Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 10 min

3 ways to get a Swedish passport: complete guide

Foreigners obtain Swedish passports by descent, marriage, or naturalisation. The path to citizenship by naturalisation takes at least 10 years: 5 with a temporary residence permit and 5 with permanent residency.

Sweden allows its citizens to have two passports, so you don’t need to renounce your first citizenship.

Elena Ruda
Elena Ruda

Explained how to obtain Swedish citizenship

How to obtain Swedish citizenship

3 ways to get a Swedish passport: complete guide

7 benefits of Sweden citizenship

1. Moving to Sweden. A Swedish citizen can live, work, or study anywhere in Sweden without restrictions. 

Temporary residents must extend their permits every three years: they gather documents and apply for residency again. On the contrary, citizens are no longer required to undergo this process. The only thing they need to do is renew their passport. It is done in a police office, and Swedes provide an expiring passport and no other documents.

Sweden has quality health care, a low level of pollution, and a generally high standard of living, contributing to its citizens' overall well-being and satisfaction.

According to Numbeo, Sweden ranks in the top 15 countries with the highest quality of life. It is above the US, the UK, New Zealand, the UAE, and Singapore. Regarding human freedom, quality of healthcare, and cleanliness, Sweden belongs to the top 10.

The country is known for its strong stance on equality and human rights, providing a safe and inclusive environment for all its citizens.

2. Access to social welfare. Citizens can access various social benefits like healthcare, parental leave, and childcare, often at a low cost or free of charge. The state finances these expenses. For example, parental leave is paid for up to 480 days; during it, the parent gets around 80% of their regular income.

3. Access to education. Studying in public universities is free for Swedes and citizens of EU and EEA countries. Diplomas from Swedish universities are recognised in EU countries, the USA, and the UK.

4. Political rights. Swedish citizens can vote in national and European elections, unlike people with just Swedish residence permits.

5. Addition of a family. Your family members also become eligible for residency when you gain citizenship. That includes kids, spouses, and partners in a registered partnership.

6. Passport strength. The Swedish passport ranks among some of the strongest globally. With it, travel becomes more accessible, providing visa-free access to 173 destinations worldwide. Swedes travel without visas to the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, and many other countries.

7. Freedom of movement within the EU. Swedish citizens can live, work, and study without a visa in any European Union country. That includes 26 EU states besides Sweden.

Every European Union country allows its residents or citizens to travel visa-free within the EU. Some countries, like Portugal or Cyprus, grant citizenship faster than Sweden. The first step to their passports can be residency by investment.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Portugal

Ways to obtain Swedish citizenship

By birth. A child born to at least one Swedish parent gets citizenship automatically, no matter where they were born. The same rule applies to people adopted by Swedes.

If parents were not citizens when the child was born, it is possible to acquire citizenship if either becomes a citizen before the child’s 18th birthday.

By descent. Since April 2015, any person born to a Swedish parent obtains Swedish citizenship automatically. If a person was born outside Sweden before that time, they can get a passport by descent. The requirements are:

  • to have a Swedish father and a foreign mother;

  • be under 18;

  • prove paternity.

The father must file a document called a notification for citizenship. The mother must also sign the notification if the child has one.

If the mother is Swedish, a child obtains citizenship automatically, no matter when and where they were born.

By marriage. Foreign spouses and partners in a registered or cohabiting partnership of a Swedish national can apply for Sweden citizenship in three years. More than just being married is required; the couple must live together for at least two years before the application to qualify.

By naturalisation. A foreigner can get Swedish citizenship by naturalisation if they have lived there for at least 5 years with a work permit.

Becoming a naturalised citizen involves meeting specific requirements, like demonstrating proficiency in the Swedish language and showing self-support abilities — meaning that you have stable income sources.

Requirements for getting a Sweden passport

A foreigner who desires to become a Swedish citizen must fulfil several conditions.

Have a permanent residency card for at least 5 years.

Verify their identity. It can be done by presenting the original of your national passport or an original copy of an identification document. Both documents must be issued in your country of origin and collected by you personally. It is possible to provide a passport even if it has expired.

Live in Sweden for the required period. Naturalised applicants must live in the country for at least 5 years with permanent residency. Residency must be uninterrupted. It means you can’t move to or settle in another country.

You can leave Sweden for short visits or holidays, and the residency will be considered uninterrupted. If you stay outside the country for more than 6 weeks, this time is subtracted from the required period of residence.

A foreigner must live in the country for at least three years to obtain citizenship by marriage or descent.

Live an orderly life in Sweden. It means you have no unpaid debts, taxes, or fines. If you had them and then paid them, you must wait for two more years before applying for citizenship. It is required to prove you stay debt-free.

Foreigners must also not commit any crime or, if they do, serve a sentence before applying for a Swedish passport. It is also required to wait for some time before applying for citizenship. A period of time depends on the crime.

When you’re applying for Swedish citizenship, you can add your minor children if:

  • they have permanent residence permit;

  • you have custody of them — if there are two parents or legal guardians, the other parent or legal guardian must give their consent by signing with e-identification;

  • they live with you.

