Visiting relatives and friends

If you are visiting relatives or friends in Sweden and are a citizen of a non-EU country, you may need a visa. A visa is a permit to travel to and stay in a country for a maximum of 90 days. To be granted a visa you need an invitation from the person that you are visiting. You need to show that you have enough money for your keep and your return trip. You also need health insurance that covers the costs if you become ill during your visit to Sweden.

If you plan to stay in Sweden for more than 90 days you should instead apply for a visitors’ residence permit.

How to apply for a visitors’ residence permit

Countries whose citizens require a visaexternal link, opens in new window

Requirements for obtaining a visa

If you wish to visit Sweden and the other Schengen countries, you must have

  • a passport that is valid for a minimum of three months after your visa has expired and which has been issued in the last ten-year period
  • have received an invitation from the person you intend to visitPDF
  • money for your keep and for the journey home. Sweden requires that you have SEK 450 for each day spent in Sweden. In certain circumstances, this amount may be lower, for example in the case of a young child, if the cost of food and accommodation is paid in advance or if you are going to stay with relatives or friends. You must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for your keep with the help, for example, of bank statements or a document in which the person inviting you to Sweden promises to meet all expenses during the visit
  • individual medical travel insurancewhich covers the costs which could arise as a result of emergency medical assistance, emergency hospitalisation or medical repatriation. The insurance should cover costs of at least EUR 30,000 and be valid in all the Schengen countries.

Requirements of Swedish embassies and consulates

Some requirements differ from country to country. It is therefore important that you check what applies in your case. The requirements may change depending on the current circumstances. You will find more information on the website of the relevant embassy. To find the appropriate embassy, visit www.swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window.

Special agreement for certain countries

Special rules apply for citizens of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia and the Ukraine due to the Visa Facilitation Agreement concluded between these countries and the EU. If you are a citizen of one of these countries you will find more information on the Swedish embassy website for each country.external link, opens in new window

Applying for a visa

You must hand in your visa application at a Swedish embassy or consulate-general. To find out which rules apply in your home country, please select your country in the list at www.swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window

  • A number of Swedish embassies and consulates-general cooperate with VFS Global for visa applications and it is to VFS Global that you need to hand in your application. Information about how to proceed can be found at the embassy’s or consulate-general’s website.
  • In certain countries, Sweden is represented by another Schengen country and it is that country’s documentary requirements that apply. Documents also need to be translated into that country’s language.
  • In certain countries there is no Swedish embassy or consulate-general or other Schengen country representing Sweden. You will need to travel to the nearest country where there is a Swedish embassy or consulate-general and hand in your visa application there. Information about which embassy you should turn to can be found at www.swedenabroad.comexternal link, opens in new window.

How long will it take?

You will normally receive a response within two weeks, but processing times can vary at embassies or consulates-general. During the June–August holiday period, the processing time could be longer. If you need current information about this, contact the Swedish embassy or consulate-general which will process your application. If the Swedish embassy sends your application on to the Swedish Migration Agency, the process may take longer. To be sure that you receive your visa in time, you should submit your application at least two months before you are due to travel to Sweden.

Decisions on visas

The embassy or consulate-general normally makes the decisions regarding visas, but in some circumstances it can hand the matter to the Swedish Migration Agency for decision-making. The regulations in the EU Visa Code determine whether or not you are granted a visa.

Your application may be rejected if the decision-making authority judges that you are unlikely to leave the Schengen area after your visit and that the purpose of your visit is not as specified in your application.

Validity period for entry visa

A visa is valid in the Schengen countries for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. If you have been in the Schengen area for 90 days, you must leave the area for 90 days before you can be granted a new Schengen visa.

The number of days that you are allowed to stay in the Schengen countries is specified on the visa sticker that is glued into your passport. The days can be utilised during the period that is specified on the sticker. The period is often longer than the number of days that you may visit the Schengen countries. This is so that you have the possibility to change your travel date if something unforeseen happens.

A visa can be valid for one or multiple entries or exits

Your visa sticker specifies how many times you may travel in and out of the Schengen countries while it is valid.

You can apply for a Schengen visa that is valid for multiple entries if you are regular visitor to Sweden. A visa with multiple entries can be valid for visits lasting up to 90 days in each 180-day period for a maximum of five years.

Your visa may only be valid for certain countries

If you are granted a visa you can also visit other Schengen countries.

In certain exceptional cases your visa may be valid for entries and stays in Sweden or certain Schengen countries only, if you are registered in SIS (Schengen Information System) or if your passport is not accepted in all Schengen countries.

Calculate your visa period

You can use the EU Schengen calculator to work out when you can enter the Schengen area again, and how many days you can stay.

Calculate your visa period with the EU visa calculatorexternal link, opens in new window

Longer stays

If you are planning to stay in Sweden for longer than 90 days you need to apply for a visitors’ residence permit, or – if there are special reasons – a visa for a longer period (a D visa).

How to appeal

If you received a decision you are not satisfied with, you can submit a written appeal no later than three weeks from the day you received the decision. In your appeal, write down which decision you are not satisfied with, and why and how you want it to be changed. If you have any documents that you didn't submit earlier, you can supplement your case with them. Your appeal should be submitted to the Swedish embassy or consulate-general that made the decision. The Swedish embassy or consulate-general will verify that the appeal came in on time and will go over the case again. If more than three weeks have passed, the appeal will be rejected; in that case you will have to submit a new application.

If the Swedish embassy or consulate-general changes the decision

The decision can be changed if new information comes in. In that case you will be notified, and the entry visa placed in your passport.

If the Swedish embassy or consulate-general does not change the decision, it will be forwarded

If the appeal came in on time and the authority that made the decision sees no reason to change the decision, the case will be forwarded as soon as possible. Your application, the decision, and all other documents submitted in the case will be sent to the Migration Court in Göteborg. The Migration Court will then make a decision.

Last updated: 7 September 2015