Special requirements for permanent residence permits

Since 20 July 2021, applicants must fulfil new, special requirements in order to obtain a permanent residence permit in Sweden. These new requirements apply for everyone, regardless of the type of residence permit you currently have.

In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, you must

  • fulfil the requirements for a continued residence permit
  • have lived in Sweden with a residence permit for a certain period of time
  • be able to support yourself financially
  • live an orderly life.

The first two requirements differ depending on the type of permit you currently have, while the last two requirements are the same for anyone who wants a permanent residence permit. Therefore, you must combine this information with information about what is required in order to obtain an extended 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

In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, you must first meet the requirements for an extended residence permit. If you do not meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, you may still be able to obtain a continued, temporary residence permit, provided that you meet the requirements.

As a general rule, you must have had a residence permit for three years before you can obtain a permanent residence permit. There are exemptions for people who have had a residence permit as a self-employed person (who can obtain a permanent residence permit after two years), as well as for quota refugees (who are granted permanent residence permits the first time they apply). At earliest, employees and doctoral students can be granted permanent residence permits after they have had a residence permit for four years over the past seven years.

An application for a permanent residence permit can only be granted in connection with an application for an extended residence permit. This means that most people must wait at least four years before they can apply for a permanent residence permit, as most temporary residence permits are valid for two years. If you are a doctoral student, you can submit your application for a permanent residence permit via a special e-service.

Read more about what is required to get an extended residence permit and after how long you can get a permanent residence permit, depending on the type of residence permit you have today:

In order to obtain a permanent residence permit, you must be able to support yourself through income from employment or your own company, or a combination of employment and your own company. If you wish to add up income from several part-time jobs, they must all fulfil the requirements listed below.

If you have a residence permit as a self-employed person, you cannot count income from employment.

Duration

The law states that your ability to support yourself financially must be of a certain duration. The Swedish Migration Agency considers you to meet the duration requirement if you have permanent employment, or if you have fixed-term employment lasting at least 18 months from the date on which your application is examined. In some cases, trial employment may also be approved. However, this is assessed on a case-by-case basis, as trial employment may be suspended at short notice, even if most trial employments eventually result in permanent employment.

The Swedish Migration Agency can only take into account the income you actually have when we examine your application. You cannot get a permanent residence permit based on your chances of getting another job or higher wages sometime in the future.

People who support themselves financially through self-employment must demonstrate that their company has realistic business plans and stable finances, so that you can be expected to be able to support yourself through your profits for at least 18 months from the date on which the application is examined.

What income counts?

You may only count taxed income from legal employment. This means that you must have permission to work or be exempt from the requirement to have a work permit. If you apply for an extended residence permit too late, you will not have the right to work while you wait for a decision and therefore will not meet the maintenance requirement. You may not count undeclared income, nor income from a profession that you are not licensed to practise.

You may count income from one or more part-time jobs, provided that all the positions meet the above requirements and that the total income is sufficient to be able to support yourself financially.

You may count parental benefits or sickness benefits, provided that you have ongoing employment and your parental leave or sick leave is not assessed to be longer than 18 months.

To count income from your business, you must show that you own at least half of the company and that you have decisive responsibility for its operations. It is also required that you run the company professionally, independently and for profit.

Amount of income

There is no fixed minimum wage, nor is it required that your wages and other conditions be on par with collective agreements in the industry. Instead, an individual assessment is made of whether you can live on your income.

You meet the maintenance requirement if your income per month from your employment or company covers your housing costs and the so-called normal amount for a single adult.

The normal amount is a flat-rate calculation of ordinary living expenses. The Swedish Enforcement Authority calculates a new normal amount each year. The normal amount for 2021 is SEK 5,016 per month for a single adult. The Swedish Migration Agency uses the normal amount for a single adult in its calculation because it is only required that you are able to support yourself in order to obtain a permanent residence permit. However, if you have a child with whom you do not live and you pay maintenance to the child’s other parent, your wages must also be sufficient to cover the maintenance allowance.

The housing costs that you wages must be sufficient to cover each month depend on the type of home in which you live:

  • If you live in a rented flat, you must include both the rent and the cost of heating in this calculation, if the latter is not included in the rent.
  • If you live in a tenant-owner flat, you must include any fees paid to the tenant-owner association and the interest on any home loans in your calculation. You must also include necessary operating costs (such as water and heating), if these are not included in the monthly fee.
  • If you live in a freestanding house, you must include the interest rate for any home loans and necessary operating costs (such as water and heating) in your calculation.

Amortisation of home loans is not included in the cost of housing. You also do not have to include the cost of electricity in your calculation, as this cost is included in the so-called normal amount.

You only need to be able to support yourself, not your family members. If you live alone or with underage children, you must include your entire actual housing cost in your calculation. However, if you live with one or more other adults, you should divide the actual housing cost by the number of adults in the household and only include your share in the calculation, no matter how much each person actually pays for your housing.

The application form or e-service specifies which documents you must attach to show that you support yourself financially as an employee or self-employed person. If we need to see your housing costs in order to be able to calculate whether your income is sufficient, the Swedish Migration Agency will contact you and ask you to submit supplementary information regarding your application.

What income does not count?