Children who are 12 or older must consent to becoming Swedish citizens themselves. To do so, they sign the application with e-identification.

Expenses for obtaining citizenship in Sweden

Foreigners pay fees on each step of obtaining Swedish citizenship. In some cases, it is also required to pay for minor children.

Legal service

Sum

Residence permit issuance, extension application fee / Permanent residence application fee

For studying: $143

For reunification with a family: 

  • $191 for an adult

  • $97 for a child

For working or starting a business: $210

  • $143 — additional fee for a child

  • $72 — additional fee for an adult

Issuance of a Swedish ID card

$38 per person

Citizenship application fee 

$143 for the main applicant

Issuance of a passport

$38 per person

Regaining citizenship

$17 / $45 (if lost before July 1st, 2001)

Required documents for obtaining residency or citizenship in Sweden

The basic list of required documents includes:

  • an application form — only needed if you apply in person;

  • a passport from your country of origin;

  • a no criminal record certificate;

  • proof of financial means;

  • health insurance;

  • a receipt of a paid government fee;

  • passport-size photos.

Additional documents for a residence permit depend on the grounds you’re applying under. For instance, students must present a letter of admission to a university, and employees must have a contract with a Swedish employer.

When you apply for permanent residence or citizenship, in addition to the documents above, you must also provide your old residence permit cards.

How to get citizenship by naturalisation in Sweden

The process of obtaining Swedish citizenship by naturalisation takes around 10 years. One must live continuously in the country, first with a residence permit and then permanent residency.

1

1 day

Choose a reason to obtain a residence permit and meet the requirements

It can be employment in a Swedish company, studying at a Swedish university, or marrying a Swedish national.

2

2—3 weeks

Gather documents and apply for residency

You need to provide documents to Sweden’s Migration Agency. It can be done online.

The fee you pay depends on the residence permit you’re applying for:

  • $143 — for a student residence permit or to seek employment after having completed studies in Sweden;

  • $191 — for an adult and 95,5% for a child who is moving to live with someone in Sweden;

  • $210 — for working or starting a business.

A person with a working residence permit pays an additional $72 for a child covered by the application.

3

1.5+ months

Move to Sweden and receive an identification number and a Swedish ID card

After you receive your residence permit card, you can move to Sweden. You must register with the Tax Agency to obtain a Swedish ID card. With it, you can open bank accounts, set appointments with doctors, or pick up packages from a post office.

The fee for issuing a Swedish ID card is $38 per person.

4

5 years

Live with a residence permit

After a residence permit, you can get permanent residency.

The requirements are to have lived continuously in Sweden for 5 years and be able to support yourself and your family.

5

5 years

Obtain permanent residence and live with it

You need to apply for permanent residence before your residence permit card expires. Sweden’s Migration Agency processes the application.

A package of documents is almost the same as applying for a temporary residence permit. Besides other papers, you must provide your expiring residence permit card.

The fee for permanent residence depends on the ground on which you’ve received temporary residence.

6

Up to 6 months

Apply for citizenship

Five years later, you’ll be eligible for Swedish citizenship. Upon applying, you must pay a fee of $143. There is no fee for minor children covered by the application.

When the application is approved, the Swedish Migration Agency sends the decision to your officially registered address. It also notifies the Tax Agency.

When you become a Swedish citizen, your residence permit card becomes invalid.

7

6+ days

Obtaining passport

Swedish citizens apply for a passport with the police. One must set an appointment and then come personally to the police office.

The fee for getting a passport is $38 per person.

Is it possible to have dual citizenship in Sweden?

You can hold a Swedish passport alongside another nationality. Sweden does not ask applicants to renounce their previous nationality when applying for naturalisation.

If your country of origin doesn’t allow having two passports, you must choose between Swedish and your original citizenship.

Losing and regaining Swedish citizenship

There are several ways to lose a Swedish passport:

  • you applied for or agreed to become a citizen of another country before 2001, at the time when dual citizenship was not legal;

  • you go into public service in another country;

  • you commit crimes against Sweden.

Losing citizenship is also possible when you’ve reached 22 if you were born outside Sweden and have never lived or visited Sweden. You get a notification letter from the government about it when you turn 18.

You can apply to retain citizenship. But it must be made after you’ve turned 18 and before you’re 22. Retaining is free of charge. You can’t lose a Swedish passport if you become stateless after it.

The Sweden citizenship can be gotten back if you fulfil the following requirements:

  • be over 18;

  • have a permanent residence permit in Sweden;

  • had lived in Sweden for at least 10 years before losing citizenship;

  • have lived an orderly life;

  • have lived and have been registered in Sweden for at least 2 years after losing citizenship.

If you have committed a crime, you must wait for additional time. It’s called a qualifying period, proving that you can lead an orderly life. The waiting time depends on the penalty you’ve got. For example, if you were sentenced to 1-month custody, your qualifying time is 4 years.

Before granting citizenship back, the Swedish Migration Agency requests information from:

  • the Swedish Enforcement Authority — if you have unpaid debts;

  • the police — if you committed a crime or are suspected of a crime;

  • the Swedish Security Service — security screening.

