Residency permits For Members

EXPLAINED: What's the best way to bring an ageing parent to Sweden?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: What's the best way to bring an ageing parent to Sweden?
An elderly man with a Zimmer frame. Photo: Ali Lorestani/TT

Many people living and working in Sweden have one or more parents living back in their home country, often alone. What are the options if they need support or stop being able to care for themselves?


Getting a temporary residence permit

According to Sweden's Migration Agency, it is possible, although only "in exceptional circumstances", for the parent of an adult from a non-EU country working in Sweden to get a residence permit to come and live with their adult child. 

Firstly, the adult working, studying or living in Sweden needs to have at least a permanent residence permit (unless they are a refugee, a person in need of subsidiary protection or have "a well-founded prospect of being granted a residence permit for a longer period). 

Secondly, the adult working in Sweden must be able to fully support their parent and show that they have a house or apartment of sufficient size. 

Thirdly, the parent needs to prove that they lived together with their adult child "immediately before [their] family member moved to Sweden", and that they are "socially and emotionally dependent on each other", making it "difficult to live apart". 

This last requirement is too high a hurdle for most foreigners to pass. 

In countries where it is normal to live in a joint family, with three to four generations living under one roof, the child may well have lived with their parent until shortly before coming to work in Sweden. But if they have lived and worked in Sweden for too long without their parent, the Migration Agency will see this as evidence that their parent is not sufficiently emotionally dependent on them.

It is best to apply for a parent to come and join you as soon as possible after receiving permanent residency.   

If you have lived apart for too long, it is not usually enough for the Migration Agency for the child in Sweden to report that their parent is now suffering from health issues which require the care of the adult in Sweden. 


Getting a visitor permit for a year 

Sweden's 'visitor permit' visa allows applicants who are "no longer professionally active and plan to visit their children and grandchildren for a longer time" to apply for a permit for up to one year.

If a parent comes to Sweden on such a permit, they are not entitled to any welfare benefits, so will need to take out a comprehensive medical travel insurance which will cover "emergency medical assistance, urgent hospital care or transport to your home country for medical reasons", with the insurance covering at least €30,000 worth of costs.

If you are a citizen of an EU country 

If you are a citizen of an EU country, the rules are more lenient. Parents may stay with you for more than three months as your dependants, so long as they are either: 

  • seriously ill and need you to take care of them personally, or
  • economically dependent on you

If you are working, you need to show that you earn enough to support your parent. They also need to register with the Swedish Tax Agency within three months of arriving in Sweden. 


If your parent is a citizen of an EU country

If the parent is a citizen of an EU country and has retired, they have the right to live in Sweden if they can show that they have sufficient funds, or income from a pension, to support themselves, according to the Swedish Tax Agency

To do this they can provide a bank statement, a document showing that they have a pension, or a document from another person saying that they commit to supporting them, along with evidence that this person has sufficient funds or income. 

If they fulfil these requirements under EU law and can prove they intend to live in Sweden for a year or longer, they will be eligible to be registered in the Swedish population register, meaning they will receive a personal number, after which they will be eligible for healthcare at the same cost as for Swedish citizens.

How can a parent receive healthcare treatment in Sweden? 

Emergency healthcare

Everyone in Sweden has a right to so-called "emergency healthcare" if they are in Sweden on a temporary visit, and this also applies if the emergency is related to a chronic disease, as long as the recipient did not come to Sweden specifically in order to receive treatment.

If a parent comes from an EU, EEA, or EFTA country, or from the UK, they have the right to receive emergency healthcare at the same cost as a Swedish citizen, although they will need to have a European Health Insurance Card to access this right. 

If the parent is from Australia, Algeria, Israel, Turkey, or Quebec in Canada, they are covered by special agreements with Sweden which gives them the right to receive some forms of emergency health, such as care when giving birth, at the same cost as a Swedish citizen. 

If the parent is from another non-EU country, they will have to pay the full cost of any emergency healthcare. 


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