Asylum regulations

If you are seeking protection in Sweden, you must submit your application for asylum either to the border police when you enter Sweden, or to one of the Migration Agency’s application units.

The Swedish Migration Agency cannot approve an asylum application which is submitted at a Swedish embassy. If you are not able to come to Sweden to apply for protection, you can turn to the UNHCR.

The Dublin Regulation decides in which EU Member State the application is to be examined.

Read more about the Dublin Regulation

Asylum seekers

An asylum seeker is a person who makes their way to Sweden and applies for protection (asylum) here, but whose application has not yet been considered.

Reasons for granting asylum seekers residence permits

Sweden has signed the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This means, among other things, that Sweden will examine each asylum application individually.

The individual examination includes taking the applicant's gender identity and sexual orientation (that is, whether the applicant is homosexual, bisexual or transgender) into account.

Sweden will grant a residence permit to a person who is a refugee in accordance with the UN Convention, and also to a person in need of “subsidiary protection" in accordance with joint EU regulations.


In accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Swedish legislation and EU regulations, a person is considered a refugee when they have well-founded reasons to fear persecution due to

  • race
  • nationality
  • religious or political beliefs
  • gender
  • sexual orientation, or
  • affiliation to a particular social group.

The persecution may originate with the authorities of the person’s native country. It may also be that the authorities are unable or unwilling to offer protection against persecution from individuals or groups.

A person granted a residence permit as a refugee can request to receive a refugee status declaration – an internationally acknowledged status based on the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as EU regulations.

Person in need of subsidiary protection

A person deemed in need of subsidiary protection is one who

  • is at risk of being sentenced to death
  • is at risk of being subjected to corporal punishment, torture or other inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, or
  • as a civilian, is at serious risk of injury due to armed conflict.

A person granted a residence permit as a person in need of subsidiary protection may receive a subsidiary protection status declaration based on EU regulations.

Other protection

In exceptional cases asylum seekers may be granted a residence permit, even if they do not need protection from persecution. This requires extraordinary circumstances directly linked to their personal situation, (for example, people with very serious health issues or people subjected to human trafficking) implying that a decision to deny residence permit would conflict with Sweden’s international obligations.

Exceptions from the right to protection

If the examination of your application reveals that you are a war criminal, if you have committed crimes against humanity or other serious criminal offences, or if you are a threat to national security, you will not be granted asylum in Sweden. You can still be granted a temporary residence permit if you are unable to return to your native country due to the risk of being killed or persecuted there.

Children seeking asylum

According to Swedish law, the Migration Agency has to specifically consider a child’s best interests. All children who can and wish to have their say have the right to do so and to be listened to. A child’s reasons for seeking asylum are to be examined individually, as they may have other reasons for seeking asylum than the parents. When the reasons for seeking asylum are examined, the case officer must adapt the investigation as much as possible to the child’s age, health, and maturity. The child has the right to be accompanied by an adult during the examination. It can be a parent or other legal guardian, a custodian, and/or public counsel.

Read more about the rules concerning children seeking asylum

Read more

  1. The UN Refugee Conventionexternal link, opens in new window
  2. UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency)external link, opens in new window
  3. EU Asylum Qualification Directiveexternal link, opens in new window
  4. Aliens Actexternal link, opens in new window
  5. Aliens Ordinanceexternal link, opens in new window
  6. The Dublin Regulationexternal link, opens in new window
  7. Act on temporary restricting the possibility of being granted a residence permit in Swedenexternal link, opens in new window 

Last updated: 2017-03-22

Was the information on this page helpful to you?