Based on this information, the Migration Agency makes a decision.

If you lost citizenship before July 1st, 2001, the fee for gaining it back is $45. In other cases, you must pay $17.

Taxes in Sweden

Taxes for individuals. Swedes pay taxes on local income — 28 to 52%, depending on the sum of money they earn. The average income tax, though, is 32%.

If one makes a profit from a property sale, it is taxed at 20%. The rate for capital gains is 30%.

There are no inheritance and wealth taxes in Sweden.

Corporate tax is 20%.

VAT in Sweden is 25%. There are exemptions on some goods and services: 12% and 6%. 12% applies, for example, to foodstuffs, restaurants, and catering services, and 6% to passenger transport within Sweden, books, and newspapers. Services that are exempt from taxes, for example, are healthcare and education.

Double taxation. Sweden has signed double taxation avoidance treaties with more than 100 countries. So, a person doesn’t pay taxes in both states if there is a treaty between the countries of their citizenship.

8 things to do after relocating to Sweden

1. Find a place to live. Consider temporary accommodation like a hostel or a hotel while you look for something permanent.

Websites like Blocket.se or Bostaddirekt.com can help rent permanent housing. The cost of apartments depends on the city. In Stockholm, it ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. In Malmo, average prices are lower — $700 to $1,300, depending on the size and location of the housing.

2. Register with the Swedish authorities. Once in Sweden, you must register with the Swedish Tax Agency to obtain a personal identity number. It is essential for accessing healthcare, opening bank accounts, and more.

3. Open a bank account. A local bank account is necessary for receiving salaries and managing finances. Some banks require a Swedish personal identity number. The largest banks in Sweden are Nordea Bank, SEB Bank, and Svenska Handelsbanken AB.

4. Healthcare and Social Insurance. Register with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency to access the public healthcare system and other social benefits.

5. Emergency preparedness. Know the emergency numbers and understand the basic procedures for emergencies in Sweden.

Important phone numbers:

  • 112 — in case of emergencies, such as urgent medical conditions, fires, or air, sea and mountain rescue;

  • 113 13 — accidents and crises;

  • 114 14 — police number for non-urgent cases;

  • 1177 — non-urgent healthcare advice.

6. Cultural integration and networking. Engage with local communities, join clubs or groups based on your interests, and try to learn about Swedish culture and customs. Building a social and professional network will benefit personal and professional development.

7. Financial planning. Understand the cost of living in Sweden and plan your finances accordingly. Sweden has high taxes, but these contribute to extensive social services. On average, a family of four requires $3,500 per month.

8. Learn the language. While many Swedes speak English, learning Swedish is key to full social integration. Free Swedish courses (SFI) are available for immigrants.

How to obtain Swedish citizenship

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the cultural, political and economic centre of the country. It is also the largest and most populous Swedish city, which attracts most expats

How to obtain a European passport faster

Some European countries grant passports faster than Sweden.

A Maltese passport can be obtained in 1—3 years if a foreigner applies for citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment. First, the investor gets a residence permit.

There are three obligatory requirements the applicant must fulfil:

  • contribute to the National Development and Social Fund — €600,000+;

  • rent real estate for 5 years for €16,000+ or purchase a property for €700,000+;

  • make a charitable donation — €10,000+.

After fulfilling the requirements and living in Malta for 1—3 years, a person is eligible for Malta citizenship.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

The time to get a Cyprus passport is 5 years. A foreigner can obtain permanent residency that leads to citizenship immediately if they participate in the investment program. Under it, an investor must purchase a residential or commercial property, shares of Cypriot companies, or securities. The minimum sum of investment is €300,000 for all options.

Portuguese authorities grant passports after 5 years of living in Portugal with a residence permit. The easiest way to obtain a residency card is to participate in one of the following programs:

  • Portugal Residence Permit by Investment — a foreigner invests at least €250,000 in the country’s economy;

  • Portugal D7 Visa — an applicant proves they have a passive income of at least €820 per month;

  • Portugal Digital Nomad Visa — a foreigner must have a monthly income of at least €3,040 and rent or buy housing.

A Greek passport can be obtained in 7 years. A foreigner lives in the country for 5 years and then for 2 years with permanent residency.

Residence permits in Greece can be obtained by investment. A foreigner needs to invest in the country’s economy a minimum of €250,000. It can contribute to purchasing real estate.

Other investment options include renting a hotel or a tourist residence, buying a land plot, inheriting real estate, buying a timeshare, purchasing securities, and making a bank deposit. The required sum depends on the investment option.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

Key takeouts

  1. Swedish citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation, marriage, birth, or descent.

  2. To become a Swedish citizen, one must first obtain a temporary residence permit and then permanent residency. After that, they are eligible to apply for a passport.

  3. Benefits of Swedish passports: moving to Sweden, access to social welfare, freedom of movement within the EU, passport strength, and political rights.

  4. The path to Sweden citizenship by naturalisation takes 10 years.

  5. One can obtain European citizenship faster in countries like Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, or Greece.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Frequently Asked Questions