Stricter passport checks

The Swedish Migration Agency is introducing new procedures for stricter checks of passports in connection with application for a residence permit. From 1 November, applicants for a resident permit must show their passport at an in-person visit before the Swedish Migration Agency can make a decision.

The new procedures apply in all cases where a valid passport is required to obtain a residence permit. This applies to both first-time applications and applications for an extended residence permit, if the passport has not been checked before. This means the new requirement can apply to both persons who are in Sweden and to those who are applying to move to Sweden for the first time.

The new requirement applies to applications for

  • permits to live with a close relative in Sweden
  • work permits or permits for self-employed persons
  • permits for students/researchers
  • permits to look for work after completing one’s studies
  • permits in Sweden for persons with long-term resident status from another EU country
  • permits to visit Sweden or extend a visit.

This also applies in certain cases when applying for an extended residence permit for studies at the upper-secondary level and when looking for work after completing one’s studies at the upper-secondary level, but in some instances exceptions to the requirement to have a passport can be made in connection with such an application.

The new requirement does not apply

  • if the passport has already been presented in connection with a previous application or an in-person visit made for another reason
  • if the applicant has an alien’s passport or travel document that they have received from the Swedish Migration Agency
  • if the applicant fulfils the requirements for a permanent residence permit
  • when applying for asylum or protection under the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive
  • when applying for a residence permit card, permanent residence card, permanent right of residence for EU citizens, or as a person with long-term resident status in Sweden.
  • If the application concerns a child under five years of age. In such a case, it is sufficient for a parent to present the child’s passport.

Citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland applying for a residence permit, or UK citizens applying for proof of permanent residence status, need to present identification documents but can choose to present a passport or national ID card.

The Swedish Migra­tion Agency will contact affected appli­cants

People who must show their passport will be informed that they should book an appointment at an embassy, consulate-general or one of the Swedish Migration Agency's service centres.

To ensure that no one must make more in-person visits than necessary, the appointment to show one’s passport can be combined with another appointment, for example for an oral interview or to provide fingerprints and be photographed for the residence permit card.

Previously, people who submitted an application for which an interview was not necessary could be photographed and have their fingerprints taken for their residence permit cards after the Swedish Migration Agency had made a decision. These visits must now occur before a decision is made.

Why do we need stricter passport controls?

It is the Swedish Migration Agency’s responsibility to examine whether someone who wishes to travel to or live in Sweden meets the legal requirements for proven identity and a valid passport. In the case of a first-time application to move to or visit Sweden, this check is often carried out by employees of Swedish embassies or consulates-general around the world.

In a 2021 review, the Swedish National Audit Office highlighted shortcomings in the verification of identity in applications to move to Sweden. In light of, among other things, the Swedish National Audit Office’s criticism, the Swedish Migration Agency has implemented a number of measures to improve the examination of proven identity and valid passports.

A review of the legal situation led to the conclusion that to meet the requirements of the law, passports must always be checked during an in-person visit. Thus, it is no longer sufficient for the case officer to look at a hard copy or scanned image of the passport.

The Swedish Migration Agency has developed the new procedures for verifying passports to increase security and reduce the risk of irregularities. This is one of several measures that the Swedish Migration Agency is taking following recommendations from the Swedish National Audit Office.

By now expanding our controls and investing in more training of staff at the Swedish Migration Agency’s service centres, embassies and consulates-general, we will be able to check passports better and more uniformly.

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