Changes to the Swedish Aliens Act in 2021

The Swedish migration legislation was changed on 20 July 2021. Among other things, these changes mean that temporary residence permits have become the main rule and there are new requirements for all who apply for a permanent residence permit. There are also changes regarding who is subject to the maintenance requirement when a person applies for a residence permit to move to a close relative in Sweden.

The new rules incorporated into the Aliens Act on 20 July replaced the temporary law, which has restricted the possibilities for residence permits for asylum seekers and their families since 2016. However, the changes to the Aliens Act are more far-reaching than the temporary law was, and affect almost all those who apply for a residence permit in Sweden.

There are no transitional rules. This means that all decisions made on 20 July or later are based on the new rules, regardless of when the application was submitted.

The changes affect different people in different ways, depending on which residence permit they have and the length of the permit. We have summarised some of the most significant changes on this page. For more detailed information about how a particular kind of permit or application is affected by the legislative changes, you can visit the pages for the various permits.

Tempo­rary resi­dence permits are the new norm

All new residence permits will be temporary. The only people who can be granted a permanent residence permit with their first application are quota refugees. The length of the first temporary permit can vary, but the general rule for an extension is a two-year residence permit, regardless of what kind of permit is involved. Most people will need to apply to extend their residence permit at least once before they can apply for a permanent residence permit.

New special requi­re­ments for perma­nent resi­dence permit

The new requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit mean that you must

  • fulfil the requirements for an extended residence permit
  • have had a temporary residence permit for at least three years
  • be able to support yourself financially (if you are 18 or older)
  • live an orderly life (if you are 15 or older).

Each applicant must meet the requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit. It is no longer possible to automatically obtain a permanent residence permit because a family member is granted one.

It is only possible to obtain a permanent residence permit when applying for an extended residence permit, and you must meet the requirements for extending your current residence permit as well as the new special requirements for a permanent residence permit.

Detailed information on the new special requirements for obtaining a permanent residence permit can be found in connection with information about extending a residence permit, which is different depending on the type of permit.

Read more about what is required and how to apply for an extension of your residence permit:

For those who have a residence permit for upper secondary level studies or a residence permit intended to allow them to find work after completing studies at the upper secondary level, other rules apply for permanent residence permits.

Read about permanent residence permits in accordance with the Upper Secondary School Act

Changes regar­ding who is subject to the main­te­nance requi­re­ment for close rela­tives

When a person applies for a residence permit in order to move to Sweden to live with a close relative, the relative living in Sweden may be subject to a maintenance requirement. This maintenance requirement differs from the requirement that an adult applying for a permanent residence permit must be able to support him- or herself.

In this case, the relative living in Sweden must be able to financially support both himself/herself and the relative applying for a residence permit, and have a home of a sufficient size and standard for the whole family to live in.

The recent updates to the law involve changes regarding who is affected by this maintenance requirement. New groups have been exempt from the requirement to support their relatives financially.

Read more about the maintenance requirement and whom are exempt

The changes to the law also entail that new groups are now subject to the maintenance requirement. The new rules stating that each person must meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit on their own will lead to members of the same family obtaining permanent residence permits at different times. When a person who has held a work permit, or a residence permit for self-employed persons or doctoral studies, obtains a permanent residence permit, he or she will be subject to a maintenance requirement for the family members who have previously held permits as co-applicants.

Read more about what is required of employees, self-employed persons and doctoral students with families

Read more about what these changes mean to you

The changes to the Aliens Act are vast and complex, and they affect different people in different ways. The Swedish Migration Agency listens to questions from those affected by the rules, and continuously publish new articles to explain different aspects of the changes to the law.

General news-articles on how the changes to the Aliens Act affects the Swedish Migration Agency:

Last updated: 2021-07-28