You may not count income from

  • a family member
  • wealth or returns from capital
  • unemployment insurance (unemployment benefits) or an activity allowance
  • various forms of grants or scholarships
  • subsidised employment (for example, when the Swedish Social Insurance Agency or the Swedish Public Employment Service pays all or part of the wages)
  • undeclared work or employment without the legal right to work.

Pensions do not count as income either, but people who receive a pension may be exempt from the requirement that they be able support themselves financially.

Exemptions from the maintenance requirement

Exemptions may be made to the requirement that you be able to support yourself financially in order to obtain a permanent residence permit if

  • you are under the age of 18 when the Swedish Migration Agency takes a decision
  • you are entitled to a pension
  • you are unable to support yourself financially on other special grounds.

If you can submit a decision from the Swedish Pensions Agency that shows that you are entitled to an income-based retirement pension, a guarantee pension or financial support for the elderly, then you are exempt from the requirement to be able to support yourself financially. It is the right to a pension that is crucial, not whether you actually take out a pension or the size of your pension. Both guarantee pensions and financial support for the elderly can be paid out no sooner than the month you turn 65. Income-based old-age pensions can be paid out no sooner than the month you turn 62. If you have reached the age of 62 but not 65, you must show that you have retired and started to take out your income-based old-age pension. As with children, it is your age on the date of the decision that matters.

Exemptions from the maintenance requirement may also be made if other special grounds exist which are not temporary. For example, you may be unable to meet the maintenance requirement on the grounds of permanently impaired working capacity, for example due to illness or disability. This can also apply if you are unemployed and so close to retirement age that it is difficult to get a new job. Exemptions can also be granted if it is not reasonable to request that you be able to support yourself financially. For example, such exemptions are granted for monks and nuns.

If you believe that you have special grounds for exemption from the maintenance requirement, please attach documents showing that you have, e.g., a permanently impaired ability to work. Such proof may take the form of an investigation by the Swedish Public Employment Service, a decision on entitlement to sickness benefits, sickness benefits or activity compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, or a medical certificate.

The Swedish Parliament wishes to prevent people who are likely to commit crimes in the future from obtaining the permanent right to live in Sweden. Therefore, it is required that any person who is granted a permanent residence permit lives an orderly life. The assessment is forward-looking. This means that in order to obtain a permanent residence permit, it must be expected that you will live an orderly life in the future. However, in order to make such an assessment, the Swedish Migration Agency must look at your previous way of life, for example whether you have been convicted or suspected of any crime in Sweden. Crimes committed abroad can also be taken into account in the decision.

There are no detailed rules on the types of crimes or the periods of punishment that should prevent a person from obtaining a permanent residence permit. An assessment of the circumstances of the individual case must always be conducted. In this assessment, your reasons for obtaining a residence permit are weighed against the circumstances that raise doubts about whether you will live an orderly life in the future. However, the Parliament has made it clear that it is not only aggravated and serious crimes that should prevent someone from obtaining a permanent residence permit. A person may also have committed a less serious crime, which, combined with other serious misconduct, raises doubts about granting her/him a permanent residence permit. The Swedish Migration Agency must take into account the nature of the misconduct and how long ago the incident or incidents occurred.

Exemptions to the requirement that applicants live an orderly life are made only for children under the age of 15.

You can only apply for a permanent residence permit in connection with filing an application for an extended work permit. The form or e-service you must use, as well as the documents you must attach, depend on the type of residence permit you currently have. When you apply for an extended residence permit in the e-service, you are asked whether you also wish to apply for a permanent residence permit.

Read more about how to apply for an extended 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

If you are granted a perma­nent resi­dence permit

Your permanent residence permit is valid as long as you live in Sweden. You will receive a residence permit card as proof that you have a residence permit. The card is not an identification document or a travel document. You can travel in and out of the country, but if you leave Sweden you must have a valid passport and your residence permit card in order to re-enter the country. You should also save your notification of the decision to grant you a permanent residence permit. You will find this useful if you need to contact other government agencies.

You do not need to apply for an extension of your residence permit but the residence permit card is only valid for up to five years. To get a new residence permit card you must visit the Swedish Migration Agency to be photographed and to have your fingerprints taken again.

Read more about residence permit cards

The residence permit can be withdrawn

Your permanent residence permit can be withdrawn if you leave Sweden. If you notify the Swedish Migration Agency that you wish to retain your permanent residence permit, you can remain abroad for up to two years without your permit being affected.

Notify that you wish to retain your permanent residence permit

If you have not returned to Sweden after two years the Migration Agency may withdraw your residence permit. The residence permit can also be withdrawn if you gave a false identity when you applied for the residence permit, or if you knowingly lied or failed to mention something that was significant for your residence permit.

If you are convicted of a crime, the court can decide that you should be deported. The Migration Agency will then withdraw your residence permit. Your residence permit can be withdrawn even if you have had the permit for several years.

If your appli­ca­tion is refused

You can appeal against a decision not to grant a permanent residence permit if your application was refused because you do not meet the maintenance requirement or the orderliness requirement. The decision contains information about how to appeal.

If you do not meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, you may still be granted an extended residence permit.

Last updated: 2021-07-28