Applying for a Visa in Sweden



EU/EEA nationals do not need a visa to enter or work in Sweden. They are only required to register for residence and work permit if the intended stay is more than three months. Non-EU citizens, on the other hand, are required to obtain several documents to be able to work legally in this country.

Expats from non-EU and EEA countries need to have both a work and residence permit if they are planning on working in Sweden for more than three months. These two legal documents should be in the possession of the foreign national before flying in to Sweden and the first step for them is to secure a job offer from a Swedish employer. All aspiring professionals should keep in mind that permits for this country will only be granted if the job position has been advertised in the local labour market as well as in the EU for at least ten days and no qualified national or resident has been found to fill the vacancy.

Work Permit

It is the job of the expatriate’s future employer to write a job offer and have it authorised by the relevant trade union. The written offer should contain important details such as the foreign national’s role in the company, salary package and duration of work in Sweden. Employers who were able to get approval from the Swedish Migration Agency will receive an Employment Certification Form that must be forwarded to the expat. Swedish work permits are employer specific and is usually valid for one year or for the duration of the employment contract. Those who wish to renew their permits can contact or visit the Swedish Migration Agency for the latest renewal procedures.

Residence Permit

Residence permits should be applied for at the Embassy/Consular of Sweden in the expatriate’s home country. The Swedish residence permit is typically valid for the duration of the holder’s job contract or a maximum of five years. Permit holders will also receive a Residence Permit Card which will serve as a proof that they are legally allowed to live or work in Sweden. Processing time normally takes about three to eight months. The documents that applicants must bring at the Consular during the application are listed below:

  • Valid Passport
  • Several Passport-sized photos
  • Copy of the Employment Certification issued to the Swedish employer
  • Employment Contract
  • Educational and Professional/Work Certifications
  • Completed application form

How to Obtain a Personnumer

The Personnumer is a 12 digit number that is used for setting up memberships, taking out insurance and opening a local bank account. Registering at the Swedish Tax Agency also makes an expat a tax-paying resident, eligible for social benefits and grants him the right to vote in his local municipality. Swedish Residence Permit holders are required to apply for a Personnumer by registering at the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). Take note that there is no application fee and some of the documents that expats must bring during the application are:

  • Valid Passport
  • Residence Permit
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificate

National ID and Social Insurance

After getting a Personnumer, the next step is to obtain a Swedish Identity Card. It is the most frequently used and accepted form of identification in this country that all residents must possess. Applications must also be done at the Swedish Tax Agency where expats must settle the processing fee of SEK 400 or around €45. Payments usually reflect after one business days so make sure to pay it first before going to the Skatteverket office. Applicants will have their photographs taken and their heights measured. It normally takes about two weeks for the card to be produced and once it is ready, the expat will receive a letter from Skatteverket informing that the Swedish Identity Card will be available for pick up within five business days. Keep in mind that cards should be picked up by the applicant himself along with the letter from Skatteverket.

Expats who have a Personnumer are not immediately required to register for Swedish Social Insurance unless they need to request for a benefit. However, it is still strongly advised for foreign nationals, even those who already have employment-based benefits to register with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) for them to take advantage of social allowance and benefits such as parental leave, sickness leave, unemployment support as well as child and housing allowance. Applicants must fill up an application form which they need to send to the agency along with the documents listed below:

  • Copy of Work Permit
  • Copy of Residence Permit
  • Copy of Employment Contract