For members


Living in Sweden post Brexit: Who has to apply for residence status?

Many, but not all, Brits need to apply for their post-Brexit residence to secure their right to stay in Sweden after December 31st.

Swedish flag and EU flag
Which Brits need to apply for Swedish post-Brexit residency status? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Whether or not you need to apply for the post-Brexit status depends on your current residence status. 

If you moved to Sweden as a British national after December 31st 2020, then you are not eligible for the post-Brexit status, and should have applied for another kind of residence permit as a third country national in order to live here. 

If you moved to Sweden before December 31st 2020, then under the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement you are eligible to apply for the post-Brexit status and secure your continued right to live here, as long as you previously had right of residence. This applies both to British nationals and to their immediate family members.

Holders of certain residence documents do not need to apply for the status in order to stay living and working in Sweden, but there may still be advantages to doing so. It is free to apply for the post-Brexit status, and you can apply until the end of 2021. 

If you have permanent right of residence (uppehållsrätt)

Most Brits and their third country family members who arrived before December 31st 2020 had right of residence (uppehållsrätt) either as EU citizens, if they moved before Brexit, or under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. Anyone in this category who was working in Sweden (including as self-employed), studying, or otherwise had sufficient means to support themselves had right of residence under EU rules.

People in this category did not previously need any document to prove their right of residence, but those who have had right of residence for over five years may have applied for a certificate of permanent right of residence (Intyg om permanent uppehållsrätt).

If you are in this category, even if you have the certificate of permanent right of residence, you need to apply for residence status before December 31st 2021 if you wish to remain in Sweden. That’s because your current right of residence is linked to EU rules, which now no longer apply to British citizens.

If you have a residence card (uppehållskort)

Another type of residence document is a residence card (uppehållskort). These are for non-EU citizens who live with a non-Swedish EU citizen, so it is unlikely that many Brits have this kind of document if they arrived pre-December 2020, as they probably applied as EU citizens, but you might have it if you moved to Sweden with an EU partner but did not have right of residence under EU rules at the time.

After five years, those with a residence card can apply for a permanent residence card (permanent uppehållskort).

These cards are also issued under EU rules, so if you have one of these, you must apply for residence status before 31st December 2021 if you wish to remain in Sweden.

Residence permit (uppehållstillstånd/UT)

Another type of residency document is a residence permit (uppehållstillstånd/UT) or residence permit card (uppehållstillståndskort/UT-kort). This is a permit issued to non-EU (or “third country”) citizens who are eligible for residency in Sweden under Sweden’s national rules.

If you did not qualify for residency under EU rules, but you qualified for residency under Swedish rules (a common example is if you were not working, studying or able to support yourself when you applied, but moved to Sweden as a family member of a Swedish citizen), then you may have one of these.

These are unaffected by Brexit as they are issued irrespective of EU citizenship, so if you have one of these, you do not have to apply for residence status, but you can if you want. You will, however, need to renew this permit once it runs out if you do not have a permanent residence permit (permanent uppehållstillstånd/PUT), or you may lose your right to work in Sweden until your new permit is approved, even if you still qualify for a permit.

Brits with Swedish or EU citizenship

If you have Swedish citizenship, you do not need to apply for residence status in order to remain in Sweden, but you can if you are eligible to (ie if you qualify for right of residence under EU rules). This also applies to British nationals with another EU citizenship.

Note that if you are eligible for Swedish citizenship but your application is still pending, you should apply for the post-Brexit status. This is because there is no guarantee you will receive your citizenship before the December 31st deadline, and an in-progress application is not enough to guarantee your right to stay.

If you fall into the category of people who do not need to apply for residence status in order to stay in Sweden but you are still eligible (ie. in addition to your citizenship or residence, you also have right of residence under EU rules), note that you still have the right to apply for it, under EU law.

The EU also strongly recommends that you apply regardless of the residence permit you already have, as residence status shows that you have the right to enter Sweden, and exempts you and your family members from any visa requirements. 

The Local contacted the Swedish Migration Agency for information on how to apply for residence status if you fall into the category of Brits with Swedish citizenship or a permanent residence permit.

