You must have lived in Sweden for a certain period of time

To become a Swedish citizen, you must fulfil the habitual residence qualification, which means that you must have been resident in Sweden for a certain period of time. Your period in Sweden with a permit to settle here is counted as your period of habitual residence.

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.

Period of habitual residence

To become a Swedish citizen, you must have been living in Sweden on a long-term basis for a certain period of time. As a rule you must have been resident in Sweden for a continuous period of five years. Habitual residence means that you are a long-term resident and intend to remain in Sweden. Whether you are allowed to count all your time in Sweden as a period of habitual residence depends on why you settled here and what permit you have had during your time here. The main rule is that time with a residence permit that leads to a permanent residence permit is counted as a period of habitual residence.

If you had a permanent residence permit or a residence permit for settlement 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.

EU/EEA citizens and their family members

EU/EEA citizens and their family members must have met the requirements for right of residence throughout their stay in Sweden so that this can be counted as a residence period in order to apply for Swedish citizenship. This does not apply to Nordic citizens. If you have been a legal resident of Sweden for five years but not requested a certificate of permanent right of residence or applied for a permanent residence card, we will determine whether you meet the conditions for right of residence when you apply for Swedish citizenship.

Travel abroad

If you have travelled abroad on, for example, short trips or holidays, this is of no importance for your period of habitual residence in Sweden. But if you have been abroad for more than six weeks in a year,the whole period you were outside Sweden is deducted from the period of habitual residence. If you move to another country and settle there your habitual residence is interrupted. You can start to count your habitual residence from the day you move back to Sweden again.

Different types of residence permit

If you have had a temporary residence permit in Sweden, for example a residence permit for visits, for studies as a visiting student or for a stay as an au pair, this time is not counted as a period of habitual residence. This can also be the case if you work at the embassy or consulate of another country in Sweden.

However, if you are studying or have studied at doctoral student level, you can, in certain cases, be allowed to count the period with a residence permit for studies as habitual residence. You are allowed to count this period if it is evident that you intended to stay in Sweden after completing your studies.

Shorter period if you are living with a Swedish citizen

If you are married to, living in a registered partnership with or cohabiting with a Swedish citizen, you can apply for Swedish citizenship after three years. In these cases, you must have been living together for the past two years. It is not enough to be married to one another, you must also live together.

If your partner used to have some citizenship other than Swedish citizenship or was stateless, he or she must have been a Swedish citizen for at least two years. You must also have adapted well to Swedish society during your time in Sweden. Things we consider here can include the length of your marriage, your knowledge of the Swedish language and your ability to support yourself.

If you have previously been in Sweden under an identity that is not your correct identity or if you have impeded the execution of a refusal-of-entry order by, for example, going into hiding, this may harm you possibilities of obtaining citizenship after three years.

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.

Other identity

If you have lived in Sweden under an identity that is not your correct identity, you are not allowed to count the period when you stayed in Sweden with an incorrect identity as a period of habitual residence.

  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.

Last updated: 8 July 2015