Question and answers about refugee quota

  • How do you decide which people are to receive Swedish residence permits as quota refugees?

    Sweden cooperates with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in order to provide protection for refugees within the framework of a special refugee quota. Every year a Swedish authority, the Swedish Migration Agency, makes special trips to selected places in the world to interview people who have requested protection via UNHCR. Decisions about who will be offered residence permits for Sweden are based on these interviews.

    The persons and families in greatest need of protection are given the chance to move to Sweden. The Refugee Convention and the Swedish Aliens Act form the guidelines for the decision. When special selection trips are not appropriate, Sweden receives dossiers from UNHCR with documentation about the background of individual refugees. Decisions about protection in Sweden are based on these documents.

  • How many quota refugees are offered Swedish residence permits?

    The number of refugees that are to be offered protection in Sweden is decided every year by the Swedish government. How many refugees can be taken, and from which countries, can vary due to circumstances in different parts of the world. Over the last few years the Swedish refugee quota has been between 1,200 and 1,900 persons.

  • Who decides about Swedish residence permits?

    The government has given the Swedish Migration Agency the task of making decisions about settlement and permanent residence permits in Sweden. The permit allows a person the right to live, work and travel freely in the country. For journeys outside of Sweden, a valid passport or travel documents are necessary.

  • How do I find what has been decided about the permit?

    UNHCR provides information about the decision.

  • If I get a residence permit – when can I travel to Sweden?

    It can take 2–3 months to prepare the trip to Sweden after a decision has been taken about a residence permit. The amount of time can vary depending on which country the person is travelling from. Municipal staff at the receiving town will work on preparing for arrivals and finding apartments. A move can take place when accommodation has been arranged.

  • Who organises the journey to Sweden?

    The Swedish Migration Agency books the journey and arranges the necessary permits and travel documents along with the ambassador, UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

  • Do I need to pay for the journey to Sweden myself?

    Sweden pays all the costs associated with the journey.

  • Does the move to Sweden mean that I will receive refugee status?

    People who come to Sweden as part of the refugee quota are not automatically granted refugee status. Those who are selected for travel to Sweden are either refugees or persons in need of protection. All those selected receive permanent residence permits and are entitled to stay in Sweden.

  • Do refugees and persons in need of protection have a different legal standing in Sweden?

    Refugee status provides a somewhat stronger legal status. Refugees can, for example, apply for Swedish citizenship after four years. For others five years' stay in Sweden is necessary. Persons in need of protection and refugees also have different eligibility for passport documentation, support for family reunification and pensions.

  • When do I get to know whether I am classed as a refugee or in need of protection?

    Persons who are selected for settlement after an interview with the Swedish Migration Agency receive information about their status when they are informed of the decision regarding permanent residence permits. Persons who have been selected via dossier — instead of interview — can get their status as in need of protection or refugee tested after their arrival in Sweden. The municipality in the town in which you live can provide more information.

  • I have been given refugee status by UNHCR. Does this mean that I will get refugee status in Sweden?

    A person who has been classed as a refugee by the UN/UNHCR can receive either refugee status or that of a person in need of protection in Sweden. The decision will be taken by the Swedish Migration Agency after a review of the person's details and documentation.

  • What happens when I arrive in Sweden?

    Staff from the municipality will meet you at the airport. Often, an interpreter will be present. After you are met at the airport, the staff will accompany you to your new home town and help new arrivals to get established there.

  • What will my living conditions be like after I move?

    The local municipality in the town to which you are moving have prepared for your arrival. There is a vacant rental apart-ment, and the municipality's staff helps every new arrival with planning their introduction for starting over in a new country.

  • How can I support myself after I arrive in Sweden?

    People who are granted asylum in Sweden are to get the best possible start in the country in order to be part of the community and support themselves. The Swedish state therefore pro-vides support to new arrivals for the first two years. Swedish language instruction is provided during the introductory period, as well as help with finding a job and a means of support. In most cases, further studies are necessary in order to find qualified work in Sweden.

  • Does Sweden receive money from the UN for taking refugees?

    The UN does not provide any financial support to countries that provide international protection according to the Refugee Convention.

  • What documents do I need to take to Sweden with me?

    It is important to have all the official papers and documents that can prove who you are. A national passport or a national ID card is the best proof. It is necessary to be able to prove your identity in Sweden. Proof of identity is necessary to be able to apply for citizenship or different types of travel documents.

  • What documents do my children need?

    It is very important to bring documents that prove the relationship between adults and their biological children to Sweden. If a family has non-biological children it is also necessary to have information about who and where the children's parents are. You can also read the questions about family reunification on the next page.

  • I have no passport. What happens when I am to move to a new country?

    Persons without a passport from their homeland receive a provisional alien's passport for one entry to Sweden. For additional journeys outside Sweden you can apply for an alien's passport that is valid for up to five years. It is necessary for you to prove your identity and to prove that it is not possible to obtain a passport from your homeland. Travellers using alien's passports often need a visa from the country of destination. Quota refugees with refugee status can apply for a travel document, which allows travel to all countries except your previous homeland or the country from which you have fled.

  • When can I become a Swedish citizen?

    If a person´s identity has been proven he or she can apply for Swedish citizenship after five years. People with refugee status can apply for citizenship after four years.

  • Do I have to choose between Swedish citizenship and my present citizenship?

    Swedish law permits dual citizenship. A person can therefore be a citizen of two countries at the same time, but not all countries allow their citizens to hold two citizenships. The regulations in the person's original homeland determine whether dual citizenship is possible.

  • I would like a family member to come to Sweden as well.

    Swedish law allows for the possibility for reunification of the nuclear family. A nuclear family consists of husband, wife and children under the age of 18. For other relatives — parents, siblings, adult children — it is difficult to obtain permission for residence in Sweden.

  • Where can I apply for family reunification?

    You can apply for residence permits for family reunification at the Swedish embassy or mission in the country. The residence permit must be finalised before entry to Sweden. Application for persons with refugee status, and for their relatives, is free of charge.

  • Can my relatives come to Sweden for temporary stays?

    Relatives who want to visit Sweden to meet relatives should apply for visitors' visas at a Swedish embassy or mission. Visitors must also be able to prove that they intend to return to their homeland.

  • Where can I find more information about moving to Sweden as a quota refugee?

    The Swedish Migration Agency's website has extensive information about issues regarding refugees and asylum seekers. The main content is available in Swedish and English, but the website also has factual information in many different languages. The website address is:

Last updated: 17 June 2014