We were told that these people can apply via the usual online form or via post and explain that they have citizenship or a permanent residence permit under “other information” (or “övriga upplysningar“, if using the Swedish form). As this only applies to dual citizens or people with permanent residence permits who also qualify for residence status under EU rules, you will also need to state your reason for having right of residence under EU law (worker, student, self-employed, or able to support yourself).

Do you have questions? Reach out to us via email or in the comments below.

Member comments

  1. Hi , FOMO has been troubling me. I have British/Belgian dual nationalities , moved here a year ago. Registered with Skatteverket as a Belgian pensioner (with Belgian health cover) . After a few months got my PN number and Swedish ID. As I understand it, as a Belgian under EU agreement I have the right to stay? But as also a Brit will I have to apply for residence status? Any one out there with Euro/Brit dual Nationalities with info on this?

    1. Hi Rocco,

      You don’t need to apply.

      You can apply if you wish though the only benefit in your case would be as an insurance against extremely unlikely pathological scenarios, eg Sweden or Belgium leaving the EU or Freedom of Movement somehow being suspended etc . Uppehållsstatus is a treaty-based residence status that is independent of how the EU evolves.

      1. Hi David
        Thanks for the info, it is as I had thought. But reading into other peoples problems with applications for post Brexit residence, the time limit to apply and finding it hard to get clarity from Migrationsverket had put doubt in my mind. Its nice to know that I can enjoy what Sweden has to offer without fear of being asked to leave!!

        Regards Paul

    2. Hi Rocco,

      David is right. You don’t need to apply, but you can if you want, as you were here under EU rules before the deadline.

      Any rights you would be protecting are rights you have anyway via your Belgian citizenship.

      Let me know if you have any other questions,


      1. Hi Becky,
        Thanks for the info, it is as I thought. But reading into other peoples problems with applications for post Brexit residence , the time limit to apply and finding it hard to get clarity from Migrationsverket had put doubt in my mind. Its nice to know that I can enjoy what Sweden has to offer without fear of being asked to leave !

        Regards Paul

  2. The British are getting a lot of breaks from the Swedish Migration Board to sort their Legal Status out in Sweden . This is the Third extension if I am correct , whereas in the UK they give no leeway to anyone from the EU . Brexit the Biggest mistake the UK could have made , and look at the mess it has caused . There is no place on Earth better than Sweden and I am not just saying that to please my friends , it is a fantastic country when it comes to Immigration , though lately the generosity has been seriously abused , and I do not see the welcoming signs still standing very much longer . The influx of refugees was a serious mistake in such a Homogenous society , and the smiles that were once in abundance have disappeared .

    1. It is the first (and likely only) extension. Also, EU citizens in the UK had since early 2019 to apply. Brits in Sweden have only able to apply from 1/12/2020. A mildly extended application window for Brits is still far shorter than that which EU citizens in the UK had (i.e. more than two years).

      Furthermore, Sweden is applying rules that the UK has chosen not to apply. The only criteria the UK imposes is that someone was resident before the end of 2020 and that they don’t have a serious criminal record. Sweden and the other EU countries are not doing this.

      Although the deadline has passed for EU citizens in the UK, applications are still being encouraged and people are not being turned down. Those on benefits are allowed to keep their benefits despite not having applied when they should have done so. I have no idea what will happen to Brits who apply late in Sweden.

      Your argument that the UK gives no leeway to anyone from the EU and that Brits here are getting a lot of breaks is contradicted by the evidence base.

  3. Whatever the parameters surrounding the given time to get ones house in order in Sweden , or passport take your pick , my point is that because of the new requirements imposed by Brexit regarding who qualifies EU citi work and reside in the UK , many major businesses including mine have moved our Businesses and Headquarters to European Countries , in my case Paris . Back in the day one had to revoke your original Citizenship if you became a Swedish Citizen , so all these questions about having to apply to stay when you are a Swedish Citizen makes me laugh . Do Swedes who are American Citizens apply of course not . Brexit is a Lie told by a Bunch of Old Etonians that went to that school with me and it has caused nothing but grief .

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For members


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.