Swedish citizenship For Members

Do children born in Sweden automatically get Swedish citizenship?

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Do children born in Sweden automatically get Swedish citizenship?
Not all newborn babies in Sweden are eligible for Swedish citizenship upon birth. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A Swedish passport comes with many benefits, and the country allows dual citizenship. But what are the rules for the children of foreign nationals born in Sweden?


Sweden allows dual citizenship, meaning it is possible for foreign residents to gain Swedish citizenship without giving up their old citizenship, if their country of origin also permits dual citizenship. There are a few benefits that only Swedish citizens have, such as an absolute right to live and work in the country and the right to vote in Swedish parliamentary elections.

Some jobs are only open to Swedish citizens as well: you must be a Swedish citizen if you wish to be elected to parliament or join the police or armed forces.

In addition to this, Swedish citizens hold EU citizenship, which gives them the right to free movement in EU member states, making it easier for them to live and work in other parts of the bloc.


Swedish at birth

Unlike other countries such as the US, people born in Sweden do not automatically gain Swedish citizenship.

Swedish citizenship is granted at birth to children who have at least one Swedish parent, regardless of whether the child is born in Sweden or not. This also applies to the children of deceased Swedes. If a child's deceased parent was a Swedish citizen when they died, the child is also entitled to Swedish citizenship.

Children under the age of 12 who are adopted by a Swedish citizen automatically gain Swedish citizenship if they fulfil the following criteria:

  • the official adoption decision was made in Sweden or another Nordic country
  • the child was adopted through a foreign adoption decision approved by the Family Law and Parental Support Authority (MFoF)
  • the adoption is legally valid in Sweden

This applies to adoptions occurring after June 30th, 1992.

Children over the age of 12 at the time of adoption must apply for Swedish citizenship.


Does a child born to foreigners need a residence permit?

A child of foreign nationals who is born in Sweden will not automatically gain Swedish citizenship upon birth. Depending on their parents' citizenship, they may need to apply for a residence permit in order to live in Sweden legally.

Children with EU citizenship who have at least one parent with EU right of residence in Sweden (uppehållsrätt) do not need a residence permit to live in Sweden, as they inherit their parent's right of residence on birth.

A child born in Sweden to non-EU parents will need a residence permit to live in Sweden. The Migration Agency will contact the parents once a non-Swedish child is born in Sweden with information on how to apply for a residence permit on the child's behalf.

Once granted, the child's residence permit will be valid for no more than two years, and parents will have to reapply once it runs out.

In order to be granted a temporary residence permit, applicants must have a valid passport, meaning that parents without EU citizenship should apply for a passport on their child's behalf as soon as possible after the child is born. You don't need to wait to apply for a residence permit though. The application can still be submitted before the child has a valid passport.

When can my child gain Swedish citizenship?

A child can gain Swedish citizenship after they have had the right of residence, a residence card, or a permanent residence permit in Sweden and once they have lived in Sweden for at least three years (two, if the child is stateless).

Both the child's guardians (or one guardian, if the child only has one) must apply on their behalf, and the child must sign the application if they are over the age of 12.

Current citizenship application fees for children are 175kr (2024).


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lau 2024/04/05 17:49
I thought troll classes would cover copy-paste and semi-coherence in comment flooding. Guess I was wrong...
Anonymous 2022/03/26 16:54
Well well. What do we have here. I'm surprised The Local, a left-wing rag at best, would allow such comments to stand. And all I've ever done is encourage immigrants to consider Canada as another and better option. Especially those struggling to find a permanent place after their Ph.D (which is all but certainly useless). Expect to be deleted soon.
Anonymous 2022/03/26 16:46
I'm surprised the Local, a left-wing rag, allows this comment to stand. Suprise suprise. Again - all those immigrating to Sweden and struggling with it - should consider Canada. Doors are wide open.
Anonymous 2022/03/25 09:42
Apply for the resident permit as soon as you can. Until you do, you won't get child support and after some time your parental leave benefit will also stop if you have not applied for the permit. As mentioned in the article, a valid passport is not a requirement to apply for a permit, you can do both in parallel.

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