Brexit For Members

Should British-Swedish dual citizens still apply for post-Brexit residence status?

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Should British-Swedish dual citizens still apply for post-Brexit residence status?
The main difference between residence status and citizenship relates to which family members can join you. Photo: Simon Paulin/

December 31st is the last day to apply for post-Brexit residence status in Sweden, and in some cases it may be worth applying even if you hold Swedish citizenship.


British citizens are eligible for citizenship in Sweden if they have had legal residence in the country for at least five years (or three, in certain circumstances where they have lived with a Swedish partner) and meet the requirement of having "conducted themselves well", in other words not committed serious crimes or racked up significant debt.

Since the UK voted to leave the EU, there has been a surge in the number of Brits applying for citizenship in Sweden.


The two statuses are different. Swedish citizenship grants you certain additional rights such as being able to vote in elections and work for the army or police, and it can never be revoked, meaning you retain the right to live and work in Sweden (and other EU countries) even if you leave Sweden.

The new post-Brexit permanent residence status, despite the name, can be revoked if you leave Sweden for more than five consecutive years, or if you are deported or expelled from Sweden (the latter usually only happens in the case of very serious crimes). Permanent residence is specific to Sweden, so Brits with this status will retain the rights they had as an EU citizen to live and work in Sweden, but if they want to move to another EU country, they must follow the procedures for third country nationals, usually involving a work permit.

But even if you are eligible for Swedish citizenship, it may be worth applying for the post-Brexit residence status as well.

Firstly, if you have applied for Swedish citizenship but not yet received a decision, it's important to apply for the post-Brexit status too. Sweden has long processing times for citizenship applications, and it is difficult to predict how long any individual application will take. Having an in-progress citizenship application is not enough to secure your right to live and work in Sweden after December 31st, 2021.

Secondly, there is one area in which the post-Brexit residence status grants more generous rights than Swedish citizenship, and it's an area that may affect a lot of foreigners.

"The advantage of residency status is that certain family members of British citizens with residency status have the right to join their British family member in Sweden afterwards (ie after the end of the application period) and can then apply for residency status. In such cases, they have three months to apply from the time they arrived in Sweden," a press communicator for the Migration Agency confirmed to The Local.

"Family members of people with British-Swedish citizenship, on the other hand, need a residence permit, but British citizens with Swedish citizenship can also apply for residence status and thus make it easier for their family members."


This right applies to spouses, long-term partners, unmarried children under 21, as well as other close family relations if they can prove financial dependence on their British relative in Sweden. People in this category will be able to move to Sweden even after the end of 2021 and apply for residency status granting them the same rights as their British family member, in other words the right to access Swedish healthcare, live and work in Sweden. More information is available on the agency's website. This is significantly more lenient than the current process for family members of Swedish citizens, who are required to apply for a residence permit if they wish to join their partner or parent.

The Local asked the Migration Agency if there were any other rights conferred by the post-Brexit residence status that were not conferred by citizenship. We were told: "No, the simpler possibility for family members to join their British family member in Sweden is the advantage of residence status compared to a Swedish citizenship."

Brits, including British-Swedish dual nationals, now have until the end of December 2021 to apply for the post-Brexit residence status after the agency extended the deadline. The application is free, and applicants simply need to prove they have had right of residence of Sweden before December 31st, 2020 (when the transition period ended).


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

peterathomas70 2021/12/19 23:28
I dont want to repeat the above questions, but.. I have dual citizenship, UK and Swedish. I have been living and working in Sweden for 9 years. I recieved my Swedish citizenship 2 years ago. Should I apply for residency status? I dont want to loose any rights but do not want to repeat of the stress it took to get my citizenship. I have started the e application (Swedish Migration Agency) for residence status and got to a message "You are filling in an application for residence status as a Swedish citizen. In order to proceed with your case, we need to register your personal data in the aliens database". This made me stop and think. If I dont need it do I need to continue? 2021/09/17 14:49
I've read this article half-a-dozen times and still don't understand how someone with Swedish citizenship that they acquired in addition to their original citizenship can apply for 'residency status' when their acquired citizenship automatically gives them the right to residency. I can understand the difference in rights regarding the residency of family members joining the British person in Sweden, but still can't get my head round how a (new) Swedish citizen can also apply for residency status. Surely once you have obtained Swedish citizenship you can't also apply for Swedish residency status because you already have it through your citizenship. Or am I misunderstanding something here?
  • beckywaterton 2021/10/11 19:25
    Hi Tony, I wrote an article answering your question here: In short, you can apply, if you also qualify for residency under EU rules, but you don’t have to. In this case you would just apply as usual and you can state in the “other information” section of your application that you’re a dual citizen. The only benefit is the right for other family members (such as parents or children over 21) to be able to move to you or visit visa-free. Let me know if you have any other questions, Becky
paulableanch 2021/09/09 17:41
Could you please write the same article but for Denmark? We need to convince as many dual nationals to apply as possible. I’m also concerned that people applying for citizenship think they don’t need to apply for the new card, leaving them at risk of losing their legal residency after the end of the year.
  • catherine.edwards 2021/09/10 14:36
    Hi Paula, I'll pass your comment on to our Denmark Editor, thank you!
bjdyke 2021/09/09 17:19
I am confused by this because the migrationsverket e-service asks "For what reasons you have had residence for 5 consecutive years, with the following answers: Employee Self-employed Student Person with sufficient means of subsistence Family member or guardian of a British citizen in Sweden (I summarise the last 5 categories to this) But this excludes all us British citizens that were granted residency because we accompanied a Swedish citizen to Sweden (i.e like me who married a Swede and moved here). So I cannot probably makes no difference but I was doing it anyway to get all the rights I can! I'll just satisfy myself with meagre dual citizenship 😋

See Also