You must have lived in Sweden for a certain period

In order to become a Swedish citizen, you must have been living in Sweden for a certain time (period of residence). The period of residence is calculated as the time you have spent in Sweden with a permit for settlement.

The period of required residency varies. In most cases you are required to have been resident in Sweden for at least five years. This period of residency must have been continuous. Other rules apply for those who are stateless or refugees.

If you are stateless

You are required to have been resident in Sweden for at least four years.

If you are a refugee

You are required to have been resident in Sweden for at least four years if you are a refugee. In order to be considered a refugee, you must have been granted a residence permit as a refugee in accordance with Chapter 4, section 1 of the Aliens Act or corresponding sections in the old Aliens Act. It is not sufficient that you were accepted within the scope of the refugee quota.

Reduced time period if you are living with a Swedish citizen

If you have been married to, living in a registered partnership with or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen for at least the past two years, you may apply for Swedish citizenship after spending three years in Sweden. It is not sufficient that you are married, for example — you must also live together. If your husband, wife, partner or common law spouse was formerly the citizen of another country (or were stateless), he or she must have been a Swedish citizen for at least two years. You must also have adapted to Swedish customs and culture. Factors of importance include the length of the marriage, your Swedish language skills and the ability to support yourself.

If you previously have been in Sweden in an other identity than your own or if you have made it more difficult to conduct a rejection by keeping away, it might impair your ability to obtain citizenship after three years.  

Not all periods of residence count

If you had a permanent residence permit (PUT) or a residence permit for settlement (UT) when you entered Sweden, you count the duration of stay from your date of arrival. Otherwise, the duration of stay is calculated from the date on which you submitted your application for a residence permit and were approved. If your application was initially rejected and you then submitted a new application, the time is counted from the date on which you received approval.

Other identity

If you have lived in Sweden under other identity than your correct one, you may not count that time period.

Different types of residence permit

If you have had a temporary residence permit in Sweden, for example residence permit for visits, guest studies or au-pair, this period does not count towards your period of residence. This may also be the case if you work at a foreign country’s embassy or consulate in Sweden.

If you are studying/have studied at doctoral level, you may in certain cases count the period that you lived in Sweden on a residence permit for studies as a period of residence. You may count this period if you have stated in your permit application documents at the Swedish Migration Board that you intend to stay in Sweden after completing your studies.

If you have been abroad

It does not matter if you have travelled abroad, for example for a short stay or holiday. However, if you have been abroad for longer periods, the time must be reduced from you period of residence.

If you move to another country to settle down, your period of residence is interrupted. The day you return to Sweden your period of residence starts afresh.

  Exceptions from period of residence requirement

  • An emigrant, formerly a Swedish citizen, who returns to Sweden.
  • A person who is employed on a Swedish ship and who is registered in Sweden.
  • A person who is in the employ of a Swedish company abroad and who has previously lived in Sweden.
  • A person who has been married to a Swedish citizen abroad for at least ten years and who does not live in their country of origin. The person must have strong ties with Sweden, e.g. through frequent visits or having a strong need to become a Swedish citizen.
  • A person whose uninterrupted period of residence in Sweden is too short. Such a person may be allowed to count previous periods of residence in Sweden, partly or in full. This depends on how long and why they have been abroad.

Last updated: 18 November 2014