Should foreigners trapped in Sweden by permit delays risk a one-way visa?

Author thumbnail
Should foreigners trapped in Sweden by permit delays risk a one-way visa?
Many Indians are risking a return home and applying for single entry visas at the Swedish Embassy in New Delhi. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix

One solution for foreigners unable to leave Sweden due to delays processing work or residence permits is to leave and then try and get a one-way visa in their home country. But is it worth the risk?


When Waleed Dajani, who has been waiting for a work permit decision since March 2021, wanted to go home to attend his father's funeral, his case handler at the Migration Agency was unable to help. As he lacks a valid work permit, if he left Sweden he risked being turned away at the border on his return. 

But when he instead turned to the Swedish embassy in his native Jordan, he found them much more receptive. 

“I explained the situation to them, and they were much more cooperative. And they told me that I can apply for a single-entry visa once I was in Jordan,” he says. “I went to Jordan at the beginning of June. I missed the funeral, but at least I was there for my family.”

Once in Jordan, the Swedish Embassy arranged a one-way visa for him in just one week. 

Listen to Waleed Dajani on The Local's podcast

Follow Sweden in Focus on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts

You need to have a special, urgent situation

According to immigration lawyer Pia Lind, arranging a one-way visa through the embassy in your home country is "not recommended". 

"There's a really heavy requirement. You have to present super-strong reasons why you needed to return home to be granted such a visa," she told The Local. "So it might be a member of your family dying, or some super-severe circumstances that you have to prove are the reason why you are returning to your home country."


Up to the discretion of the embassy 

As these one-way visas are issued by the local embassy with no involvement from the Migration Agency in Sweden, how easy or difficult they are to secure depends a lot on the individual embassy, and even the individual consul taking visa decisions. 

"It's not impossible, but it varies greatly between the embassies," Lind said. "I have been in touch with a number through the years and there are some that are a lot more cooperative and reasonable, and others where it is almost impossible." 

Dajani said that when his girlfriend, who is from Egypt, tried to do what he had done, she had received a stern email from the Swedish embassy in Cairo detailing the level of proof she would need to prove that her mother was indeed ill, as she claimed, and warning her that the embassy could give no guarantees that she would receive a visa on leaving Sweden. 

"The made it quite scary, like, 'you need to bring like proof that she is sick and you need to visit her’, that ‘we might not give you the visa’, that ‘we're gonna investigate this’ and so on," he said.

"They try to scare people, so that only those who really need to travel actually take the risk. And maybe then they will give them the visa."

In the end, his girlfriend decided not to take the risk. 

On the other hand, a friend of his from Morocco was lucky enough to be given a multiple-entry visa by the Swedish embassy in Morocco, meaning he not only got to return to Sweden, but gained the right to leave and return at will for the duration of the visa. 

No guarantee at time of departure 

Even in Dajani's case, the consul in Jordan was only able to confirm by email before his departure from Sweden that it was possible for the embassy to issue a single-entry visa, meaning he had to leave Sweden without knowing for certain that he would receive a visa to return. 

"I got an email from them saying, ‘Please be informed that the embassy can give you a D-visa once you're in Jordan, as long as you have not got a decision for your process in Sweden’," Dajani said.


Can be handled in as little as one day 

In the end, though, it took the Swedish embassy in Jordan just one day to handle his application and add a single-entry visa to his passport. It is the same application form as for a D-visa. 

"It went really fast. You bring some photos, your passport, and so on, and they print the visa on your passport," Dajani said. 


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.

See Also