as long as you can prove you had right of residence before December 31st, 2020.

The agency has urged British nationals to apply as soon as possible and one advantage to this is that once you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter of confirmation, and can use this if you need to prove your right to live in Sweden – for example if returning to the country after travel overseas.

During the time that British applicants are waiting on a decision, they have the same rights as EU citizens and can continue to live and work in Sweden, as long as they moved before December 31st.

Once an application has been approved, it is necessary to visit one of the Migration Agency’s Service Centres to have fingerprints and a photo taken before the residence card can be issued.


Member comments

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  1. It maybe that many of us already had permanent Uppehalltilstand obtained before Brexit. I was told that I had to apply for residence as was the advice from the British Embassy, which I did on line only to be told that I still had it from 2003 and told to get a biometric ID card from Migrationsverket to replace the old stamp in a now expired passport.

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